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Archive for October 19th, 2011

Tonight’s World Series opens up in St. Louis because the National League won the 2011 All Star Game. For many in and around the game, linking home field advantage in October to an outcome in July is the height of folly, but this season at least, the symmetry is almost perfect.

Despite the Brewers being eliminated, Prince Fielder's impact on the World Series is still being felt.

In order to advance to the World Series, the Cardinals had to beat the Milwaukee Brewers, the team that currently employs Prince Fielder. As some might recall, it was Fielder’s three-run home run that propelled the National League to victory at the home ballpark of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who just so happened to be the victims of the Brewers in the NLDS. What does all this have to do with the American League champion Texas Rangers? Well, Fielder’s game changing blast was hit off C.J. Wilson, who will toe the rubber for the Rangers tonight in St. Louis, and the manager of the American League was none other than Texas’ Ron Washington.

Unfortunately, the lineage from All Star Game to World Series hasn’t always been as direct, but that doesn’t mean the idea of tying the two games together is as baseless as many seem to suggest. After all, before the midseason classic was first used to decide World Series home field in 2003, an alternating system existed. That’s why, for instance, the 85-win Minnesota Twins hosted the 95-win Cardinals in game 7 of the 1987 World Series. Perhaps more than any other Fall Classic, home field proved to be a decisive factor in that series, but you never hear anyone call into question the credibility of the Twins’ championship.

Baseball’s home field advantage determinant has been the subject of increased criticism this October because the 96-win division champion Rangers will be opening the series on the road against the 90-win wild card Cardinals. However, it should be noted that this is only the second time since 2003 that World Series home field has gone to the team with fewer wins in the regular season. In 2004, the 105-win Cardinals traveled to Fenway Park to open that year’s World Series against the 98-win Boston Red Sox, but otherwise, until this year, the team with the better record has enjoyed home cooking in October. Of course, after drawing the short end of the home field process in both 1987 and 2004, you can’t blame Cardinals’ fans if they refuse to apologize for having the opportunity to host this year’s World Series opener.

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Just days after confirming that he and his rotation mates drank “rally beers” in the clubhouse during games, Red Sox ace Jon Lester has denied rumors that their alcoholic consumption extended to the dugout. The allegations, which were the latest bombshell to rock Red Sox Nation, also prompted an investigation and reply by team CEO Larry Lucchino.

Tonight our organization has heard directly from Jon, Josh, John, and former manager Terry Francona. Each has assured us that the allegation that surfaced today about drinking in the dugout during games in 2011 is false, and we accept their statements as honest and factual.” – Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, quoted by ESPNBoston.com

Despite the denials by Lester and Lucchino, the Captain’s Blog has uncovered evidence suggesting the Red Sox may have not only imbibed on the bench, but even taken a sip or two on the field. In the photo presented below, Red Sox third base coach Tim Bogar is clearly seen retrieving several beers from a Fenway Park vendor. After that incident, now former Red Sox manager Terry Francona tried to deflect attention from the incident, half-heartedly joking, “I was just glad Bogie didn’t grab one and start drinking it,” but in light of the recent allegations,  that comment no longer seems amusing. Although there is no record of what Bogar actually did with the beers, unnamed sources have revealed that at least a few were eventually used to wash down an “in-game” spread of Popeye’s chicken and biscuits.

Red Sox 3B Coach Tim Bogar retrieves beer on the field at Fenway Park (Photo: Getty Images).

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