Monday Quick Hits: Red Sox, Yankees, Hamilton

August 10, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

*Note: Posting something a little different this morning. I write for Around The Majors, an MLB blog at mvn.com, and often do a morning links post in addition to columns and other articles. The links posts just offer a few quick headlines from around the league, and provide a few good reads from other web sites and newspapers in the process. Obviously I can’t get to every team every morning, so I apologize if your team isn’t included this morning. Just read what you like, skip what you don’t, check the links out, or not, it’s all good. Just figured I’d share with my B/R brothers (and sisters) since it was already written. If you like the idea of getting some links to other writers (and a simply platform for a variety of discussions) let me know and I’ll keep posting them here. If you hate it, let me know and this will be the last! Thanks!


As you can expect after being swept in the Bronx, there is a firestorm in Boston regarding the Red Sox. The Boston Globe troika weighed in on the weekend: Tony Massarotti wonders if the Red Sox simply have enough talent to keep up with the Yankees? Esteemed columnist Bob Ryan thinks back to when the Red Sox last held a lead and looked like they were going to win (it’s been about a week). And, of course, when it seems like the play on the field is bad enough for the Red Sox, Dan Shaughnessy reminds us that there’s still that David Ortiz thing lingering.

I’m just going to comment quickly from the beginning. I know Massarotti’s column is more of a Monday Morning Quarterback thing, a harsh emotion amidst an ugly slide. But, even as this morning’s paper tells us the Yankees grew their lead to 6 1/2 games in the A.L. East, these slumps happen. The Red Sox are still a great club and absolutely have the talent to hang with anybody in the A.L. They have just hit a rough stretch. It happens.

Granted, this is a bad time for it to happen, but I’m not selling out the Red Sox. No way. As Ryan points out in his column, Victor Martinez’s two-run, eighth-inning homer snapped a 31-inning scoreless streak for Boston. What has happened? Well a lot of things have gone bad at once. Dustin Pedroia is playing like, well, a five-foot-nothing second baseman normally would. Jason Bay has been fighting to stay on the field. Varitek is about 20 points above the Mendoza Line. Ellsbury steals a lot of bags, but funny thing about those. You need to get on to steal ’em. Ortiz is lifeless, especially after the recent news.

There’s just a whole lot going wrong at one time. It doesn’t mean it’s going to stay like this for the rest of the season. And remember, the pitching has actually done a very good job. The Red Sox should have won two of the four games this weekend, based solely on how their starters did. They should have won Beckett’s game Friday night, and Lesters Sunday night. Just so happens that they ran into a Yankees team that rolled out Burnett, Sabathia, and a streaking Pettitte after Thursday’s game when nobody pitched well. 

And, yes, I’m sure some people are down on Daniel Bard today, but don’t be. It was one rough night on the path of a rising star. Bard’s been great and will continue to be a big piece of the puzzle in the bullpen. So, please, take a deep breath Boston and get ready for the final six weeks of play. You wake up today, things are as bad as they can get, and you are still tied with the Texas Rangers for the wild card. That you should be thankful for.

(As for Shaughnessy’s column, it’s a solid one, like usual, but I’m just tired of talking Ortiz/steroids. I just linked to it so you can give it a read.)
Where are the New York papers, you ask? Got ’em. Jack Curry of the New York Times is cautiously optimistic in this column, knowing the Yankees had a great weekend while trying to remind everyone that the division has not—I repeat, has NOT—been locked up. 

Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post writes that A-Rod is finally feeling the love in the Bronx. Seems to me everyone is feeling the love, but I couldn’t agree more about A-Rod. After his walk-off homer in Friday’s marathon, and his tie-breaking bomb last night, Rodriguez has had some big hits for the Yankees, the type of hits that will keep the fans happy and the words off of his contract. Of course, these same fans will expect these hits from A-Rod in October, too, but that’s for another day …

John Harper of the New York Daily News is reminiscing about the great Yankee teams of the ’90s. Harper says in his column that there’s something special about this current club, and we are finally getting a taste of what October could be like. It sure feels that way.
For the first time this season, the new Yankee Stadium actually felt like the old one. Or, should we say, how any Yankee Stadium is supposed to feel. It was a weekend where the fans let loose and were deeply-rooted in the drama of the game. I think they can feel how talented this club is and what possibly lies ahead in October. The Bronx is starving for another World Series, as weird as it seems to say that a ten-year championship drought is a “long one” for the Yanks.
You have probably heard about the Josh Hamilton news by now, but if you haven’t, Jeff Passan ofYahoo! Sports has you covered, as does Jay Mariotti of FanHouse.

I’m not going to link directly to the photos that surfaced on Saturday, but you can find them in the links. There isn’t too much to say about what happened, and I don’t really want to delve into or judge Hamilton’s personal life, but I wanted to get one quick point across about Hamilton.
What happened on that night in January doesn’t take away from what his return to baseball has meant to the sport; it doesn’t take away from what his magical performance in last summer’s home run derby meant to the fans; and it doesn’t take away from what his triumphant tale meant to drug and alcohol addicts everywhere.

We knew coming in that Hamilton has battled severe demons in his young life, demons that hopefully you or I will never come face to face with. And what we need to realize now is how real those struggles are, and how everlasting they always are for an addict. There is “improvement” for an addict, but there never is “full recovery.” They are always one shot or one puff or one needle away from cold despair.

But, what I’m saying is, that’s okay. I cringed like most of you when I heard the news and saw the photos. It looked bad, it sounded bad, it was bad. But it also is a semblance of reality, something that is rarely seen in sports. You could argue that steroids (there’s that damn word) is a personal struggle, but I don’t really buy it. These guys cheat, and then they quit when caught. I have a hard time feeling sympathy for them.

But with Hamilton, we for once have a man who is real, who is troubled, and who is trying like hell to make a difference. Does it excuse what he did? No. It doesn’t make it disappear, either. But Hamilton needs a hand on his shoulder, not a lash on his back. As weak as Hamilton appears to be in the public eye, I always come back to how strong he must be to make an example of himself, to set aside the enormous amounts of humiliation, in an attempt to encourage users in the other direction.
Most addicts probably run for dark corners to recover because they are embarrassed to be seen in such a state. But Hamilton bears that cross with honor, and he’s trying to make good on where he has gone so wrong. Would you be willing to carry that burden, the burden of an entire nation of addicts? Think about it for a moment.
Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News says Shane Victornio’s wild ejection from center field was exactly how the Phillies looked this weekend as they were swept at home by the Florida Marlins. Victorino was out of control as he sprinted in from the outfield to argue after being ejected, putting on quite the show, but all it did was open the floodgates some more.
Florida is now four games back of the Phillies, and within striking distance. It seems every year the Marlins are on the verge of doing something, and this year is no different. They have more pitching than ever before, and they have Hanley Ramirez in the middle of the lineup. That’s a good start to the final month and a half of play.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cardinals find themselves in a brawl or two down the stretch. Albert Pujols seems to be getting plunked by the day now, and manager Tony La Russa thinks the latest by Pirates’ reliever Matt Capps was intentional. In this notebook by Dejan Kovacevic of thePittsburgh Post-Gazette, Capps says it wasn’t (as does Pujols), but understands how bad it looked. Just a little extra fuel on this N.L. Central race …
You can reach Teddy Mitrosilis at tm4000@yahoo.com.


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