Sunday, October 2, 2011

Say Goodbye

  Terry Francona was dismissed as the manager of the Boston Red Sox this week. Francona is the only Red Sox manager in the last 90 years to have won a World Series and he won two of them, but when the Red Sox collapsed and not only lost the division to the Yankees but failed to get into the playoffs for the second year in a row, the world championships didn’t matter anymore and the Red Sox didn’t pick up Francona’s option and will look for another manager.

  I don’t know how the manager change will work out, but I think the Red Sox have made the right choice in letting their manager go. At the end of August, the Red Sox had a 1 game lead on the Yankees for the Eastern Division lead, but went 7-20 the rest of the way and finished 7 games behind the Yankees and a game behind the Rays for the playoff spot reserved for the ‘best loser’ that doesn’t win their division.

  The media is generally down on the Red Sox for making the move, but I think it should have been done even if the Red Sox had made the playoffs unless they managed to get to the World Series. This is a team that hasn’t won it’s division in 4 years or a playoff series in 3 and despite their home grown talent of Ellsbury, Predroria, Buchholtz and Papelbon, the Red Sox had a payroll this year of 161 MILLION DOLLARS, third in the majors behind the Phillies(172 Million) and you guessed it, the Yankees (202 Million). For that kind of money, the people running the Red Sox have a right to expect more than they have been getting. I thought the Yankees should have gotten rid of Torre after the 2004 collapse against the Red Sox instead of wasting 3 years hoping that Torre could recapture his old magic.

  Francona should have his pick of jobs and if nothing suits him, he can be a talking head on TV until a job opens up that he likes. In Boston, all eyes are now on boy wonder GM Theo Epstein. This year, Epstein won the right to pay top free agent Adrian Gonzalez and he had a very good if not great year, but his other big pick up (outfielder Carl Crawford was awful), there is no catcher, and the starting pitchers all were hurt at some point during the season except for last year’s free agent pickup John Lackey, who was so bad that the Sox fans were hoping he’d get hurt. If Epstein whiffs on his next managerial hire and batch of free agents, he could be the next to go.

  I wasn’t sad to see the Yankees game against the Tigers get rained out Friday since it meant saying good bye to facing Tiger stud pitcher Justin Verlander and his 100 mile and hour fastball and no-hitter potential twice in this series and if it does goes to 5 games the Yankees will only have to contend twice with 6’8” Doug Fister. Fister was very effective after being picked up from Seattle earlier this year, but he is no Justin Verlander and the Yankees finally got to him in the 6th inning of yesterday's game to take a 1-0 lead in the series behind the stellar pitching of young gun Ivan Nova, who is turning out to be the pitcher that Phil Hughes should have been. All in all, the rainout was a good deal for the Yanks, with the only downside that instead of Sabathia pitching twice, we may have to see A.J. Burnett pitching in the playoff series. I hope Yankee manager Girardi comes to his senses and leaves Burnett on the bench.

  Also saying goodbye is 92 year old Andy Rooney, who will be making his last regular appearance on 60 Minutes this weekend. I don’t watch 60 minutes very much, but I’ve caught Rooney’s 2 or 3 minute show-closing monologues on Yahoo or YouTube in bursts of 10 or 20 for years . Rooney has come in for a lot of ridicule and caricature for the style of his monologues, but I’ve always found them thought provoking and enjoyable. I’ve read most of his books of collected articles, and also enjoy reading his column in the Marshalltown Sunday paper. I like that he says what’s on his mind without a lot of fluff and by the end of his TV bit or article, I know exactly what he thinks and where he stands.

  I’m not an aspiring writer, but I write as a hobby and Rooney has been a big influence on whatever style I may possess. One thing I noticed is that Rooney very rarely uses adjectives or adverbs. (see for yourself). He makes the story so that he doesn’t have to waste words describing the words he does use. After I’m done writing my post, I read it over once again and end up stripping out almost all the adjectives and adverbs and I think I have better posts for it. I’ll miss Rooney and I hope he’s not retiring because he’s sick or dying. It’s pretty cool when a guy who is 92 can still make a living and I hope I’m still writing at that age. Here is another of Andy Rooney’s nutty monologues.

  Christopher Meloni said goodbye to his Elliot Stabler character in Law & Order :Special Victims Unit over the summer after 12 years. Based on a lot of the comments I read on the SVU facebook page, many viewers are going to give up on the show because they won’t get to see Stabler beat some suspect up and call him an a**-wipe. I’m also going to miss those scenes but I’m not going to give up on the show either. I like the show to see the detective work and the crackpot villains, not to see Detective Olivia Benson’s having an alcoholic mother, a rapist father, and no children with a biological clock stuck at 11:59 pm. And I’m pretty bored with Stabler’s problems with his kids and his marriage too. I get it. They have issues. OK? Enough already. Can we catch some rapists and predators, please?

  I’ve seen the first two post-Stabler episodes of SVU and I think the show still has a future. Danny Pino’s Detective Amaro and Kelli Giddish’s Detective Rollins roles are still undefined, but they seemed to fit right in with the rest of the team. The season debut was a knock-off of the IMF chief that got accused of rape in New York a couple of months ago and this week’s episode had the comeuppance of the dad from the Wonder Years after years of abusing young basketball players. Both episodes were long on Olivia’s emotional distress at losing her partner and having to get used to new ones and short on the evil predators and the dark side of the New York streets. Not a single gunshot was fired in the last 2 weeks and I only remember one scene shot at night. I hope NBC will take the money they are saving by not paying Meloni and put it towards some top quality scripts with memorable psychopathic predators and cast them with the best guest stars money can buy. It’s OK to spend a couple of minutes on the angst of the main characters, but the show has listed heavily in that direction over the last few years and I’d rather see the the cat and mouse war between the SVU detectives and the New York predators. When I think back of the great SVU episodes, I’m always drawn to ones like the RDK killer and the Robin Williams and Carol Burnett guest starring roles as opposed to the times where Stabler’s daughter got mad at him or Olivia found out something about her alcoholic mother and rapist father. Interesting cases are what make the Law & Order series and the quicker they get back to that formula and away from soap opera storylines, the better the show will be.