Friday, August 31, 2007

Fuel for the Fire

Everyone's going to have an opinion on whether Joba Chamberlain was aiming for Kevin Youkilis' scalp yesterday, so here's mine. Yup. One pitch at 99 that far off the plate - fine. Two pitches? Not fine. The overrated Peter Gammons has been adamant that Joba is innocent but I have to disagree. Watch the replays, Pete. You're just flat wrong.

While the Sox were dead as a doornail in this series, it was still filled with some entertaining side stories. Chamberlain's fist pump in Game 1 and little glare into the Sox dugout. An MLB official checking on Terry Francona's attire in the middle of an inning. The play yesterday where A-Rod tried to tag Youk out instead of going for the easy 5-4-3 double play. Youk sidestepped him, veered into the grass, and the ump at third initially called him safe. Then the crybaby Yankees started beefing with the umps, and sure enough they reversed the call. Tito was rightly enraged and got ejected for his troubles.

A couple of takeaways from this three-gamer. 1) The Yankees' much-maligned pitching isn't all that bad is it? I know our offense takes frequent siestas but you have to give Pettite, Clemens and Wang their due. They were very good. 2) There's a buzz now, which I think this listing Red Sox team desperately needs. Tito said it best in the post-game interviews yesterday, when he was talking about the Chamberlain head-hunting episode: "If that young man was trying to get our attention, he did a very good job." This team needs a fire lit under it - Jacoby Ellsbury, anybody? - and Joba may have inadvertently provided the fuel. And just for the record, so you don't think I'm being a hypocrite - I absolutely cringed every time Pedro threw at a Yankees' head, with the most notable example being Karim Garcia. Pedro was getting knocked around, and he decided to take it out on Karim's head (thankfully, he missed). Clemens does the same thing - a couple weeks ago a Tiger rookie took Fat Boy deep and then took one off the wrist the next time up. It's cowardly bullshit is what it is. And 3) if you look at these teams' best pitchers, Pettite/Wang and Dice-K/Beckett are a wash. The key figures down the stretch could be Roger and Curt Schilling, and it was very encouraging to see Schilling pitch well yesterday (Robby Cano, be damned).

Anyway, Joba's got me all fired up - I can't wait for the next Sox-Yanks series at Fenway.

One side note: was buying a TV last night at my local Best Buy and who's right next to me picking out a sweet Sony? Former Orioles ace/Hall of Famer/3-time Cy Young winner Jim Palmer, who's now a broadcaster for the O's (who are in town this weekend to play the Sox). I left him alone, but later asked the sales kid if he knew who he had just sold a TV to. "No clue," he said. Kids today.

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