DLD 9.29.11 - Soxenfreude edition

So, in case you missed it, former A's first baseman Dan Johnson had a huge hand in last night's elimination of the hated Boston Red Sox. (Video)

Also watch Baltimore's Robert Andino hang a BS and an L on Jonathan Papelbon.

Want more schadenfreude? Bill Simmons' running diary of Game 162.

8:13 — NESN tries to jinx Scutaro by prematurely naming him the "Papa Gino's Performer of the Game." Doesn't work. He hits a one-out single to right. What happens next? Crawford comes through with a double into the gap in left. Wendell Kim's spirit invades our third-base coach's body. He sends Scutaro. Scutaro gets thrown out on a bang-bang play at home. That's our third guy thrown out tonight. Aviles quickly pops up to end the inning. I can type only in short bursts.

8:45 — Yup, they just intentionally walked Gonzalez for the third time tonight … and Lavarnway hits into a double play to kill the top of the ninth. (The lesson, as always: Maybe it's not a good idea to bat someone fifth in the biggest game of the season when he wasn't good enough to play 48 hours ago. I was wrong.) The good news: Now Joey Gathright is batting cleanup if we go into extra innings. A minute later, my man Desmond Jennings (batting .170 in September) flies out to kill a Tampa rally in the 12th.

"Daddy needs another drink," Daniel says. That's going to be the title of my 2011 Red Sox book.

9:02 — Andino rips a single to left, Crawford dives for it, should catch it, seems like he's going to catch it … can't catch it. Throws home … too late. Game over. Baltimore 4, Boston 3. Season (probably) over.

9:03 — (Speechless.)

9:04 — (Speechless.)

9:05 — (Speechless.)

9:06 — Home run, Longoria. Tampa Bay 8, New York 7.

9:07 — In the car.

And so it went for the 2011 Red Sox, the biggest chokers of any Boston team in my lifetime. 

On a happier note, Joe Posnanski also weighed in on last night's events.

Meanwhile in Seattle, Gio Gonzalez was pretty awesome. SBN's Jeff, also not bad. Signing him to a long-term contract should be AN's first offseason priority.

I don't mean this night, the Mariners game. Do not remember this Mariners game. It was a horrible Mariners game. Remember this night, for all the drama elsewhere. All of the improbable drama that seemed so impossible as late as earlier this very evening. Remember of how much baseball is capable when baseball's at its best.

Baseball doesn't have to feel as monotonous as it's so often felt. Baseball can make you hang on every pitch. Baseball can bring you out of your seat. Baseball can vault you through the ceiling or drop you through the floor. It isn't always like that, but if it were always like that, that wouldn't be special. Sometimes, you have to wade through an awful lot of baseball to get to the Baseball! that makes everything worth it.

A lot of people have grown beyond weary of the Mariners always trotting out heroes from the 1995 season. I get it, because it seems like a crutch, and it's silly to live in the past when the future's so much more important, but then, consider what the 1995 season represents. I don't look at those ceremonies as celebrating what the Mariners once accomplished anymore. Now I look at them as reminders of how baseball once made us feel. It's important to remember that baseball can do that. Given the state of things, it's important to be reminded.


The front page teaser on this story is slightly misleading.

Six months ago, the A's were considered to be legitimate contenders in the AL West. What went wrong? Susan Slusser.

Did she play some infield, too? It's all a blur now.

Art Howe was very unhappy over his portrayal in Moneyball.

"I don't know how you can get away with saying it's a true movie," Howe said. "I like how in the movie, it's Billy Beane who's the one who tells Mike Magnante he's being released, and he tells Magnante, 'Thank you so much for everything, Mike.'

"Give me a break. I'm the one who had to tell Magnante, and he was less than a week away from getting his full pension. I like Mike, I tried hard to get him those days, I told them to put him on the DL to get him the time; it wouldn't have cost them anything."

Billy Beane responds.

Beane, who was consulted for the movie but not involved in the actual making of it, said that simply wasn't true.

"I was wondering who was going to be the first guy to think I produced, wrote or directed this movie," Beane told this newspaper. "Now I have my answer. (Howe's) comments are completely misguided."

Beane cut off any other questions relating to the movie.

Also, there was an interesting Billy Beane feature in the NY Times recently.

But the more efficient baseball becomes as a market, I asked him, the worse it is for you, right?

“Oh, yeah!” he said, and laughed. He imagines a future for baseball, perhaps not too far off, when the haves — the Yankees, Red Sox, maybe the Dodgers — could split off into their own division, becoming “superfranchises, similar to what you have in soccer,” he said. In European professional soccer, which Beane has become increasingly obsessed with, you have the Champions League, which is loaded with superpowers like Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid, who slug it out in a kind of tournament of the gods. “I think in baseball we’re headed that way,” he said. “Where you have superfranchises that are just getting huge. Where that leaves a lot of the other teams, we’ll see.” It goes without saying, though, that the A’s wouldn’t be asked to join that league of superteams.


In non-baseball reading... there was a great feature in Esquire recently about Justin Timberlake.

It's kind of nice to be greeted so warmly when you walk toward an elevator, to make an instant connection with strangers. Here we are, wearing out-of-the-bag Bert and Ernie costumes, my flip-flops clacking away and a sliver of Timberlake's wifebeater showing below the bottom of his shirt and his money stuffed into his sock, and this young couple is really delighted to be riding down in the elevator with us. It's like they've forgotten that real people are inside the costumes. We're not men anymore. We're joy. We're fantasy.

Timberlake's a genius. This really is going to be awesome. It doesn't matter that our costumes suck; it might even be better that they do. All that matters is that we're going to be loved.

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