What we watched: Tony La Russa outthinking himself. With a one-run lead in the ninth, he chose to lift Jason Motte so Arthur Rhodes could pitch to Josh Hamilton with two on and first base open. La Russa could have taken his chances on Michael Young, and on a force play at any base with a closer who's been terrific the entire postseason. But instead he had to tinker just a little bit more, and now what thus far has been a riveting World Series is tied.
It wasn't all La Russa's fault, of course. Ian Kinsler got it started with a leadoff single, and Ron Washington put his balls on the table by electing to have Kinsler steal second, which allowed Elvis Andrus to swing away. Andrus, who had made an outstanding defensive play earlier, then forced La Russa's hand by scooting to second as Albert Pujols misplayed the cutoff throw. Andrus was thus in position to get to third on Hamilton's sac fly, and to score when Young flew out to center after La Russa brought in Lance Lynn. It often gets said that baseball is a game of the little things. Last night was an object lesson as to why.
On the Tony La Russa-as-chessplayer analogy: "Analogies like this are tempting, especially with La Russa, who probably does everything he can to suggest them to sportswriters, without overtly making a recommendation or editing their notes. His aloof, baseball traditionalist-craftsman image invites the analogy, drawing twerp satellites like George Will spinning on axes of doggerel into his orbit, reflecting light back at him. The only problem with the analogy is that it's really dumb." [Et tu, Mr. Destructo?]
He's a survivor: "Dale Crowley, of Willoughby, is a man's man. He has tattoos and writes horror stories. When he was sick in 2008, he initially ignored the warning signs. ‘I started to get a little bit of leakage out of one of my nipples, which was really odd, and I just chalked it up to being a heavier guy,' he said. ‘I traveled for work, and they pressurized the [airplane] cabin and the whole front of my shirt got wet.' After the airplane episode, the husband and father of two immediately sought his doctor for help, but didn't expect the diagnosis. He had stage one breast cancer." [Fox8 Cleveland]
Your Local Newcast Camera Fail Interlude:
This is going well: "When the owners didn't budge on their 50-50 demand, Hunter said he and Fisher suggested the two sides table the revenue split and resume negotiations on other system issues. Hunter said the owners then made clear they wouldn't continue talks unless the players accepted the 50-50 proposal – a precondition the league has previously tried to attach to negotiations. ‘Take it or leave it,' Hunter said of the offer. The players received 57 percent of BRI under the previous collective bargaining agreement." [Yahoo]
Anything to get out of Cincinnati, apparently: "Quarterback Carson Palmer restructured his contract and took a $5 million pay cut this season to go to the Raiders, according to an NFLPA source." [ESPN]
Merch: Managing editor Tom Scocca and contributing editor Drew Magary have both written books. You can buy Scocca's Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future here, and Magary's The Postmortal here. Now do it.
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