The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

ALCS Fallout: Yankees Done; Red Sox Delay Inevitable Disappointment

Some of today’s content is real and some is made up. You are on your own to determine what is what:
Reliable sources have told me that this year’s World Series will be played, despite the fact that the Yankees were eliminated last night (the link is worth the click just for the title of the article). As soon as last night’s game ended rumors began to circulate that the World Series would be called off this year, for the second time ever and the second time during Bud Selig’s tenure, as George Steinbrenner had offered to make a substantial increase to his revenue sharing payments if the Series could be called off until he was able to field a more competitive team until next year.

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the World Series will go on as planned – well, after the National League determines a champion. Steinbrenner and Selig, allegedly, will continue to discuss a plan whereby which a team that loses the 7th game of a League Championship Series or a World Series can make a “significant” contribution to the league’s general fund and in turn have the series extended to a best of nine format, with the final two games being played at the donor’s home park.

Other fallout and expected fallout from last night’s Yankees debacle:
The Yankees are filing a protest to the league regarding the outcome of last night’s game. Their contention is that Red Sox manager Terry Francona was not really at the helm last night, and instead, team mascot and friend of Pedro Martinez, Pedro de la Rosa was making the call on pitching changes for the Red Sox. The Yankees grievance is that de la Rosa is not a member of the Yankees coaching staff and is thus not allowed to make such decisions. Former slugger Jason Giambi allegedly first came to this realization when no other logical explanation could be made for Pedro Martinez being brought into the seventh inning of last night’s game. Giambi, as you of course remember, is well aware of the rules regarding who is allowed in the clubhouse and who is not, as he had to break the unfortunate bad news to his long time personal stretcher that he was no longer allowed to accompany Giambi to the stadium.

George Steinbrenner’s expected offseason moves:

  1. Carlos Beltran is signed to at least the second biggest contract in the history of baseball. His deal will be rivaled only by Alex Rodriguez’s, and it is not out of the realm of possibility that Beltran’s deal could out value ARod.com/A-Fraud’s.
  2. If the Red Sox go on to win the World Series, they will be less likely to be able to sign Pedro Martinez. However, if the Sox fail to win the title, expect to see Pedro Martinez in pinstripes next year. As part of his Yankees contract, Martinez gives up all rights to “Who’s your Daddy?” merchandise, and Nelson de la Rosa also agrees to become the team’s official mascot and bat boy for the duration of Martinez’s tenure in New York.
  3. Carl Pavano is probably on his way to the Bronx already.
  4. The Yankees trade for Marlins All-Star third baseman Mike Lowell. The domino effect moves ARod.com to his natural position of shortstop and forces Derek Jeter to second base. As a result of the emotional trauma stemming from his move to second base, Jeter admits that despite his long list of celebrity girlfriends, it’s all been a front to hide his long standing relationship with Mets catcher Mike Piazza. Off color rumors about Jeter's objections to the Mets moving Piazza to a position other than catcher ensue.
  5. The Yankees trade a lump of cash to the Texas Rangers in exchange for regaining the services of Alfonso Soriano. While the Yankees don’t have a regular position for Soriano to play, he is converted into an uber-utility player (spelling Jeter, ARod.com, Lowell, and even Beltran) and pinch-runner extraordinaire.
  6. Soon after the Lowell trade is made, Steinbrenner issues a press release explaining the situation. He states that Rodriguez is a perennial loser and this move is an attempt to shake things up. He goes on to say that the trade is intended to be a wake-up call to Jeter, who has been at the center of the Yankees failures since 2001. Steinbrenner also asks that fans and media cease referring to Jeter as “clutch” until he actually contributes to the Yankees winning a World Series.
  7. ARod.com is sent to a running coach during the offseason so that the Yankees can avoid any future embarrassments from ARod.com’s “natural running motion.”
    Bubba Crosby is unceremoniously given his outright release. When asked for a comment on the decision, George Steinbrenner replies, “Name me the last World Championship team that had a guy named ‘Bubba’ on it’s roster.”
  8. Steinbrenner establishes a shell company that attempts to buy the Montreal Expos/Washington Senators franchise. The ruse is discovered only because the bid put in for the team is so exorbitantly high that it merits a thorough investigation. After being caught, Steinbrenner explains that he felt it was his only choice, as the Yankees farm system is depleted (blame laid at the feet of Brian Cashman) and there aren’t enough quality free agents on the market to allow the Yankees to reload. By buying the Expos, Steinbrenner would have acquired enough quality prospects to make the moves necessary to build his team into a winner.
  9. Yankee Stadium Announcer Bob Sheppard is admitted to a hospital on December 15th to be treated for sleep depravation. Friends and family state that for nearly two months he has only uttered two phrases – “Ttttttttttthhhhhhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeee Yankees lose” and “Tttttttttttttttttttthhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeee Red Sox win.” His incessant raving is only interrupted by uncontrollable sobbing.

Special guest commentary from White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson:
Mike: So Hawk, what do you think will happen to some of the Yankees? Who’s going to be back next year?
Joe Torre – he gone.
Brian Cashman – he gone.
Mel Stottlemyre – he gone.
Miguel Cairo – he gone.
Stevie Loiaza – he gone. The Esteban thing – that gone too.
Javier Vazquez, 2004 American League All-Star – he gone.
Kenny Lofton – he gone.
John Olerud – he gone.
Jason Giambi – he gone.
Kevin Brown – he gone.
Potentially injuring inducing dugout and clubhouse equipment – it gone.

World Series Prediction
In case you haven’t been watching closely at home, all of this is clearly scripted. The Red Sox lose the first three games and do not look good at all. Then they pull out some nailbiters and cap it off with a blowout win in Game Seven at Yankee Stadium. Puh-lease.

This series can only end one way – the National League team, whether it’s the Astros or the Cardinals will win. The series will go seven games. I cannot predict how the series will end (a Fisk quality walk off home run in game six of 1975 and a Buckner moment in game six of 1986 are already taken), but it will be spectacular. I suspect that some of the most creative writer’s on Fox’s Hollywood movie staff are working on the finale, and all the other twists and turns right now.

While there is no curse, the curse will live. In the offseason, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein’s biggest acquisition will be a team psychologist, who will not only help the team, but its fans. The psychologist will make everyone aware of the psychosomatic ramifications of the curse. Theo will try to convince everyone that it’s all in their heads. We won’t know until next October though if anyone is buying it.

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