Wednesday, October 06, 2004

First, the bad news. I got the following email from Chip Elitzer today.

For immediate release:

     My partners and I announce regretfully that we have withdrawn our plan to renovate Wahconah Park and bring professional baseball back to Pittsfield, MA.  It is clear that we no longer have the necessary support of the City officials who on January 13, 2004 invited us to return with a proposal we had originally made in 2001, a proposal that was substantially improved by our current
     We don’t want to stand in the way of other opportunities for the City regarding baseball, and we will ask both independent leagues to consider favorably any other Wahconah-based proposals which may come their way.

Jim Bouton
Wahconah Park, Inc.

Needless to say, I’m disappointed. I had really been looking forward to having this team in Pittsfield, and now the chance is gone. I’m angry that it’s gone because of shortsighted politicians who wouldn’t know a gift horse if it came up and bit them in the ass.

The most positive thing that came out of this was getting to meet and work with Chip and Jim Bouton. I won’t repeat what I said in yesterday’s blog, but it was an honor and a privilege to be involved in their attempt to do something great out in the Berkshires.

OK, on to the fun stuff, like yesterday’s thrashing of the Anaheim Angels by the Red Sox. The Sox took the first game of the ALDS 9-3 behind strong pitching by Curt Schilling, Alan Embree and Mike Timlin. Embree and Timlin took up right where they left off in last year’s playoffs, pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings between them. Schilling didn’t have his best stuff, but he was as good as he needed to be. His teammates staked him to an eight run lead in the 4th on the strength of home runs by Millar and Manny, all aided by a Chone Figgins error. The error led to four unearned runs out of the seven scored in the inning.

Pedro goes tonight for the Sox, and it’ll be interesting to see how he does. Pedro, of course, has lost his last four starts, the first time he’s lost four in a row in one season in his career. I think if he has a good outing and wins the game, it will go a long way toward bringing back a bit of the old Pedro swagger. It would also give the Sox a 2-0 lead in the series heading back to Fenway. Bartolo Colon goes for the Angels. Colon historically hasn’t done well against the Red Sox, and Pedro only has one lifetime loss to the Angels. The only problem is that the game doesn’t start until 10 PM eastern, so it’ll be a late night.

Game 1 between the Yankees and the Twins was actually a more compelling game than the Sox game. Johan Santana, who the Elias Sports Bureau has declared had the best second half of any pitcher ever, started against Mike Mussina in the Bronx. Santana hardly looked invincible as he gave up nine hits in seven innings. The Twins defense constantly bailed him out, though, as the Twins turned five double plays. I stayed up later than I really wanted to last night watching this game, since it appeared that the Yankees could go out and put a big crooked number on the scoreboard at any moment. However, the Twins bullpen kept them in check, aided by a brilliant leaping grab of a potential A-Rod home run by Torii Hunter in the 8th. The Twins ended up winning 2-0.

The Empire goes into game two rolling Jon Lieber out there against Brad Radke. Remember the days when the Yankees game two pitcher would be someone like Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, David Wells or David Cone? No more. With El Duque hurt and Vazquez and Kevin Brown inconsistent, Lieber appears to be the next most reliable pitcher on the staff. If the Yankees go down 0-2 going back to the Metrodome, it’s going to be tough. Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me if last night’s game was the only one in the series the Twins win, either.

The Cardinals could easily sweep the Dodgers. They showed off the big bats that got them to the post-season yesterday, as they hit five home runs, including two by Larry Walker. The other NL series matches the Braves (are they in the playoffs again?) against the Astros, who came back from being four under .500 in July to win the wild card. The Astros have one thing that all the other teams on the NL playoffs lack - two big stud starters at the front of the rotation. Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt anchor Houston’s rotation. Can you imagine if Pettitte, who usually saves his best work for October, was healthy? The Braves, meanwhile, are bringing out Jaret Wright for game one against the Rocket. When I left the office tonight, Houston was up 6-1, so how’s that working out for you Bobby Cox?


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