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Bill Shannon, Cliff Lee and other World Series advance stuff

Absolutely sickening news regarding Bill Shannon, a legendary official scorer in New York baseball. As you can see in the linked story, Bill died in a house fire this morning, in New Jersey.

Bill was a true character of the game. As someone here in San Fran just said to me, "He looked like he just walked off the set of 'JFK.'" He indeed walked and talked like he took a time machine from about 1958 to this morning.

He was absolutely beloved. He was the unofficial historian of the BBWAA. He was still the best scorer in the business, at 69, and he attended all the Yankees and Mets games he didn't score, too. If you needed to know precisely how many minutes a half-inning lasted, he was your guy. He befriended young writers, and he knew all of the old writers. He didn't have an enemy in the press box, which is really saying something.

He will be missed, so very much. May he rest in peace. Here's a great tribute to Shannon by Peter Abraham of the Boston Glove.

--Here at AT&T Park, most of the New York reporters were focused on this story on Cliff Lee, whose wife spoke of how badly the Yankees fans treated the Rangers' family members during the ALCS.

I asked Lee about this during his news conference today, and while he made it clear that he wasn't pleased by the fans' actions, he emphasized that the actions of a few would not impact the dollars of many that he'll be contemplating from the Yankees.

"I don't know the guy that did it," Lee said of the offending fan "It could be anyone. Who knows? Who cares? They're at home right now." That last line got much laughter.

I still think Lee will wind up with the Yankees, who appear prepared to blow Lee away. But keep in mind that whatever team wins this sweepstakes will sort of lose it, too. In free agency, you're always overpaying for past performance, rather than trying to project what the player has coming.

But more to the point...I believe Lee. I don't see how he or his wife would be turned away by some idiot fans who would worship him as soon as he put on the Yankee pinstripes.

--Lee also offered a very funny smack-down of Texas manager Ron Washington, although I don't think he intended to do so: "You know, he's got a really easy team to manage, I know that much, with just the talent that's in the room.

"Usually when you have really good players, that makes the manager that much better. I don't know if that's politically correct to say that or whatever, but when you've got a team like this, you'd had a hard time screwing that up, to be honest with you, at least offensively."

--Giants manager Bruce Bochy led the Padres when they were swept by the Yankees in the 1998 World Series, and a key moment in that series occurred in Game 1, when Tino Martinez passed on a borderline, 2-and-2 pitch by San Diego's Mark Langston in the seventh inning. Umpire Rich Garcia called it a ball, and Martinez smoked the next pitch for a tie-breaking grand slam.

A San Diego reporter asked Bochy a question including the phrase "12 years since Tino Martinez." Here's what Bochy said: "It took a while to get over that pitch. You see it in your sleep over the winter. But you know, you've got to move on.

"But I will say, a couple of days ago or a couple of nights ago, I saw them replaying it, and you saw the pitch, and it looks even better to me me now than it did then. ...To be honest, that probably bothered the whole club, not just me, quite a bit, and it was talked about maybe a little too much at that time."

--Ken Rosenthal tweeted, "Keep hearing that Bobby Valentine is finalist for the Brewers" with their managerial opening, and I believe that's correct. I also believe that Valentine will not end up managing any club at the outset of the 2011 season.
 

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