by Matthew Taylor
The thoughts of one Oriole fan as he reads ESPN's game story of the Red Sox - Rays series finale ...
Headline: "Rays boost East lead to 2 games with rout of Red Sox"
Thoughts: Good, good. Tampa Bay might just get the job done after all. But wait, does this mean there will be a third Evil Empire? Calm down, take a deep breath, now look at the Rays' payroll. Ah, that's better. And check the attendance numbers while you're at it. Camden Yards isn't going to be overrun by drunken Rays fans any time soon.
Text: "The Rays (90-60) became the sixth team in major league history to win 90 games immediately following a stretch of at least 10 consecutive losing seasons. The others are the 1912 Washington Senators, 1914 Boston Braves, 1956 Cincinnati Reds, 1979 Montreal Expos and 2006 Detroit Tigers."
Thought: So you're telling me there's a chance.
(Fan's mind wanders briefly from the game to thoughts of "Dumb and Dumber.")
Text: "Balfour pitched two scoreless innings for the win. J.P. Howell and Chad Bradford shut down the Red Sox over the last 2 1/3 innings."
Thought: Shouldn't that read "former Oriole Chad Bradford"?
Game Notes: "Some unruly fans were removed from the stands in the eighth inning. Play stopped briefly at one point while players watched police and stadium security handcuff a fan behind the Rays dugout."
Thought: Must've been Red Sox fans.
More Game Notes: "Ortiz has seven consecutive 20-homer seasons, six with the Red Sox."
Thoughts: Hmmm ... this is worth a visit to Baseball Reference. Let's see, Ortiz, DH ... seven straight seasons of 20 or more home runs ... streak began at age 26.
Okay, now let's check out Ripken, shortstop ... 10 straight seasons of 20 or more home runs ... streak began at age 21.
My appreciation grows.
Thoughts on the day after ...
Perhaps we should appreciate Curt Schilling's candor. However, his attack on Manny seems less bold given that it comes well after the fact with Ramirez now playing on another coast.
Schillings thoughts on Thursday included:
"The guy got to dress in a locker away from the team for seven years," Schilling said. "And then [when] he's on this crusade to get out of here, all of a sudden he's in the locker room every day, voicing his displeasure without even having to play the game that night."Apparently Curt wasn't too concerned about Manny being disrespectful when the guy was hitting dingers in Boston. Wrote Schilling on his 38 Pitches blog after home run No. 500: "Congrats to Manny and here’s to him hitting 600 here at Fenway."
"But I was a teammate, a member of this family, and I saw it … And to me, it was always those guys, the guys who played a crucial role on teams that weren't the marquee players, are the ones that were disrespected the most."
If he was such a bad teammate, one worth criticizing after he left town, why did you want to keep him around for so long?
Curt even attacked the media and writers who dared criticize Manny.
Well, I'll give Schilling this much: he does seem to be something of an expert on hypocrisy. Ramirez deserved to be criticized long before he changed uniforms.
Q-What do I think of the hypocrisy of writers who blast Manny for not talking to the media and call me a loud mouth for talking too much?
A-It’s humorous really. I saw it in Arizona as well. Matt Williams was labeled the same way. Matt wanted to show, play, and go home. Guys wrote horrible stuff because he didn’t talk to them. Those same guys would come to my locker, ask me questions, sit there and nod approvingly, ya, uh huh, I see, then write about me talking to much. It’s there, you deal with it. You learn that a lot of them do what they do to hear themselves talk. They are as interested in being the story as they are in writing it. The problem is that fans actually believe some of these guys are ‘experts’?