Sunday, October 1st, 2006
11:53 pm - The Week in Review...  
Previously in the Plentiful Vintage...

There was a very loud noise [scene one]. The earth cooled, and primitive life crawled out of the ooze onto dry land [scene two]. Shortly thereafter, folks started hitting round objects with sticks. More recently, life has day after day of sheer boredom [scene three], punctuated by moments of financial terror [scenes four and five]. Books were read [scenes six and seven]. Also, our hero's foot hurts. No, not that foot [scene eight], the other one. (No, I don't know what I did to get this one to hurt.)

And now, this week...
The Dodgers played mediocre ball from the beginning of September, yet won one of the greatest games ever played, twice making up four run deficits, the second time by hitting four consecutive home runs (only the fourth time in MLB history that's ever been done) in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game, only to fall behind yet again in extra innings, then winning it with a Nomar Garciaparra home run in the bottom of the tenth. Still, they lose the next couple of games, ceding the lead of the NL West to the Padres, and even falling behind the Phillies in the Wild Card race. Things were looking pretty grim for the boys in blue.

It looks like the Dodgers are going to drop another series, this time to the Dbacks, but Nomar comes through again, hitting a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to win the game for LA. It is the fifth walk-off hit he's had this season. Someone mentions that prior to this year he'd had a grand total of eight walk-off hits in his career. Still, at the end of the day the Dodgers continue to trail both the Pads and the Phils for a playoff spot.

Heroes debuts, and is thoroughly enjoyable. Absolutely nothing else of importance happens. Well, other than Philly losing.

Excellent penultimate Eureka episode. The Dodgers go to Colorado, and blow away the Rockies, 11-4. Maddux gets the win. The Phils lose again, and the Dodgers pass them in the Wild Card race. The Padres keep on winning.

Lowe beats the Rox, 6-4, for his 16th win. The Phils win, and the Padres finally blink. LA closes to within a game of first in the NL West.

Someone apparently loses the key to the Coors Field humidor, as the Dodgers win a wild afternoon game in Denver, 19-11. Rookie James Loney, subbing for Nomar, ties an all-time Dodger record, originally set by Gil Hodges some 56 years ago, by driving in nine RBI.

The man who owned the Station nightclub pleads guilty to causing the deaths of 100 people in the fire, and gets no jail time. The RI Attorney General claims that he did not approve the plea bargain. The judge doesn't care, and imposes minimum sentences. The rumors are thick that this is all to prevent examination of state and local negligence and corruption in the inspection of the facility. Of course, the prosecutors who arranged the deal all work for the AG, which makes him either totally clueless as to how to run his department, or a liar. He's also running for re-election next month. Oops.

Men in Trees completely pegs my quirkometer to overload. I'd give the show up, but I really don't care much for Dr. Who, so there's nothing else to watch. The Dodgers finish out the season with three games at San Francisco, a team that has a long history of spoiling whatever post-season hopes the Dodgers may have. Not tonight, though, as the Dodger's erase a three run deficit, and score the game-winning run in the top of the ninth on a wild pitch. The Padres lose again, and suddenly the Dodgers are once again tied for first. The Phils win 14-2, but it's too little, too late.

Despite some initial concerns, the new Legion of Super Heroes cartoon is pretty good. It was especially heartening to see Element Lad in the background of the scene where Timberwolf gets inducted. They are using the Mike Grell era Legion as the visual model (right down to the Interlac alphabet), which is good. The main negative is that apparently the creators didn't get the memo that Brainiac 5 is neither an android nor a cyborg. He's just supposed to be really, really smart. (And cranky, but they got that part right.) I guess that being smart is not demonstrative enough as a power for a cartoon. I do like that Supes is there to learn how to best use his powers, although calling him "Superman" whilst everyone else is a "Lad" or "Boy" or "Girl," etc, is kind of weird.

The lawn is about a foot high, so I limp around the yard behind the mower (not really as bad as it sounds once I got going). I also pull the air conditioner out of the window in the backroom and trundle it downstairs for the winter, thus officially declaring summer to be over. Then I collapse in front of the computer for the ball game.

Why were we worried about the Gnats again? Talk about rolling over. Dodgers win 4-2. Kenny Lofton scores one run by tagging up on an infield fly. Greg Maddux, a 41 year-old pitcher, steals second because no one thinks to watch him at first base. Watching Maddux work on a regular basis has been an absolute joy. The win clinches a playoff spot for LA. Meanwhile, the Padres also win, clinching their spot as well. The Phils win, too, but it's all for nought.

Travel up to Boston to have brunch with sisters one and two, and evil niece. The nephew, who is the whole point of the family visit (he's a month into his freshman year at BU), decides to blow us off. My foot still hurts, and it's raining, so I decide not to accompany the crew on their sight-seeing journeys. Instead, I head over to Somerville and retrieve some long-lost tools from Ellen. Afterwards, I head home, stopping on the way at Lumber Liquidators in Dedham to look at attractively priced wood flooring. Or at least that's the plan. Turns out the LL showroom is smaller than my office, with only smallish samples of various materials to look at. I'd always assumed the place was more like a Depot or a Grossmans Bargain Center, you know, a warehouse with piles of the actual materials to browse through and load up into a cart. At LL, there is but a single person behind a counter who takes your order for the materials you want (a process that seems to take forever). Not at all worth stopping for. I head home. It pours buckets for most of the trip, making a nice bookend to my first trip up to Somerville.

Interesting day baseball-wise. The Dodgers prove they're still baseball's most bipolar team by winning their seventh straight, finishing a sweep of the sort of pathetic Giants in what may have been Barry Bonds's final game. The Padres won, too, so the two teams finished ties for first. The Padres won the season series with LA, so they win the division, and play the Cards (who backed into their championship today)in the first round. The Dodgers will play the Mets as the Wild Card team. Meanwhile, the Twins, who only pulled into a tie for first for the first time just yesterday, won, and the Tigers lost, so the Twins win their division, having spent a total of one game in first place all season. It just happened to be the last game.

Time to hit the sack.
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Hecubothecubot on October 2nd, 2006 - 04:04 am
Weird season, huh?

And you didn't even mention the whole see-saw with Houston charging into the race out of nowhere going 9-1 as the Cardinals lost 8 straight. That would've been the most shocking collapse I've ever seen.

I wonder how much the Red Sox would like to have had Lowe and Arroyo back again for this last year. Then again, it might've been the league change that helped make them so effective.
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DXMachinadxmachina on October 2nd, 2006 - 02:40 pm
Lowe was allowed to leave because of his extracurricular activities, so I doubt they miss him. If anything, I think the trade they really regret in hindsight was sending Josh Bard and Cla Meredith to San Diego to get Mirabelli back. Totally media driven, and it ultimately hurt the ball club.

And that's the real problem. Theo had a tough year. He made some terrible decisions. Mirabelli. Javy Lopez. Flinging every bad pitcher he could find up against the monster to see if any of them stuck. Not well thought out moves, but desperation moves. The Golden Boy has lost a lot of lustre, but it's not entirely his fault. He's got an interesting quandary. He'd like to build from within, but circumstances will only allow him to throw "real" players out there, with the occasional can't miss prospect (i.e., Papelbon). The media and the marketing side of the front office (i.e., Lucchino) just won't allow other options. Back in January, at the PawSox meet and greet, Ben Cherington mentioned this exact problem:

we were able to escape the line and grab seats for the Q&A session with Ben Cherington (briefly Red Sox co-GM while Pitiless Theo was on walkabout), Paw Sox manager Ron Jackson, and outfielders Justin Sherrod and Dave Murphy. I felt kind of bad for Sherrod, who at age 28 has very little hope left of making it to the majors. His numbers last year were good, but not outstanding, and he strikes out a LOT. He seems a likable fellow, and it had to hurt a little to hear Cherrington hedgingly explain, in answer to a question of why Sherrod is still in AAA, that it's much harder to give minor leaguers a shot in a place like Boston where expectations for the team are so high.

So, decent prospects like Bard, Meredith, Hanley Ramirez, and Anabel Sanchez get shipped off for "proven" major leaguers. I'm surprised they kept Pedroia, because I just don't see him in the team's future. At this point, even the Yankees have more home grown players than the Sox.
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