And I think we missed on Ozzie. You know, he may be a little bit crazy. Or a lot bit crazy. But, geez, aren't a lot of the great managers? McGraw? Weaver? Martin? Not every great manager is a rock like Torre or Cox.
Eric: It's easy and fun to make fun of Ozzie. I have to say, the Jenks move is a surprise because if anything he's been a throwback guy, not an outside-the-box guy during the regular season. But with the Jenks move, and with the way he never wavered down the stretch, even when they were looking terrible, I see in him now an appealing sort of damn-the-torpedoes focus on what's best for his club, regardless of conventional wisdom.
He clearly knows what he has and isn't afraid to use it in strange combinations, or to experiment with his roster. Think about the closer role for the White Sox this year: he thought he'd have Shingo Takatsu but that didn't work so he made the switch to Hermanson and didn't hesitate about it and now, even though Jenks is a kid, he's willing to go with him because he knows he's got the best stuff, even if some folks might say Jenks is too young, etc. Although Ozzie's cost his club outs with small-ball all season long, he's not holding them back with traditionalism right now.
David: So, the obvious question, before we get too excited and look like fools three days from now. Does this mean the Red Sox are dead? Three reasons I say yes:
(1) I said at the outset of the playoffs that Boston and San Diego were the only two teams I could confidently say wouldn't win it all. The Padres, because they aren't that good. And the Red Sox, because you need a great bullpen for the playoffs and their bullpen is anything but great, even with the emergence of Jonathan Papelbon.
(2) Curt Schilling ain't Curt Schilling. Maybe he'll come up big if this gets to a Game 4, but I wouldn't count on it. He gave up 12 bombs in 93 innings, and the White Sox can hit bombs (they had more homers than the Red Sox on the season).
(3) Their offense is great, but not super-duper, we'll-just-outslug-you-no-matter-what great. They led the AL with 900 runs (5.6 per game), but -- and this is a but the size of David Ortiz's rear end -- take away their 19 games against the Devil Rays (6.7 runs per game) and their nine games against the Rangers (7.9 runs per game) and they averaged 5.2 runs per game. Big Papi hit 10 of his 47 HRs against Tampa pitching, Manny hit eight against the Rays. You get the picture.
Eric: Before I weigh in on the Red Sox's chances, one more note about Ozzie: What I just said about what makes him appealing to me right now is precisely what could make him the Ortizian butt of my jokes in another day or two. Which is to say, his focus can, I suspect, just as easily train on something absurd, like asking Paul Konerko to sacrifice bunt in the second inning or some such madness, at which point I'll call it his weakness, not his strength.
Now, about the Red Sox. The only real case I can make for them is a pseudo-historical one (no match for your revelatory numbers on Papi's power being a tad bit of Ponce De Leonish smoke and mirrors act), and it goes like this: Schilling has shown us, time and again, that he's capable of going John Henry for John Henry, and Ortiz has shown us, time and again, that he's capable of dramatic, brilliant stuff with games and series on the line. I have a hard time, after what happened last year against the Yanks, after watching Ortiz keep doing his walk-off thing all year this year, counting them out, especially heading home. But I'm basing that, the way my papa used to know a storm was coming by the way his joints ached, on a feeling.