In the bottom of the ninth, with the Yankees down 2-1, the O’s fans behind us noticed that Alex Rodriguez was not in the on deck circle. Swinging his bat was the far less fiscally fortunate Raul Ibanez (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort). The rest is history – Ibanez hit a home run to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, and then hit the game winning home run in the bottom of the twelfth. A gutsy move by manager Joe Girardi swung the pendulum back into favor for the Yankees to take the series tonight in game four.
My first thought as Ibanez crossed the plate was “how great it was that someone stuck it to A-Fraud.” My second thought was: can you imagine if Bobby Valentine had done something like that?
Fortunately the Valentine era has ended in Boston, and the only time I am likely to see him again is in his Stamford, CT restaurant. Tomorrow begins the hunt for the next great Tito, which unfortunately cannot include the man himself as Terry Francona just signed a four year deal with the Indians, crushing Sox fans’ hopes that he’d somehow be dumb enough to come back to Boston. Several names are being floated about in Beantown, with John Farrell of the Blue Jays drawing the most attention. To get Farrell the Sox would probably have to give up key prospects, which I’m not sure is a smart move for someone with a 154-170 record as a manager. On the bright side, the Blue Jays did finish four games ahead of the Red Sox and were a mere 22 games out of first place. The other name out there right now is Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach. Wallach is an interesting candidate with a successful track record in triple-A ball, although the Sox’s only question to him should be “did you have anything to do with the Dodgers side of the August trade?”
With the disastrous 69-93 season behind them, there’s really only one way the Red Sox ownership can show they learned nothing from the 2012 Bobby Valentine experiment. If Larry Lucchino calls a press conference and out walks Ozzie Guillen, sell your season tickets ASAP.