Off Base
The Unlikeliest of Heroes

October 23, 2007

October 23, 2007

Be honest now. Who's the absolute last guy you expected to save the day for Boston? OK, Eric Gagne, sure. But after him, which guy?

Fine, Julio Lugo. But after Lugo, which guy?

Right, J.D. Drew. Of course, J.D. Drew. David Jonathan Drew. And by the way, I should admit that it took me ten seasons to notice that "J.D." stands for "David Jonathan," rather than "Jonathan David," which would seem to make more sense, so you're off the hook if you missed it too. But when you stop to think about it, is it really all that surprising that Drew would get something as simple as his name in any other manner than the other way around?

And c'mon, did you really expect Drew to hit that slam Saturday night, and with that one swing, perhaps the biggest in a series of big BoSox swings, lead his club to the World Series? Plus another run-scoring hit Saturday, and another Sunday? Now that's a surprise. There's your surprise.

When Vin Scully said "the unthinkable has happened," it was 1988, and he was talking specifically about Kirk Gibson, but he might just as well have been referring to a hundred other October occurrences. The history books overflow with tales of the least-expected men rising up, while their more credentialed teammates do nothing more than come along for the ride.

There's no way to predict. You simply never know how the postseason is going to affect a player. For every .245 postseason hitting Barry Bonds (.216 if you subtract the 2002 World Series), there's a Brian Doyle, or a Billy Hatcher, or a Gene Tenace. For every Alex Rodriguez, there's a Jim Northrup or a Jose Vizciano or a Bill Mazeroski.

For every three-losses-in-one-Series George Frazier, there's a Bruce Kison or a Lew Burdette or a Jack Billingham. Or a Larry Sherry or a Blue Moon Odom or a Moe Drabowsky. And that’s just in my lifetime. There are scores more.

So if you're one of the lonely few in this town (or in any of four others) not particularly enamored of Mr. David Jonathan Drew, take solace. He's just as likely to do something monumentally bad in the Fall Classic, like being tagged out at home with a teammate (or for that matter, two), as he is to accomplish something historic…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Rhetorical Question of the Week: Can't you just see Scott Boras spinning Eric Gagne's scoreless ninth inning of Boston's 12-2 Game Six victory as evidence that the man is in prime form, and worthy of eight-figure salaries, for years to come?

There's also this from Boras: "Looking at the decisions the Yankees have to make is important to Alex. He wants to know who is on the team and who is managing the team." Translation: If the Yanks offer the most bucks, A-Rod stays. If another club has New York beat, and Boras knows for sure in advance, Rodriguez is out of there. Period, end of discussion…

More Yankees: Perhaps Steinbrenner and company could have handled the Joe Torre dismissal better, but it wasn’t all that bad the way they did it. Torre is playing martyr just a wee bit, don't you think? Just a wee bit.

More importantly, any speculation that Torre will end up in Los Angeles is completely ridiculous. You can forget about that right now. There's not a chance in hell. Absolutely no way. Equally ridiculous is the idea that the Yanks might try to pry Grady Little away from the Dodgers, opening a spot for someone more qualified here…but we can pray, can't we….

Media Savvy: Highlights from the past week include this fine piece about assistant general managers, by Tim Kawakami, in the San Jose Mercury News.

And this, from Rotoworld: "Agent Matt Sosnick said he ran into Marlins CEO Larry Beinfest at a supermarket on Saturday and came away believing Dontrelle Willis wouldn't be traded. Who needs to waste cell phone minutes when it's a well-known fact that Beinfest spends most of the day hanging out in frozen foods?"

And special props to Tom Hoffarth, for his wonderful "L.A. athletes play the numbers game" series, in the Daily News…

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

A Personal Note: Not to get all choked up here, but I did want to share a note about the passing of my beloved dog, Dax. Dax Scott Cole, to be precise. Female, German Shepherd, about 75 pounds. Beautiful, smart, sweet, and as five-tool a canine as you can possibly imagine.

Reliable as Cal Ripken and loyal as Tony Gwynn. Strong as Mike Piazza, swift as Juan Pierre, but with a much better arm. She and I had an agreement. Stick around until the Dodgers won a pennant, which I realize now was too much to ask. I hurt like I did the day Tom Lasorda pitched to Jack Clark with first base open and Andy Van Slyke on deck.

But I'll be all right. Because I always remember; and in fact I know, glove conquers all….








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