ALCS game 7 and Parallel Universes

This is a bonus Sunday random notes edition of TCR. When Rob G. posted that he thought it would be spooky if Kerry Wood homers in tonight's ALCS final game, it got me thinking. The reality is that if manager Terry Francona brings in Josh Beckett to pitch 4 innings and shut down any Indian rally it will have haunting parallels to one of the more painful days of my life. My son, Ken, was in Boston's Fenway last night and since he's been in Cleveland for college, I've given him permission to root for the Tribe. He also attended the 2003 NLCS games 6 and 7 with me, therefore, he had explicit instructions not to reach for any catchable foul balls near the wall (unless he was sure it would reverse the timeline distortion Bartman had caused). The SF Chronicle is breaking the news that Indians 4th starter, Paul Byrd is now involved in the steroid investigation. He's accused of multiple, large ($25,000) purchases of HGH from the same Florida lab that was recently uncovered and shut down. The article has this inspiring quote, reminiscent of Raffy Palmeiro in front of congress:
In a May 2006 interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Byrd denied using steroids. "I strongly disagree with the use of steroids and cheating in the game," he said. "I have a huge problem with that. I work as hard as I can to compete within the rules."
Byrd was with KC in 2002, getting his career high of 17 wins. He's also played with the Angels and Braves, getting postseason apperances with both teams before signing with Cleveland as a free agent after the 2005 season. For a soft tossing, crafty righty he sure has been valuable to playoff contenders. Interesting timing to release the news before game 7. If they were really on top of their game the news could have come before Byrd's start in game 4. Still, it makes me want to ask lead steroid investigator, George Mitchell, "are you a part of Red Sox nation?" ------------------- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that former Cubs manager Jim Riggleman, who was the Cards minor league field coordinator last year has resigned to take on the position of Bench Coach for the Mariners under John McLaren, who ironically was Lou Piniella's long time bench coach. Apparently Riggs had some interest in becoming the Cardinals manager if LaRussa left. They also now believe Tony LaRussa is coming back to manage the Cardinals even though the Cards chairman, Bill DeWitt Jr. fired LaRussa's long time friend and GM Walt Jocketty. Speculation that LaRussa would be interviewed for the vacant Yankee manager job seemed illogical as LaRussa has a history of being combative with the press in St. Louis, a one newspaper town. The NY mega-press and LaRussa would be an odd mix indeed. ------------------- Chicago Tribune's Phil Rogers weekly sunday baseball column where he gets to "Ramble On" has two Cubs mentions. Our own Arizona Phil has given us better ongoing details of the Cub youngsters in Arizona, but Rogers gives brief AFL kudos to Sam Fuld and Tyler Colvin (Colvin isn't in the AFL but possibly is on Rogers radar screen from his Arizona Instructional League play and upcoming Team USA participation).
… Sam Fuld, the outfielder who caught Cubs manager Lou Piniella’s eye in September, is off to a fast start in the Arizona Fall League (.323, two homers, five stolen bases, 10 runs scored in nine games). He and Tyler Colvin could play themselves into spots as big-league contributors as early as the second half of next season
------------------- Finally, Arizona Phil has also written on the Andy "McFail" efforts to accumulate the largest quantity of ex-Cubs in his odd little corner of the universe. Can roles in the Oriole organization for Kevin Tapani, Ron Coomer, Rick Aguilera and Gary Gaetti be far behind? Previous posts here have mentioned McPhail going after recently promoted Oneri Fleita and Bill Hartford so the Rogers mention is definitely a rumor making the rounds.
… Andy MacPhail’s restructuring of the Orioles’ front office has led him to consider guys on both sides of Chicago for jobs. There are rumors of him pursuing Oneri Fleita, the Cubs’ farm director; Alan Regier, the White Sox’s farm director, and Bill Harford, a longtime scout for the Cubs who previously has served as farm director.
Where there's smoke there's fire? Now that Fleita has been promoted to Vice President of Player Personnel, he'd only take their job if they throw in an Oriole "Big Bird" costume and a 3/44 contract.
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Comments

Paul Byrd implicated in buying $ 25k worth of HGH between 2002- 2005.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/basebal...

I'm guessing the list that Mitchell talked about having surprising names will probably include alot of overthehill washed up pitchers.

Or maybe Paul Byrd did nothing wrong.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7358706

I added some info on Jim Riggleman leaving the Cardinal organization to become bench coach for the Mariners. The Cardinals organization seems to have been quite a soap opera last year.

Many reports have suggested that the list will indeed be quite lengthy - wonder if a certain pitcher we usually call "P" here will be included.

If Paul Byrd had a legitimate reason to use hGH, allegedly a pituitary gland tumor, why was it being prescribed by a dentist? A dentist who had his license suspended for fraud?

more parallel universe stuff...and it would be possible for Joe Borowski to pitch late in this game 7 too

Jeez you would have thought the HGH would have helped Byrd throw harder with his fastball?

Anyone else tired of this whole doping meme? Someone get the word out to professional athletes. Doping is sooo 2003.

hell, let em dope it up...break all the records.

until MLB actually gets serious about it the numbers will only dwindle, not disappear. theyve only had 15-30 years to deal with it depending on who you wanna believe.

suddenly 500HRs isnt what it used to be and bonds is trying to hit 1000HRs...now its an issue...whatever.

MLB as a whole failed on the issue and even with these reforms its taking almost a decade to get serious. If it wasn't for this govt. investigation (no matter how any of us feel about it) it would still probably be business as usual.

BEARS

Any hot game 7 chat tonight?

FWIW, Mike Lowell was in the 2003 NLCS too.

BEARS

I concur.

They've made for some pretty fascinating 4th quarters the last few weeks.

Holding Lofton at 3rd?

So runners on corners with one out, wonder what could go wrong?

man, what was Joel Skinner thinking?

I'm chilling in the chat if anyone cares to stop by....

well here we are, top of the 8th inning...

two men on, nobody out, pitching change.

and a missed double play

4 outs to go.

at least they didn't let JoBo wrap up this puppy

The Chronicle said one of the prescriptions Byrd used to buy growth hormone was written by a Florida dentist, whose license was suspended in 2003 for fraud and incompetence.

The pertinent quote. Any chance that the SF Chron doesn't actually have all the prescriptions written and someone is jumping to conclusions?

Apparently Byrd did break the rules, though, because he took the drug without applying for an exemption. Why apply for an exemption on a drug that they don't test for? Well, now we know. So I guess he will get a slap on the wrist suspension, rather than the mandatory first timer's one.

#16: (chalmers) SkinNER!!! (/chalmers)

Actually, I didn't think it was that bad a call at the time, although in hindsight, ManRam probably wouldn't make the play at the plate and yeah, the tying run would've been nice. But I think the Cleveland pitching staff going on to give up 8 more runs was much more the deciding factor, don't you?

Still, I think we can agree it was quite a Cubbish moment. Cleveland overall seemed to succumb to Cubbery: imploding aces, not-so-much-thundering bats, possible coaching brain cramp, general depression, angry Kenny Lofton.

Difference between the Cubs and Red Sox:

- Red Sox SS makes a huge error late in a critial playoff game. Other team blows the opportunity due to a choke by the 3B coach and an inning-ending DP.

- Cubs SS makes a huge error late in a critical playoff game and ....

I was looking through an old post of AZ Phil and what Cub salaries project to be for 2008. With this 'probable' roster (meaning no immediate trades and resigning Wood approx $3M and arbitration with Wuertz approx $2.5M) I come up with approx. $108.6M for the 2008 payroll:

P) Z, Lilly, Marquis, Hill, Dempster, Eyre, Howry, Marmol, Wood, Hart, Wuertz, Ohman
C) Soto, Blanco
IF) Lee, DeRosa, Ramirez, Theriot, Cedeno, Ward
OF) Soriano, Jones, Murton, Pie, Fuld

I believe this would be about $10M over 2007 payroll. Therefore, I believe Hendry's top candidates to be moved over the winter will be:

Marquis - $6.375M
Dempster - $5.5M
Jones - $5M
Ohman - $1.6M

Not that he wouldn't trade a top prospect or any combination of Murton, Cedeno, Marshall, etc., but I would predict a salary swap for a RF or SP with those listed above in the package.

When the Indians lost game five, I thought to myself, well, I think I have seen this show once before, back in 2003. One difference though is that the Tribe then had to go on the road for games six and seven. On the other hand, our games six and seven in 2003 were at home. Would it have helped the Tribe to have had games six and seven at home? We will never know. But with some teams, the Cubs back in 2003, game five really turned out to be a "must win." The pressure is pretty much off in game five. As soon as you lose that won, the pressure builds and then builds to great heights if game six is lost. What happened last night really did seem inevitable after game five.

I always look back to game one in '03. If Z had pitched as well in that game as he did in game four - which wasn't great but good enough - the Cubs would have swept - two of the games being blowouts - and would have had six days to rest Prior and Wood.

LaRussa is back in St. Louis.

Press conference this afternoon.

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/stori...

woo...new content up above.

"I always look back to game one in ‘03. If Z had pitched as well in that game as he did in game four - which wasn’t great but good enough - the Cubs would have swept - two of the games being blowouts - and would have had six days to rest Prior and Wood."

We tied it in the ninth. Z didn't matter. Our bullpen blew for the entire series.

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