SAN FRANCISCO — Sweep?
That’s how this feels. The San Francisco Giants cannot do anything wrong. They are on fire. They beat the Tigers, 2-0, in Game 2 Thursday night. They are just like the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox, who didn’t lose a game in the World Series. The Giants are an army of steamrollers.
Just like the last team to sweep a World Series, the 2007 Red Sox.
It is always about the Red Sox. Even when we are 3,000 miles from home, watching assorted Giants and Tigers.
I was standing near the Tigers’ dugout three hours before the first pitch of Game 2 when manager Jim Leyland said he wanted a word.
Sitting in the same spot where he would manage, sucking on the final nub of a Marlboro Red, Leyland pointed to coach Gene Lamont, sitting a few feet to his right, and said, “The Red Sox should have hired my guy.”
He was serious, but not angry.
“I like John Farrell,’’ said Leyland. “He’ll do a good job. I wouldn’t ever say anything bad about John Farrell. And I know they wanted him last year. But when they couldn’t get John, they’d have done well to hire Gene. He’d have been good there.’’
“Sure,’’ I said, looking down to where Lamont sat. “Gene, have they called you back yet?’’
Lamont just nodded and smiled. We all know that after a couple of interviews, the Sox never called Lamont to tell him they’d hired Bobby Valentine.
Lamont was rumored to be a candidate to manage the Red Sox in 2013. So was Leyland. But it never got off the ground. The Sox got their man.
“I could have gone to Boston in the 1990s, before I went to Colorado,’’ said Leyland. “John Harrington and Dan Duquette offered me the job. My wife is still mad at me for not taking it. But I don’t think it would have been good for me there. I’m more of a small-town guy.’’
It is always about the Red Sox.
Tim Lincecum is 28 years old, has won the Cy Young Award twice, was a World Series hero in 2010, and is making $18 million this season. He is healthy. And he is pitching out of the bullpen. In this postseason, Giants manager Bruce Bochy has used Lincecum four times in relief, and in those games he’s gone 1-0 with a 0.84 ERA. And he hasn’t bitched once. How un-Red Sox-like of him. It’s not even a story out here anymore. Think about that. Think about Josh Beckett or Jon Lester accepting this kind of role. It would be a 24/7 talk show topic. Somebody would say, “that’s not the way we do things here.’’ Perhaps this is one of the reasons the Giants are in the World Series and the Red Sox are recovering from a last-place season.
Agent Scott Boras stood behind the backstop during batting practice. Does he think the Red Sox will trade Jacoby Ellsbury this offseason?
“I don’t ever want to speak for a team,’’ said Boras. “But when you have a premium player at a premium position, what you have to ask for those players is something that would be franchise-memorable. When players are coming off a season when they’ve had a nick or something, you rarely see franchise players traded because the demand is appropriately where it should be.’’
How does Boras respond to the notion that Ellsbury a 100 percent flight risk and there is no chance of him signing with the Red Sox before he becomes a free agent?
“I think when you are with a franchise that has the means to do whatever it wants to, it really comes down to what they feel they should do. I’ve got a lot of data that tells me what I think they should do. In each situation they’ve got to look at what their organization is. How they’re going to do that and who they are going to use to do that, they are best suited to make that evaluation.’’
Has Ellsbury’s value diminished with him getting hurt and not playing great when he came back?
“No,” said Boras. “It’s probably hard for people to understand, but impact injuries that are unrelated to the player — that have nothing to do with his durability. They have to do with people falling on him or running into him. General managers are going to look at what he has control over. He has illustrated a ceiling and he plays an elite position. Right now there may be as many as 14 teams that don’t have what you would call a top-five center fielder . . . There are certain markets that should do things.’’
It is always about the Red Sox.
The white-hot Giants broke Motown’s heart with a spectacular play in the second inning of Game 2. When Prince Fielder tried to score from first on a double to left by fellow wide load Delmon Young, the Giants gunned down Fielder at the plate. While mighty Prince chugged around third like an 18-wheeler pulling out of the Charlton rest stop, Gregor Blanco threw to Marco Scutaro, who gunned a throw to Buster Posey, who applied a perfect tag on Fielder’s back cleat. A rare 7-4-2 in your scorebook. Scutaro continues to be the best player on the planet. Ever since leaving the Red Sox.
Sox alums are sprinkled around the field before and after every game. Curt Schilling and Terry Francona are doing commentary for ESPN, and Kevin Millar is on the MLB Network team.
“Everywhere I go, people ask me what happened to the Red Sox,’’ said Millar. “At the end of the day, I think a lot of it is about the people you bring in. That team we had in 2004, we had a lot of good people. We had Billy Mueller and Gabe Kapler and Ellis Burks. Johnny Damon. We had goofy guys, but it was a bunch of guys who cared about each other. That’s what you need to win. That’s what they need to get back to in Boston.’’
Thursday was Welcome Back Veterans night at the World Series. Commissioner Bud Selig presided over a late-afternoon press conference honoring American service veterans, including baseball legends Tommy Lasorda, Jerry Coleman, and 94-year-old Red Sox Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr. It was the first time most of us had seen Doerr since he sat alongside Johnny Pesky at Fenway’s 100th birthday celebration April 20. With the passing of Pesky last summer, Doerr is the only surviving member of the fabled “Teammates,” memorialized in bronze outside Fenway’s Gate B.
Remember, even when the Giants and Tigers are playing a thus far memorable World Series, it is always about the Red Sox.