Heating up some leftovers . . .
• Got quite a few emails along these lines today: You really think the Sox are making the playoffs, or are you just being positive to counter the Ordways of the world? Honestly, yes, I do believe the Sox will make the playoffs, though the wild card seems more likely now that the Yankees have finished collecting the entire 2003 Topps All-Star team in pinstripes. In wallowing in the Sox' problems, we tend to forget that competition has plenty of flaws too. The White Sox seem to have lost a little of their special karma from last year, Jim Thome has nagging injuries, just about all of their talented starting pitchers are curiously underachieving, and David Riske is prominently involved in their bullpen, which as we know firsthand is never a good thing. And the Twins? They are more pretender than contender if Francisco Liriano is indeed ailing, and it sure looked that way last night. I'm not denying that we should have concerns about the Red Sox. The pitching is obviously a disaster zone at the moment, and the Lorettas and Lowells need to prove they have the crunch-time character of the Damons and Muellers. And the limp and limping offense at the moment is all too reminiscent of the stretch run last season, when it consisted of Manny, Papi, and seven slumbering mediocrities. I do think it's temporary this year, though. Kevin Youkilis is stinging the ball again, Coco Crisp is hitting at a .364 clip over his last 14 games, and Wily Mo Pena will have his monstrous moments. I know they're not permitted for long around here, but slumps happen, to good players and good teams. They're going to be fine.
• I never thought I'd be glad Ken Huckaby cleared waivers, Corky Miller (1 for his last 50-something) is the worst so-called major-league player I can recall seeing seen since Marc Sullivan was doing his nepotism thing 20 years ago. I've seen bleepfaced guys in the batting cages at Funtown with better swings.
• Funny how those yowling that the Sox should have done something, anything at the trade deadline never seem to tell us exactly what they should have done or who they should have acquired. It's the first rule of being a bleep-stirring banshee: Never let reality, facts or common sense get in the way of a good whine.
• Yes, I'd still rather have David Wells than Cory Lidle. You will too.
• Peter King regressed into self-parody several trips to Starbucks ago, but he officially lost me as a loyalist of his once-great Monday Morning Quarterback column today with this staggeringly ignorant comment:
I honestly think Jason Varitek is a bigger loss to the Red Sox than Manny Ramirez would be.
Ri-damn-diculous. And this from an alleged Sox fan - albeit one who recently claimed Derek Jeter is the best player he will ever see. I bet the fool wears a pink hat to Fenway. What say we stick to fawning over Brett Favre and leave the baseball writing to grownups like Verducci, okay, Mochachino Boy?
• Jump throw . . . fist pump . . . calm eyes . . . intangibles . . . grapefruit. Yup, glad to see we're not the only ones making sport of Captain Jetes. And somewhere, Peter King is fist-pumping a scone down his gullet.
• I have to admit, I always perceived Omar Minaya to be just shy of incompetent, based on the mocking he absorbed in "Moneyball" as well as the reports during his time in Montreal that he didn't want to deal with the Sox because he thought Theo hadn't paid his dues. But he's done a hell of a job with the Mets, particularly in comparison to predecessors Jim Duquette and the laughable Steve Phillips, and he deserves tremendous credit for having the foresight to lock up budding superstars David Wright and Jose Reyes long term. Those deals might be considered no-brainers, but if I recall correctly, Phillips said on "Baseball Tonight" prior to the start of the season that the Mets should deal Reyes while he had value. Yeah, thanks for the tip there, Branch Rickey. At the least, Minaya seems blessed with common sense, which puts him several strides ahead of more than few of his peers.
• Not to prematurely switch seasons here, but damn, it puts a bounce in my step seeing Rodney Harrison on the football field again.
• T-minus four days and counting until the arrival of your favorite semi-loyal blogger's second child. For reasons both logical and sentimental, Ortiz "Little Papi" Finn is daddy's preferred name choice (boy or girl), but for some reason mom hasn't quite been convinced yet. Maybe a walk-off or two this week will do the trick.
• As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:
Heard somewhere tonight that Eck coined the phrase "walk-off home run." I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, especially considering he might have given up the most famous walk-off of all.