Well it seems like the Yankees and Phillies get to play at least one exhibition game each before heading to the World Series. Both Championship Series are all but wrapped up with cute little bows on them.
If the Dodgers do win tonight they have the great fortune of facing Cliff Lee again. If the Angels win tomorrow and in game six they have to face C.C. Sabathia. We all know how both teams fare against those respective aces. For a second let’s disregard the match-ups. Let’s get down to what really matters in baseball, the subtle nuances.
Some things I learned in the Championship Series round:
1. Ron Darling sounds remarkably like James Woods. I finally realized this because I chose to focus on the tenor and repetition of his syntax rather than listen to…
2. Buck Martinez is a nose breather. He breathes through his nose and while funny in the first inning became quiet annoying in the second. And that was game one. I had to sit through this man’s nose whistles all through the 27 outs of each game.
3. Matt Stairs may look like a Little League dad who goes out and drinks all week and plays softball with his buddies on Sundays, but to Jonathan Broxton, Matt Stairs looks like the monster you always believed was in your closet as a kid.
4. The American League series was a tight one if you take away all the home runs the Yankees hit. Also please imagine a world in which Alex Rodriguez dominates in the postseason, seems bleak right? Well that’s the world we live in now.
5. Tim McCarver is currently in a heated battle with the English language. Who will win I am unsure of but we are worse off for witnessing it.
6. I could have easily gone out and got five of my closest friends and umpired these games. We would have been just as effective and might not have blown so many calls.
7. ManRam takes a shower in the ninth of game four. A leader on the team, he is neither there to console or to praise had the Dodgers pulled the win out. I still do not understand why he is supported by the fan base in Los Angeles.
It may be a long layoff before the World Series. I for one will be stocking up on cases of beer. I have found that’s the only way to truly follow what Tim McCarver is trying to say. It makes watching the World Series more understandable.
These playoffs have reaffirmed what I thought I already knew about baseball. A lot of times the loss goes to he who screws up first, often, or both. Either a closer will throw a changeup out over the plate, or a shortstop will flub a double play, or Matt Holiday will try to run and catch at the same time. More often than not these mistakes turn into game changing blunders. Looking to the National League match-up on Thursday, I have decided who will screw up least.
Both teams boast solid defenses. Dodger faithful may even have images of gold glove infields of yester year. Likewise, the Phillies have nary a hole to hit to. This would almost be a complete tie on defense if it weren’t for the Manny in left field. I know it’s coming. It hasn’t yet. But it will. There will be a gaffe of such epic proportions as to end the Dodger hopes in one foul swoop. Things have been too easy out there for him. Sure every fly ball looks like it wants to come out of his glove. Sure every gaper is chased at walking speeds. But a big one is coming. Set the DVR to record.
As for rotations I have to give the “most likely to get rocked” award to either Randy Wolf or Brad Lidge. One constant with Wolf is that when he takes the ball, you know the opposition will score three runs. You can take comfort in that it will not be more than that but either way he will leave the game with three runs having been scored. As for Brad Lidge, I mean, come on, even Brad Lidge was holding his breath when Brad Lidge was pitching the ninth inning on Monday. He really only had one pitch he was comfortable with and that was his slider. Lucky for Lidge, Troy Tulowitzki was fond of swinging at pretty much anything that night.
Now what hitters will go completely absent for the next week? Smart money is Pedro Feliz. This guy wasn’t exactly raking the ball against Colorado. He went 3 for 13 but still scares me. He has a Scott Brosius thing about him. He could easily go 1 for 20 in the next series but that one could be the game-winning walk off single.
So which team will screw up least to take this thing? My guess is the defending champs…then again it could be the Dodgers. I’ll let you know after I see how many fastballs Padilla can throw without Chase Utley hitting the pavilion.
Bronson Arroyo is either one of the bravest or craziest men in baseball. To be honest, I haven’t really decided yet which way I lean.
For starters, I love his devil may care attitude. He’s going to do what he wants to do, and to hell with those who disagree with him. He has a battery of pills and supplements he takes every day, many or which can not be found on the approved list of supplements endorsed by Major League Baseball. But he doesn’t care because he’s never failed a drug test, so he figures it must be alright.
That being said, there is a fine line between being your own man, and just being indignant. As such, I hate the fact that, at his disposal, is an approved list of supplements and drugs which he could take without any repercussions, now or in the future. But he refuses to play along. Thus, if the day ever comes where he does fail a test, he’ll have no one to blame but himself.
The other thing I like about him, though, is how candid he is about the 2003 anonymous drug tests. With David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez both having their names leaked, Arroyo openly admits that his name is likely on the same list. And that is something I applaud. I wish more players would come out and say the same.
But really, who out there is that brave… or crazy?
Okay, so I’m a little rusty after being out of the country, but I’m finally home and happy to be back at it. In this edition of On Deck, I give you my take on the David Ortiz/Manny Ramirez steroid allegations as well as Josh Hamilton’s lingering hangover, plus two former greats get released the same day!
Okay, so I’m about to “out” myself as a Trekie, but considering today’s bombshell news, it seems appropriate. I’m sure most of you have seen Star Trek II, the Wrath of Khan… It is easily the best of the many Star Trek movies, including the current reincarnation.
As you will recall, during the climactic moments of this film, Spock sacrifices himself so the Enterprise can can reach warp speed and thus escape the expanding Genesis effect initialed by Khan himself. Dying from radiation poisoning, Spock tells Kirk that he had to do what he did because “the good of the many must outweigh the good of the few.”
Such a statement seems logical, doesn’t it. Why should the many suffer for the good of the few? Clearly they should not. But in relation to Major League Baseball, that is exactly what’s happening. In 2003, 1,198 players were screened for the use of performance enhancing drugs. Of those, 104 tested positive.
The names were to remain sealed and anonymous, but thanks to the government investigation of BALCO, the list was seized and, subsequently, names have started slipping out. First A-Roid, then Slammin Sammy, now Manny and Ortiz? Clearly there will be others.
Which brings me to this idea that the good of the many must outweigh the good of the few. If the Players Union were smart (which they clearly are not) they would do everything they could to release the entire list. Sure, the other 100 players would probably be freaking out. But you know what, the other 1,094 players would breathe a sigh of relief knowing they would no longer have to live their lives under the cloud of suspicion.
Obviously the Players Union will never do this. Which is why those 100 players whose names are sealed should start coming out one by one. Each player should call a news conference and admit to being on the list. Control the message, take the PR hit, then move on. If several did it, others would follow, and soon, the steroid era would become a thing of the past.
Wouldn’t it be great to see something like that happen?
Yeah, I’m not holding my breath either.
In the first inning of Saturday’s game, Manny Ramirez showed he still has a little “pop” left in his bat… even now that the female fertility drugs have left his system.
I guess we all figured it would take Man Ram some time to get his feet back under him… and considering the way he performed in his rehab stints, some were even wondering if he could return to his prior form. But his solo shot in the first off Josh Geer, in only his second game back, reminded us all what a dangerous player he can be… when he wants to be!
After taking nearly two months off work, Manny Ramirez punched the clock again Friday night as the Dodgers went on the road to face division rival San Diego. By the sound of the crowd when he was introduced over the loud speaker, it seemed like a number of Dodger fans made the drive down I-5 with the team.
As for the Manny of the hour, he apologized to his fans before the game and fared about as well as could be expected during it… 0 for 3 with a walk. His presence, however, had a big impact on his fellow teammates. The offensively challenged Dodgers rattled off 5 runs in the first, in large part to Manny’s presence in the 3 spot of the line up. So even if he didn’t light it up at the plate, he clearly still makes everyone around him better.
Also, kudos to Tim Wakefield for breaking the record of most starts by a Boston pitcher. By taking the mound Friday night against the Mariners, Wakefield surpassed Roger Clemens with 383 starts, and only trails the Rocket’s win total by 18 games.
Hold onto your seats, everybody… the Ringling Brothers and Manny Ramirez Circus is coming to town! That’s right, Mr. Female Fertility Drug himself has made it through his 50 game suspension… and more importantly, so have the Dodgers! So far this looks like a win win situation… The Dodgers are still in first place in both the League nd Division, and Manny Ramirez seems to have not taken much of a PR hit from loyal Dodger fans. In fact, the only loser in this whole situatuon is Juan Pierre, who played very well in Manny’s absence, but just couldn’t hit the long ball that so many chicks are fond of…