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MLB Trade Deadline 2013: Updates on Soriano, Peavy, Garza and More

The annual July 31 Major League Baseball trade deadline carries the potential to reverse franchise fortunes—short term as well as long term—and alter pennant races like no other date on the calendar.

It can signal the end of some dynasties or usher in others. It can mean teams shedding the payroll of stars in exchange for something before the stars can leave their teams at season’s end in exchange for nothing.

Often times, purging the salary of an expensive veteran carries more value than any actual bodies added to the roster, especially when the team is underachieving or just plain bad.

Star players to be swapped at or near the trade deadline in recent years include: Mark Teixeira (twice), C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee (twice), Carlos Beltran, Adrian Gonzalez, Hunter Pence and a host of others.  Many times the traded player (with all proper deference to the great Paul Molitor) does indeed become his new club’s ignitor and ends up leading it into October (see: 2008 Sabathia, 1998 Randy Johnson, 1993 Fred McGriff). 

This year featured the usual surplus of conjecture, myriad wild predictions and the customary list of names expected, rumored or even guaranteed to be moved—barely exceeded in length by the list of names in the Mitchell Report.

However, with the ninth and 10th playoff spots now in their second year of play, it appears fewer clubs are prepared to part with these commodities (2013 is quite possibly the most overhyped, diluted trade deadline in my 24 years following MLB). 

Though no blockbusters went down and only about a quarter of the “likely” candidates ESPN, MLB Network, and others nominated for uniform swaps came to pass, there were some notable moves at—and in the weeks leading up to—the July 31 trade deadline. This slideshow reflects upon those trades and how the players—and clubs—involved have fared since their acquisitions.

Also, I’ll examine a handful of MLB vets rescued from the minors by playoff hopefuls as well as traded prospects receiving big league “runs” down the stretch. Thanks for reading.


Begin Slideshow

San Francisco Giants: Brandon Belt, Sandoval and the Final Days of Barry Zito

All season long, through the early good times and the recent bad-to-terrible times, I’ve implored San Francisco Giants fans—loyal and capricious alike—to stay on the ship. There is no worse non-criminal life form than the bandwagon fan—but the raging, pessimistic fan ranks a close second. (I call them “Quaids.” If you’ve seen the old Charlie Sheen movie Major League, you get the reference. But I’m not here to talk about the past.)

Even ardent fans will eventually reach a point of attrition, given enough exposure to shoddy, uninspired play unworthy of fan support. I reached mine when the Giants blew three winnable home games against a lousy Chicago Cubs team two weeks ago. Not because the Giants were losing—I’d never turn my back on my teams strictly based on losses. 

It was how they were losing. Walks, baserunning blunders, repeated failures to bring home men from second base with zero out—I wasn’t watching what I felt was major league baseball. I think most fans can tolerate (not accept) losing to a degree if the team is focused, playing hard, playing smart and aware of the situations they’re presented with. For a while, the Giants came up way short in all but the effort categories.

Since that Cubs debacle, San Francisco has played better—though far from superlative—baseball (not that it could have gotten much worse, but still). 

They kicked off a six-game trip taking two-of-three from the Philadelphia Phillies. Granted, it was a Phillies team minus Domonic Brown, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee (with Lee rumored to be held out of action as a 7/31 trade candidate, though he was officially resting a “stiff neck” as reported by CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa). One could argue the latter trio’s absence as addition by subtraction when you recall how SF schooled them in the 2010 playoffs, however.

On that trip, Brandon Belt got his swing back. All it took was a minor grip adjustment and some pressure by a rejuvenated Brett Pill to unleash the player who tore through the Pacific Coast and Arizona Fall Leagues, as well as the 2013 Cactus League.

After being benched in Philly, Belt went a hard 3-for-4 with a homer at Tampa in his return to the starting lineup. He next lit up the Brewers and Orioles in San Francisco to the tune of 11-for-25—many to the long-ignored opposite field—with two home runs, three doubles (all smoked) and five RBI. In fact, Belt has driven in five of the Giants’ past 11 runs and (excluding the two homers) scored three others.

Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum both re-discovered their ace stuff; in fact, as a whole, the entire starting staff has been dealing as of late. Since July 30 (Barry Zito‘s final start to date), The Freak and friends have thrown six or more innings in 10 of 12 starts and allowed a composite 20 runs in those 12 starts.

For their efforts, Giants starters own only a 4-2 record over that period—while they’re not being saddled with an excess of undeserved losses, they’re not being rewarded with enough wins (although the G’Men did a great job salvaging Cain’s eight strong innings with a late comeback off Philadelphia’s Jon Papelbon August 1.)

Though he’s fallen into a slump, Panda Sandoval continues to exercise better selectivity at the plate ever since his embarrassing flail at a pitch that went through his legs on July 3 at Cincy. Sandoval is never going to be Ted Williams or Barry Bonds in terms of condensing the strike zone, and no one is asking him to be. The guy can beat a “bad” ball with the best of ’em—Pablo’s productivity would suffer if his approach turned passive.

That said, not even he can do anything with a pitch headed straight for him—or a pitch thrown 58 feet. Or a pitch closer to a pitchout than a strike. Sandoval’s cold right now, but for the most part, he’s getting off good swings and not getting himself out—unlike his June cold snap coming off the injured list.

Some of Sandoval’s more impressive “takes” of late include:                

  • a nasty 0-2 changeup from Phillie Antonio Bastardo on July 30 
  • a tempting Wily Peralta (Brewers) 2-2 curve on August 6
  • two back-foot breaking balls (from Milwaukee’s Jon Hand August 8 and Baltimore’s Bud Norris August 11, respectively) nearly identical to the July 3 leg-splitter

…among others he would usually pounce on.

Those unfamiliar with Sandoval won’t be impressed at a sixth-year major league hitter exercising dish discipline on its face, but what you must understand: Panda laying off dirt-dusters and third-eye heaters is no different than a crook returning a dropped wallet to the police station fully intact—it goes against everything that comes naturally to him. This is what makes Pablo’s batting slump so mystifying, but I’m confident he’ll wrap 2013 strong.

Zito predictably lost his rotation spot after the aforementioned loss in Philadelphia that left him with the following home/road splits (as a starter): 4-1. 2.45 ERA/0-7, 9.50 ERA (with a WHIP approaching 2.4, twice that of his home WHIP). And that doesn’t even include the eight road unearned runs.

This is the final year of Zito’s infamous seven-year contract; even with up to three rotation holes to fill at season’s end, there’s just no way a 36-year-old Zito with his 83-mph-and-dipping “fastball” returns in ’14 even on a Triple-A deal. I’ve defended and supported Zito for years, but even I have to admit that at this point…I’m not sure he’s a MLB pitcher anymore.

His curve is still filthy. His slider and changeup can be effective. But his command has never been worse, which is saying something since even in his outstanding Oakland years, Zito routinely finished among league leaders in walks and ran up high pitch counts. When going well, Zito can often escape jams and hitter’s counts with one of his off-speed pitches. When he can’t command them…you’re left with June-August 2013.

True, he’s had effective starts this year. So did Jamie Moyer in 2012. So did David Wells in 2007. So did Kirk Rueter in 2005.

Given the contempt in which Giants fans held the under-performing Zito in the first half of his tenure and how he earned their respect (if not admiration) with two clutch playoff starts in 2012, it’s fair to say Giants fans—at least the more astute ones—pulled for Barry to turn in a decent year on his way out of town, and for a while he obliged.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear he will go out strong, but Zito’s contribution to the 2012 champs along with his work ethic, stand-up attitude and exemplary representation of the Orange and Black inside and outside the lines over these last seven years should be loudly acknowledged at any future reunions.

After a much-needed off-day, the Giants take on a Nationals team that’s arguably the only one more disappointing than they in 2013. Though a combined 16 games under .500 and 29.5 games out of first place, these franchises do have something to play for. The star-studded series should be entertaining if nothing else. Thanks for reading and go, Giants!

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San Francisco Giants: Lessons Learned from Their Series vs. Toronto Blue Jays

The 2002 World Series Loss Still Stings

Winning World Series titles in 2010 and 2012 should have pushed any lingering pain of the San Francisco Giants 2002 World Series loss far into the stratosphere—especially since I was among the million at the purely joyous 2010 parade.

Laying eyes upon a villain from that 2002 series, however, proved I’m not fully healed—at all. Most of those Los Angeles Angels are long retired. As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind.

The pain quickly flooded back Wednesday when the CSN camera locked on Toronto‘s starter—Ramon Ortiz, 40 years young, back in MLB after a two-year absence. He was the winning pitcher in Game 3 of that World Series (thanks to run support, it should be noted).

Just seeing his face brought it all back. Some folks lead very successful adult lives and still withdraw upon spotting an old high school bully at a reunion. This wasn’t much different.

To have the title all but ripped out of the Giants’ grasp that fall devastated me like the death of a loved one; I then knew how it felt to be a 1997 Cleveland Indians or a 1986 Boston Red Sox fan. 2011 Texas Rangers fans: I feel your pain and just know that it may never completely subside. Mine hasn’t.


Toronto’s “New” Uniforms Make Me Feel Younger

Over the years, I’ve watched countless players enter the major leagues, enjoy 15-year careers, retire and become coaches/managers. They are living reminders of just how much older I’ve become. I was 10 when I first discovered MLB—23 years ago. There are players today who didn’t exist when I caught my first ballgame. 

So, despite being one of about six people who actually liked the 2004-11 Blue Jays “steel” logo, I’ve enjoyed their conversion to a look reminiscent of the one used during my fledgling years as a hardball fan.

The Jays were the truth in the early ’90s; watching them in their old/new uniforms allows me to pretend it’s 1992 and my biggest problem is memorizing my class schedule rather than paying rent, repairing a shattered taillight and finding a competent preschool for my kid.


Damon Minor is One Scary-Looking Dude

The Giants television broadcasts occasionally jump into the wayback machine and come out with classic Giants (or Giants-related) highlights (such as then-Diamondback Randy Johnson accidentally donning a discarded Giants cap during a 1999 brawl in an eerie bit of foreshadowing or Dave Winfield charging the mound after being plunked by Mike Krukow in 1980).

Tuesday’s flashback: a four-hit game by the otherwise-forgettable Damon Minor the last time SF played in Toronto, back in 2002. I never realized just how much fright his face could generate when in mid-swing (answer: very). Now I must be extra-cautious when watching Orioles games; his twin bro Ryan was the starter at third when Cal Ripken Jr. ended The Streak.


I Will Probably Never Forgive the “Unnamed Left Fielder”

I’m skeptical and pessimistic by nature, and I never participate in fads—especially related to athletics. Slumps occur, bottoms fall out, players come back down to earth.

Wearing Panda hats and long, stringy wigs is all well and good when Pablo Sandoval and Tim Lincecum are succeeding. That’s how it goes in sports. You’re the man when you’re producing; you’re a bum when you’re not (see: Huff Daddy).

This brings me to the “Unnamed Left Fielder,” who got the entire fanbase behind him on the strength of a scorching-hot offensive performance (and some saucy defense as well). He had hundreds of fans donning idiotic dairy costumes in tribute. He was “The Man.”

Only, he really wasn’t. He was juicing the whole time. He was a fraud. At the time of his suspension, the Giants’ season seemed to be wrecked. He, not Buster Posey, had been their best hitter to that point. He’d been the league’s best hitter to that point. He got everybody to believe in him and depend on him, and then he got busted.

I know in the end, everything worked out, so logically I should be past what happened. But a re-marriage to a wonderful person doesn’t magically erase the bitterness and pain of an ugly divorce.

As you can see, I still won’t say or type his name or his ridiculous, unimaginative nickname of ’12. It’s my right as a fan and as a person to hold grudges—and it sure didn’t help that the ULF abused the Giants’ pitching staff during the Giants/Jays series.

(Note: Don’t question why I hold a grudge against the ULF and not Barry Bonds, Marvin Benard, Benny Santiago, Willie Mota or any other Giants PED noteworthies. I just do, okay? I still dislike the NBA’s Amar’e Stoudemire for showing up Golden State’s Adonal Foyle after a dunk seven years ago—even after since learning he’s not that bad a guy.)


AstroTurf Just Isn’t Baseball And Sloppiness is Contagious

Though I’m sure Angel Pagan didn’t mind, a standard major league base hit should not bounce over an outfielder’s head unless the outfielder is on his back napping or the outfielder in question is Emmanuel Lewis. (Google him; I’m not here to talk about the past).

But that’s exactly what happened in the third inning of the second game; Pagan’s single bounced off the Toronto turf over the ULF’s head and graduated to a double. Fortunately, there are only two of these wretched surfaces remaining in the bigs (as opposed to the 11 in use when I began following MLB in 1990.)

The following Giants made defensive mistakes during their 18 innings in Canada: Pablo Sandoval, Nick Noonan, Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro. (Furthermore, Scutaro and Brandon Belt allowed solidly struck balls to skip under them on the turf; these plays were ruled hits but may have been outs on a dirt infield.) They can’t all be blamed on the surface, but it didn’t help.

Giants Fans Should Emulate Jays Fans

Well, at least one of them.

One of the most annoying aspects of the AT&T Park experience (and most—if not all—other parks) are the fans who turn catching a foul ball into a Showcase Showdown triumph. They scream, hop up, throw their hands in the air as if at gunpoint and rotate around the park to ensure everyone in the park knows they did something any Little Leaguer can do—catch a baseball.

It’s pathetic at times. Such reactions are acceptable if the fan has caught the pennant-clinching home run ball or even made a difficult catch on a hard-hit foul. But our fans will ham it up on anything—even a popup that bounced off three pairs of kids’ hands first. The older the fan, the more drawn-out the celebration seems to be—sometimes lasting the remainder of the at-bat.

And of course, their “achievement” is instantly forgotten when the next guy snags one a couple of minutes later and repeats the cycle.

But I must give props to a Jays fan who calmly caught a bat flung from the hands of Pence in the sixth inning of Tuesday’s game. He snared it, grinned—and returned to his seat, as if he’d done it dozens of times before. To all AT&T Park visitors (and any of the other 29 parks) from now through eternity, please borrow a page from that guy’s book. Catch the ball and move on.

And of course, Go Giants.

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San Francisco Giants: Week in Review


at Los Angeles Dodgers

First off: why couldn’t Pablo Sandoval’s two-out first inning liner have actually decapitated Clay Kershaw in the season opener? (Kidding). Not only did he buzz through the Giants’ lineup (only Sandoval and Angel Pagan managed hits)—he did the same to Pittsburgh days later and appears to be even stronger than ever. In case you forgot, Kershaw has made a career of Giants killing. A decapitation may be the only way to curb his dominance.

San Francisco did go on to a series win, as Madison Bumgarner did his best Kershaw impression in Game No. 2 and Joaquin Arias handled first base with aplomb. Arias dug out multiple tough hops and impressively stayed with a Carl Crawford pop-up that, had he hit it in his old home ballpark of Tropicana Field, may have went through the roof. Make no mistake, folks—that catch was not easy in any way. 

Though minus the flair of Kershaw‘s opening day home run, “The Eagle” as I call Bumgarner, also contributed to his own cause with the bat. He garnered a single and extracted 14 pitches in his other two at-bats—the latter of which led to an error and two SF runs. 

Sandoval and Hunter Pence powered SF to victory in the rubber match. Sandoval, who’s subtly displayed a bit more selectivity at the plate overall, has been susceptible to high heat in the early going—chasing most and hitting none. That is, until he connected off Josh Beckett on a chest-high heater that was not a mistake.

It seemed in every at-bat of the series, Adrian Gonzalez smacked a deep fly ball, inciting “OOOOH’s” from the easily-excitable Dodger crowd. (Speaking of A-Gone, why was he repeatedly feeling up Marco Scutaro at first base after pickoff attempts, when he no longer had the ball?)


vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Then the Giants came home to one of the best ceremonies ever (not just baseball, mind you). Only thrice before has baseball given me chills: Hank Aaron’s 715th home run as Bill Buckner hangs off the wall in a desperate attempt to save his pitcher from infamy, the last out of Nolan Ryan’s seventh no-hitter and Edgar Renteria’s home run off Cliff Lee in the 2010 World Series. 

The ’13 Giants home opener now makes the list. Great to see the now-retired Huff there for his ring. Curious as to the whereabouts of Brian Wilson, Willie Mota, Brad Penny, Ryan Theriot and Freddy Sanchez—and why coach Shawon Dunston and infielder Nick Noonan both wear No. 21. (Note: Noonan ripped his first MLB hit over the weekend.)

It seems to me that, with the exception of Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran, every Cardinals hitter is the same player. They all grind out at-bats. They all use the whole field. They’re all pests. They’re all even starting to look alike, at least to me. They were without the injured David Freese and missed not one beat in taking the series 2-1.

Despite a small strike zone, and with the help of fantastic defense by Sandoval at third base, Barry Zito held St. Louis scoreless through seven innings in the opener—a 1-0 win closed out by Sergio Romo. The one run came via a bases-loaded walk by Pagan following a rare error by catcher Yadier Molina, who fumbled Zito’s sacrifice bunt.

A tough luck loss to rookie Shelby Miller followed, and the week ended with a shocking blowout behind Matt Cain, who surrendered nine earned runs in the fourth inning and proved once and for all that he should never be allowed to face Matt Carpenter ever again for any reason. Something bad will happen. In fact, if Carpenter ever joins the Giants, it would not surprise me at all to watch him make errors and put up oh-fers in every Cain start. He was born to cause the horse some grief.


In closing…

  • We still haven’t gotten any explanation as to why both Hyun-jin Ryu and Beltran ran out ground balls at roughly 50 percent when neither appeared to be injured or left the game. Not that I’m complaining, as a Giants fan.
  • Holliday has the potential to be the Giants villain of his era, if he’s not already. Remember, during Cain’s very early career, the two got into a shouting match after Holliday admired a home run. Then there was last year’s attempted demolition of Scutaro in the playoffs. Karma set in when Holliday fumbled Scutaro‘s subsequent hit into an insurance run, and when he popped out to Scutaro for the series’ final out—sandwiched around an obviously retaliatory plunk by Cain.
  • Reigning MVP Buster Posey did not put up a single RBI during the week despite several chances. His swing seems fine and he’s not chasing; he just appears to be rolling over pitches.

Broadcasting Quotes of the Week:

“The ball’s not carryin‘ to right field.” — Mike Krukow, on a Pence pop-up to second base (April 5, second inning).

“Do they have the DH in the Korean League?” Krukow wonders, as Ryu bails out badly on a Bumgarner breaking ball. “Or curveballs?” quips Duane Kuiper. (In fairness, Scutaro was totally buckled by a Beckett curveball in the last contest of the series.)

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Boston Red Sox: No Pleasure Seeing Them Fail, Part 2

Part One can be read here.

Soon, a sense of entitlement seemed to follow Boston Red Sox Nation around, at least that’s how I viewed it.

Whether it was constant (over)exposure, their newfound status as the team to beat, or both, or neither, I quickly began to dislike the team—namely Kevin Youkilis, who whined and argued at practically every strike called against him, the “new-school” GM Theo Epstein, who seemed as knowledgeable about the actual game of baseball as Archie Bunker was about subtlety, and eventually Jon Papelbon and his gimmicky glaring.

It got to the point where I could only speak of the Red Sox pejoratively. They received extensive SportsCenter focus while my Giants (save for the atrocious Bonds On Bonds) and most all other clubs fought for the scraps. Boston won another title in 2007, and I felt sick—because I knew more of the same was in store.

Fast-forward to 2011.

Boston seemed destined for yet another postseason run headed into September, up nine games on Tampa Bay for the AL East Wild Card. By the last day of the season, as we all know, they’d frittered it all away and were tied with Tampa. Down big against a Yankee team with zero to play for, the Rays came all the way back and won in walk-off fashion, meaning the Red Sox had to beat lowly Baltimore just to secure a one-game playoff.

They led 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth.

They lost 4-3.

You would have thought my Giants had won the World Series again—never in my life had I been so elated to see a team lose. Not even those 2010 RangersThat was how much I’d grown to detest the team, the organization, the fan base, the reverence of their 100-year-old shack of a ballpark, the media coverage, the ridiculous Yankee-esque spending they’d embraced—all of it.

In the wake of the historical collapse, sweeping changes hit the franchise and didn’t cede until August of 2012. Gone were Epstein, longtime horses Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek (a combined 31 years with Boston), Papelbon, Youkilis, Josh Beckett and even the two superstars signed for a combined 15 years and $750 billion just the previous offseason, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.

Only six members of the 2007 title team remain, and many high-profile acquisitions have failed. (Does anyone even remember that John Lackey is still under contract?) Under new field and general management the Red Sox are 63-75 as of Sept. 8, barely ahead of last-place Toronto.

While stopping short of feeling anything approaching sympathy, this franchise is such a train wreck that it’s just not possible to hate them right now.

I happened to be visiting my friend Jenn, a New England transplant and Red Sox fan who had no idea about the extent to which the team had deteriorated, when Boston was scheduled to play against Oakland, but never actually showed up—going down in a 20-2 ball of flames. Adding insult to injury—the defining blow was a grand slam off the bat of Josh Reddick, cast off to Oakland in the offseason for damaged-goods reliever Andrew Bailey.

Jenn sat in total disbelief at what she saw—Boston did little right, and what they did do right still backfired. Even when the 2004-11 teams were blown out, never did they look as unprepared, inferior and daunted as they did against Oakland.

I couldn’t take any pleasure in this loss, as would have been the case a year ago. (Plus, I didn’t want to be ejected from my friend’s home.)

David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, the faces of the franchise, obviously aren’t used to losing. They’ll be playing out their first meaningless September in ages, trying to help an embattled manager, who’s possibly on borrowed time, keep their team playing hard, if not particularly well, til the end.

I do not envy them. I do not envy their teammates. I do not envy said manager, Bobby Valentine, or his boss, GM Ben Cherington.

But for the first time in seven years, I don’t begrudge them, either…

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Boston Red Sox: No Pleasure Seeing Them Fail, Part 1

Remember the year 2004? I do. John Kerry ran unsuccessfully for president. Former President Reagan passed away. Shaquille O’Neal became an ex-Laker, and the Desperate Housewives were born.

Oh, and something about the Red Sox getting some trophy or something…

It was very easy, if not downright vogue, to root against the Yankees in 2004. Those who didn’t contain pinstripe-laden DNA and/or the ability to alphabetically recite all Yankees with plaques in Monument Park would fume with palpable chagrin anytime a Yankee so much as drew a second-inning walk in a Spring Training split-squader.

Going to six World Series out of eight (winning four) while beating up on substantially disadvantaged opponents along the way can foster such disdain.

And that was before they got Alex Rodriguez from Texas. Back in ’04, Rodriguez ranked No. 1 in MLB in LWBP (league-wide boo percentage). Barry Bonds led in boo density, courtesy of generating MLB’s loudest boos—but only on the road, whereas A-Rod heard them in every park he entered, including his own. 

So when the Yankees appeared poised to add yet another pennant to their extensive collection in ’04, having gone up 3-0 against Boston in the ALCS, a lot of folks—including myself—could only mutter in profane disbelief: “The Yankees AGAIN?!”

Then the Red Sox miraculously won four straight games, then four more against the Cardinals in the World Series, breaking their 86-year championship drought.

Boston’s cast of “Idiots,” led by Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Johnny Damon, David Ortiz and others, became instant heroes in a snap—less household names than surrogate family members to any long-deprived Boston fan. If any member of the newly-minted “Red Sox Nation” were to find Kevin Millar going Goldilocks in their bed, they’d view it as an honor, rather than a burglary.

I was as happy for them as anyone. I’m a Giants fan, but I’m also a baseball fan—and the 2004 Sox’s rise to glory was damn good for baseball. It spawned legions of fans nationwide and induced hordes of others out of their gopher holes. They began to sprout up everywhere, and I mean everywhere.

I went to an A’s/Red Sox game at the Coliseum in 1999, a time when both clubs were roughly equal—in the standings if not in name recognition. I have no memory of who won, but I DO know it sounded like an A’s home game, which wouldn’t be the case in 2005.

Any radio listeners would swear the game was played at Fenway, given the deafening roars elicited by any Boston score, baserunner or out recorded.

Even though there is nothing wrong with fans of the road team grossly outnumbering fans of the home team, there is something very wrong with it. It’s kind of like if John Stamos and Candace Cameron were to marry. You can’t logically articulate why it’s wrong. IT…JUST…IS. (Don’t get the reference? Tough. I’m not here to talk about the past.)

Part Two can be read here.

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