Archive for the Baseball tag

Mike

What role should weather play in the postseason?

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I’ve been angry since last night about the disaster that was Game 5 and how baseball dropped the ball completely. Sadly, no one was surprised. After thinking through it all, I think there is one question that needs to be addressed this offseason about the entire postseason …

What role should weather play?

Just like the regular season
If it’s not raining, start the game. If it starts raining and conditions get too bad, rain delay. If the game gets called, its official, and a team is leading, they win. It’s how things work for the other 2,430 regular season games. Everyone is familiar with it.

Sure that isn’t any way to end a World Series, but shouldn’t the rules be followed? It would not be ideal for the players or the fans. When the game is called, would the players run back on the field and jump around?

I would not have been at all shocked if the Phillies got through the 6th inning leading 2-1, the game was called, and the Phillies given the win and the World Series. It was why I was so angry at Rollins that he didn’t make a play on Upton’s groundball, which would have been a routine play for him in decent weather. Just look at how things turned out. There is no predicting what they are going to do. They make their decisions first then come up with their reasoning, rather than the logical way of thinking about the problem.

Now with the game tied, the suspended game is actually following the rule. However the conditions were not any worse in the Top of the 6th vs the Bottom of the 6th. So the Rays had the advantage of the pitcher and fielders being severely handicapped. The Phillies now will play their half of the 6th on a dry field instead of getting the same advantages the Rays had in the top of the inning.

Special Rules for the Postseason
The thought would be that the games should be played in the best weather possible. If the forecast shows terrible weather, the game should be canceled in advance. The players should be put in a position to perform at their best so the champion can be decided. You also cannot risk a team losing a starting pitcher in a called game. In the postseason, the series are only a maximum 5 or 7 games long. During the regular season you can put up with these situations because they will even themselves out throughout the year.

The weather reports showed that things were not looking good going into the game. Baseball could have made a few simple decisions that might have helped things. The start time could have been moved up. Given enough time, moving the game up to 7 would have been logical. The fans would be alright with that, given a few hours notice. The people watching at home would have loved it, getting to bed before midnight would be a possibility. At the very least the MLB should have told Fox that first pitch was going to be at 8pm. It would be a simple conversation, ‘Fox, we’ve seen you’re pregame show. You wonder why your ratings are so bad? People tune in, see 10 seconds of your pregame show and are disgusted by how terrible it is and change the channel. So let’s just start the game when your coverage begins.’ (I can’t stress enough how terrible the Fox Pregame show is.) On top of that, make the commercial breaks regular length, not these extended breaks which are so long that I forget who is coming to bat. That would have likely gotten the game 2 innings further, at least. Still not finished, but it would make much more sense to suspend a game when the teams are already moving through their bullpens rather than changing the complexion of a game by taking the starting pitchers out of a game before they have finished their work for the night.

Having indefinite rain delays was introduced to the public yesterday after the game was stopped by Selig. These would go against the written rule, that games should only be suspended in the event of a tie. This, of course, would be for the good of the game. Apparently this was discussed beforehand, only very few people were told. My issue with this is that if it was already discussed, why did the game continue as long as it did? I can see pushing through the horrendous weather for a little while to get to an official game. However, if it has already been decided that, no matter what, the game will be picked up wherever it stops on a night when the weather clears up, then there is no problem at all stopping at the hint of the weather effecting the game. When did that happen? On the missed fly ball by Rollins. That was in the Top of the 5th. Now to make it official they could have pushed through to the end of that half inning. Then picked up with the Bottom of the 5th tomorrow.

My only guess as to why the 6th inning started was that Selig was not confident in his indefinite rain delay plan. He was praying for a tie so that people wouldn’t get upset about him making up rules. This is why he is a terrible commissioner, he has no power because he doesn’t command any. He is in charge. If he would have laid out his thought process with confidence and clear explanation, the support would vastly outweigh the opposition.

This entire thing was handled terribly by everyone involved. To me, there is no comparison between this and the All-Star Game tie. I had no problem with a tie in the All-Star Game. It’s an event to honor the players and entertain the fans. Who cares who wins? Where Selig screwed up there was that he overreacted and created his own problem. Then he made up rules to fix his make believe problem which took a lot of the fun out of the All-Star Game and gave home field advantage in the World Series based on something meaningless. I still say that homefield should go to the league that wins more interleague games. Last night, Selig blew it both before the game (by not calling it) and during the game (by waiting too long, even though he already decided that the game would continue in a few days, even if one team was leading in an offical game). It’s long past time for him to step down.

Mike

Phillies, Then Everything Else

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Many find it hard to believe that in my sports world, Penn State does not come first, the Phillies do. And it’s not even all that close. I think people feel that way because 1) many of them are Penn Staters themselves, we don’t agree on other sports, especially if they came from Pittsburgh, 2) the baseball regular season is 162 games long, if there were only 12 baseball games each season, there would be a lot more excitement for each game, and 3) they didn’t know me before Penn State, even before high school, when nothing came before baseball.

I’ve been a Phillies fan much longer than Penn State. I’m pretty sure a Phillies game was the first professional sporting event I ever went to. I was probably around six, but I no idea for sure. There weren’t a lot of moments in those days to really remember to pinpoint a specific time. The first big, memorable event was when they made the World Series in 1993 and then we had our hearts broken. I already loved them, but heartbreak like that tends to attach you to a team even more. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but it’s true. Prior to 1993, the last postseason appearance was in 1983. I don’t remember much of that series, since I hadn’t yet turned 1. Our next playoff appearance would not come until 2007 and we would not get to another World Series until right now, in 2008.

I remember watching Penn State games when I was younger. Neither of my parents went to Penn State but the games were always on TV. If you were a sports fan, they were hard to miss. I remember being corrected when I shortened the name of the school to Penn (dropping the State) only to be corrected because Penn was a different school. I must have been pretty young since I wasn’t aware of Penn. The 1994 team went undefeated and won the Rose Bowl, but not the official national championship. That is when I really got hooked. It’s still my favorite team and Kerry Collins is my favorite college football player. I don’t remember any Penn State related heartbreak until the 1999 season when they were 9-0. they lost a game they had control of to Minnesota and would up losing 3 straight to end the regular season. While I loved Penn State football I still tried to focus on the actual school when deciding on a college. It came down to near the end of high school that I finally decided to go to Penn State. Once there, the bond to the team grew and grew. Plenty of people go to Penn State not really having had paid attention to the team beforehand, maybe not even really caring about any sports team. I was already hooked before I even went to my first game my freshman year (my first time seeing Penn State play). Sadly, I was there for the four worst seasons in the JoePa era. It didn’t diminish my connection to the team. I still went to and watched every game. The year after graduating we returned to our dominant ways and I was able to go to almost every home game (all but the first 2 because the first game I was going to see the Phillies play the Nationals in DC and the second game because I had tickets to a Phillies home game), the Michigan away game, and the Orange Bowl (one of the greatest trips ever).

I went to a ton of Phillies games. Philly isn’t far away and I knew a few people with tickets when I was little. I easily went to 10-20 games per year. I think that is why I was so sad to see the Vet go. Who knows how many games I saw there. Big ones: 1993 NLCS Game 6 and the 1996 Home Run Derby and All-Star Game (all in amazing seats about 10 rows behind the visiting dugout). I was there for the bad times to. Games toward the end of the season when our loss total was in the 90s were particularly solemn. It was the only place I’d seen the Phillies play, they belonged there, no matter how terrible the stadium actually was.

Growing up I played baseball, never football. I think that ties you to a sport a lot. I wanted to be a major league player. I was a little on the small side so everyone knew that would never happen, even though I was pretty good. Still, I think most people thought I should have been an announcer. They probably still think I should be. Playing and having the game be such a big part of your life for so long, you can’t help but be attached to your favorite team.
I love numbers and stats. Baseball has more stats and more people keeping track of them than any other sport. I had a bunch of old stat books when I was little, never the most recent ones, but I still read through all the Bill James books. I had tons and tons of baseball cards. My mom claims I learned how to read because of baseball cards and all the unique names. Plus, reading the sports page helped too.
Baseball is better than football. Just my personal opinion. It’s an argument that could go on forever and no one would ever win, so we’ll leave it at that.
You can’t top a big Penn State game, with tailgating and the huge crowd, which is even more amazing in night white out games. As I said before, if there were only 12 Phillies games per year the atmosphere would be just as crazy. I just grew up with the baseball and the Phillies as a bigger part of my life than football and Penn State did. Good thing I have enough sports love to go around. Well, almost. It’s going to be a feat to watch the Penn State/Ohio State and Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night, at the same time. Two TVs will help accomplish that. The question is, which game gets the larger screen?
Mike

Remembering Kim Batiste

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Let’s take a minute to remember Kim Batiste. In Game 1 of the 1993 NLCS the Phillies were leading the Braves 3-2 going into the 9th. In came Mitch Williams to pitch and Kim Batiste replaced Dave Hollins for defensive purposes. What happened? Batiste made an error on a Mark Lemke ground ball, so much for the defensive replacement. Two batters later Otis Nixon, on what should have been the third out, knocked in the tying run on a ground ball.

All was not lost for Batiste. With the game still tied in the bottom of the 10th John Kruk doubled with one out and that brought Batiste to the plate. He hit one down the 3rd base line. There was no way fleet footed Terry Pendleton was going to stop that one. Kruck scored and the Phillies won Game 1.

I couldn’t find video of that game, but here is the box score and play-by-play. I took some of the finer details from that play-by-play, but I actually remembered most of it.

That game was 15 years ago. I remember watching in my room, which is odd cause I didn’t have a TV in my room. I think because the games were going to be on late my parents put a TV in my room thinking that at least I would be ‘in bed’ even if I wasn’t getting to sleep until late. There is a good lesson there, always let your kids stay up for those moments. They may not come again for quite a while. I don’t remember too much about the rest of that series. I remember when we clinched in Game 6, because I was there, only a few rows behind the Braves dugout. I really wish I had a camera back then. I can’t remember if I took a camera, even if I did, I was very short and probably wouldn’t have gotten very good shots.

Now the Phillies are back there. I can’t tell you how excited I am. I was tense the whole game when we clinched the division. I couldn’t sit still during the games against the Brewers, especially in the later innings. This is a family problem, my mom can’t even watch the games, she paces around too much. When we won that series on Sunday I did a little screaming and jumping up and down. I was very sick this weekend so my celebrating was limited.

I’m not making a prediction, I don’t have any clue what is going to happen. We could sweep or get swept. Or it could be a very painful 7 games. I’m going to watch every pitch and realize that it could be another 15 years before I see any of this again.

Mike

Sports Links for 9/30

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Crabtree – Harrell 08
Texas Tech has put together a campaign for their QB Graham Harrell and WR Michael Crabtree for award season. They are calling it Pass or Catch 2008. Crabtree’s video asks what happens if he doesn’t grab the ball out of the air? Harrell’s video asks how those balls that Crabtree catches get in the air? Right now I would vote for Harrell because of his superior slogan: ‘Footballs don’t magically fly. Its Science.’

I hope they do a few more rounds of this back and forth. The first two videos are very enjoyable. I haven’t seen anything like this before. There usually isn’t a lot of campaigning by the schools for awards. I’m pretty sure all the Joey Harrington hype was generated by Nike.

Fives: Lou Marson
On Sunday the Phillies sent out quite a lineup. Really, check the box score. I wasn’t sure if a few of those players were even on the roster. It didn’t matter much, the division was clinched on Saturday. During the game, 3rd-string catcher and Olympian Lou Marson hit his first major league home run. He received the traditional greeting in the dugout from his teammates for a first home run. The video captures the entire thing.

Yankees Batboy
I heard about a podcast called The Moth. It posts stories that are read on stage at one of their locations. One of the first ones I heard was by Matthew McGrough. He is a writer on Law & Order and wrote a book called ‘Batboy: Coming of Age with the New York Yankees.’ The story he tells on the podcast is about getting the job of batboy for the Yankees and his first day, opening day. There isn’t a page for the individual show, here is the mp3 audio. I really enjoyed it and recommend a listen to any baseball fan.

Mike

Five Most Hated MLB Teams

Fives, Sports 2 Comments

1. Mets
2. Braves
3. Marlins
4. Yankees
5. Rangers

My most hated teams usually are Division Rivals or Geographical Rivals. The Nationals don’t make the cut because they haven’t been good yet and when they were the Expos I just felt bad for them. The Pirates haven’t been good in so long, I’d like to see them win a few. They would have made this list in the early 90s when they were in the same division as the Phillies and winning the division. I think the league boundaries in baseball help the Orioles out here, I’ve always kind of liked them.

Only four teams really qualified for the hate designation. So I went through the list and the Rangers were the only team that stood out for that fifth spot. Not even sure why.

Mike

Good-Bye Yankee Stadium

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Did you hear? Last night was the final game in Yankee Stadium. There wasn’t a whole lot of coverage. Only all day on the ESPN channels.

I’ve been to Yankee Stadium two times. The first time was about ten years ago. The Yankees were playing the Orioles. My seats were on the lower level in left field. BJ Surhoff was playing left field for the O’s that day. The Yankee fans enjoyed yelling at him all game. I got to see a walk-off home run by Scott Brosius that day. I back this summer as part of my stadium tour with my friend Evan. It was a key element in scheduling since I wanted to go back in the final year and he had never been. We made sure to get there early and waited in line to get into Monument Park, something I didn’t get to the first time around. I’m very glad I did. Its impressive how many great players the team has had over the years. And how they beef up the resumes to make some of their good players sound great. That game turned out to to be a Yankee blowout, including a Giambi Grand Slam.

I caught some of the ceremony before the game last night. Once I realized that ESPN thought that NFL coverage was more important and bumped the ceremony to ESPN2. Many of the old players came out and Babe Ruth’s daughter threw the first pitch to Jorge Posada. It was such an amazing scene it got me wondering how much I would have been willing to pay for a ticket to that game if I were a Yankee fan. I asked Evan and he said $1000. I think that would have been no doubt, if the going rate was $1500, I probably would have done that without hesitation.

When the Phillies closed the Vet they had a similar ceremony after the game (I think it was after) where a ton of former players came out and Tug McGraw reenacted the final pitch of the 1980 World Series. I was at school for that game and couldn’t come home to go to the game. It would have been special. I was off on a co-op when the stadium was demolished, so I didn’t get to go to that either. I got up to watch it on ESPN Classic. It was a very sad day.

I think the Yankee Stadium ceremony had that extra something because of the history of the team and the stadium. Its been there since 1923 and the Yankees have won 26 World Series. That’s a lot of history and a ton of Hall of Famers. The excitement of a night game helped as well, with the constant flashbulbs as a backdrop to the entire evening.

The only thing I would of changed about the night was ESPN’s broadcast team. I think any game that is of special historical importance to one team, that team’s announcers should call the game on ESPN. They know the team and the stadium, its only right for them to be able to share their stories as well as get to call the final game on TV. Almost everyone is tuning in for the event. I don’t think the other team’s fans would mind too much. ESPN only talked about the stadium anyway.

MLB page with all sorts of stories, pictures, and videos from the event. Well worth checking out for any baseball fan.

Mike

Dog Night at Shea

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No one told me about this! I was watching the Phillies game and they started talking about how it was dog night. They had a camera in the section and a whole buch of people had their dogs sitting with them and there were dogs in the aisles too. There was a parade in the outfield and a picnic before the game. Details here.

I have a few questions …

  • How do the fans treat dogs who are fans of the Phillies?
  • Are some dogs fans of a different team than their owners?
  • Are souvenirs designed for dogs available? I didn’t see any dogs in jerseys. There are lots of dogs at Penn State games with jerseys. I saw in the details that blue foam paws are available.
  • Does the grounds crew have to do extensive clean-up of the warning track after the pre-game parade?
  • Do you have to clean up after yourself in the bleachers? I’ve seen what people leave behind, so dogs might actually be cleaner than an actual person.
  • Do fights break out?
  • Has a dog ever caught a home run ball?
  • Do they have dog specific chants? Some of the clapping ones could easily be replaced with barks.
  • Are there vendors walking around with dog treats?

This is possibly my second favorite ballpark promotion. Of course Senior Stroll the Bases is still stronly in that #1 spot.

Mike
Mike

Week in Links

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I keep telling myself to do this daily, but I get sidetracked. Here is a sampling of the links I shared with my friends this week. These are the ones that made the cut and aren’t dumb after looking at them again.

The Condiment Pistol. Now if they can figure out how to get ketchup and mustard into the same gun. Perhaps a double-barreled shotgun?

My new favorite dinosaur name: Duckbilled Edmontosaurus.

Finally I won’t have to listen to everyone demanding that BattleBots come back.

Life Clock. Cool, interesting, or morbid?

Not sure how the Secret Public Journal will turn into a sitcom, I’ll watch though.

Colbert is coming to Philly. I got burned by the fact that I DVR it and watch it after work the next day. By the time I saw this, tickets were gone.

Do we want the largest building in the hemisphere to be in Philly? I guess we never want to win a championship.

Kenny Maine is writing a book? It will be kindling. Not because it will be bad, I will probably get it and enjoy it, but its going to be so try the sun will set it on fire.

The Dodgers are leaving Dodgertown. So sad, it really makes no sense. Orioletown doesn’t sound nearly as good. Lasorda said, “We’re going to leave, but we’re not leaving our memories.” Something about the wording of that quote bothers me. Sounds to me like ‘we’re leaving and we’re taking our memories with us’.

Is independent study a major at Michigan?

Service Pack 1 was released for Vista. Usually things start looking up after the first Service Pack. Who knows with Vista, everyone hates it so much and most of them haven’t even tried it.

The Adam Carolla Show
Teresa tells what Adam says is his favorite story. Part 1 Part 2
Who the F sells this S? (My favorite segment) Part 1 Part 2

These are a little old, but in the off chance you missed them …

YOUTUBE TOOK THE VIDEO DOWN
Sarah Silverman and Matt Damon’s song.

YOUTUBE TOOK THE VIDEO DOWN
Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Affleck’s song.

Mike

Baseball Picks on Ice Cream Helmet

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Baseball Picks was my first idea that led to the creation of Ice Cream Helmet. That was last year. Now Baseball Picks is back for its second season. Not much has changed on the surface, I learned quite a bit behind the scenes.

The idea is fairly simple, pick who will win each baseball series during the season. Most series are 3 games, so which ever team wins the majority of those games (2 or 3) wins the series. If you’re curious there are 780 series during the season. I thought series would be a better pick than games, there are 2,430 of those.

Join the Borderline Fantastic group. Anyone can join, no password needed.

Baseball Picks on Ice Cream Helmet

Mike

I’m not scared of you Johan

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I’m trying to keep an open mind when it comes to the Johan Santana trade.

-The Mets had to give up 4 of their Top 10 prospects. This will hurt them down the road. Although I’d be much happier if they threw in Fernando Martinez as well.
-They are going to pay him a ton. Although being in New York and having a new stadium next year, this isn’t an issue.
-Santana only went 15-13 last year. I guess you could argue that the Twins weren’t as good as last year.

Of course I’d want Santana on my team. Problem is, my team is the Phillies. We would never get him. We don’t have the talent in the system to make a trade like that. If we gave him a contract like that we wouldn’t sign anyone else. Then how would we sign guys like Adam Eaton and Pedro Feliz?

Alright, I’m a little scared. Are you ready for the Santana/Hamels rivalry?