It’s Over

That’s what the Boston sports media would have us believe, anyway.

Strange, because it wasn’t too long ago when they were essentially saying the same thing — about the Sox’ ability to hold the division lead.

[T]hose who firmly believe the Sox are destined to lose their hold on first place have a case when they point out that the Sox are only 18-16 since July 5, when they peaked with a 12-game lead. Nick Cafardo, 8/14/07

For a flickering moment, there was a race in the American League East, when the Yankees cut the margin to four games eight days ago. But there is no more. — Nick Cafardo, 8/28/07

Hmm. Funny how things change in just two weeks. Or one.

When you really get down to it, the Sox still have not been tested yet. And so, we still do not know just how tough they are. The 2007 baseball season begins in earnest tonight, Sox followers, and the good news is that the Sox have a 4-game lead in the American League East to go along with the best record in baseball. The bad news is that the Sox are trending downward … — Tony Massarotti, 8/20/2007

Let’s get right to the point: For all intents and purposes, the Red Sox just wrapped up the American League East — Tony Massarotti, 8/27/07

Thus is the problem with the nature of competitive journalism in a market like Boston. With each side racing to be the first to correctly prognosticate the end result, we have a press corps as schizophrenic as Red Sox fans themselves.

As fans, there’s nothing wrong with changing your mind about how good the team is based on the most recent results. I’ve swung back and forth myself over the past month. When I took my frustration-induced hiatus, I did indeed expect the Sox to be in second place when I returned. SF has just recently swung back from his conviction that the Sox would blow the division in a month. Now, it looks like we can make plans to be in Boston come October 1. Hey, we’re fans. We experience things much more viscerally and emotionally than, say, reporters should.

Reporters say they only root for a good story. Yet Dan Shaughnessy every year comes out in June and declares the Sox the winners of the AL East. Tony Massarotti spent the last month all but predicting the Sox’ eventual collapse, pointing out flaws in the offense over and over again — until they destroyed Mark Buehrle, Javier Vasquez and the rest of the White Sox in four games. Shouldn’t there be a more calm, collected perspective based on years of reporting and observation about the ebbs and flows of the season?  I guess not. In Boston, the reporters are just as manic as the fans.

102 comments… add one
  • Paul, are you suggesting that this is unique to Boston? I’m pretty sure the New York press corps is just as bad. NYPost, Daily News, everyone else. “The ski is falling!!!…Oh wait, it’s not.”

    yankeemonkey August 28, 2007, 11:07 am
  • Hehe, true, YM. NY and Boston are pretty unique that way. It’s frustrating for those of us who turn to them for the reasoned analysis. If we want shrieking, we have plenty of talk radio…

    Paul SF August 28, 2007, 11:12 am
  • That would be “sky” of course. D’oh!

    yankeemonkey August 28, 2007, 11:24 am
  • Re: the press, it really depends where you get your news/information. We all have rag papers.
    As far as informed commentary, I think the Mike & the Mad Dog radio show here in NY is as good a sports talk show as there is. You compare it to Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN, where they spend 50% of the time on cutesy jokes, hygiene issues, personal banter, etc. M & MDog are 99.9% informed interesting sports talk. And for a Yankee fan, their combination of Yankee-hating Dog and Yankee-loving Francesa makes for good listening.

    IronHorse (yf) August 28, 2007, 11:37 am
  • Yankee press and fans are more realistic. We would have been concerned about a 12 game lead slipping to 4 games, but not predicting the doom and gloom seen here, there, and everywhere for the Sox.
    The Yankees aren’t looking good, but no one’s bailed yet. There’s still plenty of baseball left. Flip the switch to last year and as soon as the Sox started to suck, it was a slowly leaking ship sailing from Beantown. Obviously all the rats got off in time.

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 11:43 am
  • If listening to Mad Dog try and say Gagne is enjoyable, then you go for it. I have to tell you I think they are the least informed show on NY sports radio. Sure the two of them know sports HISTORY, but when it comes to today’s game and it’s players, they are terrible. I think Max Kellerman and Michael Kay (as much as it pains me) do the best job of discussing baseball.
    Back on topic, they aren’t wrong boys the East is over and has been for quite some time. Problem is East or WC don’t matter unless we start playing better ball and pitching a heck of a lot better.

    John - YF (Trisk) August 28, 2007, 11:43 am
  • Listening to M&MD longer than 5 minutes makes me want to stick sharp pencils in my ears.
    Oh, and I do agree that the division race is over unless a miracle happens, and it won’t. The WC is still wholly within grasp, but they do need to start playing better (understatement of the year?).

    yankeemonkey August 28, 2007, 11:48 am
  • Yeah, I’ve never heard the New York tabs doom-and-gloom the Yankees.

    Paul SF August 28, 2007, 11:59 am
  • Are we talking again, now?
    It’s not about “never”, Paul, it’s about “context”.
    A 12 game lead slipping to 4? There would have been sprinkles of concern, but not the mass hysteria.
    Or a building deficit in August? The Yankee fans and media are keeping a eye on the exits, not trampling women and children on the way. August 28, 2007, 12:15 pm
  • John, I thought sports journalism and commentating was the topic? Anyway, Francesa is at least as informed in my book about past and present than Kay – certainly keeps up with the minor league system better which is becoming important – and not as annoying in my book as Kay – though he is arrogant. Russo is just a good foil.

    IronHorse (yf) August 28, 2007, 12:34 pm
  • That wasn’t a shot at you IronHorse, by any means.

    John - YF (Trisk) August 28, 2007, 12:41 pm
  • Sorry – me gets defensive when me team is fading fast…
    hey, if the Sox spank the Yankees in this series, do you think A-Rod, Jeter, and Clemens might leave the team in the lurch on the next road trip, citing everything from dubious knee conditions to having difficulty handling the “stress” of the series a la Manny/Papi/Wells last year?
    That vituoso quit-fest was almost as enjoyable as the 5-game sweep that preceded it.
    Sorry – could not resist. SFs are in the driver’s seat and it just sucks.

    IronHorse (yf) August 28, 2007, 12:47 pm
  • Ironhorse, definitely agree with the part about Manny and Wells. Papi, however, was different. A heart palpatation is serious stuff, and I remember reading reports about how the rest of the team was very worried about him.
    Manny and Wells, though, were quitters.

    Atheose August 28, 2007, 12:53 pm
  • After I declared last night’s game the single most important game of the season, I am done guessing. The only thing we can do as Yankee fans is sit and wait. Last time the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs I was 19 and a sophomore at Quinnipiac, just something to think about.

    John - YF (Trisk) August 28, 2007, 12:54 pm
  • Not sure I find Cafardo’s quotes to be all that controversial or schizophrenic. Massarotti editorializes a bit more (“not been tested”? really?) in the pulls that you cite, Paul.
    I still don’t feel any degree of overconfidence about the Sox’ chances in the postseason: I picked them to go to the World Series before the year started, so it can’t be said that I was lacking any confidence. But the playoffs are whimsical (uh, the Cards?!), and if the Yankees make their way in (which they very well might), they have a damn good chance of shattering our hopes and dreams. I see no reason for cockiness: it’s August.

    SF August 28, 2007, 1:20 pm
  • Quick amendment: the Sox haven’t clinched a playoff spot yet either, just to make it clear (and satisfy the jinx Gods…).

    SF August 28, 2007, 1:21 pm
  • I’m not willing to celebrate yet, not even a little bit. This isn’t over yet by a long shot.

    LocklandSF August 28, 2007, 1:28 pm
  • How’d the diamond broker visit go, Lockland?
    If the Sox win 2 in this series, I think it’s okay to chill the champagne, but never uncork it till the magic number is zero.

    Devine August 28, 2007, 1:43 pm
  • It was interesting, Devine. I found out that every retail operation on the planet is a total rip off, including every web site, every jewelry store, even the places that claim to be “wholesale” dealers.
    I’m paying 50% less buying direct from this broker than every other listing I saw for a similar stone.

    LocklandSF August 28, 2007, 2:37 pm
  • You do realize that at those prices you’re buying either a blood diamond or one whose quality isn’t as advertised, right? The legit market is very well established. That’s why those other prices are where they are.

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 2:51 pm
  • P.s. I bought my wife’s at Their prices were the best I found and then I had a local jeweler mount it. And the way they layout the specific diamonds you can see exactly how the different impurities affect legit prices. They make their money on volume, not margin, so that’s as close as you’ll get to a good price for a good stone.

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 2:55 pm
  • Yeah, Cafardo did a better job than Massarotti on that one, SF. Often, I get the impression from many of the Globe/Herald writers that they decide first what they’re going to write about (the Yankees are on fire! The Sox are going down!), THEN get the records and stats to prove themselves right. Maybe I’m projecting too much, but the tone of Cafardo’s articles are like night and day, even if there’s not as much quotable material in them.

    Paul SF August 28, 2007, 2:58 pm
  • Lockland: be sure to ask the broker if you can have an outside appraisal done before purchase from an independent appraiser. As Woosta said, the quality may not be as advertised. If the broker won’t let you verify the quality/clarity, then walk away, price be damned.

    SF August 28, 2007, 2:58 pm
  • Do what I did, Lockland. Get a rich old great-aunt to pass down her engagement ring to you! Ha. I kid. She’s a sweet lady, though. 95 and still kickin’ it in Florida.

    Paul SF August 28, 2007, 2:59 pm
  • She’s a sweet lady, though. 95 and still kickin’ it in Florida.
    Brian Cashman just called: can she pitch?

    SF August 28, 2007, 3:02 pm
  • Woosta, you do realize that, once again, you’re talking completely out of your ass?
    The broker I’m using buys mostly from estate sales, as well as directly from the importers. I’m also buying a rather difficult to find stone, a stone not carried through most retailers or mass marketers.
    Also, you have crossed the line you son of bitch, to even suggest that I would tarnish my upcoming marriage with such underhanded dealings.
    I hope you get hit by a bus.

    LocklandSF August 28, 2007, 3:03 pm
  • I got mine through a broker, and then had a local guy mount it. As a total, the price was a bit lower, but in the end, it’s become harder to have service/cleanings done on it. If you buy everything together, at a reputable place, normally the mounting and everything else is covered in the service plan.
    PS – I don’t know if you own or rent, Lockland, but I found out through my Statefarm agent that the ring(s) can be put on your homeowners insurance, which makes me feel a little better!
    Wait until you have it in your hands: you’ll worry about things you never really think about like the house burning down, or someone breaking in, or losing it.
    My proposal date was pushed up like two weeks just because I drove myself crazy trying to keep the thing hidden and not worry about it. ha.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:04 pm
  • And, just as an aside, as much as you may respect the theory of it, there is no bigger rip-off on this planet than spending that much money on something so small. I had absolutely no idea how much they were when I started the process, and it literally took me like another six months to get to the point that I could swallow the cost without being pissed at the guy!
    In the end though, it has to be done.
    My wedding date is exactly one month from today. In the matter of one year, I’ve bought the ring, the bands, a new house, and spent a small fortune at Home Depot. I now bring my lunch to work like the guys we used to laugh at because they don’t go out everday for lunch because their wives take their loot.
    I couldn’t be happier, bro. Congratulations.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:09 pm
  • Lockland, whoa. I didn’t read Woosta’s advice as anything but trying to be helpful. As you describe, your situation is unique. But in most common brokerage situations, you want to be able to verify the quality, I think that’s all that Woosta was getting at and what I reiterate in my comment — you do need to verify quality from an outside appraiser, never seen it recommended any other way. I think you are misreading what he posted, since he didn’t know the reasons you are purchasing from the broker. As you described, it is extremely specific. I think you’ve overreacted a bit.

    SF August 28, 2007, 3:09 pm
  • i got engaged last August and I was more nervous asking her dad for permission than her! a very stressful time buying the ring is. largest purchase ive ever made anyway…the dames love the sparkles though.

    Ric August 28, 2007, 3:10 pm
  • Cool, Brad – one month to go, eh? You going to miss any playoff games (possible playoff games, that is) on the honeymoon?

    SF August 28, 2007, 3:11 pm
  • To put everyone at ease…
    I’m buying the stone loose, which will have all the GIA paperwork. My father’s jeweler of 30 years will be making the ring and setting the stone, as well as giving it the appraisal I will submit to my insurance provider, USAA, which will also do a 3rd independent appraisal.
    I still hope Woosta gets hit by a bus.

    LocklandSF August 28, 2007, 3:11 pm
  • Not to mention the DJ, the Reception stuff, and all that goes with the day itself. Stop spending money, man.
    My bachelor party is this weekend in Boston. We’re going to all three games this weekend, and ruining ourselves the rest of the time.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:12 pm
  • SF – we’re actually going to wait until November to go. We both agree that it will be better to get the hell out of Connecticut when, you know, it’s freezing outside. ha.
    And you may laugh, but when we were setting the date, and reserving the banquet facility for the reception, the playoffs were one of my concerns that I expressed. Luckily, she understood completely, and I didn’t have to whine about it. ha.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:13 pm
  • You’ve got it covered, Lockland, you know more than I did. I bought bricks and mortar, a little blue box. I’m a sucker.

    SF August 28, 2007, 3:13 pm
  • Wow. Does your future wife know you have anger management issues?
    I’ve always learned to trust the “If it sounds too good…” And the diamond market is extremely well set. So either you’re getting a shady deal or a shady diamond, or both. Get a second appraisal or believe what you want.
    Have fun! And get cancer!

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 3:14 pm
  • I just read in the paper this morning that housecleaning staff robbed the wedding gifts from a room at a wedding the other day at my upcoming wedding reception! awesome!

    Ric August 28, 2007, 3:16 pm
  • Sorry SF, I respectfully disagree, he wrote it exactly the way he wanted it to sound, I’m Woosta, I know everything, I’m here to shit on other people and tell them they are wrong. He took his normal crap too far when he suggested I was buying a blood diamond.
    Again, the number 11 comes by my office every 20 minutes Woosta, I suggest you be in front of it.

    LocklandSF August 28, 2007, 3:16 pm
  • Lockland, I had an outside appraiser look at mine to ensure everything is on the ups, which put me at ease a bit, though I didn’t really spend a ton of money. I thought it was better to go smaller and better quality than bigger and cloudy(er). In the end, the quality is the key, not the size. A perfect half is better than a tarnished 1.0
    Mine was a perfect .75, but for the price I could have had a less than perfect larger one. Just remember it’s all about the quality. Who cares if it looks like small mountain if it’s grey?
    A very, very nice ring can be had for under 8k.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:18 pm
  • And by the way, “directly from the importer” often means the blood diamonds. The market is completely controlled by the big boys and marked with “laserbeams”.
    And, yes, I’m trying to make your life miserable. Whatever. Enjoy yourself. Your future wife is in for a treat!

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 3:20 pm
  • No Woosta, it’s not me, it’s everyone, you enjoy people hating you, you’re basically the lowest form of human being I have ever come across, you’re a sad soul and I actually feel sorry for you.
    Good luck with that.

    LocklandSF August 28, 2007, 3:23 pm
  • Hell, now that I’ve done it, and know more about it, a very nice ring can be had for under 3k.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:23 pm
  • Okay, let’s not get another one closed. Hug it out, biyatches. This thread was going nice and smooth. How does this happen? You two should exchange addresses, and take care of it on the street so it stops flowing over onto the website!

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:25 pm
  • okay lockland and woosta….cool it! (are you guys joking, tho, because the whole bus/cancer thing is actually pretty hilarious).
    lockland: we at yfsf wish you and your bride, whom i’m sure is beautiful and intelligent, all the best. i’m sure she’ll be getting a splendiferous ring, and more power to her. for the record, i purchased mine at e.b. horne, in boston, and it’s still on her finger.
    woosta: stay off the bus.
    lockland: eat your beta carotene.
    at least for the week?

    YF August 28, 2007, 3:25 pm
  • And I understand you’re sloooowwww, Lockland, but my P.s. post at 2:55pm completely goes through it. They have almost everything loose at Go see what a close approximate of your diamond costs. If it’s truly 50% cheaper something isn’t right. Even 20% is pushing things. Everyone wants cheap diamonds. That’s what makes the prices stable. Welcome to ECON 101.

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 3:26 pm
  • Anyhow, let’s talk about the game tonight.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:28 pm
  • You bet Brad, but you’ve always got to sacrifice on quality or size. They’re like the immovable objects in the triumvirate with price.
    But Lockland’s daddy knows a guy!

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 3:29 pm
  • ps: her = my wife. obvs.
    also, let me get back to the point here and say that i agree with sf that the quotes pulled above don’t really illustrate any kind of serious hipocracy to me. certainly there was more unwarranted hysteria in the blogosphere, in places that should have known better. LIKE–AHEM–YFSF!!!!!!!!! Yeesh.

    YF August 28, 2007, 3:30 pm
  • I say Pettitte is due. Then again, what else would I say?
    Does everyone agree that Matsuzaka has outdone most reasonable expectations of him this year? If given even moderate run support, he could be going for number 18 tonight against a guy, in his own right, is in the same poor support boat.
    Realistically, we could be looking at two of the leaders in the CY voting if their teams stepped up for them a few times.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:31 pm
  • woosta: this isn’t the enough already with the rings!

    YF August 28, 2007, 3:32 pm
  • It’s still hilarious to me, no matter what happens this season. Sox were up four games with the best record in baseball and SF and Paul couldn’t handle it. They had to take a week off!

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 3:33 pm
  • this isn’t the
    worst mistake of my life giving my email to those wedding nazis. I swear, I get ten a day for eveything from gowns to cufflinks.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:35 pm
  • whos going for number 18? wins? going for 14 and 12, right?

    Ric August 28, 2007, 3:35 pm
  • Hey, it’s a nice day outside. Go catch a breath of fresh air.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:36 pm
  • Yes, Ric. I was saying that either of them “could” be going for eighteen if their offenses had given them three or four runs in their starts. Matsuzaka has been left out to dry by Boston’s offense more often than I like to think about, and I’m sure Pettittittitte is in the same boat a few times.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:37 pm
  • What ever, I will move on. You’re a child Woosta, nothing more, nothing less.
    Good day sir.

    LocklandSF August 28, 2007, 3:38 pm
  • Is it fair to say Matsuzaka has outperformed all expectations? Is that possible when a posting of $50 million is payed to talk to a guy?? I don’t mean to rain on a RS parade (OK, I’d love to rain on an RS parade these days, btu I don’t really think I can in Matsuzaka’s case because he has done very well), but I think it is a bit much to say he has gone well above expectations.
    Unlike any prospect coming out of the minors, the guy came in with sky high expectations and he has come close to matching them, which is impressive enough given that those expectations were overblown to begin with.
    And I heard he never even bought his wife a wedding ring, the bastard.

    IronHorse (yf) August 28, 2007, 3:42 pm
  • I got it- right you are… its funny how a good pitcher can get screwed out of wins while a crappier pitcher like RJ v.2006 can get lots of wins due to run support. i guess it all evens out.

    Ric August 28, 2007, 3:42 pm
  • “Unlike any prospect coming out of the minors, the guy came in with sky high expectations..”
    you could argue that coming out of the minors Phil Franchise had skyhigh expectations and has underperformed (whichwas impossible to avoid consdiering how high the expectations were to some people)

    Ric August 28, 2007, 3:45 pm
  • I can’t see how Matsuzaka “outperformed expectations” when he was expected to compete for the CY every year. This year he won’t do that (whatever the reasons).
    I ask myself: Will he have something to prove next year? And I say: You bet he does.
    1) He has to prove he can get better.
    2) That he’s not Nomo (with worse 1st year numbers).

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 3:45 pm
  • That’s my point, IH. If, for example, the Red Sox were able to put up three runs against TB (twice) and one run aginst KC (once), he’d be going for number 18, and would probably be the hands down favorite, followed by Beckett for the Cy Young. He’s been nothing short of one of the best pitchers in the league this year, I think. I know he’s had his moments of implosion (usually one inning or so) a few times, but so does every single pitcher.
    I think, even with the posting fee hang-up, he’s done everything any of us could have hoped to date.
    It’s going to be better next year, when he’s been through it all once, but I think it’s working out better than any of us could have hoped.
    As has Pettitte. Imagine the Yankees did not get Pettitte this year! He’s done better than anyone thought he would coming out of Houston, and has really stepped it up late for them.
    I think both teams got more than they thought from these two.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:47 pm
  • Why would he be Nomo? I mean, it’s not like he’s relying on a funky delivery, or sub-par stuff to get by. I don’t understand your comparison, Woosta.
    And, I firmly believe, that you’re the only person who thinks that he, or anyone for that matter, should be competing for the CY Young every single year in the AL East.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:49 pm
  • Hughes is 21 years old. I’d say it’s a bit early to judge anything on him, most especially because they might pay him 5 million over the same time the Sox pay 50 million to Matsuzaka.
    And, for that reason, while Hughes is eventually expected to be a #1, anything above league average is extremely valuable to the Yankees so long as he throws 200 innings.

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 3:50 pm
  • And where exactly should he get better as a pitcher, Woosta? I’m not badgering you, but I’m wondering which of his stats you don’t find acceptable, or good even? I look at his numbers in comparison to the league, and he’s in the mix with the aces of the entire league. Which of his stats, outside of wins, which are the most overrated stat of a pitcher ever, should he try to work on?
    Which area do you think he needs to improve on?

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:52 pm
  • Well, *I* didn’t expect this much from him (I expected a 4.10-type ERA, serviceable, but not stellar…and it’s not too late to manage that yet). He’s outperformed my expectations thus far, but I don’t know what that means in terms of everyone else’s expectations.

    Devine August 28, 2007, 3:52 pm
  • So now, all we’re looking for from Hughes is 200IP? I’m just wondering, because a month ago the expectations were much higher from everyone.
    And I said Pettitte, not Hughes. I never brought him into the conversation at all.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:53 pm
  • All I know is Nomo had a better debut season – better numbers across the board. And there has yet to be a better starting pitcher from Japan. Nomo is the standard, and Matsuzaka has yet to prove he’s better than that (and the expectations suggested he would be).
    In my mind, he can do that by showing significant improvement in year 2. Or being more consistent over the next six years.

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 3:54 pm
  • If I were a SF, I woudl be thrilled with what Matsuzaka brings talent-wise, and something else (and here I realize I am running the risk of going into stereotype territory). I think cultural differences between the US and Japan are so apparent in the experience of Japanese stars coming to the US, including Matsuzaka.
    Matsuzaka could have fleeced Boston after that posting but did not, and the amount of the posting, it I understand correctly, had nothing to do with any decision on his part and certainly did not beenfit him at all.
    Matsui apologizes to his teammates for breaking his wrist diving for a ball and goes wwaaaayyyy out of his way to give time to hordes of Japanese reporters out of a sense of duty that it was the Japanese fans who got him here so he owes them. Ichiro is an incredibly solid guy in addition to being outstanding.
    I am not talking about talent in Japan being somehow better (and I offer as proof Kei Igawa and Hideki Irabu – neither of whom even had the flash of success Nomo had). I’m talking about character and attitude as well as approach to the game and all that comes with playing it in the US.
    I almost feel like if you’re a major league manager and you can land a bona fide star from Japan, you are more likely that they will stay with your organization as long as you want them, be solid citizens in the clubhouse, and think about the team first more than your average American mega-star.
    Yes, this is gross stereotyping, and generalizing niceties is not really much better than generalizing negatives. But I feel like you hear things and see things from some of the mega-start Japanese players that I just don’t think you are likely to hear or see from mega-start players from other places, including the US, playing in the bigs.
    And in Matsuzaka, I feel the RS have got that in him in addition to the pure talent.

    IronHorse (yf) August 28, 2007, 3:54 pm
  • lets hope that Hughes can eventually reach his potential considering his problems with injuries ;)

    Ric August 28, 2007, 3:55 pm
  • I look at his matchups for the rest of the year, and I think that his ERA can only go down from here. I mean anything can happen, but the guy has had some really hard luck

    Brad August 28, 2007, 3:58 pm
  • Ric brought up Hughes. And no, I have no idea what to expect from him. I’m just saying that if he proves himself as a #3 or #4, that’s very valuable. Still, whatever he ends up as, that’s many years away. His track record suggests he’ll be a 120 ERA+ guy over his career.
    As for Matsuzaka, he needs to cut down on the walks and prove he can consistently shutdown the better teams. Until, he does, he’s a #2 or #3, not the #1 that was advertised (and cost #1 money to the Sox)

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 4:00 pm
  • “could have fleeced”
    How? He had one choice: Accept the Boston offer or return to Japan. He had no leverage. That’s why the best agent in the land couldn’t get more for him.
    Ric –
    Many young pitchers struggle with injuries – Papelbon, Liriano, Verlander, Cain, Hamels, etc. That’s why I said 200 innings. If Hughes is healthy to give that, he’s extremely valuable. Maybe not a #1, but very valuable.

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 4:04 pm
  • i brought up Hughes to ironhorse regarding impossible to live up to expectations of minor league players.

    Ric August 28, 2007, 4:05 pm
  • What pitcher consistently shuts down great hitting teams like the Yankees, Detroit, LAA and the Red Sox?
    I mean, if we’re judging what Matsuzaka does based on what Johan does, we’re going to be upset. But if we’re judging him by everyone else, he’s already holding his own.
    I’m not sure what you mean by “shut down good teams”, Woosta. The guy has pitched amazingly against good teams this year, bro. I agree on the walks, but other than that, I think your post is off base.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 4:08 pm
  • For what it’s worth, Matsuzaka already outpitched my expectations. Which kind of sucks because he’s not on the Yanks!
    It is his first season, after all..

    Lar August 28, 2007, 4:12 pm
  • Matsuzaka’s game log:
    I see the numbers, the wins, the strikeouts, and the walks there against good and bad teams. What good pitcher doesn’t have a game log that looks almost exactly like this one?
    He’s had success and failure against both good and bad teams this year. He’s dominated, and he’s imploded a few times, but over the span of the year, he’s far exceeded my expectations. And probably those of anyone sane minded when they set expectations for him.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 4:12 pm
  • In fact, his best games came from Seattle, Cleveland, Atlanta, Detroit, and Toronto. That’s not counting TB, which as we know, doesn’t count.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 4:16 pm
  • I checked the numbers before I posted. Against this year’s AL playoff contenders:
    DET: 14 4.50 16 7 4 1 9
    NYY: 13 6.92 13 10 1 5 14
    SEA: 27 4.33 22 13 2 9 23
    CLE: 12 4.26 16 6 1 3 9
    My point: Matsuzaka was said and paid to be a #1. He isn’t that yet and only time will tell if he ever becomes one.

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 4:16 pm
  • And I totally agree with your post, IH. The cultural difference is amazing when it comes to ballplayers re: the personal side of them.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 4:17 pm
  • Woosata, you’re hilarious man. How many pitchers, who have faced those teams more than once, and are the aces of their staff (which he’s not – it’s Beckett) have great numbers against them?
    Lackey? Nope.
    Pettitte? Nope
    Wang? Nope
    Beckett? Nope
    Bedard? Nope
    I mean, the guy has outdone every expectation anyone rational had in mind for him in his first year, and since it’s already known that he has more raw talent than any Japanese pitcher to date (not relying on funky delivery, or submariner), I can’t see how you feel the need to compare his projections (albeit, yours) to Nomo.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 4:24 pm
  • And, he’s a number one on all but four or five teams in the majors. At worst he’s a 1A in Boston, and probably the ace in NY. But, since he’s not in NY, you can’t possibly bring yourself to admit that.
    New team. New country. New, and better hitters. New language. No communication with teammates, and a whole new culture, and the guy is pitching to a mid three ERA with outstanding numbers as a whole.
    Yeah, we’re all happy.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 4:27 pm
  • Brad –
    Yearly CY contenders beat good teams (I noticed you left a few names off that list :). That’s what he’s getting paid to do. That why the Sox spent 100 million for the privilege.
    Hey, lucky for us he has another test tonight. And in the post-season. And next year too. And the next four years after that.
    Again, my only point: Matsuzaka was said (Theo proclaimed as such) and paid to be a #1. Right now, he’s not a #1. And if he never reaches that level, he’s a disappointment in my book esp with all the hype leading into the year. Notice how that hype died?

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 4:29 pm
  • Sure, I can admit it. With a 120 ERA+ he’s the best pitcher on the Yankees. But that’s not a legit #1. Nor is that a CY contender. That’s what the Sox paid for.
    Next year, who knows? He could be better, he could be worse. So far, IMHO, the performance hasn’t matched the hype.

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 4:32 pm
  • And Brad, it’s slicing hairs but:
    “the guy is pitching to a mid three ERA”
    His ERA is closer to 4 than 3.5. Against the best offense in baseball, he’ll have a good chance to prove you right.

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 4:34 pm
  • the performance hasn’t matched the hype.
    Does or has it ever with any player? I can’t remember the last time the “hype” was lived up to by either of our teams? I’ll give you Joba, you know, when he reached 50IP or so, but to date, nobody ever reaches the level of hype we lead them to.
    Also, at a 120+ ERA, that qualifies as a number one every single time. No matter the hype, a 120+ is awesome.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 4:37 pm
  • Again, Woosta. I don’t judge him on what he’s done against NY. That lineup is not a normal lineup. It’s a collection of awesome hitters in every spot. If you’re judging aces by how they do against NY three or four times a year, I’m assuming that you think that MLB has no aces at all?

    Brad August 28, 2007, 4:39 pm
  • Well, except Damon. And Phillips.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 4:40 pm
  • ugh, Typepad has a target on me. Good argument, Woosta. I can’t type in the code to post any more. It’s getting irritating to no end!

    Brad August 28, 2007, 4:41 pm
  • a 120+ ERA is very good, but in no way awesome or special. That’s the next level he has to prove to justify his cost to the organization and to the game.
    FYI: Nomo had a 150 ERA+
    Here are the teams where he’s not a #1 based on ERA+ and >130 IP:
    Arizona (Webb)
    Atlanta (Smoltz and Hudson)
    Baltimore (Bedard and Gutherie)
    Cubs (Hill)
    W.Sox (Buehrle)
    Toronto (Marcum and Halladay)
    Tampa Bay (Kazmir)
    Cleveland (Sabathia and Carmona)
    Minny (Santana)
    Kansas City (Bannister)
    Oakland (Haren)
    Mets (Duque and Perez)
    Philly (Hamels)
    Cincy (Harang)
    Houston (Oswalt)
    Pirates (Gorzelanny)
    Dodgers (Penny and Lowe)
    Giants (Cain adnd Lowry)
    Those are alot of names in front of him. Granted, ERA+ isn’t perfect (but what is?), and some of those names have alot to prove too.

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 5:00 pm
  • I agree.
    At some point, however, you have to assume that the reader has some level of common sense.
    For example, If I say “hey, I’d rather have Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson, Duque and Perez, Shawn Marcum and Hill over Matsuzaka”, I’m immediately lauged at by everyone.
    Also, the Red Sox have invested in the future with this guy. Narrow the list to guys under 27, pitching in the AL East, and are in their first years.
    Then compare them.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 5:04 pm
  • And you keep going back to Nomo, and I don’t know why. Nomo depended heavily, if not completely on fooling the hitter with delivery, which worked until everyone figured it out. Matsuzaka doesn’t even belong in that conversations. I’ve seen him hit 97 on the fastball, then 80 on the changeup or breaking ball. He’s a real pitcher. Not a novelty item like Nomo or Dontrelle. Why do you set the bar at Nomo when the two have absolutely nothing in common as pitchers or athletes?

    Brad August 28, 2007, 5:07 pm
  • Also, on that list you’ve given me, I wonder which of those guys have shut down all the good offenses they took on every time out?
    I’m not saying he’s the best, but I am saying he’s been very, very impressive considering everything that has to be taken into the equation.
    That’s all.
    Have a great night, man. Not really. I hope your night stinks! ha.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 5:10 pm
  • RE: Nomo I’m just citing the gold standard for his “kind” (how’s that for bordering on racist? btw: eracism.).
    Otherwise, I agree to an extent and don’t agree. If you go to the blogs of those teams, I’m sure you’d get them arguing against you for Lowe, Hudson, Marcum, and Hill, and Perez is actually younger than DM. While Duque is, well, Duque.
    Look, I agree he’s been very good. I just disagree with how far I want to take that. And he’s has plenty of time to prove one of us wrong, or worse – show no more or no less. I’ll be glad watch tonight.

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 5:16 pm
  • I have to discount the NL guys. With the exception of the younger studs out west, the NL guys, especially those with age. I can’t take NL pitching on face value, and after years of taking the best NL pitcher available in free agency, neither can anyone who roots for NY:)
    On Nomo, I still can’t agree. You cite Nomo because he fell off the table, and it works for the argument in your favor. Just like before Matsuzaka pitched a pitch many people (myself included) made Irabu comparisons. When that didn’t work, we go to the next obvious time frame, which is Nomo. If that doesn’t work, we’ll move onto whatever pitcher of Eastern descent had two good years but then started to fall off (Wang!?!), right?
    I gotta bounce. It’s Summer Sam-Thirty.
    Later, man.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 5:28 pm
  • My point: Matsuzaka was said and paid to be a #1
    By whom and by what standards? By the mainstream press? By diehard fans? By dilettantes? I don’t see how you can make such a broadstroke generalization and then cite nothing to back it up. Certainly there were fans expecting him to be an ace. Certainly there were writers touting him as “special”. But just the same you could find plenty of fans, bloggers, and writers expecting an adjustment period, growing pains, etc. This is just know-it-allism from you, Woosta, a very common thing at this point. If you can show that it was generally accepted by everyone in the know that Dice-K would be a #1, bring forth your evidence. It ought to be overwhelming, considering your confidence in this truth.
    Matsuzaka has been a fantastic addition to the Red Sox this year. He’s being paid $5M in on-the-book salary, which will bump up a couple of mill in the next year, far below “market” for what he provides, to quote one of your favorite terms. You can split the hairs all you want, call him a “#1” or don’t. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. He’s helped lead the Sox to the best record in baseball, has pitched as well as many experienced veterans, in a pressure cooker of a town, all in his first year in the Majors. Whatever the “expectations”, this has been a fine first season up to this point for Matsuzaka, by almost any standard.

    SF August 28, 2007, 5:36 pm
  • Nomo = gold standard for Japanese players. I want to see DM reach that, especially before I call him “awesome”.
    SF –
    I’m not interested in the media/blog/fan analysis.
    The Red Sox paid 100 million for DM. Just using that standard, they haven’t gotten their money’s worth. Not yet at least. Not when for cheaper they could have had Derek Lowe.
    And until he proves he worth it, I’ll be happy to point out otherwise.

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 5:43 pm
  • I am not going to engage this (sure to downwardly spiral) discussion with you, Woosta. But at least you could get the facts straight. The Sox didn’t “pay $100M” for DM. They paid $50M to Seibu, and have probably paid DM in person about $4M to date.

    SF August 28, 2007, 6:02 pm
  • The Red Sox paid 100 million for DM. Just using that standard, they haven’t gotten their money’s worth.
    This logic and corresponding conclusion is hysterically flawed. Can you figure out why?

    SF August 28, 2007, 6:06 pm
  • Tonight’s gamer is up, for those who would like to start the Yappin early!

    John - YF (Trisk) August 28, 2007, 6:07 pm
  • The Red Sox are out 100 million. I don’t care where it went, that’s what they paid.
    And here are the standards from the only place it matters, his contract:
    * 2009 & 2010 salaries increase to $10M with:
    o Cy Young award in 2007 or 2008, or
    o top 3 in Cy Young vote in 2007 and 2008, or
    o MVP award in 2007 or 2008, or
    o top 5 in MVP vote in 2007 and 2008
    * 2011 & 2012 salaries increase to $12M with:
    o Cy Young award in 2009 or 2010, or
    o top 3 in Cy Young vote in 2009 and 2010, or
    o MVP award in 2009 or 2010, or
    o top 5 in MVP vote in 2009 and 2010
    I’d say “someone” had mighty high expectations!

    Woosta YF August 28, 2007, 6:46 pm
  • “This logic and corresponding conclusion is hysterically flawed. Can you figure out why?”
    I almost bit my tongue when I saw that.
    In a completely unrelated story, I bought a one-year subscription to the Utne Reader two months ago and am outraged that I haven’t gotten my money’s worth yet. I knew I should have gotten Reader’s Digest.

    FenSheaParkway August 28, 2007, 6:49 pm
  • i almost laughed out loud reading this thread….lockland, you are a complete asshole by the way…there, now you have it…i broke my own rule about name calling, but it couldn’t go unsaid any longer, especially after his verbal abuse of me and others along the way…yep, i realize that woosta is abrasive, but he knows what he’s talking about for the most part, even if you don’t like his style…lockland takes the cake for simply forcing his thoughts at folks with or without facts to support him…file this one away boys, for the next time i say that i wouldn’t engage in name-calling…this is a first…

    dc August 28, 2007, 9:51 pm

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