JMB · October 21, 2004 at 6:41 am · Filed Under Mariners 

The biggest collapse in the history of professional sports.

And it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving team.


88 Responses to “ALCS”

  1. Eric on October 21st, 2004 11:24 am

    My predictions:

    Vasquez is the centerpiece in a trade for the Big Unit, Yankees sign Pedro and a couple over priced set-up relievers.

    George likes big names

  2. Jim Thomsen on October 21st, 2004 11:34 am

    I like Derek Jeter less than perhaps anyone on earth, but I do give him credit for saying flat-out in a radio interview replayed this morning on KOMO: “The better team won. We didn’t do the job. There are no excuses. We can only look to ourselves.”

  3. Evan on October 21st, 2004 11:36 am

    NY needs to teach Bernie to play 1B, because Giambi needs to DH.

    I just hope Giambi doesn’t let them off the hook by retiring; I want him to collect all of his $120 million.

  4. Joshua Buergel on October 21st, 2004 11:37 am

    Watching the game last night at Jillian’s, a friend and I were commenting on how the Sox hitters weren’t even twitching when Vazquez threw a breaking ball. It looked to me like they knew it was coming, making me wonder if they figured out he was tipping it.

  5. Evan on October 21st, 2004 11:41 am

    I’m also worried Brian Cashman might get fired one year too soon. We need him to leave New York after next season so we can hire him to replace Bavasi.

  6. Anthony on October 21st, 2004 11:52 am

    “It looked to me like they knew it was coming, making me wonder if they figured out he was tipping it.”

    Is it just me, or is every failure by a Yankee pitcher met with suspicions of tipped pitches? Which raises the question: what the heck does Mel Stottlemyre actually do?

  7. Matt S. on October 21st, 2004 12:06 pm

    Re: Stottlemyre: It sure seems like a lot of pitchers successful elsewhere absolutely suck in NY. To throw a few reasons out — (1) George insists on a right-handed staff (at least this year), unsuited for Yankee Stadium; (2) the Yankee defense is awful; (3) too many veterans past their prime; or (4) at least some of it is on Stottlemyre’s hands. It at least seems Stottlemyre is a net negative compared with the Duncans, Mazzones, and Petersons of the world.

  8. Joshua Buergel on October 21st, 2004 12:54 pm

    It certainly could have been just lousy pitching from Vazquez, lord knows he’s done plenty of that. But it still looked to me like the Red Sox hitters were just spitting on the breaking ball. It’s no excuse for anything, I was just wondering if anybody else saw that.

  9. Eric on October 21st, 2004 1:10 pm

    If it is pitches being tipped I wonder if it is Posada that tips location or pitch? An older catcher who has caught a lot of innings (did he get any rest at all the entire postseason?) may need to cheat on his positioning.

    I think it was just bad pitching/not handling the pressure + Damon jumping on what he expected would be a get ahead fast ball with the bases loaded. Once the Sox were up 6-0 the whole dynamic changed.

  10. mfan on October 21st, 2004 1:25 pm

    I’m pretty sure I’ve got Vazquez figured out. He threw harder when he was in Canada, but now he has to play for an American team and the exchange rate took 4 MPH off of his fastball. Since Seattle is also in America, it would be foolish to try and acquire him.

  11. Ralph Malph on October 21st, 2004 1:40 pm

    Yes but the Canadian dollar is way up…which probably explains why Vazquez’ velocity was up in the playoffs.

  12. Bluefish Tuna on October 21st, 2004 1:55 pm

    Can anyone explain Brain Cashman’s reputation? I know when he was hired, he came with, for some reason, a wunkerkind reputation, but didn’t the Yankees world series run occur under Bob Watson? Getting John Wettland, Paul O’Neil, Tino Martinez, David Cone, david wells, Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Stanton, Scott Brosius and co. For his entire time there, I remember being confused why Watson was thought to be only a symbolic figure, a generic part of the Yankee baseball group similar to Duquette of the Mets, someone who didn’t make the decisions which were ultimately left to Steinbrenner and Gene Michaels. He certainly doesn’t get any credit for the Yankees success that I know of. And I think he left because he wasn’t getting respect from the Yankees, who let him go because now they were going to put someone really talented and smart in Cashman in a real role. Imagine the improvements!

    I can’t imagine Cashman, without relatively unlimited funds, being very successful. Has he made a trade that’s worked out? Brown, Vasquez, Loaiza, Weaver, even A-rod haven’t turned out so good. The first four have been embarrassing flops. And their farm system is a joke. With such a large payroll all they had was a imposing great lineup but no bench, a limited, not too flexible bullpen, inconsistent starting pitching and no speed. These are glaring and very confusing flaws. Or was this all because of Steinnbrenner’s meddling? And even if it is, what then has Cashman done to be considered a top GM?

    And another thing, I respect Joe Torre but is it purely a coincidence that Torre’s managing was less than stellar–use of bullpen, pinch-hitting and-running and the lack thereof–the first year Dom Zimmer left. Torre became a genius not only the year he got to New York but also when he hooked with Zimmer. Torre looked to have only Mel Stottlemyre to consult and he struggled. But still, the Yankees were also a few breaks from sweeping and they did win over a hundred games, so who knows?

  13. Sports Gal on October 21st, 2004 2:17 pm

    This excerpt taken from the NY Post Article today, written by Joel Sherman:

    “Rodriguez was hailed upon his acquisition as even more valuable to the Yanks than mystique and aura. But A-Rod disappeared as the ALCS transpired and so did mystique and aura – probably forever. The Yanks became the first major league team to blow a three-games-to-none playoff lead, finishing off the lowest moment in the organization’s history with an embarrassing 10-3 loss to the Red Sox. Suddenly, that Bill Mazeroski homer 44 years ago feels like a gnat bite.”

    “The Curse of the Bambino was just eight years old then. It is over now, ending in The House that Ruth Built. Ending without A-Rod honoring the lineage that tied him to Ruth – the great slugger who escaped from the Red Sox to the Yankees and brought hex and horror upon Boston.”

    “Ultimately, A-Rod proved more inspirational to the Red Sox than detrimental. His 2004 image against Boston will be having Jason Varitek’s glove in his face and his hand chopping Bronson Arroyo’s glove – all while never laying a glove on the Red Sox. Both instances riled up Boston. Yesterday Curt Schilling went on ESPN-Radio to put down A-Rod’s professionalism. Rodriguez refused to fire back before the game. He had a chance to answer with his bat. But there was no reply.”

    “Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui disappeared, as well. GM Brian Cashman’s pitching acquisitions were insufficient. And even Joe Torre and Mariano Rivera – usually October saints in these parts – took hits to their reputations. But they have accomplishments around here that will not soon be forgotten.

    A-Rod does not. He is the guy who fled Seattle and the Mariners got better, forced his way out of Texas and the Rangers improved, and joined the Yanks and The Curse ended. He said afterward that it is a team game and he is “just one out of 25 players.” But that surely was not his negotiating strategy when he got $252 million, was it – I am just one of the guys? Or when he used his status to shed the Rangers. And he is never going to be just another guy in this rivalry, not after coming so close to being a Red Sox only to bring further dismay to New England by winding up a Yankee.

    “There might be some symbolism there,” he said. “I don’t know.”

    The symbolism is that A-Rod was the face of a Yankee team not as tough as Boston. The Red Sox were Michael Corleone in the final scene of “The Godfather,” settling all scores accumulated over 86 frustrating years. Rodriguez was supposed to make sure that never happened. He was supposed to be the new Ruth. He started well this postseason against Minnesota and initially Boston. But that is not what counts here.

    He so badly wanted into this rivalry, first as a Red Sox, then as a Yankee. Another warning to be careful what you wish for. Because starting last night a new reality had swept baseball — The Curse of A-Rod.”

    I love it!!!

  14. Paul Covert on October 21st, 2004 2:20 pm

    Indeed, A-Rod’s desperation play on Bronson Arroyo gives a whole new meaning to the expression “The Sultan of Swat.” 🙂

  15. Bob on October 21st, 2004 2:27 pm

    The hatred with Yankees is misplaced. I wish M’s had an owner like George instead of the one who is more like “we are projecting a loss next year so we can’t spend money”.

    Big Stein overpaying is a problem though for the Yanks. I don’t know how much influence he has over Brian Cashman in signings. Torre was too timid in this series. Any manager who let a collapse of this magnitude happen by not shaking things up is not a good one.

  16. Ralph Malph on October 21st, 2004 2:47 pm

    For myself, I don’t hate the Yankees because they spend money. I hate the Yankees because of the arrogance of their fans.

  17. RealRhino on October 21st, 2004 2:53 pm

    Count me in as questioning Cashman’s rep for a while now. How do you spend $180 million and still end up with holes in the offense/bullpen AND have a drained farm system? The paradigm in MLB these days should be that you pay EITHER money or prospects, not BOTH. And it wasn’t just this year, with Giambi’s injury giving Cashman a little bit of a pass. They were still running two of Cairo/Sierra/Lofton out there every day. Last year they had Boone (overrated). In previous years they’ve had corner OF like Shane Spencer as regulars. How does this happen with $180 million? And the trades? Ted Lilly vs. Jeff Weaver now? Jay Witasick? Ugh.

  18. RealRhino on October 21st, 2004 2:56 pm

    If there’s one thing I can say in Cashman’s favor, it’s that he did sign three BIG contracts just before the bottom fell out of the market, which are now a burden (or would be a burden to a team with a finite payroll): Jeter, Bernie, Giambi.

  19. AK1984 on October 21st, 2004 3:35 pm

    Okay, has any else on this forum read that somebody died during an altercation between crazy Boston fans and police last night, after the Red Sox’s victory over the Yankees…? Even if you have not, I think you all should recognize that Boston fans are as asinine as New York fans; however, they are not as doltish as most Seattle fans, which is a positive—I guess.

  20. Anthony on October 21st, 2004 4:14 pm

    Point in Cashman’s favor: by all accounts, he handles the pressure of the job better than anyone in the game. Between The Boss (now firmly entrenched in “Bad George” mode) and the New York media (speaking as a New Yorker, I can assure you Cashman always becomes the face of the organization when something bad happens) he can get berated from twelve different directions when the team *only* wins by one. He also works the phone lines better than any GM (at least according to Gammons). And there was the high praise from Billy Beane about how “brilliantly” Cashman maneuvered the ARod deal. He communicates well, is remarkably upfront with the media, and at least seems open-minded.

    The only question about Cashman, in my mind, is his philosophy on how to build a team. Okay, that’s a huge question. But in his current role, we can’t tell what is and isn’t his idea. He seems to be aware and open to both old school and sabermetric doctrines. If I were Seattle, I think he’d be worth the risk to find out.

  21. IgnatiusReilly on October 21st, 2004 4:17 pm

    I’ve read it. Shouldn’t it be a(NOTHER) lesson on police brutality rather than a dig on fans that were out trying to have a good time? I hope her death isn’t tossed aside as “dumb fans”.

  22. Matt Williams on October 21st, 2004 4:37 pm

    AK1984 hmm, but Yankees fans still have the record for worst behavior sparked by the series. After game 5 a Yankees fan shot and killed his friend, a Red Sox fan. Wounded two others. These sorts of incidents aren’t really indicative of the entire fanbase in general. Take a huge group of people, give them huge emotional highs and lows, and pump in enough alcohol and the odds of one of them doing somthing stupid get pretty good. Someone in that group will be unstable, stupid, or violent even to cause problems. You could even do it with librarians, if you could find the right stimulation.


  23. Gregor on October 21st, 2004 4:37 pm

    AK1984 (#69) and Ignatius (#71): I don’t think any of us have nearly enough facts on this tragedy to judge whether this is an issue of fan stupidity, of police brutality, or both.

    That said, even if it was the former, it still wouldn’t allow us to draw any conclusions on Boston fans at large. Remember, a couple of years ago somebody was stabbed to death after an M’s game in the Safeco parking lot. I wouldn’t say that that proves that Seattle fans are crazy (although the perpetrator in that case cleary was).

  24. Aaron on October 21st, 2004 4:40 pm

    Wow, how do you like this:

    According to Clay Davenport’s postseason Monte Carlo simulations, Boston had a 4.1586% chance of coming back from a 3-0 deficit. That’s basically a 1-in-25 shot.

    As of right now, in the history of 7 game series’ where one team goes up 3-0, the team that’s behind is 1-for-25 in coming back to win.

    Gotta love it when statistics work out. 🙂

  25. IgnatiusReilly on October 21st, 2004 4:53 pm

    And Oakland, and L.A., and hundreds of times in soccer cities around the world…

    It is pretty sad though that this is getting used on various message boards as a “See, Boston fans are the worst” line. Someone DIED. Presumably from a bean bag gun to the head (and if true, last I checked, non-lethal devices aren’t supposed to be used on the head – so I’d stick with my claim of police brutality or incompetence).

  26. Matt Williams on October 21st, 2004 5:02 pm

    Aaron but that doesn’t really line up with what has been seen in other sports. I wasn’t paying enough attention, but Fox flashed something before game 7 that had (IIRC) MLB, NHL, and the NBA. In 238 7 game series where a team went up 3-0 only two teams lost. Both in NHL (they had the vast bulk of the numbers, probably since they put so many teams into the playoffs).

    I can think of a couple reasons why the stats for all the sports might be skewed. It’s rare that evenly matched teams will go 3-0 in a series, it’s most likely to happen with heavily mismatched teams, in which case the percentage of the team down winning 4 in a row plummets. Plus there’s the discouragement factor.

  27. IgnatiusReilly on October 21st, 2004 5:06 pm

    From SI:

    “Victoria Snelgrove, a journalism major at Emerson College in Boston, was shot in the eye by a projectile fired by an officer on crowd-control duty. The nature of the projectile was not immediately identified but officers were armed with weapons meant to be non-lethal.

    During a news conference carried live on local television stations, Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole apologized to Snelgrove’s family and said the agency “accepts full responsibility for the death of Victoria Snelgrove.

    “The Boston Police Department is devastated by this tragedy. This terrible event should never have happened,” O’Toole said.”

  28. Kevin on October 21st, 2004 5:10 pm

    Ignatius – do you happen to have the article? I agree with Gregor that without the facts it is impossible to make a judgement. It is possible that in a crowd of people someone ducked when the beanbag was shot and it hit her in the head. It is very sad and my prayers are with her family but it may just be a tragic accident with no ill-will intended. Please curb your anti-police bias until you have more facts.

  29. Kevin on October 21st, 2004 5:18 pm

    Ignatius – thanks for the article, you posted it while I was typing mine. Do you have more information about the situation? If police were firing to keep the crowd under control then that sounds a lot like a riot.

  30. James T on October 21st, 2004 5:41 pm

    It *was* a lot like a riot. The problem is that Boston University is very close to the park and Northeastern university is not far away. It’s at least questionable how many of the revelers in Kenmore Square and outside the park were fans and how many were students simply more interested in having several beers and some fun than writing papers. All four local channels showed some footage from copters flying above the area and even at that level of detail you could see some jackasses just being casual vandals.

  31. LB on October 21st, 2004 5:53 pm
  32. Rob on October 21st, 2004 7:22 pm

    This might help clear some things up, i just wrote this up.

    Ok, I am going to come out and make some comments on the celebrations in boston over the last 4 years.

    I am currently a senior at Northeastern University. I will say this about most celebrations, 95% of the people are peaceful, but a few jackass use it as a reason to break shit and cause chaos. My freshman year when the pats won, there were celebrations, and one car was flipped on hemenway(a major road by NU). The Police did NOTHING to break it up, they just let the kids party in the streets. It wasn’t too bad though, no real injuries. The last pats superbowl victory they tried to stop the celebrations, but the problem is this, they had the chance to break it up, they had the riot gear police waiting, but they DIDN’T DO ANYTHING. Five cars were flipped, and less then 50yards away, 25 cops in riot gear sat in a line blocking off the street.

    That night somebody was killed and another critically injured by a DRUNK DRIVER, who sped down a small street(20mph is fast), at about 45mph, smashing into a crowd of people. This occurred in the area around NU, however NU took the blunt of the reports. It was a non NU student was was driving drunk into a crowd of people.

    Again this all relates to last nights events, there were 70-80 thousand people around fenway, mostly peaceful. The problem occurred when the Boston police fired on people who had climbed 10feet up on the back of the monster(steel support beams). They gave NO warning to the people to get down, but instead fired upon them making people jump or fall off. I personally believe if they had went up and forced the people who were near away, and then told the people to get off or they would fire upon them, they all would of got off.

    Now to the girl, I am not sure if she was on the monster, I believe she was on the other side of the street(for those of you that know that area, near the parking lot were manny bounced a ball off of into the pike). I am not sure if she was shot over there or while on the monster, but it didn’t take that long for two ambulances to show up and help her out. Like what IgnatiusReilly said, she was shot in the eye, and non lethal devices aren’t supposed to be used on the head.

    I believe the cops were doing their best, but they could of done better. The firing on the crowd without warning was a shock, I saw the 5 cops with the non lethal guns appear and prepare to fire, and I made sure I wasn’t near them. I did watch them just unload on the monster and the people on it to get them off.

    You can’t blame it on only the colleges as well, BU and NU and the other colleges around fenway(emerson and some other really small ones) don’t total 80,000 students. Not all students were there, I saw quite a few people who were over 30 and some over 40 down there.

  33. book on October 21st, 2004 8:18 pm

    Hey all. Let the euphoria wash over y’all.

    Did the Yankees win the most games of any team in the AL this year?
    Why yes they did?

    Did Mussina, Vazquez, and (especially) Giambi suffer off-years?
    Yeah, I’d say so.

    Does Bernie still hit well enough to be an asset in LF or DH?
    Actually, yes.

    Maybe the Yanks aren’t destroyed quite yet.

  34. Vexorg on October 21st, 2004 9:36 pm

    Maybe the Yanks aren’t destroyed quite yet.

    How about now?

  35. James T on October 22nd, 2004 7:47 am

    According to their runs scored and runs allowed, the yankees, by Bill James’ pythagorean calcualtion, should have come up with 89 wins. They won 101. Hello plexiglass!

  36. Konaice on October 22nd, 2004 1:15 pm

    Ok, I’m officially starting the rumor of the Curse of Arod. Well, I’m not the first to say it, but his poor sportsmanship cost the Yanks Game 5, and he hasn’t helped any team he’s been on since leaving the Ms.

    His performance in the PostSeason was lackluster at best, yes he got a couple home runs, but never at cirtical times.

    Everywhere he goes there seems to be a Let Arod do it mentality by players making the minimum, and his personality would seem to suggest he lords it over the kids on the team to the point of resentment.

    So the Curse of Arod it is….

  37. LB on October 24th, 2004 12:07 am

    #85: The Pythagorean win number for the Yankees is misleading, because when they were getting beaten in games they were obviously not going to win, Torre would send scrub pitchers out to the mound to get the remaining outs or die trying.

  38. Matt Williams on October 24th, 2004 1:13 am

    LB every team throws in scrubs in a blowout. I didn’t follow the Yanks enough to know if they were worse than an average team, but in the past position players have grabbed quite a few pitching innings in massive blowouts.