Wakeup call: Breating easier in the Bronx


Wakeup call: Breating easier in the Bronx

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Monday, September 17.:

The Chase for the Cup is on, and Brad Keselowski has the early lead. (AP)

The Yankees are breathing a little easier these days. (AP)

Win or lose, Joe Girardi's job is safe (NBC's Hardball Talk) . . . which, if they blow this thing, will please some Yankee fans not at all.

Be careful what you wish for because it may come true. The Phillies, who were salivating over the prospect of four games in Houston, sure found that out this weekend. (CSN Philly)

The Tigers were probably feeling the same way about their weekend in Cleveland. (AP)

Remember Nathan Thurm? No? Well, listen to Mike Aresco for a while and it might jog your memory. (AP)

No surprises at the top of the AP poll this week. (AP)

It sure sounded scary for Bo Pelini on Saturday, but he was back on the job Sunday. (AP)

Buckle in. This isn't ending any time soon. (AP)

With that in mind, Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar are returning to Mother Russia. (AP)

Gary Bettman and the NHL owners ain't real popular these days, not if Twitter is any indication. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk) But at least the Florida Panthers' president is drowning his sorrows with some of that yummy frozen yogurt.

Dwight Howard says he learned too late that, in the words of 'ol George Santayana, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

What's that old saying . . . humble in victory, gracious in defeat? Don't know if the 49ers' offensive linemen are the former, but they certainly aren't the latter. (CSN Bay Area)

A wild day in the Meadowlands ended with Eli Manning throwing for 510 yards, a Giant victory, and a postgame dustup between Tom Coughlin and Greg Schiano over the actions of the Tampa Bay defense. (AP)

Hey, we were just doing what the coaches told us to do, shrugged the Bucs' Gerald McCoy. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

This week's blast at the replacement refs comes to you courtesy of Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis. (CSN Baltimore)

Good thing the Eagles and Ravens only play once every four years. Things might get a little nasty if they met more often. (CSN Philly)

After a blip in Buffalo, it's situation normal with the Jets' offense. (AP) Of course, the Steelers may have had a little to do with that.

And, yes, at about the same time Stephen Gostkowski was shanking his kick in Foxboro, Adam Vinatieri was drilling home the game-winner in Indianapolis. (AP)

How many times do we have to tell you: Watch what you put on Facebook! (AP)

Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona


Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona

The Red Sox lost another key member of their front office Monday, when vice-president of amateur and international scouting Amiel Sawdaye followed former general manager Mike Hazen to Arizona.

Sawdaye will be the Diamondbacks' assistant GM. As stated by Rotoworld, he had been instrumental in building up the Red Sox' young big league talent and farm system.

The Boston Globe reported today that the Red Sox may not fill the GM vacancy created when Hazen left, instead using "other staffers to take on Hazen’s administrative duties". President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski handles many of the duties traditionally associated with the general manager's position, leaving the actual GM's job in Boston as "essentially an assistant [position] with a lofty title but little power".

The Red Sox have also lost two other front-office members this offseason: Senior baseball analyst Tom Tippett, who had been with the organization for eight years, and director of sports medicine services Dan Dyrek, who had been with the Sox for five years.

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

Sometime over the next 10 or so days, either the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians will win the 2016 World Series.

Naturally, that will mean one of baseball's two longest-suffering franchises will end their championship drought. Either the Cubs will win their first title since 1908, or the Indians will win for the first time since 1948.

That alone should make for an epic World Series.

But there's another bit of history at stake, too - one of legacies.

In addition to the great discomfort felt by Red Sox ownership -- which fired the manager of one participating team and was seemingly happy to hold the door open for the exit of an executive now running the other - it will also almost certainly result, eventually, in either Terry Francona or Theo Epstein being enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

Epstein would go down as the architect who helped two star-crossed franchises win titles - the Red Sox in 2004, and the Cubs this fall.

The Red Sox went 86 years between championships; the Cubs would be ending a run of futility that stretched across 108 seasons.

That would provide Epstein with an unmatched resume when it comes to degree of difficulty. It's one thing to win it all; it's another altogether to do so with the Sox and Cubs, two clubs, until Epstein's arrival, linked in ignominy.

Epstein could become only the fourth GM in modern history win a World Series in both leagues. Frank Cashen (Orioles and Mets); John Schuerholz (Royals and Braves) and Pat Gillick (Blue Jays and Phillies).

He would also join a short list of executives who have won three rings, a list that includes contemporaries Brian Cashman and Brian Sabean.

Of course, Epstein can't claim to have constructed the entire Cubs roster, no more than he could have done when the Red Sox won in '04.

In Boston, Epstein inherited key players such as Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. Similarly, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras pre-date Epstein's arrival on the North Side.

But Epstein is responsible for nearly the remainder of the roster, and hiring manager Joe Maddon, the coaching staff and most of the Baseball Operations staff, including GM Jed Hoyer and scouting director Jason McLeod.

Francona's influence on the Indians is just as obvious.

Hired in late 2012 after spending a year in the ESPN broadcast booth, he inherited a team which had suffered through four straight losing seasons. In the five previous years before Francona's hiring, the Indians averaged just over 72 wins per season.

Since his arrival, the Indians have posted four straight winning seasons, with two playoff appearances, while averaging 88 wins per season.

It hasn't seemed to matter to the Indians that they've been without two of their three best starters (Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco) this postseason or arguably, their best offensive player for all but 11 games this season (Michael Brantley).

The Indians don't make excuses for injuries, or bemoan their modest payroll. Under Francona, they just win.

This postseason, he's made up for the absences in the rotation by masterfully utilizing reliever Andrew Miller anywhere from the fifth to the ninth inning.

A third World Series would put Francona in similarly rare company. Only 10 managers have won three or more World Series and just six have done so since World War 2 - Walter Alston, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Bruce Bochy Sparky Anderson and Casey Stengel.

The individual accomplishments of Epstein and Francona won't take center stage this week and next -- that attention will, rightly, go to their respective beleaguered franchises.

But the subtext shouldn't be overlooked. Once the partying and the parades come to an end, a path to Cooperstown for either the winning manager or winning president of baseball operations can be cleared.