Posts Tagged ‘MLB’

It’s League Championship Series time and, boy, did I get it wrong.  Before the divisional series started I thought Minnesota, Tampa, Philadelphia and San Francisco would all go through.  Well, I got half of it right.  I though the Giants had too much pitching for the Braves and the same went for Philadelphia against the Reds.  I was right about that part.  The other two games, not so much.

The Twins finished the season playing .620 baseball over the last two months while the Yankees limped in going 29-30 in August and September.  Maybe the loss of Justin Morneau was too much for 3rd best hitting team in the majors.  Having Joe Mauer bat .250 with no extra-base hits didn’t help either.

 

Joe Mauer will OWN baseball someday, just not this year

 

Cliff Lee and Texas were too much for the Rays.  When you’re 26th in batting during the regular season, like the Rays were, it’s hard to score runs when you fall behind.  A team like the Rangers can get hot in a hurry, Tampa can’t.

ALCS

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers

Pitching Matchups:

Game 1 @ Texas – CC Sabathia v C.J Wilson

Game 2 @ Texas – Phil Hughes v Colby Lewis

Game 3 @ NY – Cliff Lee v Andy Petitte

Game 4 @ NY – Tommy Hunter v A.J. Burnett

The rest of the games are TBD.  Game 5 is also in New York and the final two games are in Texas, if necessary.

Sabathia and Hughes are probably the better pitchers in the first two games.  A win by either or both would be huge for New York.  Game three is where it gets tricky.  Andy Petitte has been money whenever the Yanks have needed him in the postseason but he’s no Cliff Lee.  Lee is 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA lifetime in the postseason.  He went 2-0 with 21 strikeouts in two starts against the Rays.  Texas is paying the price for not closing out Tampa in the ALDS.  I’m sure the Rangers would’ve wanted Lee and/or Tommy Hunter in those first two games in Texas.

 

Can he stay hot?

 

Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz tore it up for Texas against Tampa but they will need Josh Hamilton and Michael Young to find their swings if they want to beat New York.  Kinsler batted .444 (8/18) with 3 homers and 6 RBI.  Cruz went 8/20 (.400) with 3 homers but struck out six times.  That might be a problem against the Yankees.  Hamilton and Young went a combined .132 (5/38) with six strikeouts each.

Curtis Granderson is batted .455 (5/11) against the Twins.  He only batted .247 in the regular season.  Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have seven hits between them but they’re all singles and that won’t be enough for the Yankees to get by.  As a team Texas is batting .254 while the Yankees come in at .314.  Can the Yankees keep up this pace?

I saw on ESPN where they have the team matchups and they gave the edge to Texas in coaching.  How do you figure?  Am I wrong or did Joe Girardi win the World Series last year?

NLDS

San Francisco Giants v Philadelphia Phillies

Pitching Matchups:

Game 1 @ Philadelphia – Tim Lincecum v Roy Halladay

Game 2 @ Philadelphia – Jonathan Sanchez v Cole Hamels

Game 3 @ San Francisco – Roy Oswalt v Matt Cain

Game 4 @ San Francisco – TBD v TBD

Joe Blanton (Philadelphia) and Madison Bumgarner (SF) are the other starting pitchers but either or both teams might opt for a three-man rotation.  Game 5 is also in San Francisco and the final two games are in Philadelphia, if necessary.

Make sure to watch game one of this series.  Even if your team is not playing right now and you have no interest in this game, this is a must see game.  Lincecum and Halladay are two of the top pitchers in the game over the last three seasons.  If you like baseball, you’ll love this game.  Tim Lincecum threw a complete game one-hit shutout against the Braves in game one of their series.  Roy Halladay did him one better by throwing the second no-hitter in postseason history against the Reds in game one of that series.  I can’t say it enough, watch this game.

 

You usually don't want to bet against this guy

 

Jonathan Sanchez and Cole Hamels are similar in regular season stats.  Hamels threw a complete game shutout with 9 strikeouts to clinch the series against Cincinnati.  Sanchez gave up 1 earned run with 11 strikeouts in a no-decision against Atlanta.

Roy Oswalt and Matt Cain are also similar in stats but Oswalt has a lower ERA.  Cain went 6.2 innings with 0 earned runs in a no-decision against the Braves.  Oswalt only lasted 5 innings in his only outing, giving up 3 earned runs and 2 home runs.  This matchup could determine who wins this series.

Neither team is hitting particularly well.  Both teams hit .212 in their divisional series.  Don’t expect that number to get any higher in the first game.

Who Wins:

Philadelphia has too much pitching not to win this series.  Roy Oswalt only needs an above average game to beat the Giants.

Same goes for New York, too much pitching.  Sabathia and Hughes are better than Wilson and Lewis.  Lee should be able to handle Petitte.  It’s game four that will be huge.  A.J. Burnett was terrible in the regular season.  He went 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA.  Tommy Hunter went 13-4 with a 3.73 ERA in the regular season but lasted only 4 innings against the Rays.  Is A.J. Burnett better than a 10-15 pitcher?  Yes.  Can he show it against the Rangers?  That remains to be seen.

 

Which A.J. Burnett will show up?

 

Get ready for a Philly – New York World Series.  I’m sure the rest of the country can’t wait for that.

 

I'd watch this, again.

 

LeBron James’ ill conceived “The Decison”  happened  on July 8th but the bad taste it left in everyone’s mouth is still here.  To be honest, I am not an LBJ fan and couldn’t care less where he decided to go unless it was to my beloved Clippers.  If that had happened, he would have automatically been my favorite player.  That didn’t happen but what did happen left most sports fans disillusioned with LeBron, ESPN and the state of sports in general.

The people of Cleveland beg to differ

I will tell you what I think about “The Decision” in a minute but if you want to get it from a pro please go to ESPN’s Ombudsman, Don Ohlmeyer, and read his magnificent piece on “The Decision”.  Ohlmeyer’s article is probably one of my favorite pieces of sports writing in a long, long time.  The only thing I would’ve added is that this wasn’t the first time ESPN blurred the line between being a news organization and self promotion.  The Adam James/Mike Leach saga last December showed that ESPN had trouble being truthful and objective when the story concerned one of their own.  Here’s Ohlmeyer’s take on that too.  Another good read.

But even before that there was ESPN’s promotion of baseball’s Home Run Derby between 1995 and 2006 and the Sosa-McGwire saga of 1998.  I have no problem with the Derby but I did have a problem with ESPN being outraged to learn that baseball players were on the juice.  I wrote a little about it here.  ESPN had specials on the Sosa-McGuire home run battle and they would even cut in on all Sosa and McGwire at bats late in the season but no one ever thought to question if these guys were clean.  Later, they felt betrayed by both Sosa and McGwire after the whole congressional hearings thing played out.  That’s an insult to all sports fans because we all had an idea it was happening but wondered why it wasn’t investigated more.  When Selig made his big announcement that MLB would be cleaning up the game of PED’s, the only people surprised to hear that players were on the juice were ESPN and MLB.  I could write a World Cup length piece on it but I’m on vacation and can’t be bothered right now.  I’ll wait until some big name star gets outed for using to write that.

Note to ESPN: A lot of people feel this way

Back to “The Decision”.  ESPN had to know that having an hour-long, prime-time show was overkill and wouldn’t go over well with anyone not living in South Beach.  If they didn’t, then they don’t know their audience and are out of touch with todays ever cynical sports fans.  Truthfully, I didn’t watch it but already hated the idea when I heard it.  I didn’t know all the details until I read the Ombudsman’s piece on it.  How did ESPN allow itself to be taken over by LeBron and his posse for one night?  What was the reward?  Sure they did mad numbers but at what cost?  They didn’t make any money because LeBron pretty much made them pay for the privilege of allowing him to be on their airwaves that night.  Plus, ESPN should’ve known that something was up when LeBron decided that he wanted the loathsome Jim Gray to conduct the interview of him on a show LeBron and Co. conceived.  My favorite quote from the Ohlmeyer piece has to do with Gray’s involvement.  Ohlmeyer writes, “if the interviewee also brings along his own interviewer, you cannot protect the integrity of the broadcast”.  Word!!!

Jim Gray? What, wasn't Stephen A. Smith available?

Not only was ESPN at fault but how did LeBron not realize what the backlash was going to be?  He went from a loveable man-child to probably one the most hated guys in the NBA.  He’s right up there with Kobe now.  I hate Kobe Bryant and now LeBron but I can’t deny these guys are talented as hell.  Oddly, I think Kobe benefits from this short-sightedness by LeBron.  I immediately wished Kobe was in the gym at the time of the broadcast and thinking to himself, “I’m gonna turn it up this year and there ain’t nothing 6-3-1 can do about it.”  Kobe somehow was more tolerable to me and another Lakers championship wouldn’t be as hard to swallow as a Miami Heat triumph.

Go ahead and win another title. As long as 6-3-1 doesn't I'm cool with it

LeBron James, for all his business acumen, seems like an insecure child sometimes.  He’s already defined his career and legacy as a failure is he doesn’t win a ring.  He needs that ring to be Michael Jordan or better.  The only thing is that Michael would never have gone to another team to get what he wanted.  Michael was going to make things happen on his terms.  People would have to join him and not the other way around.  Kobe is the same.  Magic and Larry Bird were also the same.  LeBron just wants to be part of something and if that gets him the ring, nothing else matters.  That’s why he’ll never be like Mike.

Jordan would've never joined The Bad Boys. It was his way or no way

Was it worth it LeBron?

Does Dwyane Wade realize that he’s gonna be LBJ’s lackey in Miami and not the other way around?

Be careful what you wish for Dwyane

Yes, Armando Galarraga got jobbed out of a perfect game.  No, that doesn’t mean baseball needs to start thinking about installing instant replay for every single play.  The worst thing MLB could do is have instant replay.  It would be a knee-jerk reaction that would damage the game that hasn’t quite recovered from labor strife in the mid-90’s.

Perfect games aren't that special anymore anyway. There's already been two this year.

Baseball is no longer America’s favorite pastime.  The NFL is king and baseball will never be able to touch football when it comes to fan interest and the amount of money it generates.  The 1994 strike damaged the game and you could say it never really came all the way back.  Sure, the long ball brought fans back but not everyone.  Baseball and baseball writers looked the other way when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were launching cartoonish bombs out of every stadium they went to in 1998.  Remember the jacks Sosa and Jason Giambi were hitting at Miller Park during the All Star game in 2002?  MLB and ESPN were eating it up and now they’re both disgusted with the players of that time and all the reports of PEDs.  Sometimes how we remember things and how they actually happened aren’t the same.

You let it happen Bud because baseball needed them

Now, Armando Galarraga is about to throw the 21st perfect game in baseball history, the 19th of the modern era, but a horrible call by first base umpire Jim Joyce spoiled the party.  Immediately the guys at the Worldwide Leader jumped on it and instant replay was all the rage with the talking heads.  Bud Selig, who seldom gets things right said it best when he said, “the human element has always been an integral part of baseball.”  The thing that makes baseball great, in my opinion, is that humans are in charge.  And, as we all know, humans make mistakes.  Sometimes the ball that outfielder dove for was a trap, sometimes that called third strike was a bit low and sometimes the runner is out when the umpire calls him safe.

I F'd up, it happens

As much as Selig has always opposed instant replay, he may have no choice but to give in on this one because you know the owners will be breathing down his neck.  The owners would be making a big mistake getting replay involved in every game.  The games are already long enough and kids aren’t flocking to the game like they used to.  Do you think more stoppages and longer games will help?  World Series games already end at close to 12 a.m. on the east coast.  I can envision games lasting until 1 a.m if replay is involved.

I was talking to a guy, let’s call him Tom, and he liked the idea of instant replay.  On a side note, this conversation really happened.  It wasn’t someone else’s conversation that I heard or read and made my own.  You’d be surprised how often this happens, even in Korea. Back to replay.  Tom thinks that because someone is already at the stadium watching the replays then why not have him do it officially.  The replay guy could butt in between pitches if he thinks a play should go the other way.  No challenges or anything.  He can just call down whenever he feels like it to change the game.  Sounds easy but what about the managers getting pissed and coming out to argue the overturned call?  That won’t make the game any faster.  Calls on the bases, catches, stolen bases, etc….  When does it stop?  Soon people will be clamoring for pitches to be reviewed and that will add to the nightmare.

I hope we don't see this in Major League Baseball

Don’t fix baseball ’cause it’s not really broken.  The players might be bigger, faster, stronger but the game is still the same as it’s always been.  Sometimes the guys in blue get it wrong but hey, it happens.  Don’t give in Bud, you’ve hurt the game enough.

It's the same game Stan "The Man" played

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come. ”  -James Earl Jones, Field of Dreams”

Wasn’t really feeling sports this week.  My White Sox still suck, Lance Armstrong was accused of doping (again), Hanley Ramirez has been doggin’ it on the field, I think something is happening in hockey and the inevitable Lakers – Celtics NBA Finals is gonna happen.  I don’t really give a shit, right now.

Something did pique my interest this week.  I’ve been in Korea for about nine months now and I’ve gotten used to the way things are around here.  I’m no Korean culture expert but I think I know what’s up.  But, I read something this week that made me question something about this place, something that every Korean loves and has to have.  I thought I knew quite a bit on this subject but then someone came along and blew my mind and I’ve had to rethink what I (thought I) knew.

Luckily, common sense prevailed and I realized I was right all along.  I like it when that happens.

The point here:

Never take what people think they know at face value.

Always do your research.

It’s ok to laugh at people who pretend to know it all.

Inside jokes are fun.

Thanks for indulging me.  Here’s a little something for your enjoyment.

Kimchi Recipe

Napa cabbage – approximately one pound
4 cups of cold water
3 tablespoons of sea salt
1 tablespoon of fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh green onions (scallions), finely chopped
1 teaspoon of dried red chili pepper flakes (more if you like things spicy, less if you don’t)
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of sugar

Directions:

Separate and wash cabbage leaves. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sea or kosher salt evenly on cabbage leaves. Place salted cabbage leaves in a large bowl, add 4 cups of cold water, cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator overnight. Be sure that water covers all cabbage leaves – place a plate or other heavy object on top of leaves to ensure that they stay covered with water.

The next day, pour off water and thoroughly rinse cabbage leaves. You can shake them gently in the sink to remove excess moisture.

Place cabbage leaves back into large bowl and add garlic, green onion or scallions, ginger, dried red chili flakes, sugar, and 1 tablespoon of salt. Use your hands to rub seasoning evenly into all cabbage leaves. Be sure to use gloves to do this, otherwise, your hands will burn from the chili flakes. If you are pressed for time, mix seasoning ingredients with about a cup of warm water before adding them to cabbage to allow for easier distribution on cabbage leaves.

Transfer seasoned cabbage leaves into a large glass bottle. Be sure to use firm pressure with your hands to push down on cabbage leaves as they stack up inside the bottle. Transfer any liquid that accumulated during the mixing process into the bottle as well – it will become kim chi brine. Some liquid will also come out of the cabbage leaves as you press down on them as they are stacked in the bottle.

Leave about 2 inches of room at the top of the bottle before capping it tightly with a lid. Allow bottle of kim chi to sit at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Your kim chi is now ready to eat. Use scissors or a knife and cutting board to cut cabbage leaves into 2 inch pieces before serving as a side dish to a bowl of rice, soup, and perhaps a piece of fish. Refrigerate remaining kim chi and take out small portions right before meals. The refrigerated kim chi will continue to ferment slowly in the refrigerator over time, becoming more sour and flavorful with each passing day. So long as you use clean utensils to take out small portions, it will keep for up to a month in your refrigerator.


MLB Minute: Griffey!

Posted: May 21, 2010 by The Bearded Guy in Baseball
Tags: , , , ,

Don’t Call it a comeback, as ESPN said he, “awakened from his slumber” to deliver a walk off hit today to beat the Blue Jays.  In this month the Blue Jays have been on a tear, while the Mariners, well, have not.  Yet, the Blue Jays are still the third best team in the division, and last time I checked that did not mean jack.  On the other hand, Griffey proves that he doesn’t belong in a home watching TV Land episodes of Golden Girls, at least not yet, despite his loss of power, his perfect swing can still produce results in the clutch.  So in the end, this game might not mean anything, but it’s nice to see Griffey convert the opportunity and get his name out there for something other than his recent naps.

All Smiles, No Yawns

Look for a perspective on Floyd Landis coming soon

The Bearded Guy

Last week, baseball broadcasting legend Ernie Harwell passed away from cancer at the age of 92.  We’re in an age where baseball on the radio isn’t as important as it used to be and that’s a shame.  Baseball works on the radio better than any other sport.

I grew up in Michigan as a big fan of the Detroit Tigers and I was lucky enough to be able to listen to Ernie Harwell.  I was treated to so many great stories spun by Harwell.  I preferred listening to the games on the radio than hearing the television broadcasters.  We had some pretty good television guys too but George Kell and Al Kaline couldn’t hold a candle to Ernie.  I would sometimes put the game on TV with the sound off and listen to Harwell call the game.

The best ever!

Ernie Harwell knew the game.  He knew the history of the game.  He knew the characters of the game.  He was real, genuine, authentic.  Calling baseball games wasn’t his job, it was his life.

So much of baseball broadcasts today, whether on TV or radio, are guys talking the game to death.  Harwell knew when to talk, when to shut up and never felt the need to explain everything.  He didn’t talk down to us like Tim McCarver does.  McCarver acts as if we know nothing about the game and he’s there to enlighten us.  Don’t get me started on Joe Buck and his superiority complex.

I'm better than you

There are still some legendary voices of baseball left but eventually we’ll be left with the constant chatter, spewing of stats and name dropping of today’s current crop of announcers.  If you get a chance, try to listen to a game called by Vin Scully (Dodgers), Jon Miller (Giants), Bob Uecker (Brewers) and Marty Brennaman (Reds).  You won’t be disappointed.

Ernie Harwell was the voice of Tiger baseball but I don’t ever remember him openly rooting for them.  He never said “we” when mentioning the Tigers.  Sure, there was a touch of excitement when Kirk Gibson would hit a home run but it wasn’t that much more than when Reggie Jackson would hit one.  I don’t regret switching allegiances to the White Sox but their broadcasters get under my skin sometimes.  Ed Farmer is fun to listen to but he can be too much of a homer.  Luckily, I’m not a Cub fan because listening to Ron Santo absolutely drives me nuts.

Hot summer nights, a lawn chair in the backyard, a cold drink and listening to Tiger baseball on the radio.  That was America.  That was my youth and my twenties.  If you’re not too busy with your daily life, take a moment and listen to your favorite team on the radio.  You’ll thank me.  If we stop listening to games on the radio then the terrorists have won.

A month ago I told you how the Chicago White Sox would win the AL Central.  I also to you not to get too happy or too bummed out with what happens in April because the baseball season is long.  Forget both those things.

The Chicago White Sox are terrible!  They are last in hitting in all of baseball.  The White Sox are batting .223 as a team.  That’s 30th out of 30 teams.  Embarrassing!  The next best (worst) team, the Toronto Blue Jays, are batting ten points higher than the White Sox.  How can this team be hitting so poorly?  Check out these pathetic averages:

J. Pierre          .204

G. Beckham    .207

C. Quentin      .173

AJ. Pierzynski  .208

A. Ramirez      .229

That’s terrible!  Only Rios (.299), Konerko (.286) and Andruw Jones (.288) are the only Sox flirting with .300.  (We) The White Sox had the same problem last year and I think the year before that.  Who’s responsible?

Maybe Beckham isn't ready quite yet

Greg Walker is in his sixth season as the White Sox hitting coach and it seems his job has been in question ever since Chicago won the World Series.  Ozzie doesn’t always seem to have his back but Walker has always been able to keep his job.  Is it finally time?  How much influence does the hitting coach have anyway?  How do players who could hit last year suddenly forget how to hit?

Sox pitching isn’t doing much better.  They’re 25th in ERA at 4.91 and their relievers have blown four out of nine save opportunities.  John Danks is the only pitcher proving his worth.  He’s 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA. Bobby Jenks, as bad as the bullpen is, hasn’t blown a save but does have a 4.50 ERA even though he hasn’t given up a home run in ten games.  Now check out these terrible ERA’s:

M. Buehrle      5.30

J. Peavy          6.31

G. Floyd          6.49

F. Garcia         5.87

Disgraceful!!!  Jake Peavy is missing something.  He’s been throwing way too many pitches.  In his first five starts he threw 534 pitches in 28.2 innings.  He’s only reached the seventh inning once in those starts.

John Danks - your new White Sox ace

The pitching will come around but I wonder if the hitting will?  There are too many big names not producing.  Who’s responsible?  What needs to change?

Is it time for Ozzie Guillen to go?  I love Ozzie.  He’s good for the game because he’s real and doesn’t pull any punches.  But, has his act gotten old on this team?  Are his rants and tantrums having the same effect on the players?  I say fire Ozzie ONLY IF someone good is available.  Getting a retread to take over this team would be a step back for a team who should be contending for the division.  The only person I’d fire Guillen for is Bobby Valentine.  He would/could light a fire and would be a huge fan favorite but would he come?  It seems he only wants the Mets job and is willing to wait around for it to become available.

I still hate Jay Mariotti

Bobby, this job would be great for you and you’d own this town if you could turn this team around.  Think about it.  White Sox fans can bring it game in and game out, if they’re winning, and you’d love the atmosphere and passion.

My favorite Bobby Valentine moment

Can you imagine Bobby Valentine and Lou Pinella in the same town?  Awesome!

Whatever happens, Detroit and Minnesota are tearing up the league right now and the White Sox can’t afford to lose any more ground in the standings (6 games back).  C’mon Sox, you’re killing me!!  Clippers – suck, Browns – suck, Irish – suck, White Sox – suck.  God, I hate sports!!!

I still love you wrestling