soft hands.

also, a belated pat on the ass to captain intangibles himself, who won his first gold glove award this year. i can hear the hate train a-spluttering in self-righteous indignation now.

stumbled on a great allen barra article on The Thing in the village voice, of all places:

It has practically become an article of faith among local writers and commentators that the right way to win a pennant is for a team to cultivate players through its own farm system. If this is true, then how to explain the Red Sox, whose only homegrown player is Trot Nixon? The Yankees didn't win, so it goes, because they didn't have enough left in their farm system to trade to Arizona for Randy Johnson the way Boston had enough left in theirs to trade for Curt Schilling. Well, the three gems in the Red Sox system who went for Schilling were pitchers Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon, and Jorge de la Rosa, who were a combined 14-32 this year with a collective ERA of almost six runs per game. The Yankees had several studs in that category, including Felix Heredia, Scott Proctor, Jose Contreras, and Tanyon Sturtze, whose collective ERA this season with the Yankees was about 5.6. For some mysterious reason, the Diamondbacks wouldn't bite on the Yankees' lemons as they did on the Red Sox's lemons; I'd love to believe that this had nothing to do with Arizona's willingness to make the front end of a deal that resulted in the Brewers, Bud Selig's old team, dumping high-priced slugger Richie Sexson, thus taking a chunk out of Milwaukee's payroll. But let that pass. The point is that the deal for Schilling, baseball's ultimate mercenary—salary $12 million a year and a résumé that includes pennant-winning stints at Philadelphia and Arizona and millions of fans who cursed him for being a hired gun when he left—was precisely the kind of deal that Steinbrenner and the Yankees would have been criticized for if they had made it.

and in the Can I Get an Amen department:

The number one target for blame, predictably, is Alex Rodriguez, who just a few months ago the Red Sox and their fans were lusting after—lusting so hard that Commissioner Selig, ever ready to stick it to Steinbrenner, personally intervened to try and make the deal. Rodriguez was flogged by, among others, Mike Lupica (Daily News, October 22) for coming up "as small as an exercise jockey in Games 6 and 7 against the Red Sox" and by just about everyone else in the sports media for failing to step up in the postseason. Of course, this isn't just an exercise in Yankee bashing, but an illustration of how the playoffs and World Series have turned us into an audience with a two-day memory. Manny Ramirez ended the 2003 season being ripped as a selfish slacker who took time off for illness and then showed up at a bar with his pals. We will remember 2004 as the year Ramirez—who made enough horrendous plays in left field to make Sox fans forget Bill Buckner—won the MVP while A-Rod flopped.

In point of fact, A-Rod (in 26 postseason games) has outhit Ramirez (in 78 postseason games) by 74 points, .330 to .256, and in 11 postseason games this year had the same number of total runs (19) as Ramirez had in 14. But somehow A-Rod has been tagged as a guy who can't deliver in the clutch; it's a good thing Willie Mays, who batted .247 with one home run in 25 postseason games over his career, isn't playing today.


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