Bouncing here and there while taking a break from madly penning the script for “Boogie Nights 2.” Julian Tavarez has first rights.
The Atlanta Braves sure aren’t. Chipper Jones let loose on the situation earlier this week, and today it’s Jeff Francoeur, who rightly points out that the Braves are getting jobbed this season by having to play the AL Central, as well as six against the Red Sox, their “natural rival.”
“I don’t think it’s all that fair,” Francoeur told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They say it all works out, but shoot, [we’ve] got the Red Sox, the Twins, the Indians and the Tigers. It’s not exactly the easiest schedule in America.”
Much ado about nothing? Not really. Consider the last time the Red Sox got off to a start this good, you have to go back to 2002, when they were 40-17 entering interleague action. But that squad went just 6-13 against the NL and ended up finishing 10½ games behind the Yankees in the AL East, six games behind the Angels in the wild card standings. After that hot start, the Sox went just 53-52 the rest of the way, but was 47-39 against AL opponents. Interleague play didn’t keep the Red Sox out of the playoffs on its own, but it certainly didn’t help.
Of course, it would also help if the Braves could beat arguably the worst team in baseball, but that’s a story for a more convenient time.
The New York Post’s George King writes, “Nineteen days ago, George Steinbrenner gave Joe Torre and Brian Cashman lukewarm votes of confidence when the Yankees were 5½ games behind the Red Sox. Now, the Mets and Red Sox are poised to kick more dirt in the Boss’ face and you wonder how much more he will take. Especially since the Yankees were 5½ games out when Steinbrenner OK’d a pro-rated $28 million for Roger Clemens and are now on the verge of facing a double-digit deficit.
If one of the stipulations in landing Clemens was that Torre would be in the dugout, then where do the Yankees go from here? It’s a disaster, and nobody should hold back saying so. The lead is now 9½, New York’s pitching is in shambles (Torre even had to weigh pitching Chien-Ming Wang on short rest and it’s not even Memorial Day), and Clemens alone isn’t going to save the bullpen from being taxed on a nightly basis.
That’s not to say the race is over. But the only reason we’re not saying it is because 9½ still sticks with us as the pivotal number in the 1988 summer of Morgan Magic.
“Steroids? I see that our cows in Vermont are being injected with too much BST . . . There are more drugs in our food supply than there are in Barry Bonds. A red herring. It’s wagging the dog, because we don’t want to address that the drug companies control our thing. And the fact that BALCO is the little guy, being squashed by Merck and Upjohn and all the big companies. As they say in Deep Throat, follow the money.”
“I did what I had to do,” Giambi says, “but it’s like it wasn’t enough. There were some articles that were personally attacking me. It was like, ‘Am I that bad of a guy?’ I always had time for the media and respected the media, but it was so hard to go through. I just kept telling myself that you can’t take it personally.
“In hindsight, it helped me. I was wrong for doing that stuff. I know that. But (apologizing) is the best thing that happened. I got it out of the way so that people stopped asking me about it.
“I think now, with everything else that has gone on (in the steroid investigation), you hardly ever hear my name mentioned now.”
Here’s a look at the best Tecmo players from over the years. Bo Jackson gets top billing, but it was always hard to lose with Barry Sanders storming to the right side.