Alleged ice-cream-sandwich-ordering Mariners scout says everyone’s got the story all wrong

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Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times contacted the Mariners scout who is alleged to have taunted Jesus Montero and have sent him an ice cream sandwich. Which Montero then allegedly threw at him while allegedly taking a bat in his general direction in the stands.

“Allegedly.” “Allegedly.” Say the word enough times and it loses all meaning!

Anyway, the scout’s name is Butch Baccala, and he’s the Mariners’ national crosschecker. He tells Baker that the reports of the incident are wrong, but that he can’t go into detail about them until he has had a chance to tell his story to Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik. He says, however, that he loves his job and that he’d never do something like that to risk it.

This is fun, though:

Baccala at first denied the ice-cream sandwich story, then said he couldn’t comment on it one way or the other. He suggested a reporter check whether they even sell ice-cream sandwiches at Memorial Stadium in Boise, where the game was played.

Todd Rahr, president and general manager of the Boise Hawks, who oversees operations at the stadium, confirmed that ice cream sandwiches are sold there during games.

I hope this doesn’t morph into a story about taunting, bullying, anger issues, alcohol or anything else that may touch on real life issues. I desperately want this to turn into a story that focuses, primarily, on the forensic investigation of ice cream sandwiches. There has been nothing but bad news in the world lately, it seems. We need some good old fashioned late summer nonsense to get us through.

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

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Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.