Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Red Sox Take 25 Outs to Realize They're Facing John Lackey

Despite their deluded perception of geography, the Anaheim Angels of Pretending To Be From a Different City 30 Miles Away have been a very good team this year, one that has had the Boston Red Sox' number. While I, as a Red Sox fan, am not happy to be reporting on the fact that Nowhere But Anaheim extended their season series lead over Boston to 7-1 with a win on Tuesday, this is a much easier post for me to write than would have been the one I was planning to when there was 1 out in the bottom of the 9th...because that's how close the Red Sox came to being no-hit by John Lackey.

Who, the casual baseball fan may be asking himself? Exactly, I'm answering.

For such persons' edification: John Lackey is a decent--if inconsistent--pitcher who rose to prominence in 2002 when he helped the Angels (who had yet to publicly announce their shame over their own city by extending their team name to an unwieldy mouthful incorporating two separate and distinct locations) win the World Series. He followed up his star season by being terrible in 2003, sub-par in 2004, and serviceable in 2005. In 2006, Lackey reemerged as the team's ace--but by then, the world outside of Anaheim (including Los Angeles, which is a completely different city) had long since forgotten about him, as it should have.

Coming into Tuesday's game, John Lackey had firmly established his place in history as a mostly forgettable major-leaguer--one of baseball's many "Guy Fleegmans", if you will--whose most visible individual achievement was allowing himself to be made to look stupid in a Gatorade commercial. Had it not been for Dustin Pedroia's 9th-inning single (followed up by a two-run home run by Kevin Youkilis) in that game, John Lackey would have gone down in history as "the guy who no-hit the greatest team of the decade."

Instead, thank Jeebus, he'll go down as a dismissable "almost" in that regard...in the same way that Anaheim is almost Los Angeles.