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Monday, September 22, 2003
A's avoid sweep, rout surging Mariners. Ted Lilly and three relievers combined for a shutout. Oakland's lead in the AL West is back up to 4 games, with 6 to go. (Yahoo!)

Martinez helps Red Sox stop Indians. Pedro and two relievers combined for a shutout. Boston's lead in the AL wild-card race is back up to 2 1/2 games, with 7 to go. (Yahoo!)

The Red Sox have been in an offensive slump lately, scoring just 26 runs in their last 9 games (1, 2, 8, 3, 0, 4, 2, 4, 2). But they've gone 5-4 in those games, thanks largely to Martinez, Derek Lowe, Tim Wakefield and John Burkett. Since August 20, the Sox are 20-9.

Tigers tie AL record with 117th loss. They were swept by the Twins, who are on the verge of clinching the AL Central. (Yahoo!)

Prior dominates as Cubs beat Pirates. The Cubs pulled to within a half-game of the Astros, who lost to the Cardinals. (Yahoo!)

Phillies can't take over wild-card lead. They lost, and the Marlins lost. The Cubs/Astros (whoever doesn't win the Central) and Dodgers are still in the race, too. (Yahoo!)

Bill Simmons:
When HBO's documentary about the Red Sox launched this week, some of my readers wondered why I wasn't involved. Apparently I was missed: The media's latest effort to perpetuate a ghost story, misrepresent Red Sox fans and portray them as doom-and-gloom lunatics just wasn't the same without me.

[Later...]

For the most part, Sox fans have been pretty fortunate. Including me. Over the past three decades, I watched an inordinate amount of winning teams (more than any other franchise in baseball), as well as stars like Lynn, Fisk, Tiant, Rice, Yaz, Eckersley, Evans, Mo, Nomar and Manny. I was blessed with the chance to see Clemens and Pedro in their primes -- two of the best pitchers of the past 50 years. Dave Henderson's homer against the Angels remains one of the great sports moments of my life. Same with Pedro coming out of the bullpen and blanking Cleveland in the '99 playoffs (conspicuously missing from the documentary, of course). And for all its faults, Fenway (in the right seats) is still the best place in the country to watch baseball.

And then there's this: From 1999 to 2001, I could scalp tickets and watch the best pitcher of my lifetime, in the best setting on the planet, for less than $75 a pop. Maybe that doesn't make up for the championship drought. Few things would. But on those nights when Pedro had it going -- when he truly had it going -- there wasn't anywhere else on the planet you wanted to be. I will never see someone pitch like that again. Ever. Not in my lifetime.
(ESPN.com)

Hidden humility. Dan LeBatard on Barry Bonds. (Miami Herald)

Jay Jaffe: "Bonds' performance in the face of his father's losing battle with cancer has changed my thinking on the man. It's not just the fireworks he's produced -- the game-winning homer upon returning to the team after a weekend spent visiting his ailing father, the home run in his first game back following his father's death (in a game he later left because of an accelerated heartbeat), the game-winning hit two nights later after being released from the hospital following treatment for exhaustion. It's that he's doing all of this with a heavy heart, able to shut out his grief only long enough to step into the one place he's in control, the batter's box, and perform at a level that may be unparalleled." (Futility Infielder)

John Mangels and Susan Vinella present an "in-depth, inside look at the remaking of the Indians." (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Bernie Miklasz: "I'll say it again: La Russa deserved better from his players; unlike them, at least he brought intensity to his mission on a daily basis. But La Russa couldn't keep his players going. And for that, he should be held accountable. La Russa would be the first to say that; he HAS said it. But does he really mean it?" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Keeping Up With Jones. Richard Lederer on Chipper. (Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT)



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