Red Sox in dire straits
Boston was ahead 4-0, but then David Wells gave up five runs in the fifth, including a three-run homer by Tadahito Iguchi. (!?) Down two games to none against the White Sox, the 2004 World Champions return to Fenway Park with no margin for error. Will David, Johnny, or Manny come through with clutch hits like did last year? Will Curt Schilling perform another magic act just in time? The other team that used to play in Boston, the Braves, choked badly as Houston trounced them this afternoon 10-5. John Smoltz has had a great year, returning to his former role as starter, but he may be showing his age. After a year of injury, Andy Petitte really got in the groove in the second half of this year, and has been a main reason for the Astros' success. The Yanks and Angels are in another close, low-scoring game in LAnaheim...
Feud over lawsuit in Maryland
Another front in the prolonged battle waged by the Baltimore Orioles to try to keep baseball out of Washington has come to light in the past few days. The Maryland Stadium Authority is accused of wrongly paying over $100,000 to the Baltimore law firm of William H. Murphy (who happens to be a pal of Governor Bob Ehrlich) in an attempt to block the arrival of the Washington Nationals. These payments continued through March, when most people thought baseball in Washington was a 100 percent certainty. Adding to the intrigue is the political rivalry between Republican Ehrlich and long-time Attorney General Joseph Curran, a Democrat whose daughter is married to Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, who is running against Ehrlich next year. The dispute is not over the propriety of the last-ditch legal maneuver, but centers around whether pricey ($685 per hour) outside lawyers should have been hired for the task, rather than the state's own legal staff. See Washington Post. This case illustrates the moral hazard that arises whenever the government embarks on a quasi-commercial development project (such as a stadium) in which projected revenues are subject to great uncertainty. It also makes me wonder why overburdened Maryland taxpayers are so apathetic about the dubious purposes toward which their tax dollars are spent.
Brew crew surges
One of the success stories of the 2005 season was the Milwaukee Brewers, who managed an even .500 season, after 12 consecutive losing seasons. Some think that the new ownership of Mark Attanasio deserves much of the credit for this. In an interview with jsonline.com, he lays out his plans for the future, including the possible addition of a picnic area in Miller Park, which would necessitate moving the right field fence in by about ten feet. I'm not so sure I like that idea; it's already a slugger-friendly park. (hat tip to Mike Zurawski)