Red Sox win 3rd World Series since ’04


Remember 10 years ago when the Red Sox were a cursed franchise with tortured fans who were destined to never see another World Series title? It wasn’t that long ago but it certainly feels like it after the Red Sox clinched their third World Series in the last 10 seasons on Wednesday. Just last year they were a 93-loss team in the cellar but it didn’t take long for them to return to the penthouse.

The outcome of Game 6 was never in doubt. Rookie phenom Michael Wacha couldn’t continue his postseason magic and Victorino delivered with the bases loaded again. Boston built a 6-0 lead and never looked back. David Ortiz had a World Series for the ages, hitting over .600 and earning the World Series MVP. Congrats to the Red Sox and their fans who got to enjoy a World Series victory at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918.

I’m a Mets fan but I’ve always respected Boston’s passion and that historic “lyric little bandbox of a ballpark,” as John Updike would say. 95 years is a long time and the energy in that ballpark last night was electric. Fenway Park was the center of the sports world and Boston fans have a night that they will never forget.

The Red Sox have to be considered the team of the 2000s – they’re the only franchise with 3 World Series titles since the turn of the century. While that might make Yankees fans sick, I didn’t have a much of a problem with the way things turned out last night.

I sat and watched the game from the exact same seat that I sat in 6 months earlier during the Boston Marathon bombing. Back then, I watched in shock and disbelief as a manhunt unfolded live on television, holding a city hostage. Last night, I watched that same city and its people come together to celebrate their beloved Red Sox. It felt right to watch the city rejoice – the emotion was palpable through the television.

The Red Sox winning the World Series doesn’t change the fact that the bombings happened and it doesn’t fix the lives that were ruined by the senseless act. But it does give Boston a reason to celebrate their city’s resilience and strength. Sports has a way of bringing people together and taking on a greater significance. The way the players, owners and GM addressed the fans after the game confirmed that fact. The Yankees deserved the same fate in the 2001 World Series following the September 11th attacks and although they didn’t win it, just competing in that World Series was a cathartic and emotional experience for the city.

“Boston Strong” was born out of a terrible day in April but it became the motto of a city and its baseball team. The Red Sox have always been there to bond the people of Boston together and it was very cool to watch everyone revel in a World Series title. It was a fantastic postseason with many memorable moments and in the end, I think the best team won it all. Next year is a new season but 2013 will forever be about Boston’s worst to first turnaround and Boston Strong.


What I’m Listening To

I just discovered HAIM thanks to ALT Nation on Sirius XM and The Wire is an infectious song that has been impossible to get out of my head. The band consists of three sisters from Los Angeles ranging in ages from 22-27. They’ve got a great alt-rock vibe with some hip hop/R&B style mixed in and they’re signed to Jay-Z’s label ROC Nation.

Good on HOVA for recognizing a unique sound and yes that is Jorma from The Lonely Island in the video. There should be more good things to come from HAIM but in the meantime try getting The Wire out of your head after your first listen. It’s impossible.

Wild Finish in Game 3 of World Series


“I don’t even know what happened actually.” – Carlos Beltran.

That’s coming from a guy in his 16th year in the league who just played in his 48th postseason game of his career. Beltran’s been around the game for a while and he’s never seen an ending quite like the one at Busch Stadium on Saturday. In fact, in the 108 previous World Series in baseball history, no game has ever ended like Game 3 on the 2013 Fall Classic. That’s what makes baseball (and sports) so special. You can never predict what is going to happen.

An obstruction call is a tough way to decide a game but I do believe it was the right call. Based on Rule 7.06, the runner was obstructed from running home, whether Middlebrooks meant to do it or not. The call was also made right away at third. Like I said, it’s a tough way to decide a game, especially one as fantastic as this one, but rules are rules.

After the call, chaos ensued as the Red Sox came out to argue while the Cardinals celebrated. Fans in the stands didn’t even know why their team had won. Without a doubt, it was one of the most bizarre endings to a game that I’ve ever witnessed. The Red Sox have now lost 2 games in this series thanks to errant throws to third base.

While the obstruction call stole all of the headlines, this game was so much more than that. The biggest takeaway for me is that John Farrell got completely outmanaged by Mike Matheny. He was completely in over of his head dealing with the pitcher’s spot in the order and he ended up leaving Napoli on the bench for the entire game. Meanwhile, he let a relief pitcher hit in a tie game in the 9th, only to take him out after 1 out the following inning. Farrell also admitted that he should have double-switched Saltalamacchia out for David Ross when he brought in Workman. Those mistakes are inexcusable and they played a large role in the Red Sox losing the game.

Baseball is exponentially more fun in a national league park, at least for me. The absence of the DH complicates things and it requires so much more strategy and forethought. It’s like playing chess while the other manager is playing checkers. Farrell’s inexperience with the National League style of play hurt the Red Sox big time and he needs to figure it out fast or this series will never make it back to Boston.

The drama was building all night with big hits and outs from rookies and veterans alike. Game 3 will always be remembered for its unique ending but it was a fantastic baseball game all around. It was a reminder of what makes the game so entertaining and it’s what we should show those who claim baseball is “boring.”

Both teams now have to put the obstruction call behind them and focus on Game 4. You can bet that tonight’s game will be just as close and intense. This has been a fantastic World Series to cap off a phenomenal postseason and the rest of this series is going to be electric.

E:60 Profiles Tom Coughlin


E:60 does some great work and it continues with a piece on Tom Coughlin that aired tonight. A Syracuse grad and 2=time winning Super Bowl coach, Coughlin’s story is one worth telling. He is a good role model and a reminder that awareness of your surroundings coupled with a small adjustment can take you a long way both personally and professionally. I can’t find the video anywhere online, but I highly recommend it and I’ll post it as soon as I find it.

Dodgers Claim Mike Baxter off waivers


This is easily the most upset I’ve ever been over a waiver claim. Mike Baxter will always have a place in Mets history. His amazing running catch in left field to preserve Johan Santana’s no-hitter is something that I will never forget. I still get chills thinking about the play and the elation I felt when I realized he had made the catch.

One memorable play doesn’t earn you a lifetime roster spot and as the business goes, Baxter heads to the west coast. But from here until the end of time, Mike Baxter’s name will always be associated with the 1st no-hitter in Mets history – something that took the franchise 50 years to achieve. Good luck in LA, Mike and thanks for such a memorable play.

People actually think Eli should be benched?

NFL: Denver Broncos at New York Giants

I recently stumbled upon an article on titled “POLL: Should the Giants bench Eli Manning?” So, I took the poll answering No and the results popped up. 59.87% said Yes, Eli Manning should be benched. Give me a break! There were 461 votes cast so this is far from a substantial sample but the fact that 276 people answered Yes really irks me.

What good will benching Eli do? The team’s 0-6 start does not fall only on him. He has not played well this season but the team has much bigger holes to fill than at the quarterback position. The issues at offensive line, running back, linebacker and in the secondary way overshadow any problem that Eli Manning is currently presenting.

Some say to bench him so that he doesn’t get hurt during a lost season. C’mon, the guy has started every single game since being named the starter back in 2004 (there’s the kiss of death). Believe it or not the Giants season is not even over yet thanks to the rest of the division being almost as mediocre through the first 6 weeks. If you are seriously considering that Eli needs to be benched, then you have truly run out of things to talk about.

Who knows who even participates in these polls but hopefully there are more people out there who realize that benching our franchise quarterback is counterproductive. Eli’s thrown a lot of interceptions this season but at least half of them were not even his fault. Manning is the leader of the team and if the team isn’t performing, it’s on him to fix it. He can’t do that from the bench.

Both Eli and Coughlin have carte blache in my book. It’s very hard to win in the NFL and they won 2 Super Bowls in a 4-year period. Anyone who is calling for their ousters after 6 games needs a reality check. The Giants take on the Vikings on Monday Night Football this week. If nothing else, a win would be nice to get off the schnide and end this useless chatter about benching Eli Manning.

What I’m Listening To

I saw someone cover Use Me by Bill Withers on The Voice and it reminded me of what a great song it is. It’s such a smooth tune and that funky groove always puts me in a good mood.

Trending high on my music radar right now is soul music in general, especially Bill Withers and Al Green. Those guys had some hits and they sound just as fresh in 2013 as I assume they did in the mid 70’s.

In searching for these types of songs online, I stumbled on some stellar YouTube covers of Use Me, highlighted by this father-daughter masterpiece.

Sometimes it really amazes me that there is so much undiscovered talent. There are a lot of really good singers out there and maybe this girl will go on to super-stardom but as of now, I’m willing to call this one of the best YouTube covers I’ve ever heard. Kudos to this girl and of course to Withers for creating a fantastic song.

What a day to be a Boston Sports Fan


I am not a Boston sports fan but that doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate the day that the city had yesterday. Starting with the Pats game at 4 o’clock and ending with a walk-off Red Sox win at 11:30, fans were taken on an emotional 8 and a half hour roller coaster ride that only sports can provide.

The Red Sox and Pats both completed amazing and unlikely comebacks to secure victories in the most dramatic of fashions. Even though I have no rooting interest in either team, it was a reminder of why I love sports so much and the thrills that fandom can provide. Following along with fellow sports fans on Twitter only enhanced my viewing experience.

That was all that needed to be said. That tweet came after Tom Brady completed a game-winning touchdown pass to Kenbrell Tompkins with 5 seconds left. It was Brady’s third attempt to lead his team down the field for a game-winning drive. After failing to get a first down on the first attempt and throwing an interception on the second, many fans began to leave Gillette Stadium.

That would prove to be a huge mistake. Brady got the ball back with 1:15 to play and no timeouts, and like he’s done so many times before, he led his team down the field. The two-time Super Bowl MVP capped off the drive with a perfectly thrown ball to Tompkins who caught it for a game-winning TD. It’s so fun to watch a great, clutch quarterback work as long as he’s not playing against you. Just ask Rob Ryan.


Had that been the only game in New England yesterday, there would have been plenty to talk about. But the Red Sox were getting set for Game 2 of the ALCS, which started just 20 minutes after Brady and the Pats handed the Saints the first loss of the season. Boston trailed Detroit 1-0 entering last night’s game after being no-hit through the first 8 and 1/3 innings of Game 1. The Red Sox high powered offense had gone ice cold, managing just 1 hit in a 1-0 loss.

The first 5 innings of Game 2 were no different. 21-game winner Max Scherzer was holding the Sox hitless again. Trailing 5-0 in the 6th inning, Boston finally got its first hit of the night. While getting a hit was a positive, the team still had a huge uphill battle in front of them – and Tigers pitching had been so dominant up to that point.

But this was Boston’s night and the 8th inning would be one that Red Sox fans will never forget. Trailing 5-1, the Red Sox loaded the bases with its slugger and postseason hero David Ortiz coming to the plate. That’s when everyone had the same thought. Boston hero Tom Brady did it, now its Ortiz’s turn.

Sure enough, Ortiz hits a game-tying grand slam on the 1st pitch from Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit. 38-year old Torii Hunter fell over the wall reaching for the ball and landed on his head, which will be the lasting image of a tremendous moment in baseball history.


With momentum at an all-time high, the Red Sox won the game in the 9th on a Saltalamacchia walk-off RBI single. I don’t know what the odds of a game-winning touchdown and a game-tying postseason grand slam happening on the same day are but I am just grateful as a sports fan to have witnessed both events. Like Adam Schein said, you gotta love sports.

UPDATE: ESPN tweeted the odds of both teams coming back…

Pretty amazing.

A’s come out on top of pitchers duel


Almost 57 years ago to the day on October 8, 1956, Don Larsen threw a perfect game in Game 5 of the World Series. In the next game, the series shifted back to Brooklyn and Clem Labine and Bob Turley took the hill for the Dodgers and Yankees respectively. A couple of hours later both pitchers had combined to throw 18 scoreless innings and the game was headed to extras tied at 0-0.

As so often happened back in the 50’s, both starting pitchers took the hill in the 10th inning. Labine retired the Yankees in order in the top half but Turley couldn’t keep pace in the bottom. After a walk, a sacrifice and an intentional walk, Jackie Robinson (playing in what would be the 2nd to last game of his career) hit a single to left scoring the winning run.

Neither pitcher was perfect like Larsen, but both were dominant and the game ended with the first run of the game being scored on a single to left. This is my favorite type of baseball game and I’ve always said that I would much rather watch a pitcher’s duel over a slugfest. Lucky for me, a 2013 playoff game in Oakland followed the script that the Dodgers and Yankees wrote more than a half century ago.

What a game last night! It had everything there is to love about baseball. Rookie Sonny Gray matched Justin Verlander pitch for pitch and both teams challenged Gray and Verlander over the course of their stellar outings. With long at-bats and strategy decisions magnified, every pitch was vital and both starters answered the call.

Verlander pitched 7 scoreless innings and struck out 11 while Gray tossed 8 scoreless, allowing just 4 hits before the game was handed over to the bullpens. In 1956, both pitchers would have pitched until this game was decided but times have changed.

Nevertheless, it was a thrilling game to watch. Oakland loaded the bases in the bottom of the 9th and Stephen Vogt came to the plate. Like Robinson did in 1957, he hit a single to left and won the game for the home team. The series is now tied at 1-1 and whether either team will advance to the World Series remains to be seen.

If nothing else, it was a thrilling playoff game. October baseball is great enough on its own but the history of the game only adds to its significance. Sonny Gray was born in 1989 and Stephen Vogt in 1984, but die-hard A’s fans will never forget their roles in Game 2 of the 2013 ALDS, just as die-hard Brooklyn Dodgers fans remember Labine and Robinson’s in Game 6 of the 1956 World Series. Baseball is the best.


Giants Somehow Not Out Of It Yet


This is not how I imagined the season going. It’s October and the Giants are still in search of their first win. You have to go back to 1979 to find the last Giants team to start this poorly. Although it was certainly a forgettable first quarter of the season, the rest of the division didn’t play their best football either. So, somehow entering Week 5, the 0-4 Giants have a very big game coming up against the Eagles.

If the Giants can beat the Eagles this week and the Cowboys lose to the Broncos, then the Giants will be in second place – just one game behind the division leading Cowboys. I can’t believe we’re not out of it yet either but after all that has gone wrong in the first 4 weeks, we still have a chance to right the ship and make the playoffs. Other teams that start this slow are usually not afforded such a luxury and we need to take advantage of it.

Denver beat the Giants in our home opener this season and they will likely beat Dallas this week. In fact, I don’t see the Broncos losing all season. Peyton is playing the best football of his career and they are scoring at a record pace. They have 4 solid offensive weapons and they get better as the game goes on. Eli’s older brother has a Total QBR of 98 (out of 100) in the second half of games this season. That’s almost perfect.

So, assuming the Broncos beat the Cowboys, the Giants can maneuver their way into second place despite only having just one win. For a 1-4 team to be one game out of first place is a rare opportunity. Not to mention we have another game against Dallas later in the year. Coughlin and Eli better be making this turn of good fortune abundantly clear to the rest of the team so that we come out fired up on Sunday.

Divisional games are always close and I expect this one to be as well but the Giants desperately need a win a game. They also need to prove that they are capable of playing a complete football game. There are a lot of holes that need to be shored up without a doubt but I think this team is better than an 0-4 record.

Look at their first 4 games – a tough divisional loss to Dallas that we should have won despite turning the ball over 6 times. Then a loss to the best team in the league despite being in it at halftime. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t know who is going to beat Denver this season. Then a terrible shutout loss to the Panthers – this is the only loss I can’t excuse. Finally, a blowout loss to the Chiefs despite playing against a much improved team in a hostile environment and being in the game late in the third quarter. The schedule hasn’t exactly been kind thus far but a win over the Eagles this Sunday can set us on the right track and help us regain our confidence.

I don’t think any team thinks they’re going to walk over us like they would against other 0-4 teams. We’re still just 2 years removed from a Super Bowl and we have a high powered offense full of play-makers. If our defense can step up and start getting pressure on the quarterback, our secondary will have an easier time. Maybe that in turn will help the defense stay off the field and allow our offense the opportunity to consistently put together scoring drives like we know it can.

Like I said, this is not how I envisioned the season going, but somehow a win on Sunday and we’re right back in it. Let’s right these wrongs and play a complete football game on Sunday. We’ll improve to 1-1 in the division and send Philly to their third straight loss. And oh yeah, we will be right back in the NFC East despite having our worst start in over 30 years. If that’s not motivation enough, then I don’t know what is. I’m counting on Coughlin to have the team ready to go for this one.