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Thursday 19th Oct 2017

I have no horse in this race.  While I am a life-long Red Sox fan, I am not a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation that has two favorite teams: The Sox and whoever is playing the Yankees.  Just don't tell this to my niece.

Actually, I do have a rooting interest in the series, but it is for personal reasons.  If Texas plays San Francisco, my buddy Lawr is going to be able to meet up with his pal, Ron Washington on the field before Game 1 of the World Series.  This falls under the realm of "totally f'in cool" and is a moment I really hope he gets to enjoy.

With that as a backdrop, I thought so at the time and still may be proven wrong, but I think it was a mistake for Joe Girardi to flip-flop Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes in an effort to better match-up against Cliff Lee.  As an aside, if Lee keeps this up, a new term will be introduced into baseball vernacular.  An incredibly solid series of performances will be referred to as pitching cliffly.

Anyway, the primary explanation I saw written for the switch was so Pettitte would be able to square off against Lee in a deciding Game 7.  Some also pointed to wanting to break up the southpaws and some home/road splits, but the prevailing opinion was this was in reaction to combating Lee.  But you have to remember one thing: YOU HAVE TO GET THERE FIRST!!!  And while I am not saying Pettitte would have bested Colby Lewis in Game 2 and Hughes would have carried that momentum into Game 3, I do think starting what you consider your second best pitcher in Game 2, then your third best in Game 3 gives you the best chance for advancing to the World Series.

I have firsthand experience with the "you have to get their first" concept.  It was late October, 1985.  I was a 5th year senior at Division 3 Case Western Reserve University, playing center and defensive line for the undefeated Cutler Dukes, a 7 on 7 full contact flag football juggernaut.  Yes, back then we played both ways.  We were in the semifinals.  And while I tell everyone I stayed in undergrad a fifth year because I changed my major too late to accrue the necessary credits to graduate with a Biochemistry degree, the truth is I was not graduating until I secured an intramural championship.  Between men's and co-ed football and softball, I had failed on my previous 16 attempts, making the playoffs 13 times only to lose the championship game 8 times.  The 1985 Cutler Dukes were the best chance I had to graduate, I mean win my coveted championship.

But we were faced with a difficult decision.  Our star wide-receiver/defensive back was the starting off-guard for the basketball team (the real one, not intramural) and the coach would only let him miss one practice for football.  We had to decide if we wanted to have him play in the semis, and have him miss the finals or win without him and have him for the championship game.  Well, it is pretty obvious which direction we took and what happened, lest I would not be taking up bandwidth with this story.  We lost the semis without one of our best players and he was still able to make the next hoops practice.  And sure enough, the only score of the game was a bomb to the guy he would have been covering.

While I know it is not the best idea to base life lessons on a knee-jerk reaction to a singular incident, from that point on, I did adopt the credo to worry about today first and let tomorrow take care of itself.  And it has served me fairly well.  I figure so long as every tomorrow becomes today, the plan is working.

For those wondering, I was thankfully spared a sixth year at CWRU.  It took my 20th and final chance to get the job done. The underdog Cutler Dukes advanced to the men's softball championship after no-hitting their opposition in the semis. Then led by a one-legged first baseman who hurt his foot in the co-ed championship game, we finally enjoyed the sweet taste of victory with the game winning run being driven home by yours truly, after hopping on one leg to first base, narrowly beating the throw from the LEFT FIELDER as the winning run crossed home plate.  But that's a story for another time tomorrow becomes today.

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