Are getting close to getting going?
So, are we close?
Every single report out of New York last night suggests they are within striking distance of a lockout settlement and today will be the most important day there’s been in an effort to get the league back on track.
(Forget for a minute all the other “most important days” this is “really, really, really, really the most important” day).
What’s it mean?
Well, if you listened to Bryan during the Ed Stefanski Bun Toss and Introduction Ceremony on Thursday, it may not mean a flurry of activity right off the bat, regardless of what the new rules are.
The big guy sounded a note of caution – all while not mentioning specifics or players or even uttering a name lest he run afoul of David and his fine machine – about quickly adding significant names to his roster.
“Let’s just say that to go out and spend money this summer just to spend money would be probably swimming against the current of what the plan is actually about. And the plan is to acquire the right pieces, the correct pieces to keep adding to this nucleus that we have.
“If we feel like there’s a better opportunity in a subsequent free agency period to do that, then you move forward with sustained organic growth.”
Quite aside from the use of the phrase “sustained organic growth” the point he was making was that he likes the core group, knows he’s getting Jonas Valanciunas a year from now, wants to give Dwane Casey some time to fiddle with the guys he has and may not make some huge splash.
How do the kids put it?
I do think he has to do something of at least minor significance as much to appease the fans as anything. He does only have 10 guys under contract so there has to be four or five additions – or returns in, perhaps, the case of Reggie Evans – but it doesn’t sound like any of those additions will be top-tier free agents.
Of course, he could have just been blowing smoke and has grandiose plans up his sleeve – and you know he’s been thinking and tinkering and planning for weeks – but the immediate impression is, if this lockout gets settle – things will proceed at a somewhat slow pace around the HOTH.
Now, there is every possibility this thing falls entirely apart sometime tonight – it’s happened before, even with such a huge sense of optimism – but I have this sneaking suspicion that tomorrow morning we’ll be scouring the lists of free agents to see who might help here and trying to dissect what the new order looks like for the HOTH.
Hope so, at least.
What a great Game 6, no?
Sure, there was horrific defence (Mighty Rockies early in the season came quickly to mind) and some zany relief pitching (can’t anyone here throw a dang strike?) but for sheer drama, it was one of those great “instant classics” they’ll be probably repeating on TV sometime this afternoon.
And it sets us up for one of the best things in all of sports:
A Game 7.
Nothing beats it, does it?
Winner-take-all, everyone stressed and feeling the pressure and it’s stunning to me to watch who emerges as the hero, or who tries to do too much.
Kobe? Six-for-24 was it?
(A digression, sorry).
The one thing to watch for tonight is the bullpens, which had been the hallmarks of these two teams right up until about the idle of Game 6.
Now? Spent. Worn out. Tired arms and if gets us a 14-13 game, I would be quite fine with that.
But it would also be cool if some pitcher found some depth in his arm to throw six or seven gutty shutout innings and cement himself as a big-game kind of guy.
Now, I know managers have a tendency to talk about preserving careers and not wanting to use someone even in a Game 7 who might be risking something in the future but if I’m an athlete, I don’t care how sore I am or what the long-term repercussions might be: If I’ve got one shot to help my team win a championship, I trade off the future for the present.
No one knows if they’ll ever get back to such a stage, to sit it out because you might be worried about next year or something is just silly to me.
Take the ball, gut it out, it might be the only chance you get.
Mail! Now. Put down your coffee or paper or bagel or whatever and do something. We are almost in dire straits over here.
Maybe the best part of the end of Game 6 last night?
Joe Buck’s call.
The “We’ll see you tomorrow night” call after the Freese homer in the 11th.
Same words his Dad used in 1991 on the Kirby Puckett game-winner in that epic Twins-Braves Series. Not sappy at all, just a good call.
Now, if we get a “I can’t believe what I just saw” tonight, that’d be fine with me.
And, did you see last night that, until Freese, there had been three game-winning homers in a Game 6 of World Series all-time, each indelibly etched in my mind because, like many of you I presume, I saw them all.
There was that Puckett won, there was Carlton Fisk urging his shot down the left field line at Fenway to stay fair (one of the great pictures of the era, no?) and, of course, the Joe Carter one back in ’93.
Not bad company for Freese, is it?
More Ed Stefanski.
Nice guy, that’s for sure. Self-effacing and self-confident at the same time, well spoken, calls himself a gym rat and when he was asked to describe himself, this is what came out:
“I’m extremely positive, my motto is accentuate the positive and work on the negatives.
“It’s never the end of the world for me, I’m even keel. I never get too high or too low. I plan things, I’m a big planner, a big whiteboard kind of guy, putting my ideas up there. I think executing the plan is the crucial part. Once you’ve executed the plan, no one knows what the results are.”
Not bad attributes, actually. Quite okay with the even-keel nature, there’s never really any sense getting all worked up -- high or low – on a regular basis. You do your best, trundle along each day hoping the plans you put in place work out and do your thing with the same outward impression.
Sure, it’s okay to rejoice or seeth inside, far better to let your public face remain calm.
Okay, this whole scraping-the-frost-off-the-windshield thing at 5:30 this morning can stop at any time.
Waaaaay too early for that, isn’t it?