Old Hoss previews Rays-Red Sox
Oct 3, 2013 at 1:00a ET
Editor's note: Old Hoss Radbourn might be the best pitcher in baseball history that you have never heard of.
And rightfully so, since he pitched in the late 1800s.
The Hall of Famer put up legendary numbers in his 11-year career, with his best season coming in 1884 when he pitched the last 27 games for the Providence Grays. He won 26 of those outings and then picked up three straight wins in the World Series.
Old Hoss, who won 59 games in 1884 alone, finished his career with an amazing 309-194 record.
Now he's putting up big numbers on Twitter where he weighs in on anything from baseball to the recent government shutdown using the vernacular of his era.
Old Hoss will be breaking down every divisional playoff series for us this October.
Boston: It's quite good, with premium, well-bearded players at almost every position. David Ortiz continues to defy age, gravity, electromagnetism, and the weak and strong nuclear forces. He is, however, vulnerable to the shift as well as van der Waals interaction, something that the genius Joe Maddon planned for before Ortiz first picked up a bat as a child.
Hitter that scares me: N/A
Tampa: Not the caliber of Boston's offense, though Evan Longoria and rookie Wil Myers are certainly no slouches. Fortunately, Maddon is a genius.
Hitter that scares me: N/A
Boston: Not nearly as strong as their hitting, though Clay Buchholz, clearly strengthened by his pregame ritual of rubbing a magnetic Wooly Willy wand over his chin, has been nigh unstoppable in his 16 starts. Sox fans have been forced to retract a significant number of the nasty things they have said about John Lackey over the previous two years.
Hurler who could outpitch me: N/A
Tampa: A much more balanced rotation, led by David Price, who did not have nearly as good as year as he did in 2012, and supplemented by youngsters Alex Cobb (Ty's great-great grandbastard) and Chris Archer. The rotation is, of course, enhanced by Maddon's innate genius.
Hurler who could outpitch me: N/A
Boston: A serious strength, led by Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara, who is trying really, really hard to grow a beard. He's also having a fantastic season.
Tampa: It is not great, and every time I see Fernando Rodney pitch I expect to see him give up a 12-run home run.
The Cult of Joe Maddon versus the Stupid Stuff about the Beards.
Joe Maddon is a genius! The deft way he pours agave artisanal honey (never sugar!) into his morning chai indicates the subtle and complex manner his mind works. Aspiring managers, take heed: by being charming, wearing trendy spectacles and clothing, and doing odd crap with your lineup, you too can be heralded as an intellect of unsurpassed talent. Somewhere Michelangelo, aloft on a cloud and painting the dome of the sky with colors that surpass human comprehension and make black holes pause from their eternal hunger and gaze in wonder, shakes his head and marvels that Maddon's overshift worked again. What a genius, he murmurs, gazing at the universe a little less sure of himself.
This is countered by a more recent development in the northeast. Still apparently smarting from the “25 players, 25 cabs” era and in need of a story, or perhaps due to simple laziness, the Boston media has attached a mystical reverence to the fact that all of the Red Sox players are collectively too damn cheap to afford a razor. Chemistry is indeed a wonderful thing. But fun beards really only seem to work when you score 853 runs and allow only 656. I know more than a few grey-clad men who by April 1865 rather seriously doubted the worth of one R.E. Lee's powerful chin-whiskers.
Fun things to do while visiting this city:
Boston: Walk 364.4 smoots (and one ear) across the river to 77 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge and find conveniently located equations for you to solve within its corridors.
Tampa: Why not audit a class at the Joe Maddon Academy? Act now and you can watch the master himself teach a course in his newest hobby, Quipu knot-language and the demise of the Inca.
Boston: I'm not kidding: go to a sports bar in Quincy, Mass., called The Fours (I once knew an eager lass who owned a parlor right down the road) and order a sandwich called the Johnny Kelley, a side of pasta salad and several pints of beer. You must not order a Samuel Adams, for this is an abomination run by a tyrant under the guise of being a microbrew. Have a Smuttynose instead, and whilst giggling at that name, pause for a moment and think about the decadent high-calorie repast you are consuming, that it is named after a man who ran many marathons, and that you likely will not live as long as he did.
Tampa: Joe Maddon, in addition to being a genius, is also a known gourmet and will gladly have you over to his house for a lovely home-cooked meal. Pay very careful attention to the subtle way he positions his guests at his dining room table.
Fun ballpark facts:
Boston: Fenway Park would have been razed decades ago were it not for the preservation efforts of a secret subsociety of Freemasons, all shorter than 5-4, who found the seating within the stadium a perfect match for their diminutive body type. It is one of the more charming parks in America.
Tampa: Joe Maddon was not consulted when Tropicana Field was designed, which is why it is a colossal dump.
Useful managerial facts:
Boston: John Farrell got the Red Sox playing the right way again, unlike that lout Bobby Valentine and also unlike his own cockup in Toronto, which we really don't talk about anyway.
Tampa: Joe Maddon is a genius!
Why Boston could win:
Why Tampa could win:
Joe Maddon is a genius!
Joe Maddon has an IQ of 752.
Beard-growing is now a major at Boston's Berklee College of Music.
Red Sox in 3, if only so we do not have to see that horrendous ballpark in Tampa more than is absolutely necessary. Besides, with the season over Joe Maddon can turn his attention to the more serious problems facing the world.
For more from Old Hoss Radbourn, be sure to follow him on Twitter. You won't be disappointed.