Friday, October 30, 2009
1. Pitching on three days rest
2. The use of instant replay
Picasner has already checked in on the three-day rest item, so let's discuss the instant replay controversy.
***HOW FAR DO YOU GO?***
To me, that is the real (and perhaps, only) question. To try and replay and perhaps change a decision in the middle of a play, creates all kinds of subsequent confusion. For example, if an outfielder traps a ball with men on base that is ruled a catch, and replay indicates that it was trapped, what do you do with the runners? Give everybody one base? Two bases, depending on where the play was? Even fair/foul calls could be a disaster. Two men on and a ball down the line is immediately called foul by the ump. All the runners stop. The fielder lets up or stops completely. Replay indicates the ball was fair. Now what? With fast runners, both men might have scored. So now you have the same problem: how many bases do you allow? The rules state that the umpire shall determine if a runner could score on certain dead ball situations, such as fan interference or balls bouncing or thrown into the stands. Advancing runners only two bases isn't really automatic. Again, where do you place everyone?
As you can see, instant replay could create more problems rather than just correcting those mistakes.
I am glad to see one thing: the umpires seem more willing to listen to arguments rather than just give guys the quick heave-ho. Of course, maybe it's because they've been proven wrong so many times for all the world to see.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
***PHILLIES BEAT DOWN THE DODGERS***
For a team who led the NL in wins, the Dodgers looked particularly inept against the Phillies. Was it because the Phillies were on an upswing while the Dodgers happened to be slumping or are the Phillies really a better team? The Phillies were confident and experienced and a sound team (except for a suspect bullpen) and I believe they were that much better. Speaking of confidence, they have been announcing to the world for a week that they are dying to play the Yankees in the Series. Well, here's your chance.
***YANKEES OVER THE ANGELS***
Critics are giving Scioscia the blame for the Angels defeat, citing the number of times he went "against the book" when making his decisions. Well, Girardi went "with the book," and he didn't do much better. These are professional, Major League players, and all a manager can do it put them on the field and hope they do what they're capable of. The Angels were blown out once and the 6th game wasn't really as close as the score indicated, but the other 4 games could really have gone either way. If they had gone the Angels way, you could substitute Girardi's name for Sciocia's for all those criticisms.
Philly fans are pointing to the fact that Ryan Howard had as good a Championship series as A-Rod, so they figure that they cancel each other out. Scouts, however, say that while Howard is downright scary against righthanders, he's very ordinary against lefties. Of course the Yanks will start lefties in 5 of the possible 7 games, and have two lefties plus Rivera in the bullpen. Unless the Yankee pitchers make a bunch of mistakes, I don't see Howard being a factor. Actually, I don't think the Phillies will pitch to A-Rod, so maybe they do cancel each other out.
Yankees 4 games
Phillies 2 games
Weather 2 games
***McGWIRE TO BE ST LOUIS' HITTING COACH***
This ought to be fun: "I can't tell you what I've learned, since I don't talk about the past." I believe Picasner will be tossing a lot of jabs his way next year.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Sometime this evening, Andy Pettitte will take the mound for the Yankees. Chances are (80%, by the latest weather report), he'll be carrying an umbrella instead of his glove. Not unexpected for football weather.
Another do or die game for the Angels, and another chance for both managers to make pitching decisions that fail. You try to put the players on the mound, at bat and in the field that give your team the best chance to win. It's hard to argue with the pitcher decisions on both sides, since both managers went the "dance with who brung you" theory. Fuentes has been beat up, outpitching Chamberlain & Hughes, which is saying nothing. Leaving in Burnett after a lengthy stay on the bench? Well, he had a low pitch count, a 2 run lead and had settled in after a bad 1st inning. Worth a shot and it would have worked had not the 'Gasoline Alley' gang showed up out of the bullpen. The way it's going, maybe Girardi should give Mariano the start in game 6.
Should Scioscia have left Lackey in? He obviously had the competitive fire, but Oliver had done the job all year. It amounts to the same thing: if players perform, the manager looks like a genius, if not, they look like Vod and Picasner.
There are two moves I don't understand. Why not pinch hit for Swisher with the game on the line? Loyalty to a regular, Swisher's potential or just a weak bench? Either way, I sure wish Girardi had given it more thought. Speaking of thoughts, there couldn't have been any thinking involved with replacing A-Rod with a pinch runner in the ninth. As fast as Guzman is, A-Rod is still an excellent baserunner and was just as likely to score as some speed demon without good baserunning instincts. And if you tie the game, sometime in the 11th inning, your cleanup hitter is Guzman? Hairston? Sabathia? Let's not overthink, Joe.
When I heard that cracks had shown up in Yankee Stadium, I thought they were talking about the bullpen.
Sorry, Vod. There's McCarver, Phillips and Morgan. I won't 'give it a rest' until I don't have to listen to them anymore. One down, two to go.
The concrete pedestrian ramps at the brand-new $1.5 billion city-subsidized Yankee Stadium have been troubled by cracks.
The ramps were built by a company accused of having links to the mob, and the concrete mix was designed and tested by a company under indictment on charges that it failed to perform some tests and falsified the results of others.
A spokeswoman for the team, Alice McGillion, called the cracks “cosmetic,” but several people briefed on the problems said that they would cost several million dollars to fix. I wonder where Alice buys her makeup.
The company that built the ramps, Interstate Industrial Corporation, was barred from doing city work in 2004 because city investigators concluded it had ties to organized crime. While the contract for the work at Yankee Stadium was awarded to a company called Central Excavators, the Yankees, Interstate and Turner Construction Company, the construction manager that built the stadium, have all acknowledged that Interstate performed the work.
The company that evaluated the strength of the concrete poured for the walkways, Testwell Laboratories, its owners and several officers were indicted last year on state racketeering charges.
Let’s all thank the Yankees, the Steinbrenners, and their political hirelings for bringing us another publicly financed baseball palace that we so desperately need in a time of 4 billion dollar deficits in the state budget and for bringing Tony Soprano to life. At least he can afford game tickets.
Friday, October 23, 2009
I’m not quite sure why our esteemed leader is still giving ink time to Steve Phillips and Manny. We got it boss. We know how you feel and it’s time to move on. Phillips has made his bed, both figuratively and literally, and has been granted a “leave of absence”. Manny has moved to the minors on the opposite coast so we may never be required to see him again. And when has hair been an issue since the ‘60s and Dick Nixon, the nattering nabobs of nepotism, and commie hippies? Swisher and Damon prove daily that you can look really stupid with short hair “styles”. Dude, give it a rest.
Tim McUmpire gave a stirring apology, to wit, “I believe in my heart Swisher was out.” Bite me. “… according to instant replay” and according to every sentient being on the planet …”mistakes were made.” Eat dirt and die, bozo. And “I saw Cano on the bag…”. Interesting. No one else did until after he was tagged. No credit deserved for either his on field or post game performance.
We’ve found a reason why the World Series can’t start on Saturday, eh Chad.
Agree with the boss that benching Swisher has been over due. An interstate batting average doesn’t compensate for his “creative” defense. But you can’t pull Melky, hitting or not. He’s their best outfield arm and gets to more balls than anyone else and the roster and, get this, he catches what he gets to.
November baseball in New York and Philadelphia? That’s got to be the punch line of a joke.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Starting in 1961, Whitey Ford started with three days rest for 5 straight years. In that time span, his average season was 20-8. He also had 52 complete games. Did this kill him? Couldn't have been too bad; he won 236 games over his career.
Starting in 1978, Ron Guidry did it for three years, averaging a 20-7 record, with a total of 36 complete games.
In 1963, Bob Gibson was a workhorse. For 4 years, he averaged a 19-11 record and threw 71 complete games. He won 251 games.
Finally, for 5 years starting in 1987, Roger Clemens averaged a 19-10 record and threw 43 complete games. And this was before any steroid controversy.
All of these fellows started every 4th day with all kinds of success. These weren't the only pitchers who did this. They all did. I just picked 4 names everyone would recognise.
So let's let this misplaced accolade die a quiet death, please.
There isn't too much you can say. The Bronx Bombers finally showed up in the post-season and simply destroyed the Angels. Swisher and Matsui did nothing but that still left 7 other guys pounding Angel pitching. Even when he got into some minor jams, you just had the feeling that CC was going to bear down and snuff the fire out. One thing I don't understand is why the Angels continue to throw pitches within a foot of the plate to A-Rod. He is in such a zone that they should give him an intentional walk even with the bases loaded. The Yanks are on such a roll, I can't see this series heading back to NY.
***SECOND, THE UMPS***
It's really laughable, now. I can see close plays and judgement calls being missed, but there have been obvious calls right out in the open that are being botched. At least Tim McClelland came out and admitted his mistakes, but he would have looked even sillier if he hadn't or if he tried to defend his calls. According to the rules, there will be an entirely new set of umpires for the World Series. You would hope they will be better than these guys. They're so bad, it almost makes you wish for Joe West. Almost.
***THIRD, THE ANNOUNCERS & ANALYSTS***
In a blowout situation, the announcers can only praise the winning team, so I can't harangue Joe Buck & Tim McCarver too much. And they didn't try to defend or justify the umpires mistakes.
I did see an interesting video earlier in the day, when an ESPN anchor and John Kruk discussed pitching CC on 3 days rest. The anchor reminded Kruk that Steve Phillips ("When I was GM of the Mets, I...") said it was silly for the Yanks to pitch CC with 3 days rest, Kruk said, "Well, Steve Phillips is silly to say that." To which the anchor replied, "If you're going to say that, you're going to have to get in line and take a number." I hope the bigwigs at ESPN are listening. Why is Phillips still on the air? Comic relief?
***LAST CHANCE FOR A MANNY STORY***
After he was pulled for defensive purposes last game, instead of sitting on the bench and watching the last inning, he went in to take a shower . While he was busy lathering up, the Dodgers were busy blowing the game. So Manny went into the shower a winner and came out a loser. Of course, Joe Torre, that strict disciplinarian, had the right response: "What? He's done that before. It's no big deal." Yeah, right Joe. It takes a long time to dry that long mop on his head. You remember. That's the mop he was supposed to cut LAST year.
Since the Phillies could end it tonight, and the Yanks could do likewise tomorrow night, Is there any reason that the Series couldn't start Saturday? Even if it went 7 games, the Series would be over on November 1st. But, no, that will never happen. Instead of brushing off the plate, they're going to have to give the umps snow shovels.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
And what do you think the Yankees charged? NOTHING! That's right, nothing. Are you guys okay?
I don't believe you can play hunches and win championships. It might work for a game or two but then reality kicks in, taking the form of a laser shot off the left field wall. Over-managing, micro-managing, brain-cramp, whatever you call it, the game is still played by human beings, and not robots: "Nyah, nyah, my scouting report is better than your scouting report." I've never seen a scouting report binder sent out to the mound yet.
Why is he running so many pitchers out there for such a short time? Is Joe getting an appearance fee every time he steps foot out of the dugout? If you want to be judicious in your use of Rivera, I understand. The man is 40 years old. Pulling Chamberlain was a good move, you could see that he didn't have it and Swisher was going to need oxygen chasing down all those long drives before long. Why pull Hughes? Instead of having 6 tired guys out there tonight, why not have ONE guy you can't use? Joe's excuse for pulling Robertson was, "We felt the matchup with Aceves was better. What matchup? Aceves has NEVER faced Kendrick in his career. How do you know it was better. Robertson obviously was on his game. Leave it alone. Your best move is usually the one you don't make.
Then there was Joe's other big mistake. He pulled Matsui for a pinch runner in the 8th. We all know Matsui can't run, but he sure can hit. Boy, can he hit. He's A-Rod's protection. You remember A-Rod, don't you Joe? He's hotter than a two dollar pistol right now and you send him up there naked. When A-Rod came up in the ninth, ready for to go deep and give the Yanks the lead again, everyone in the park knew what was going to happen after you took Matsui out. Intentional walk and a flailing strikeout by Hairston. Somebody tie up Joe and gag him and maybe we can win one.
Does anyone else think it's time to sit Swisher and Cabrera and give Gardner , Heinske or Hairston a chance? I realize if you start Gardner, you won't be able to pinch-run for Matsui in 4th inning, but hell, we don't need his big bat in there.
This is the best Yankee team in 10 years, and if we don't win it all, I'm calling Uncle Vito in Utica and giving him Girardi's address.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Forget the Curse of the Babe… there’s a new curse in town: Joe Girardi is cursed to channel Joe Torre and prove again and again that if you run enough pitchers at a team you’ll finally find one they can hit. After firing four consecutive cannons at the Angels with Chamberlain, Hughes, Rivera, and Robertson, Torre… er, Girardi allowed Al Aceves to toss his 88 mph heater to a high average hitting Angels team that had been close to completely shut down for over 3 full games. You could actually see the curse kick in after Robertson got two quick outs. Girardi took a little hop as he bounced over to his scouting report binder, then, march to the mound to send Robertson to the bench as Jeter gazed on in disbelief. You could hear the deep sigh of relief coming from the Angels dugout as Aceves took the mound.
Picasner will fill us in on the rest. And it won’t be pretty.
Thumbs Up to NY Jets QB Mark Sanchez for taking responsibility for Sunday’s fiasco against the Bills. I’ll have equal respect for “Joe is Joe” when he admits to over-managing this sordid affair or allows Robertson a free shot at Girardi’s buzzed (inside and out, apparently) noggin.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Tex is giving a good impression of A-Rod during his years of futility in the post-season, but not one word from the media. Amazing how winning hides a lot of ills, isn't it?
***IT'S FUN TO PICK ON McCARVER***
After claiming that the ump was wrong to insist that the Angel shortstop actually step on the base to make an out (invoking the 'Neighborhood Rule'), he then stated that the argument that Aybar had been doing it all game and why call it now. Later, he stated that he was wrong (no kidding!), that his crew had painstakingly reviewed every double play and Aybar had stepped on 2nd EVERY time. Wrong again, Tim. There are two videos out there that clearly show Aybar missing the bag earlier in the game. It was just well hidden from the umpire. Tim McCarver meet Joe Morgan.
***THE VLAD GUERRERO PLAY***
I can't find anyone else who noticed Vlad running into the ball on his missed third strike play. I was sure some blogger with too much time on his hands would write about it. Wait, doesn't this sound like me? Never mind.
***YANKS GO UP 2-0***
Another walk-off win with Jerry Hairston getting the 'pie' this time. Even though he didn't get the big hit, which Burnett has celebrated with a face full of Cool-Whip, he certainly deserved it. If truth be told, there should have been 8 pies, one for each of the bullpen pitchers, because they're the ones who kept the Yanks in the game (along with A-Rod's blast). Speaking of the homer, if Abreu had been willing to get that close to the wall when he played for NY, he might still be wearing the pinstripes.
Again the Angels had trouble in the field and it seems to be catching, because the Yanks didn't do that well either. I was shocked to see Jerry Land call Cabrera safe at second on a double play try by the Angels. Apparently Aybar and the Angels learned that the "neighborhood" play doesn't mean just being in sight of 161st street in the Bronx. An infielder will swipe the bag on the throw and continue to 1st and maybe the timing isn't always right, but the umps let it go. Aybar wasn't even close to the bag and never actually touched it. Then the resident genius, Tim McCarver, had to comment that "...it was a shame the umpire had to get in the middle of a play in such an important series." Yeah, God forbid they should get one right. McCarver also had a comment on a missed third strike put out at first, saying that Guerrero might have been safe on the throw. Doesn't matter really, because if Laz Diaz had been alert, instead of going through his theatrical third strike call, he would have seen that the ball bounced up and hit Vlad while he was out of the batter's box. On a missed third strike, that's a live ball and Vlad is OUT. Laz' strike zone also changed in the later innings: balls low and outside suddenly became strikes. Maybe he was tired. Or maybe not. Leftcoastsportsbabe had a suggestion:
"Major League Baseball is excusing their postseason umpiring mistakes by saying that six umpires are on the disabled list. But the explanation isn’t clear – are those six working the games or not?"
Hopefully the Yanks will start hitting in the warm weather, because so far it's been pretty bad. During the season they hit .283 and averaged 5.6 runs per game. So far in the post season, they're hitting .252 and scoring 4.6 runs per game. Luckily the other teams are doing worse. I don't think they can count on the Angel's infield to throw anymore games their way.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
***DODGERS COME BACK TO WIN***
I don't know if the Dodgers won or the Phillies lost. Poor Chase Utley. That's two bad throws on double plays in two games, and neither one was close. I am amazed at Pedro Martinez. I was tempted to suggest that Charley Manuel go in for observation when I read that Pedro was starting game two. Glad I didn't; Vod already thinks I'm nuts. Even though they lost the 2nd game, the Phils are in good shape, having reclaimed the home field advantage. It will be interesting to see how the warm-weather Dodgers handle the cold and rain of the east coast. They will be playing again this month, won't they?
***THE ANGELS LOSE***
It's not fair to Sabathia, who pitched a beautiful game, but the Angels didn't play very well. Here's a 2nd case of another team that supposedly is well-schooled in the fundamentals, that failed to execute basic baseball against the Yanks. Is it possible that the pressure of playing the Bronx Bombers helps to create this nervousness? We'll see. A-Rod again found a way to get that crucial first run in with a sacrifice fly. I liked his aggressiveness running the bases, too. He was definitely out at home, but the Angels had to execute perfectly to do it and there were earlier indications that they might not.
Vod's "favorite" announcer, Tim McCarver, again showed his familiarity with the Yanks by explaining that the Yanks would bring in Gardner to play left in place of Damon in the ninth, even though Gardner has never played left. Oh, and Hunter was OUT at first, Tim.
From Janice Hough: "You can't spell Los Angeles Angels without at least three E's."
Friday, October 16, 2009
"Mysterious pitch selection also didn't help Hamels' efforts. After retiring Manny Ramirez in both of his first two plate appearances almost entirely on fastballs (12 of 15 pitches Manny saw in his first two ABs were fastballs), Hamels surprisingly altered his game plan for Manny's third at-bat. Hamels threw him three consecutive changeups, the third of which landed in the left-center bleachers."
So you can't keep throwing the same pitch and you can't change your pitch selection. What's left? Hit the batter? Wild pitches? Keep throwing to first until you pick someone off? Come on, Buster, who do you think you are? Joe Morgan?
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Yes, you heard right. There is this rumor going around that the Sox might put him on the block. Not because of his playoff blowup, but because he seems to have developed an "attitude" and 2010 is his last year before free agency. Well, that "attitude" is what helps make him the shut-down closer that he is, so the Sox should just deal with it. It's not like there are a bunch of closers to choose from out there, like so many ripe bananas on a tree.
***...AND THEY HAVE OTHER ISSUES, TOO***
I assume everyone noticed that Matsuzaka and Varitek never showed up in the Red Sox lineup in the Series. In spite of Boston's denials, the Japanese newspapers are claiming that there is still a disagreement on the workout programs that the Sox want Dice-Kay to follow, as opposed to the Japanese style. This one ain't over yet, boys and girls.
Jason Varitek is toast. He isn't going to be offered a contract for next year, at least a playing contract. I don't think there will be any other suitors lining up to sign a 38-year old catcher who can't throw or catch and has proven to be equally inept from both sides of the plate.
***IT ISN'T JUST BRET FAVRE***
After a poor performance in the playoffs against the Angels, Billy Wagner announced that he will NOT seek a job as a closer next year. The next day, his agent reported that Wagner will NOT retire and plans to pitch next year. So, who do we believe? By way of helping you to decide, Wagner's agent is named...Bean Stringfellow! I'll bet you think I made that up. Nope, that's his name. I wonder how long it takes him to convince a receptionist to put his call through to a General Manager? "I beg your pardon?" "No, really, that's my name."
***REMEMBER THIS GUY?***
Bobby Valentine, former Rangers and Mets manager, is back from a 6-year stint of managing in Japan. There are some teams interested in him, especially the Florida Marlins. You remember Bobby. He got thrown out of a game once when managing the Mets. Did this stop him? Oh, no. He went into the clubhouse, donned a fake mustache and dark glasses and huddled in a corner of the dugout for the rest of the game. If he takes the Marlins job, I hope he still has the mustache & glasses.
As my two-year old granddaughter, Sarah, says, "GO 'ANKEES!"
Monday, October 12, 2009
It wasn't as easy as it looked on paper and could have been much harder if the Twins hadn't made so many blunders, but the Yanks will move to the second round...after a 5-day rest. WHY? This could not look any sillier. There is only one reason they're doing this: TV MONEY. There could be as many as two games left to play in the NL Division series. Why not play them on Monday & Tuesday and start the championship series on Thursday? The Yanks & Angels should start on Wednesday. No matter how many games it takes, TV has it's schedule and no one is going to change it. They way it looks now, we could see three games being played in November. NOVEMBER! Give me a break. I wonder how Jeter will look playing in a woolen overcoat and ear muffs. If Skip Carey does the broadcasts, I know I'll be wearing earmuffs.
Another odd play with Swisher involved. How many times do you see a guy single into a forceout? Nick has some very weird ghosts standing next to him out there.
***THE RED SOX ARE DONE***
No hitting and no bullpen will do you in every time. The team Jayson Stark rated as having the strongest bullpen in the playoffs, finished as the seventh-best, ahead of only the Twins. Jonathon "Paple-done," as the NY Post calls him, showed that he has a long way to go to catch up to Mariano Rivera as the best reliever, after claiming last year that HE was the best. The "Curse of the Babe" is back.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
A-Rod, A-Rod and Tex. In a performance reminiscent of Mantle & Maris, the #3 & #4 hitters in the Yanks current Murderer's Row, produced as well as Steinbrenner's money could have hoped. Teixeira's homer was clocked (who thinks up these things?) at 110 MPH off the bat and landed in left field in 2.88 seconds, making it (according to these"experts") the fastest home run in the majors this year. Wonderful! Still only worth one run, though. The Twins did manage to light up the Yanks vaunted bullpen and had the game in hand until Mr. Alex Huds...er, Rodriguez sent one to the Yankee bullpen. As one ESPN reporter put it, "Two out RBI's will get you to heaven." The Twins, whose reputation is that their minors leaguers are 'programmed' in baseball fundamentals like no other program, continue to self-destruct in Yankee Stadium. Joe Nathan, normally lights out, suffered from Joe Torre-itis: overuse and burned out. And of course, another weird play: a man tagged out at second before a runner scores, negating the run. Who, again, was a part of that? Why, Nick Swisher, of course. The man is a highlight reel by himself.
Have you ever seen such a bad job by the umpires? Phil Cuzzi, calls a ball foul that was clearly fair. How could he miss that? If he was any closer, the ball would have hit him in the back of the head. At least Tim Tschida, a stand-up guy, made himself available for a press conference, and admitted the error. In one of the worst performances behind the plate, Chuck Meriwether had a strike zone that defied explanation. Hopefully making his last appearance in the playoffs, He squeezed the zone in the lower half and opened it up in the upper half, a sort of upside down triangle. His next assignment should be counting foul balls from the left field stands.
Only one entry here: Manny Ramirez' hair. Is that a hair style or is he wearing a mop under his hat? I'm glad Torre runs such a nice tight ship.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
You gotta love a team that won't quit and when you get two of them, well, it can get exciting. Actually, both teams had chances to win it but neither team could get that one big hit. Jim Leyland brought up the missed call on the hit batsman, and it's human nature to want to blame ourtside circumstances when you lose, but It wasn't the only shot they had at winning. Some people are wondering why Umpire Marsh claims he "...didn't see the replay," but if you read his statement carefully, that's NOT what he said. He said, "I didn't see a replay that showed him getting hit with the pitch." The more replays I saw, the less sure I was that it hit him. Oswego High alumni should remember Hotter Schaeffer, who used to billow out his jersey till you were sure he was pregnant. Sure worked for him.
***YANKS WIN THE FIRST ONE***
The Twins looked pretty good till about the 4th inning, when I thought they slowed down considerably. I know they probably got very little sleep but all that partying and champagne couldn't have helped either. Let's hope the Yanks got rid of two demons last night: A-Rod's and Sabathia's.
Picasner has always felt that the MVP should come from a WINNING team. For that reason, he favored Jeter or Teixeira or Youklis instead of Mauer for most of September. But now that the Twins made it, it belongs to Mauer. Last night's game illustrated Picasner's point exactly: Take away Mauer last night and the Twins would los...wait, they already lost. Where's the Value in that. Jeter (or A-Rod) was the MVP of last night's game. Well, let's stop beating this dead horse.
By the way, Hannah is back. Hooray!
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
AL EAST-------YANKS---------- YANKS--------------YANKS
WILD CARD----BOSTON---------TAMPA BAY---------BOSTON
Pretty close, actually. If you just count teams that made the playoffs, Picasner was 6 of 8, and Matthews was 5 of 8. Picasner's worst pick was Cleveland, who self-destructed almost from the opening day, while Matthews blew it on the Mets, who waited until June to collapse.
Matthews picks the Yanks to go all the way and obviously, Picasner agrees. Matthews has yet to pick the NL team, but Picasner favors the Cardinals.
Sports writers seem to be in agreement that Tiger manager Jim Leyland mishandled his pitchers completely in last night's game, but Gardenhire also "over managed" in the game. Of course, in a sudden death situation, no manager will wait for a pitcher to work his way out of a jam. Jim Kaat always said "The more times you change pitchers, the greater the odds that you'll run into the guy having a bad day." Picasner's take: "Dance with who brung ya'"
***LEFT COAST SPORTS BABE***
One problem with Major League Baseball playoffs, most kids, especially on the east coast, can’t stay up late on weeknights for the usually ridiculously late games. Now, this years’ division series’ will feature exactly ONE game on Saturday – the Philadelphia Phillies at the Colorado Rockies. And for all those junior Phillies fans…the start time – 937 pm eastern. I can hear it now “Mommy, can I stay up and watch the national anthem?”
It never stops and won't as long as the networks throw big money at MLB. A long time ago, there would be two games on at once on different channels, allowing you to pick the game you wanted. In the words of Inspector Clousseau, "Not any more." The networks now pick for you and their choice today: ALL THREE GAMES. Starting at 2:30 am Eastern and ending, oh, about 1:00 am eastern. We're looking at about 11 hours of baseball. Better buy an extra bag of chips.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
***GREG COTE, MIAMI HERALD***
"Michael Jordan is building a 37,942 sq-ft home in Palm Beach. We cannot confirm that LeBron James coincidentally plans to build a 37,943 sq-ft home."
***DWIGHT PERRY, SEATTLE TIMES***
"Forbes magazine reports that Tiger Woods is the first athlete to reach $1 billion in total earnings. 'That's what you call hitting the green.'"
***BEAR WITH ME ON THIS ONE***
"Peter King of Sports Illustrated, relates the story of the Cowboys' Barry Switzer, Jerry Jones and Larry Lacewell once shared the same lawyer, one Larry Derryberry. They once dined together - Barry, Jerry, Larry and Larry Derryberry."
(The Bimb loved that one.)
***LEFT COAST SPORTS BABE***
James Carville said Glenn Beck was “out-and-out-nuts” and a “blatant hypocrite” for claiming to be pro-American but still celebrating Obama’s “failure” to bring the Olympics to the U.S.
Carville added “Beck wouldn’t know the difference between a football, a bat and a hockey court.”
To which Glenn Beck alllegedly responded. “Right, like Carville’s ever sat through all nine innings of a hockey game in his life.
***IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY***
"Reclassification", as in a demotion from 'super-mega-richboy upper-class' to merely 'richboy upper-class'?
The New York Yankees are reclassifying more than a quarter of their ritzy Legends Suite seats next season and slashing prices on many of the remaining tickets by up to $1,250.
A total of 538 seats along the foul lines will be called the Champions Suite and will no longer have access to the duplex restaurant behind home plate, according to the team's 2010 premium seat plan.
Those seats cost $500 to $1,000 this year as part of full season tickets but will sell for $300 to $500 next year. They will still have waiter service and access to lounges down each foul line with free food to take to the seats and soft drinks.
I'm still saving my money. Now I'll be able to affford a game in 2015.
***OZZIE, PLEASE RECONSIDER***
There is a report that Ozzie Guillen was offered the chance to be a baseball analyst for the postseason, but turned it down. Too bad! He might have been right, he might have been wrong, but he sure would have been entertaining. I would have actually listened to the broadcasts instead of ignoring the dolts TBS will put on.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
***COULD I HAVE A BANDAID, PLEASE?***
##Last week, Derrek Lee crossed home plate on the front end of Jeff Baker's game-winning two-run ninth-inning homer and got slapped so hard on the side of the helmet by teammate Angel Guzman, he didn't get back in the lineup for another five days.
##Reds outfielder Chris Dickerson knocked himself out of the lineup -- literally -- when he failed to pass the all-important enter-through-the-revolving-door exam at the team hotel in Pittsburgh and conked himself in the coconut.
##Mariners catcher Rob Johnson sprained his ankle while jumping up and down waiting for Ichiro to arrive at home plate after a walkoff homer.
##White Sox reliever Bobby Jenks popped a calf muscle during pregame stretching.
##Jose Guillen blew out his knee bending down to put on his shin guard.
##Phillies reliever Scott Eyre raised the age-old question, "Whatever happened to bullpen carts?" He strained a calf muscle running in from the bullpen, and wound up on the disabled list.
##This tongue-in-cheek quip (we think) from Met's manager Jerry Manuel after Gary Sheffield had to exit a July 17 game with some sort of hamstring injury:
"They're calling it cramps -- surgery on Thursday."
The best Rants of Ozzie Guillen 2009, courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times' Joe
##In the midst of the White Sox's suicidal 1-9 collapse in late August:
"I was looking at the Little League game this morning, 11 to 13 and they were playing better than we did."
##Later in the same rant: "If we had a 'B' Game against us, we might tie."
Late-Night Quotes of the Year
• Fifth prize: (From David Letterman):
"Congratulations to the New York Yankees. Clinched their playoff berth. It just goes to show you what grit, hustle and a half a billion dollars will do."
• Fourth prize: (From Conan O'Brien):
"Manny Ramirez is playing for a Triple-A minor league baseball team while he serves out his suspension for using female fertility drugs. So far, Manny's gone hitless. But in Manny's defense, it is that time of month."
• Third prize: (From Stephen Colbert, on the downside of a new robot invented by Japanese engineers that can throw strikes on 90 percent of all its pitches and bat 1.000 against pitches in the strike zone):
"Who wants to read about a baseball player cheating on his wife with a toaster oven?"
• Second prize: (From David Letterman):
"Right here on CBS, we have 'The Ghost Whisperer.' Each week, she runs errands for dead people. And on tonight's show, she booked vacations for the Mets."
• First prize: (From Letterman):
"Paul McCartney is here tonight. … Paul's going to be in town this week doing two shows this weekend out at Citi Field, home of the Mets. The reason he's doing the two shows at Citi Field, home of the Mets, is that he hopes from those concerts to raise enough money to buy a couple of tickets to go see the Yankees."
Saturday, October 03, 2009
***DODGERS CAN'T PUT THE ROCKIES AWAY***
Manny's not helping, either. He wore the 'Golden Sombrero' last night, 0-4 with 4 K's. The Dodgers are in the playoffs, but it won't help their confidence going in if they blow the division in the last week.
***THE TIGERS HAVE THEIR OWN PROBLEMS***
If this goes down to the last day, whoever wins won't have a chance to set up their rotation for the playoffs. That would seem to be an advantage for the Yanks.
***DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE?***
Padres GM, Kevin Towers, was ordered by management to cut his payroll down to $40 million. He missed by $3 million. The owners tried to help by firing Towers himself, who makes $2 million. Oh, except they seemed to have forgotten that Towers is under contract for another year (and another $2 million). Oops!
***A FESTERING PROBLEM***
The Red Sox have been unhappy with the shortstop position all year, running 3 or 4 people in and out all year. Current occupant, Alex Gonzales, got hit in the hand by a pitch Friday night. X-rays are negative, but if he can't play, the Sox are left with Chris Woodward, who was designated for assignment TWICE this year by the Red Sox, and is hitting .215. With any luck, Gonzales will able to play and the Sox can upgrade to his .238 average.
***CLUBHOUSE PROBLEMS IN TORONTO***
Rumor has it the players are very unhappy with manager Cito Gaston, claiming he's too low key and has trouble communicating with the players ("He just sits there and says nothing whether we're winning or losing," said one player.). As for Cito, he says, "I'm not calling a meeting. I don't know what I can say to them." Um, I think that's what the problem is, Cito.
After the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Delonte West this week suggested his recent arrest on gun charges is not a big deal: “Really? He was found carrying a 9mm handgun, a .357 Magnum, and an 870 shotgun. If convicted, where will Cleveland find another player of his caliber.’’
Scott Ostler claims he was on his way to a costume party, going as Plaxico Burress.
***BEANBALL WAR BREWING IN TAMPA?***
Probably not, since the Yanks won't risk getting anyone hurt or suspended. It's just the media, headed by our own Michael Kay, saying the Rays are retaliating for Sabathia breaking Carlos Pena's hand a couple of weeks ago, knocking him out of the race for the Home Run Crown, and paving the way for Mark Teixeira. Scraping the bottom of the barrel for controversy, aren't we Michael?
***THE BIMB IS HAPPY***
Her new-found favorite college football team, the Hawkeyes of Iowa, won 24-21 over Oswego Sta...I mean, Arkansas State. (She really did watch the last two minutes.)
Friday, October 02, 2009
Down two with three to play isn't a formula you want to write on your blackboard if you're the Twins, but you can't tell me the Tigers aren't glad to have that 4-game set over with. A little fireworks yesterday with a rookie Twins pitcher getting upset over the Tigers taking 2nd bas on defensive indifference. So he threw behind a Tiger batter. Wrong! 1st of all, it was YOUR manager who called for defensive indifference, and 2nd, you can't blame the other team for taking what you give them. All he did was get one of his own players hit, a Twins player ejected and fines all around. Oh well, he's a rookie; he'll learn.
***COLORADO IS ALSO 2 BACK WITH 3 TO PLAY***
The difference is, the Rockies have clinched a playoff spot. The big question is: should they go all out for the division lead or set up their pitching staff for the playoffs? A no-brainer here: set up your staff. You're already in, you have little chance to win the division, you'll end up playing 2 of the other 3 three teams either way...why is this even a question?
There are quite a few, but the main ones:
CLEVELAND INDIANS: the players failed and the manager got fired. Doesn't seem fair.
TAMPA BAY RAYS: As was predicted. Now I read that they have clubhouse problems, too.
CHICAGO CUBS: Anyone seen that goat around? Will Pinella return? Do they want him to?
NY METS: I know, injuries. But before you feel too sad for them, read John Harper:
Still, if you are masochistic enough to have continued watching long after it mattered, you know injuries don't begin to explain why the Mets have been such a joke of late, playing the same mistake-filled, brain-dead baseball that made them underachievers even before all the injuries.
• There was Jeff Francoeur, one of the few bright spots this season, getting doubled off first base against the Nationals the other night on a broken-bat liner to second - in the eighth inning of a tie game with the bases loaded to kill a rally. Just can't happen.
•There was Luis Castillo, in the bottom of the same inning, making a ridiculous, off-balance throw on a pivot at second when he had absolutely no shot at turning a double play. His wild throw allowed the go-ahead run to score from second.
There was David Wright Saturday in Florida, jogging home from second on Francoeur's two-out single, costing the Mets a run because he didn't cross the plate before Francoeur was tagged out at second trying to stretch his hit. At least Wright recognized his sin and apologized to teammates.
•There was Daniel Murphy a couple of weeks ago, nonchalantly one-handing a ground ball for what would have been the last out of the ninth inning of a tie game against the Braves if it hadn't kicked off the heel of his glove, allowing the tying winning run to score.
•There was Murphy a few days before that in Philadelphia, the Mets trailing by a run, incredibly getting thrown out to end the eighth inning trying to go from second to third on a pitch that bounced a few feet away from Phillies' catcher Carlos Ruiz. What could he have been thinking?
•And this doesn't even account for the stupefying baserunning clinics that Angel Pagan conducts on a semi-regular basis.
Unlike the Cleveland situation, you have to consider that this IS more the managers responsibility.
***A COUPLE OF INTERESTING FACTS***
Jayson Stark wrote about the "Decade's leaders," best in each category from 2000 thru 2009.
Most homeruns: Well you could guess Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols or even David Ortiz and reason that you could be right, but A-Rod is also a good guess and the right one.
Most wins: This is the one that shocked me. You could pick Halladay or Johan Santana or Randy Johnson and be confident, but nope. It's Andy Pettitte. Wow!
***GOT A QUESTION?***
Check out the following link. Buster Olney says he will answer your questions personally to your own mailbox, or forward the question to an appropriate executive, player or agent for a response. Your e-mail address will not be published in his column. I'm assuming that by some strange circumstance, Picasner has not addressed your question.
The Yanks better do well in the playoffs. The last time I checked, they lead the majors in every hitting category except team batting average (second by 1 point behind the Angels). Just remember the old baseball axiom: "Good pitching stops good hitting," so they better pitch well, too.