Boston too public?
By Tim Keown
Page 2 columnist

Derek Lowe finished it off with a strikeout, a crotch-point and -- according to the A's -- a flip-off directed at the Oakland bench.

Byung-Hyun Kim had his moment, flipping off the Boston fans when they booed him in the pregame introductions before Game 3.

Derek Lowe
Derek Lowe gave the Red Sox something to cheer about.
Manny Ramirez made no friends in the opposing dugout when his three-run homer became a one-man parade. Tim Wakefield, Adrian Brown, Lou Merloni and Doug Mirabelli put athletic tape on the back of their jackets during Game 3, spelling out "Li-lly" to the fans sitting behind the Sox dugout. They were trying to get their fans to taunt Lilly with the time-honored "Darr-yl" routine, a strange bit of cheerleading from a group of grown men.

There's a temptation to call the Red Sox goofy, perhaps the goofiest bunch to make a postseason run since the '79 Pirates or the '78 Yankees or the '73 A's. But after their display against the A's -- and it isn't all of them, obviously -- goofy is too kind.

They aren't what you might call obsessed with professionalism.

So if you're a Long-Suffering Red Sox Fan of Long-Suffering Red Sox Nation, you have to ask yourself a question:

I know there's 1918 and Babe Ruth and all that to consider; but if you're going to win, do you want it to be these guys?

This Week's List

  • There was a time when Oakland's baseball team was called the Swingin' A's, but now's the time to usher in a new era: The Takin' A's.

  • Sitting in the bleachers at the Oakland Coliseum, it was easy to pinpoint the exact moment the A's lost the series: When it was announced that Adam Melhuse would hit for Jermaine Dye, and a rocking building paused for a collective "What the ... ?"

  • So ... at least that part worked out: Good to hear Emmitt Smith enjoyed that soccer game.

  • Word has it security had to restrain Jimmy and Roslyn from heading out there to "make things right": A shocking number of Cubs fans took advantage of Atlanta's lax attitude toward ticket-buying to celebrate -- on the field, no less -- the Cubs' clincher on Sunday night.

  • We're Inside the Huddle and Outside the Lines at the same time: Given the choice right now, I think I'd rather pitch to Barry Bonds than kick to Dante Hall.

  • As for Fox and its "You didn't ask, but ..." feature: Fellas, give us some credit -- there's a reason we didn't ask.

  • Oh, stop, my sides: Broadcasting the telephone number of Corey Koskie's favorite hometown restaurant -- and then calling it, imagine that -- didn't cause anyone to confuse Joe Buck with David Letterman.

  • Hypothetical hyperactivity: If Dusty Baker had managed a decisive game as poorly as Felipe Alou did on Saturday, he'd have been banished to a hopeless situation, like maybe the Cubs.

  • Note to all you young and impressionables out there -- go with the henna till you make it big: Raider rookie Tyler Brayton sports No. 91 on his jersey and No. 99 branded into the upper part of his left arm.

  • In light of the Raiders loss to the Bears, one thing is now strikingly clear: "Callahan" is Gaelic for "Bugel."

  • You enter at your own risk; but if you're looking for a good laugh, try this: Pay a visit sometime this week to a Raider message board, where the discourse ranges from sewer level to the guy who wrote, "I feel like kicking somebody's a-- right now!"

  • The XFL lives!: He Hate Me, now known as the pedestrian Rod Smart, returned a kick for a score for the Panthers.

  • I wasn't planning on spending big bucks on gambling this football season, but one radio commercial changed my outlook: Andrew Dice Clay, of all people, plugging a tout service.

  • It's baseball postseason time, and around my house that means only one thing: Gathering around the tube to watch as Fox trains its Nostril Cam on the pitcher.

  • Just for the heck of it: Fred Manrique.

  • The World According to Fick: It's a simple game -- if you're playing first base and you don't want to get smacked by a random haymaker, just stay off the bag and don't catch the ball.

  • It's like looking at an old Labrador out there -- loyal, crafty and smart enough to find shelter when things go bad: John Burkett.

  • The lesson we can all learn from Byung-Hyun Kim's shoulder injury: If you extend your middle finger toward the home fans without proper pre-flip stretching, you can very easily strain something.

  • Say this about the Giants' performance against the Marlins: They never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

  • And finally, Bill James here with today's Baseball Minute: There's a time and a place to argue with the third-base umpire, but choosing to do it while running between third and home at a decisive point in a playoff game is neither the time nor the place.

    Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.



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