“What are the best and worst things about the broadcasts so far?” – M.T. So far, it’s been pretty grisly from a fan’s perspective, I think. The 10 p.m. EDT start for the Hudson/Martinez matchup was unconscionable. Then, to add unbelievable insult to injury, ESPN adds David Justice to the broadcast booth in violation of the Geneva Convention. I know that everyone watching the game has probably done something during their lives that warrants strict and painful punishment, but inflicting Justice and his commentary on an unsuspecting public was beyond the pale. It’s also possible, if the game was broadcast outside the U.S., that ESPN may have committed an act of war against a number of sovereign nations. But now that they’ve done that, they might as well finish us off with a healthy dose of Chris Berman and his old-10-years-ago nicknames. Should Justice return to the booth, I will personally make an appeal to Amnesty International to begin a letter-writing campaign. I’m pretty sure that if we work together, we can get Bono to make a mission of conscience to Bristol.
The Braves get a PECOTA mini-evaluation. Shannon Stewart is somehow getting support as AL MVP. And Aubrey Huff gets recognition for a job well done. All this and much more news from Atlanta, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay in your Friday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
Ever watch a particular at-bat early in the game and know you’re seeing the pivotal moment? That’s how I felt in the third inning of yesterday’s A’s/Red Sox game. Down 5-0 after gift-wrapping four runs in the bottom of the second, the Sox picked up back-to-back doubles and a walk to cut the lead to 5-1 and place two runners aboard with one out. Todd Walker grounded to first, setting up a Barry Zito/Manny Ramirez battle. This was going to be it. Either the Sox were going to cut the lead to a manageable 5-3, with Ramirez atoning for his brutal misplay of Eric Byrnes’ second-inning fly ball and Zito displaying the inconsistency that had dogged him throughout the year, or the A’s were going to escape with a four-run lead and having turned back the Sox’s attempt to recover from the second inning. When Ramirez flied out to left, the game felt over. It was. The Sox picked up just four singles the rest of the way, with Zito abusing every hitter in the lineup by changing speeds and wielding a Shelley Long-after-"Cheers" curveball.