Sunday, October 03, 2004

Crazy like a Foxx

I'm the most shamelessly selective salad eater on earth. Give me a bowl of tossed salad, and I'll ruthlessly screen out the bits of radish and rinded cucumber in favor of cheese, carrots, bacon bits, and tomatoes. Let everybody else eat the lettuce, cukes, and radishes, I say.

Why do I bring this up? Watching this final Red Sox and Orioles series is a bit like negotiating a salad. The vast majority of these last four games has been sheer, unsavory roughage; we know the main course is on its way, and we're saving room. I only checked on yesterday's "classic" double-header sporadically, but there were a couple of tasty bits worth mulling as we await word on where the Sox will begin the postseason.

First, it was nice to see Ellis Burks swing the bat a couple of times and hit it hard both times. Burks was ending his first stint with the Sox just as I was getting settled into town, and I remember regretting his departure. Tell me those dreadful '93 and '94 teams wouldn't have benefited from the skills Burks brought to the White Sox in those years. Clearly, this final season hasn't been what Burks would have wanted it to be, but he's taken the high road through his disappointment, and that last flash of skill tips the palate toward sweet rather than bitter.

Also, it was nice to see the patient approach the Sox brought to the plate during the six-run second inning of game one. It's all well and good to smack the three-run homer, but when October gets crisp and stingy the long ball can be harder to come by. The ability to keep a rally going by taking a pitch the other way is an important tool to have.

As for today, David Ortiz will go into this afternoon's game with 91 extra-base hits. The team record is 92, set in 1938 by Jimmie Foxx. Not exactly Ichiro chasing down Sisler, but what the heck. It's something to contemplate while waiting for scores from Minnesota.


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