Saturday, October 26, 2013


                                      I usually don't write about things that just happened, but this time I'm going to make an exception.  I just watched the third game of the 2013 World series end on an obstruction call.  It was the weakest, worst way to end what actually was a very exciting, well played game by both teams.  For those who missed it, a ground ball was hit to Dustin Pedroia, who threw out Yadier Molina at home.  After Salty applied the tag, he then threw wide to Will Middlebrooks at third, sending the ball into the outfield.  After he had slid, the Cardinal's Allen Craig then attempted to head home and tripped over Middlebrooks, who was lying on the ground at the time.  Nava's throw home beat Craig, but he was called safe because of Middlebrooks "tripping" Craig.  The run was allowed to score, game over.  The main culprits?  Home plate umpire Dana Deluth and umpire Jim Joyce

              You may remember Joyce as the man who made the terrible call on the last out of the   no-hit bid by the Tigers Armando Galarraga.  The runner was clearly out, and Joyce new it when he saw the play later, then tearfully apologized to Galarraga. (which is little solace to baseball record books)  This call last night was even worse.  Yes, I am a Red Sox fan, but even if it were the Cardinals, or (gulp) Yankees victimized by the blown call, I wouldn't feel easy about it.  If Boston loses the series because of this, I'm going to suggest that umpires get fined every time they make such horrific calls like this.  Sure, all the umpires agreed on the call,  but they have been out of control as a whole for years; throwing out players for arguing strikes, throwing out managers before they even have a chance to make their point.  Hell, even Earl Weaver got to put on a show before he was tossed.

             This play has total precedent in the World series too; in 1975,( which, ironically enough, was also game three) the Red Sox (of course) were playing the Reds at Riverfront stadium, when Cincinnati's Ed Armbrister went to lay down a bunt, but missed.  On the play, Cesar Geronimo took off for second, and Fisk had him dead to rights.  However, Armbrister "obstructed" the throw, and it went sailing into center field.  The fact that Fred Lynn actually threw Geronimo out at third, but was called safe, is kind of forgotten... but the play was a classic case of obstruction, yet was never called.  Two blown calls on the same play, way to go, blue.

           You may ask what the difference was between the two.  Well, for one thing, Armbrister stepped into Fisk, while Middlebrooks was just laying there.  Also, it wasn't a game ending play.  I'm sure a game has ended this way before, but not in a pivotal game of a World Series.  I know the umpires union is strong, but something needs to be done.  They're making instant replay almost necessary for every friggin' play.  I don't want it to turn into football, the games are too long as it is, especially on FOX.  Seriously, if this game didn't end in the bullshit fashion that it did, it would have probably ended up being the longest World Series game in history, the way it was going.  Fox airs so many damn commercials...

                       In conclusion, may I just say that, yes, I am angry because it is still fresh in my mind, and yes, I will get over it, but I'll tell you one thing; if anybody in the next twenty four hours tries to tell me that call wasn't bullshit, I am going to box their ears...this was, and will remain a, I had this nice little funny blog about comparing Jim Leyland to Lloyd Bridge's character on "Airplane", and now that will have to wait (looks like I picked the wrong day to quit drinking, and so forth)...weird thing was, I just played a softball game yesterday that ended on a bullshit call...of course my team won because of it, so that's O.K. ( I keeeed)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Speed Kills...

                              In 1976, David Bowie released "Station to Station", the follow up to Young Americans.  It was an ambitious work, featuring only six songs, two of which- Golden Years and TVC15- received enormous amount of airplay.  Bowie got the title from a long gone form of telephone communication, in which the caller- with or without assistance from the operator-tries to reach his or her intended listener, and said listener can choose to accept the call...(this explanation almost seems as long as Bowie's title track to the album...a ten minute song which was the only song not released on a single from it...)

            In baseball, the term "Station to Station" refers to a team that never steals, relying mostly on power to produce runs.  A good example of this kind of play would be the 2013 Detroit Tigers, who stole only 35 bases during the season.  Their opponents in the 2013 ALCS, the Boston Red Sox were just the opposite...historically so.  Boston stole 123 bases in 142 attempts, a 86.9% success rate...second highest percentage in the live ball area. Jacoby Ellsbury stole 52 out of 56, good for 92.9%; the best single season mark since 1922.  Sure, 123 for a team isn't super impressive-any number of '70s A's or '80s Cardinal teams have doubled and almost tripled that total- but the selectiveness is very impressive; even Big Papi was 4 for 4 this year...

       What's most amazing to me is that this is a very recent development to say the least.  The Red Sox teams I grew up with in the aforementioned '70s and '80s were as slow footed as they came, and would often have even their best players lead the league in double plays (Jim Rice comes to mind).  Oh sure, they had Tommy Harper in the early part of the former decade, but he was before my time.  In fact, it wasn't until they got Jerry Remy from the Angels, that the Sox had an actual base stealer, and he never surpassed his total of 30 after his inaugural '78 season.

              Over the next two decades, Boston would have a few speedsters on the team...a Willie McGee here, and Otis Nixon there, but no one who was in their prime, really. (I guess you can count Ellis Burks, but he became more of a power hitter eventually) Then in 2002, they got Johnny Damon, an actual legitimate lead off hitter.  No longer would the Sox have lead foots like Wade Boggs and Dwight Evans lead off.  Of course, after a while, Damon did what a lot of fast players did for the Sox; he stole less and less each year,,,

           In 2006, Boston acquired Coco Crisp from the Indians, but he was hampered by injuries during his time in Boston.  Ironically, he's now having his best seasons in Oakland, a team that plays "Moneyball", which somewhat devalues the stolen base. (A far cry from the '70s A's and the Rickey Henderson-led teams of the early '80s)  Coco eventually lost his roster spot to Ellsbury, which leads us to today.  Paired with Shane Victorino in the #2 hole, Jacoby has changed to way Boston scores runs...sure, there's Papi, Napoli and such, and the players take a lot of pitchers...(which is very "Moneyball', actually) But you can't argue with matter how hard I've tried to...btw, does anyone know what the fu#@%^"TVC15" means...? 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Save us Vin Scully...SAVE US NOW!!!...

                       The other day I was saying how I thought Vin Scully should announce the World Series this year, a sentiment shared by many, including a writer from the Los Angeles
Times.  The person I was talking to said, "Why? You're not positive the Dodgers are even going to be IN the Series this year..."  I informed him that before FOX had the series, Vin Scully would often announce color man, no former jock pointing out the obvious.  He would announce it just like he has been doing for Dodger games for the past 60 years, going back to the old Brooklyn Dodgers.

                   Vin had a lot to live up to when he replaced the legendary Red Barber in the early '50s; Red had been the voice of the Brooklyn Dodgers since the '30s, and was the first man to announce Jackie Robinson as a player in '47. Scully and Barber shared announcing duties until Red left to do Yankee games in '53.  Eventually, Vin started doing World series games.  Baseball fans were rather spoiled in the '80s, as not only did we have Scully do the T.V series games, but we also had the equally legendary Jack Buck do the games on the radio.

               Jack Buck had been the announcer for St. Louis Cardinal games for decades.  I remember when both he and Vin called the Kirk Gibson homer off of Eckersley...they went has such:

Vin Scully: "In a year that has been improbable...the IMPOSSIBLE has happened..."

Jack Buck: "I don't believe, what I just saw...I don't BELIEVE what I just saw..."

       I have started a facebook thingy to have Vin do the's more symbolic than anything else, really.  In a perfect world, this would happen...unfortunately, Jack Buck is no longer with us, so the ultimate announcing team will no longer happen, but at least Jack's son, Joe, could realize that before Vin retires for good next year, Scully could AT LEAST do an inning or two.  Lord knows I have things against Joe Buck; I have ranted on here and elsewhere about how he and Tim McCarver babble on and on and make people thank God for the mute button...McCarver used to be pretty good when he did Mets games, and is obviously knowledgeable about the game...

                   Even if Buck and McCarver chose to step down for even an inning or two, to FOX brass probably won't allow it.  Fox sports have made some shamelessly outrageous plugs for their "stars"...there was Zooey Dechanel singing the national anthem before the  San Fransisco Giants played a World series game...there was also a few years back, when Fox decided to have some American Idol hack sing the anthem in New Orleans before the NFC championship game...NEW ORLEANS!!! Home of some of the greatest music and musicians stark contrast, the NBA All Star game in 2008 had a half time show in the Big Easy which included Aaron Neville, Harry Conick Jr., and many other 'Nawlins legends, the way it should be...

             In conclusion, it would be great to have an announcer who lets the game play out before he over explains what's going on...