Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-10-30

10/30/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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The only spin here is on my screwball

“The clock doesn’t matter in baseball. Time stands still or moves backwards. Theoretically, one game could go on forever. Some seem to.” Herb Caen

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Top of the 1st
GOODBYE…FOR NOW
When I begin my daily writing in March, I can never imagine this day when it is all over. But somehow Season Number 8 is now in the books for Billy-Ball. There are about 183 days in the regular season and another 30 days of post-season and every day I am living the moment with all of you.

Who needs reality television when we have baseball, the ultimate game of Survivor? We share the pleasure the pain, the sure things and the uncertainty. We guess and we second-guess and then we guess again. We give thought to what we see and sometimes we respond faster than the time it takes for someone behind you to blow on their horn when the light turns green.

Each day, I pitch another idea that I hope you will catch and share with others. I hope you will tell them that you read this in Billy-Ball because selfishly I hope that someday you can say, “I knew him when…”

I do this because I want to do this more than anything else. I do this because I have a wonderful wife who supports me and changed her life so that I may fulfill my dream. I do this because I want Elizabeth and Jen to be just an iota as proud of me as I am of them. I do this because I hope that someday people will want to hire me as a baseball writer, and not necessarily for baseball, because they like how I write. I do this because receiving an email from you that tells me how much you enjoyed, laughed, cried, appreciated, learned from something I wrote, means more to me than tongues can tell.

I write in anticipation of the reaction of the Coynes, John Shiffert, Brian Englehardt and the rest of the Phillies Posse. I love the fact that I get to reading about their beautiful children. I love that I can wish Eldon and Marika a happy birthday. I look so forward to hearing from Albie and Norman and Charlie and Gene and Jeff and seeing what little tidbit catches their fancy. I love the pleasure that Shilo gets and when I don’t hear from Jim Boyce I get disappointed. Emails from Jenny and Adam and Bob and Aaron and all the wonderful friends in Seattle (yes, I could go to Ivar’s right now) are day-makers. There is Chris and Jay amongst others who help me and I value them so much. I love hearing from Jack, Midge and Andrea, and, of course Aunt Muriel. I savor my emails from cousin Steven that are so delicious I gain five pounds reading them. Then there are my Playground 10 playmates, Pete and Mitch and Bitt whose comments mean the world to me and make me laugh and remind me of good things from my past. I am getting myself into trouble because I’m leaving so many regulars out and already Bruce and Jack and Dick and Greg are getting hurt. But I will say, I write for each of you and I’m glad to do it.

I write so that I can talk to people like Don Larsen and Rico Petrocelli and Bobby Richardson and tell them how much pleasure they gave me when I watched them play. I write so that the relative of a ballplayer long gone says thanks for remembering my uncle. I write for people like Alex Bok because I admire him and the things he does and I want to be a part of that world. I write so that Joe Hamrahi and Robert Harkins and Greg Wyshynski do me the honor of publishing my work. I write so that when someone asks me a baseball question I can provide them with an answer. I write so that I can write some more. Yes, I know this all sounds so selfish but I can’t help but reveling in the pleasure that the Billy-Ball community gives me.

There will be changes this off-season and all for the better with more useful information and more quirky news on Billy-Ball.com. In addition, there will be frequent updates and alerts and there a number of special Hot Stove features ready to be rolled out. Hopefully, I can find some sponsors to help me make more changes possible.

Congratulations and thanks to all the member of the media who show repeatedly how kind and supportive they are. Thanks to the players who give me such pleasure and such aggravation.

Thanks to the game.

Thanks to the game.

Thanks to the game that A. Bartlett Giamatti, Commissioner of Baseball, so aptly described: “It’s designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything is new again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains comes, it stops, and leaves you to face the fall alone.”

See you sooner than you think.

Top of the 2nd
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE TEAM
Thanks to Jerry Malitz, John Shiffert, Brian Reich, and all those others who have joined the Billy-Ball writing team. I look forward to having additional contributions from these outstanding writers during the off-season and into next season.

Would you like to write for Billy-Ball on a regular, semi-regular, quasi-regular or irregular basis?

I am looking for new voices to add to the staff. You will be paid the standard rate of nothing (but love), but, if your pieces are accepted, you will have your work permanently posted on Billy-Ball.com.

Send inquiries or submissions to bill@billy-ball.com

Top of the 3rd
THE BILLY-BALL-AWARDS 2007
AL MVP – Alex Rodriguez
NL MVP – Jimmy Rollins

AL CY YOUNG AWARD – Josh Beckett
NL CY YOUNG AWARD – Jake Peavy

AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – Dustin Pedroia
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – Troy Tulowitzki/Ryan Braun – tie

AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR – Eric Wedge
NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR – Bob Melvin

Top of the 4th
THE BOOK
“Walk-Offs, Last Licks and Final Outs – Baseball’s Grand (and not so Grand) Finales” by Bill Chuck and Jim Kaplan, published by ACTA Sports will be out next February. The Billy-Ball community will be given numerous advance notices.

Top of the 5th
THE LAST TIME – RED SOX CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION
The last time the Red Sox won the championship was in 2004.

In 2004 – the manager was Terry Francona
In 2007 – the manager was Terry Francona

In 2004 – the Red Sox won the World Series, 4-0
In 2007 – the Red Sox won the World Series, 4-0

In 2004 – the Red Sox catcher was Jason Varitek
In 2007 – the Red Sox catcher was Jason Varitek

In 2004 – the Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit to win the ALCS
In 2007 – the Red Sox came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the ALCS

In 2004 – the Red Sox were the AL Wild Card team and defeated the St. Cardinals
In 2007 – the Red Sox defeated the NL Wild Card team, the Colorado Rockies

In 2004 – the winning pitcher in Game 2 of the World Series was Curt Schilling
In 2007 – the winning pitcher in Game 2 of the World Series was Curt Schilling

In 2004 – Mike Timlin pitched in relief in Game 1
In 2007 – Mike Timlin pitched in relief in Game 1

In 2004 – Julian Tavarez was the losing pitcher for the Cardinals in Game 1
In 2007 – Julian Tavarez pitched for the Red Sox but was not on the World Series roster

In 2004 – Tim Wakefield’s catcher was Doug Mirabelli
In 2007 – Tim Wakefield’s catcher was Doug Mirabelli

In 2004 – the Red Sox trailed in the World Series for zero innings
In 2007 – the Red Sox trailed in the World Series for three innings

In 2004 – the Red Sox left fielder was Manny Ramirez
In 2007 – the Red Sox left fielder was Manny Ramirez

In 2004 – the Red Sox third baseman was Bill Mueller, who hit .429
In 2007 – the Red Sox third baseman was Mike Lowell, who hit .400

In 2004 – the World Series MVP was Manny Ramirez
In 2007 – the World Series MVP was Mike Lowell

In 2004 – the Red Sox DH was David Ortiz
In 2007 – the Red Sox DH was David Ortiz

In 2004 – the final Game 4 was in St. Louis on October 27
In 2007 – the final Game 4 was in Denver on October 28

In 2004 – the World Series ended with a groundball back to closer Keith Foulke who threw to Doug Meintkiewicz who kept the ball
In 2007 – the World Series ended with a strikeout by closer Jonathan Papelbon, catcher Jason Varitek stuck the ball in his back pocket

Top of the 6th
CONGRATULATIONS CRAIG
The longtime Houston Astros star, Craig Biggio, won the 2007 Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to a major league player who combines community service with excellence on the field.

Biggio received the trophy Saturday in a ceremony at Coors Field before Game 3 of the World Series. He was picked from among 30 nominees, one from each big league team, by a committee that included the commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, Roberto’s widow.

Biggio retired after this season, his 20th in the major leagues – all with Houston. He became the 27th player to reach 3,000 hits on June 28. Biggio also is the national spokesman for the Sunshine Kids Foundation, which provides support and fun activities for young cancer patients. He visits the Sunshine Kids house regularly and often wore the organization’s pin on his Astros cap.

“The Sunshine Kids are near and dear to my heart and they’re one of the reasons that I stayed there and never left as a free agent,” Biggio said. “We’re not about a cure. We’re about families, we’re about putting smiles on faces.”

Biggio has hosted a yearly baseball party at Minute Maid Park for more than 100 kids with cancer, along with a celebrity golf tournament that has raised more than $2.5-million for the Sunshine Kids Foundation the past 15 years. He’s also participated in several other community service programs with the Astros. He finished his career with 3,060 hits, 1,844 runs scored and 291 homers. His 668 doubles rank fifth on the career list.

CONGRATULATIONS MAGGLIO
Magglio Ordonez of the Tigers won the Luis Aparicio Award, which has become an annual MVVP (Most Valuable Venezuelan Player) award, presented by Venezuelan media. Ordonez received all 100 first-place votes after hitting .363 with 28 home runs and 139 RBI in 2007 for the Tigers.

TEN FINALISTS CHOSEN FOR 2007 HUTCH AWARD
A national committee of Major League Baseball and media representatives has released a list of 10 players, one of whom will go on to receive the prestigious Hutch Award