"No one gives us the finger. We're Yankees!"
I don’t really consider myself a Yankee-hater. I don’t have the energy to begrudge them their $200 million payroll or 26 World Series crowns. That’s negative energy I’d rather expend on Nickelback, Jay Leno and people who use smiley faces in their e-mails.
That being said, the fact that the Yanks were officially bounced from postseason contention last night gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. And the fact that the Rays are the likely division winners only makes it better. This is the chess team captain getting the head cheerleader while the quarterback sulks (of course, I don’t know where that leaves the dork who wrote for his school paper… but enough about me).
Anyway, Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner isn’t as happy about this scenario as I am. He vented to the Sporting News about baseball’s need to do away with divisions and let the top four teams from the American and National Leagues advance to October. Here was one particularly choice quote:
“Baseball went to a multidivision setup to create more races, rivalries and excitement. But it isn’t fair. You see it this season, with plenty of people in the media pointing out that Joe Torre and the Dodgers are going to the playoffs while we’re not. This is by no means a knock on Torre — let me make that clear — but look at the division they’re in. If LA were in the AL East, it wouldn’t be in the playoff discussion.”
Now, I could write an entire blog entry filled with reasons why the LA probably shouldn’t be in the AL East, but I’ll spare you. Instead, I’d like to open up the floor to other Hankian ideas for radical realignment. Should baseball do away with divisions? Should the divisions be rearranged? Or are you happy with things the way they are (the Indians’ October absence notwithstanding).
As Hank taught us, no idea is too crazy to propose, so let’s hear what you’ve got. That is, if you’re not too busy consoling LeBron.
Here are tonight’s lineups…
INDIANS (79-78): CF Grady Sizemore, 3B Jamey Carroll, RF Shin-Soo Choo, SS Jhonny Peralta, C Victor Martinez, DH Travis Hafner, LF Ben Francisco, 1B Ryan Garko, 2B Josh Barfield. RHP Fausto Carmona (8-7, 5.19).
RED SOX (92-65): CF Jacoby Ellsbury, 2B Dustin Pedroia, DH David Ortiz, 3B Kevin Youkilis, RF J.D. Drew, 1B Mark Kotsay, C Jason Varitek, LF Chris Carter, SS Alex Cora. RHP Paul Byrd (11-12, 4.53).
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- Scott Elarton has been on the Indians’ DL since June 30 with a non-baseball medical condition, the details of which have not (and will not) be divulged. But Eric Wedge said he spoke with Elarton about a week ago. “He siad things are going good, he’s doing better,” Wedge said. “We didn’t talk about whether or not he wants to pitch next year.”
- Cliff Lee is one of just seven pitchers since 1920 to win 22 of his first 25 decisions (according to Stats LLC), and his 22 wins are one shy of the team record for wins by a left-hander, set by Vean Gregg in 1911. He’ll get one more shot at that record Sunday in Chicago.
- The Red Sox last night became the first team to clinch an appearance in the postseason by defeating a pitcher with at least 20 wins since Sept. 23, 1973, when Oakland won the AL West by defeating Chicago’s Wilbur Wood (24-19). That nugget comes to you courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau.
- The Indians tied the Major League record for getting hit by a pitch. The mark of 100 was originally set by the Astros in 1997.
- Ryan Garko has reached base safely in 31 straight games.
- Josh Barfield went 2-for-3 last night to triple his hit total for the season.
- The Indians haven’t made an error in five games and rank fourth in the AL with a .985 fielding percentage. Of course, that didn’t help Jhonny Peralta get to the grounder to his left side in the fifth inning last night.
- The Indians are hitting .280 in the second half with 350 runs scored in 63 games (5.6 runs per game). They are first in the Majors in runs and first in OPS (.820) in the second half.
- Bullpen coach Luis Isaac was asked who has the advantage tonight — Paul Byrd or the Indians’ hitters. “It’s 50-50,” Isaac said. “But one 50 can be stronger than the other.” I really don’t know what that means, but I like it.