Sunday, October 31, 2004


Coming Attractions: "Expos Updates" and "RFK and bust"?

Position Analysis? Doesn't that grab you?

I'll soon be filling this blog with position by position analysis (flawed analysis granted, but really you just want something to read) of the Expos, trying to determine who should be starting next year, who should be on the bench, and who should be on the road to Wellville. Or something like that. It should be a good read for all you interested in the Endy/Sledge battle.

I'll also be keeping you up to date with the latest in the Washington saga, as the Mayor and MLB try to get that snake-oil sale in writing. It should happen, but it is not set in stone. I'd give the chances right around 80%. If it doesn't - look out, things will get very interesting.

Here's a nicely written piece that gets you up-to-date.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


Big Day in Washington

It's an ol' fashioned D.C. Council hearing. Get me shotgun, granny!

Over 170 people have signed up to speak at the council hearing. Some in favor of it, probably more opposed

Excluding the economic arguments for the time being, given these statements concerning the public funding of a stadium, whcih sides seems more compelling to you?

"It will be really exciting for my players to see a baseball game for the first time in their lives and to have baseball players as athletic role models," said Frazier O'Leary, the baseball coach at Cardozo High, who plans to testify.

Jay Haddock, general manager of the Capital Hotel group, said he believes the stadium would improve Washington's image nationally. "We're not second to Baltimore or other cities that have baseball teams," he said. "Let's do it and be proud of it."

"They want a multimillion-dollar stadium for millionaires, and we don't have rec centers for kids," said Angela Jones, executive director of D.C. Action for Children.

Sczerina Perot, an activist for the homeless, wondered how city leaders could propose such a plan when they routinely reject her pleas for funds. "I heard that [rejection] about everything I ask for," she said.

My favorite quote in the piece was this gem by the Mayor.:
"I can't imagine why, with all the things happening in the world, the Cato Institute would take the time to analyze the impact of baseball in Washington, D.C.," Williams (D) said yesterday during a luncheon speech at the University Club

It reminds me of someone getting busted for speeding complaining that the cops should be fighting terrorists.

Oh and as
I predicted here on exposbaseball DOT blogspot DOT com, he's caving even more now upping the ante to 400 million. The man is desparate. I hear next he'll offer piggy back rides to and from the stadium for all kids under 12.

Another show of opposition by the angry public
here, in case you're bored.


Playoffs: Winners and Losers and Others

Winners: Red Sox. Losers: Everyone Else. Too simple? Ok...

Red Sox : Don't need to say why.

Curt Schilling: After the fact, his injury was probably less serious than it was made out to be. Bloody and potentially career threatening sure, but more "potentially" then we, craving a hero story, wanted to believe. Doesn't matter though. Came to Boston to win a World Series, then they did.

David Ortiz: "Papi" becomes legend.

Us: No more talk about the curse or how "You can't understand agony if you aren't a Red Sox fan, blah, blah, whine, blah..." Even the most even handed Bostonians would in one hand say how they didn't like fans talking about curses, then in the other talk about how their pain was somehow worse than not being in a World Series since 1950 and not winning one since 1908 (Cubs), not winning one since your team threw a World Series in 1919 (White Sox), never winning a playoff series in 40 years of existence (Astros), being the Phillies (Phillies), or I don't know, HAVING YOUR TEAM DESTROYED BY MLB AND MOVED AWAY?! We can only hope the Red Sox fans shut up now. I feel like I'm talking to a bank robber here. "Please you have what you want. Now just leave. There's no reason for you to whine at anyone else"

Bagwell/Biggio: Finally, the Astros won a playoff series. Takes a monkey off their back which people could have used to keep them out of the Hall. World Series probably won't come, but after all this time, this is almost as sweet.

Carlos Beltran: $$$. Best player in the playoffs by far.

John Scherholz: Braves in the playoffs again? After losing those guys and having these guys? Forget moneyball, what is this guy doing?

Johan Santana: Ready to be "the next big thing" next year.

Jose Lima: Just cause we love Lima Time!


Angels/Cardinals: Getting beat in the playoffs can be tough luck. Getting swept in the playoffs means your team did something wrong. It happens, I know, but it generally happens because a team chokes. Sorry.

Rolen/Edmonds: Noone remembers other playoff series chokers, but they remember World Series chokers. 1-30 combined. One for Thirty. Uno por Treinta. Que barbaridad!

MLB: Boston tragedy was a great marketing gimmick. They might try to move on this "noone feels our pain" to another team. The Cubs would be an obvious choice but pain rolls off the Cubs...especially since their crowd is usually 50% tourists looking to get drunk. Could the White Sox be next in line (actually could they realize that the White Sox were actually ahead in line?)

Tony LaRussa: World Series will buy him a few more years in St. Louis, but so far, with superior record teams at least, he's a whopping 1-3 in the WS, with a 1-12 record in the losses. Will continue to be painted as a manager who thinks he's smarter than he is.

Atlanta: Having to give away playoff tickets really doesn't help convince people you're not the city with the worst sports fans in America.

Nomar: Nomah wasn't needed. Bet he feels wicked awful.


Yankees: Any other team would be forced to relive a collapse like the Yanks had in the ALCS for the next 50 years, but winning a quarter of all World Series shields you from a few things. If they don't win another one in the next say...10 to 20 years you can move them to the Loser category as this will become a "defining moment". If they win one in the next couple years though, it's pretty much a blip on the screen.

Milton Bradley: Outburst at the end of the season hurt his team, but who thought the Dodgers were going anywhere anyway? Wait. One more Lima Time! Everybody congo!

Bobby Cox: Some will say this was his greatest coaching job, others will say it was just another Atlanta choke. I believe it's way closer to the former. While this constant "almost there" does weigh on his coaching record, he has a World Series ring and that's what counts.

Albert Pujols: Didn't dominate series as the best non-roided hitter in baseball should, but didn't let the team down. Unfortunately, middling hitting stats don't make you stand out from the rest of the team. He could easily get branded a choker with the rest of them.

Twins: Small market team that needs to get to a WS soon. Not because they're aging, but because another couple of playoff losses and the media will brand them a team that chokes in the playoffs. Fortunately for them, next year might be their best chance with their young hitters having a year under their belt.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


National Embarassment

Is it too late that we ask to switch leagues rather than cities?

The Cardinals are completely not-representing in the World Series, going down meekly and it's frankly embarrasing. It's not bad enough that we've gotten beat up by the AL in the All-Star games recently (haven't won one since 1996. And only 3 times since 1987, when our string of formerly unprecedented dominance ended). Now we're completely blowing another World Series. You can blame the Yankees late 90s dynasty if you like, but since 1990 the Senior Circuit has won 4 out of 11 World Series. Only one of these triumphs were by a truly great team (the mid 90's Braves). The other three have been by a Marlins team who are better remembered for their dismantling then their championship; an average Diamondback team carried by two Hall of Fame pitchers, and another Marlins team who's status is yet to be determined.

Think about that. Only one World Series in the last 12 years was one by an NL team around before 1993. You can't see it but I'm shaking my head right now. Somber-lily.

In the latest debacle, aka Game 3 of the 2004 World Series, Pedro for the first three innings was ready to be beaten. His control was off. His pitches were flat and getting hit pretty hard. But the Cardinals (led incidently by the man at the lead of the AL the last time the NL was competitive in the World Series) ran themselves out of at least 1 run, probably more like 3 or 4. I'd love to say the fans in St. Louis will get to see a much deserved World Series game victory, but most of me believes St. Louis will start trying to run to third on their base hits now, like a prissy girl in a sitcom softball episode. Seriously, they are running the basepaths like a minor league mascot. I half-expected to see Jeff Suppan chasing down an 8 year old boy on the replay, but just getting edged out at the plate.

The pitching has been poor, true. But really only Williams got shelled and the Cards could have taken that game. Tonight it's all on the line with Marquis.

Oh and enough with the 3-4-5 hitters (pujols, rolen, edmonds) being 5-33. You're completely screwing with the data. It's Pujols 4-11, Rolen 0-11, Edmonds 1-11. I know it hasn't been like Pujols is smashing the ball but don't lump him in with the greatest fielding crybaby of all time, and Mr. Try and Dive (sorry I'm a bit mad at their WS performance. Actually they are great players). Better to say Edmonds, Rolen, and Sanders are 1-31. That tells the story without the trying to blame an "innocent" Pujols.

Sunday, October 24, 2004


Achilles and LaRussa

Oh what damage an overthinking manager can do...

Schilling had injured his ankle and was pounded by the Yanks in Game 1. When presented with the information that the ankle was the definitive problem site, common sense was that you had to "attack" it. Make Schilling throw as many pitches on that bad ankle as possible and try to make him field more, in other words bunt. The Yankees said "To hell with that, we pounded him once we can do it again" and ignored the advice. Well Schilling is a smart enough pitcher to know when he's not at 100%. He was slightly better in game 6, but more important he approached the game differently and with the help of an over-zealous and pressing Yankee line-up, a cold dreary night, and a few breaks on hard hit balls, he was able to keep the Yanks at bay. (For those thinking I'm downplaying Schilling's game - he said so much himself) Not great overpowering pitching but real smart pitching.

So tonight, you are Tony LaRussa and you have seen that simply trying to hit Schilling on a cold and dreary night, such as the one you'd face tonight, would probably not end with the results you want. You might get a few runs, but a veteran pitcher of his quality would keep it close. All experts at least advocate trying bunting to take advantage of this situation. The last thing you want is to keep it close. So what do you do?

Plan A - Bunt early and often; making Schilling field. Be real aggressive on the base pathes to make him throw over a lot and throw from the stretch. Anything to aggravate that ankle.

Plan B - Talk about bunting, but in reality do nothing different than the Yankees did and hope that somehow this works out completely different than everyone expects it to. Like dropping a stone out of a window and hoping it flies instead of drops to the ground.

If you chose Plan A, go back to coaching Little League, pops. You're not ready for the show. If you chose Plan B, start pulling out your quotes about "Going with your gut" and "Taking it one game at a time" You're ready to go in.

(As it stands now the Cardinals were shut down by Schilling thanks to smart pitching, the weather and some luck on hard hit balls. Who would have guessed. Oh yeah, that's right. EVERYBODY)

I believe that if it were LaRussa sent out to face Achilles the conversation would have gone something like this:

"Hey, Tony. You need to hit his ankle that's his weak point"
"That's nice but it's not my usual game plan. I like attacking the crotch with my sword"
"I'm serious Tony. The only way you can hurt him is by hitting the ankle. He's invulnerable every where else"
"Ok how about this. I'll tell him I'm going to hit his ankle and then when he's busy protecting that. WHAM, straight in the groin!"

"Tony, you're not listening. I'll make it simple for you. Ankle=victory. Not ankle=loss. "
"Gotcha. Fake toward the ankle, then he'll totally be exposed for the ball shot"
"I can see how you turned the most dominant team of the late 80's into a one WS wonder."


World Series pick

Came into this a day late, but I'll stick with what I was going to say anyway.

Cardinals in Seven

Exposbaseball DOT blogspot DOT com, has been right every pick with the Cardinals, wrong every pick against the Red Sox. SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE!

Why the Cardinals. Well, I expect their starting pitchers to have 5 games where they pitch well holding the Red Sox to less than 4 runs. I expect the Red Sox pitchers to have maybe 2 of the same type of game. In my mind the Cardinals win in 5 (decidely tougher after last night) but I'm not going to bet against the Red Sox going to a game 7 in any series.

I've got cleaning to do but I'll be back with more WS thoughts sometime today,

Friday, October 22, 2004


Politics? In D.C? You're kidding me.

Another politics article in the Washington Post

To summarize:
Opposition is not strong against the Stadium. It will pass. Yay, baseball in DC! (you can see I don't think this article is coming straight down the middle)

However I feel about the article's slant (and the paper's general pro-stadium stance), there are truths here.

The opposition is not as strong as the support - It just isn't. However it's not weak as this article would like you to believe. There are only 13 members to the council. Only 8 have committed support to the plan (as of Oct 2nd), meaning 5 do not support it. A few of these 8 wanted to see more details before voting in favor of it. And it's been noted that the three more anti-public funding members joining the council in January might have enough power to override any mayoral veto of the Council's decision. It takes 9 out of the 13 to do that, so we're talking at least 6 have to be on the fence or in opposition already.

Mayor Williams is out on a limb here - Oh god, yes. He basically told MLB to come to DC and he'll get everything sorted out for them for next year. A lack of a stadium deal would totally screw MLB, (they can't go back to Montreal then, could they?). It would also most likely rule out DC baseball for at least another 30 years. Not worth the trouble. It could even potentially put a crimp on any re-election ideas. Would you want to be known as the mayor who tried to use the public's money to help baseball AND the mayor who screwed up baseball in DC?

It will probably be passed
Oct 2nd - "Though eight council members have said they generally support the mayor's stadium package, several, including Cropp, have also cautioned that they want more details before they commit their votes. "

Oct 20th - "I do think that may be where it ends up, even though that's not where we want it to end up," said Ed Lazere, executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute and a leader of a coalition called No D.C. Taxes for Baseball. "It's an uphill battle," Lazere said of stopping the stadium. "Our chances, if we had a vote today, are pretty slim. I don't think we'd win."

What were the more details?
"The mayor has since floated the idea of finding an additional $20 million a year for schools and other pressing needs. And mayoral aides who will testify at the public hearing said this week that they hope to appease critics on the council by offering new details on how the stadium could generate money for such a fund. "

Basically he's paying off the areas in question. It probably won't stop at $20 million though. The mayor is in a tough spot with little room for negotiation. They'll ask for the moon and he'll give it to them to get this passed. I guess it's good that they get the money they need for schools and hospitals, but where's it going to come from? How does one "find" $20 million?


Heads I win, Tails you lose

The Cardinals kept up the 50% winning percentage of this blog. Good for them. That means I have a coin flip's chance of guessing the World Series winner correctly. In fact I'll put a coin up against me tomorrow.

Now about those Championship Series...

Boston v New York

You're all going to laugh but what struck me as the biggest single event of the series wasn't a game ending hit by Ortiz, or either start by Schilling, but an injury to John Olerud. That's right, an injury to John Olerud.

Olerud was injured in the late innings of the Yankees game 3 laugher win and was replaced in the lineup for essentially the rest of the series by Tony Clark. In the next 3 games, all super-close, Mr. Clark went 3-17 with 8 strikeouts and no walks. (He also had two at bats in Game 3; 0-2 1K if you were wondering). Olerud was not tearing up the games before (2-10 with a walk), but he was seeing slightly more pitches than Tony Clark (ok very slightly) and was putting the ball in play more. We're not talking a hidden slugger like Scott Brosius and his .300 average batting ninth, but it's something to think about. In game 7 it wouldn't have mattered, but forcing one of the tired Red Sox pitchers to throw 5-10 more pitches, a timely walk, or a simple moving the runner over could have made the difference in either of the two extra-innings affairs or the 4-2 Schilling game. I really think it might have.

(Of course Schilling's injury was more important but that happened pre-series)

Astros v Cardinals

All the talk is about the Astros lineup (especially Beltran), the Cardinals lineup (especially Pujols), or the exceptional job that the Astros non-aces did. What is lost is the consistent "goodness" of the Cardinals' starters.

Here are there stats (starter IP/R)
Williams 6/4, Morris 5/3, Suppan 6/3, Maquis 4/3, Williams 7/0, Morris 5/3, Suppan 6/2

What we have here is a staff that keeps a good slugging team in the ballgame. They've been doing it all year long. We look at them and assume they aren't playoff worthy because they won't shut anyone down, and true they wouldn't have beaten 2001 Schilling/Johnson. But they don't screw-up and they give the Cardinals hope every single game.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


1 down - 1 to go

Well the Red Sox pulled it off. The Cardinals need to win tonight to keep exposbaseball DOT blogspot DOT com's fantastic prediction percentage of 50%. Jeff Suppan v Roger Clemens? Looks like we're going all in with a pair of 2's.

While El Gran Color Naranja admits to no allegience but Les Expos, he does have a lot of friends. One of which is a Yankee fan, who had an interesting view on last nights game - so I told him to write something up for it and I'd publish it on a blog noone reads. He could hardly resist that dangling carrot; so lady and gentleman "Pags in Rags"

I said 'Bedraggled Pags'. 'Pags in Rags' sounds like a sexual relationship between Dave Righetti and Mike Pagliarulo

I stand by what I said. The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife!

Whatever. Ok, the game. I feel bad. I feel awful. I haven't felt like this since...well since we lost the World Series last year. Yes it is worse because we lost after leading 3-0. And yes it is worse because it's our rival. I know I won't be watching SportsCenter or going to internet sites (I've already set up straight to NFL links for ESPN and SI) or much TV at all because I don't want to hear about it. But I feel different too. There’s not an emptiness to the loss. Disappointment? Sure. Depression. Uh Huh. Random Red Sox fan beating. Done and done. But it’s not all-encompassing pain. A month from now I won’t be focused on this loss. And this is where being a Yankee fan must be different than being a fan of almost any other team. I wake up today and I’m still the fan of the most successful team in the history of sports. Since the first baseball season I can remember, I’ve still seen my team win more World Series than any other team has been to. (Ed note – Actually I know his age and the Braves are 1-3 during his fantime. Same as the Yankees number of wins) I know this won’t be our last chance at one, or that we’ll have to wait even 5 years to have as good a shot to get there. I know our owner will put back more money into the team to win rather than pocket it. I know we’ll be back probably next year. And we’ll probably win it.

Any comments, Rusty?

Well, you’re very humble. I’d qualify the “successful team” to be “in professional sports that I care to think about” but other than this, I don’t think he’s blowing smoke. I’ve been privy to many a college rivalry where one team is the dominant one and has all the accolades and while you never want to lose to your rival – it just doesn’t have the same bite for you. Like say Oklahoma losing to Oklahoma State in football after leading by 28 in the 4th, or Kansas losing to Missouri after leading by 10 with a minute left in basketball. Even if it changed the course of the season, the loss isn’t nearly as painful as if it was the other way around.

I’ve got a comment or two on the series but I’ll wait till after the great NLCS is over before I comment.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


2 Playoff Angry Fan Notes

1) Is any other National League Fan angry with the percentage of coverage the NCLS is getting. Sure the ALCS has been great, extra-innings, lots of drama. But last night here are the two scenarios

- at home, the team favored to win, wins their second game at home in extra innings to stave off elimination for one more game
- at home, the team NOBODY thought would win, takes the series lead with a three run home run in the bottom of the ninth, after 8 1/2 innings of shutout ball from the most improbable pitchers against potent lineups.

I'm sorry but scenario #2 is more compelling. Anyone else here not think that even if the Yanks/Sox was a regular ol 5-3 or 6-2 game that it still would have gotten the lead coverage?

2) Rivera's "blown save" - Saying he blew two games in a row is ignoring the fact he came in with runners at first and third and no outs and was perfect through 2. What else can you expect from the guy? He's still great, this falls totally on Gordon, but I hear nary a mention of that. (or of the Pedro at 100 pitch craziness - THANK GOD. I'd be pleased if I were you that the Red Sox won just because you don't have to hear more of that crap.

Monday, October 18, 2004


Playoffs continued

Games like Sunday's Yanks-Sox is why I can't believe it will be a short series. I just can't see the Yankees finishing it out in Boston. The Red Sox bats are just as potent as the Yankees and their pitching...well now there pitching is spent, but still. I said Yanks in 6 or 7, and here at exposbaseball DOT blogspot DOT com, we stick by our predictions.

Except that Cardinals/Astros one. We here can also admit when we are wrong and we were here. I thought either Oswalt or Clemens would get rocked and neither of them did. Of course I didn't see Beltran turning into the best postseason player EVA, either. I still think the Cardinals take it - probably winning the next two.

Also - if there is anything I've learned in this playoffs: Don't give up a leadoff walk. With offenses such as the ones we're seeing here that's like giving the batting team a run.

Saturday, October 16, 2004


More on the trial

The trial (#3 in this link here) dates are coming up for MLB and things are looking up for the good guys in rouge, blanc, and bleu.

The link

Interestingly The same story in the Washington Post excludes the last few paragraphs and the line "But he added he didn't expect an unfavorable ruling." Trying to paint a positive only picture, perhaps? Alliterative Conspiracy!

"Even the Royals..." has some good links on the trial for those who are interested.

Friday, October 15, 2004


Rain Pryor go away

That is one scary looking female. When looking for Head of the Class females to feature in a show the search should begin and end with Simone (Khrystyne Haje)

Another article about how the transition to DC is not a done deal yet:

They still haven't gotten a deal done with Angelos yet. The actions of the Washington Council are reprehensible. Think about this, they are trying to force a vote in before the new members, elected on a "no new stadium" platform, get on the council. They are trying to side-step the will of the people! It's crazy.

I don't know why this isn't getting more play in the media. Oh wait. Yes I do. Noone wants to consider the possibility the Expos might, AH Stay in Montreal!! Scary. (actually I think they'll still move and just play in RFK either until someone agrees to build a stadium with their own money or they move to somewhere where the taxpayers can be duped)

Anyway, the Playoff series are both two games in and my calls are dead on this time. I'm the greatest - you're the worst. The Yankees/Red Sox should be rained out tonight. It's a shame, now they'll have to be the Monday Night appetizer. (Who here thinks a Yankees/Red Sox playoff game wouldn't draw higher ratings than Rams/Buccaneers? The Rams are ok, but who likes watching Tampa Bay? I'd say Warren Sapp, but he's too busy dragging Oakland into the ground) Despite the Red Sox ineptitude at the plate, I still won't believe that this won't go 6 or 7 games until the Yankees are up 3 games to 0. I'll stand by that - 6 or 7 game Yankee victory.

On the flip side - Astros/Cardinals should be over in 5 at the most. The Cardinals will blow out either Clemens or Oswalt and may still win that other game 3-0 or 4-2 or something. That team is loaded.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Cure yourself with baseball!

Seems like the people of Washington aren't under the spell they way MLB wants them to be. They actually want to see their area raised to a respectable level before worrying about things like a baseball park. I've managed to get a hold of a draft of the Mayor's memo in response:

People of the Anacostia region of Washington. I have heard you wish to have a hospital built in your neighborhood rather than a baseball stadium so your wounded and sick will no longer die en route to help. While I agree with you that dying is a very serious problem, I believe you are ignoring important facts.

First, the baseball stadium will have the very finest First Aid stations in all of the Major Leagues. Not only will there be a trained nurse at the main station (located near the "District of Collectibles" shopping area) to dispense band aids and treat mild cases of dehydration, but there will be free tubes of sun tan lotion available. Not little cups from a large dispenser, free tubes!

Second, our research shows that having a baseball stadium in your area will increase the local economy to such a degree that you will all be able to afford tanks and body armor. Based on our report, most of you will be able to purchase ones made with solid gold, though I cannot promise gold for everyone. (However our report is conservative) This level of protection will severly decrease your chances of taking a bullet to the chest. Wouldn't you rather not take a bullet at all, then be properly taken care of in the event it happens? We're treating the symptoms here, people.

Third, everyone knows baseball has magical healing properties. Remember when Babe Ruth healed that kid by hitting a home run for him? That kid grew up to be JFK if I'm not mistaken. Possibly John Lennon. Regardless, that is more exciting than immediate defibulation, don't you think?

In closing; Nah nah nah, I'm not listening to you.

Mayor Anthony Williams

There might be some grammatical changes before it gets to the press.


Predictions - previously delayed by god

Yesterday I posted but was so rudely denied. While I hate repeating myself I'll do it this time, since noone is actually listening.

These are the same as my initial picks for the World Series so no cop out talking

New York Yankees over Boston Red Sox.

St. Louis Cardinals over Houston Astros

After watching the game (NYY/BOS) last night - I will only believe in a short series (4 or 5 games) if the Yankees go up 3-0. Too much firepower here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


When you're right 51% of the time...

The "All-Expos Predicted" series is already out the window, but my initial projection remains possible. I don't change horses midsstream so here are my ALCS picks.

NY Yankees over Boston Red Sox:
Why? Because I'll begin to pick against the Yankees when they lose more series than they win.

St. Louis Cardinals over Houston Astros:
Forget the pitching rotation not being in the Astros favor. The Cardinals are just too good this year and will be sitting on the front porch with their feet propped up waiting for the ALCS winner.

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Vacation - Thought

I'll be away, loyal reader(s) so one final thought on the playoffs.

To win the playoffs it is FAR more important to be lucky than good. Having a couple of your guys being hot at the right time. Catching a starters bad night. They are all good teams so just a break or two here and there often decides games.

For all those bashing the Braves for not winning enough WS. I'd say the first one is worth an infinite number of NL East titles. You've got to win one. But 2, 3, 4? I'd say winning 13 NL East titles, is more impressive than 2 or maybe even 3 WS. So after the first WS, I'd say each is worth about 5 or so division titles.

To win it all you need to be lucky and good. Good to make it to the playoffs, lucky to win an arbitrary number of games in an elimination series.

Oh - and a couple of strong starters helps.


Playoffs - Day 2


HOU/ATL : You gave up a HR to Brad Ausmus. You should have just called it a game then. I would have taken Mike Hampton over Ausmus in a bet over who would homer in this series.

The Braves' biggest mistake was not jumping on Clemens early. Clemens is usually a little shaky in big games and he was real shaky yesterday. A couple a key hits and the game changes. They didn't get it. They won't get swept though and if they beat Oswalt they are still in control of the series.

Brad Ausmus. You think he closed his eyes before he swung?

MIN/NY: Gardenhire has to know that Nathan might not make it through the third inning and has to be ready to pull him if he starts to waver. I fully support putting him back out there in the 12th. I would have probably even kept him in after that walk to Cairo (I wasn't convinced he was done until the first pitch to Jeter). After the Jeter walk and 8 straight balls though, he would have been gone. The worry of a third walk alone would have done it. A third walk and you'd have to pull him. Then you'd have a rookie facing Sheffield with the bases loaded and no margin for error.

And what was that throw from Jones? That was Barry Bonds-esque (of course Bonds was trying to gun out the speedy Sid Bream so you can understand why he failed) . Just a 12th inning breakdown by the Twins.

Of course it only could have happened thanks to Gordon and Rivera having their own mini-breakdown. I'd be worried about Gordon. He seems tired. Rivera? This is a classic rally against Rivera. Put the bat on the ball and hope, after the bat shatters, that your bloop falls in. That was hit number one. Do that enough times and he's forced to go for the K - not his strongest point. Then you might be able to get a solid hit off him. That was Koskie's shot. It's not a great strategy but it's all you got.

ANA/BOS: Neither pitcher had it, AND they were being totally squeezed by the umpire. An umpire should never be the focus of the game. Just set a good strike zone and be consistent. This ump did the latter, but his strike zone was too too small. I saw a lot of good pitches get called for balls.

Of course Angels fans will complain about the bad pitch called for a strike to Glaus in the 8th but, to me, the most important at bat, was Garrett Anderson. So man on first and noone out. Timlin strikes out Guerrero. That hurts but you had to think it was a possibility. It's painful to watch him limp around the outfield, he's in a slump, and on his best day he'll still swing through quite a few pitches. But Garrett Anderson looked like he didn't even want to be up at bat. This is a team leader - a guy you count on - and he had one of the worst clutch at bats I've seen in a while (well there was that Klesko 3-pitch, all called, strikeout but that's Ryan Klesko. He probably blamed the fences in San Diego). It totally killed the crowd, who were, after Vlad, just looking for a ball in play. What happened after that is inconsequential in my eyes.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Playoff update - World Series Atlanta vs. Minnesota??

I was fortunate enough to watch/listen to all three games yesterday and here are my impressions:

LAvSTL : Nothing no one else hasn't said. The Cardinals' hitting is too much for LA's mediocre starting pitching. They should get 4+ runs every game. LA will get a coauple runs every game, but not more than that. They simply don't have the punch. LaRussa will also be quick to get into his bullpen if it means making this a quick series. The Dodgers might win one. Maybe. (but I wouldn't count on it)

BOS/ANA : Anaheim seemed strangely on edge yesterday. I guess facing a pitcher as "epic" as Schilling (and a team that has swept you recently) can do that to you. However, you can't simply say they beat themselves. Give the Red Sox credit for playing well in a hostile environment. The Angels managed to get good cuts in on Schilling and should get better ones on Pedro. I think Colon should be big (also he should pitch well). Boston's offense, as impressive as it is, has been known just to disappear at times. I still think this is going 4 or 5 and I'm not ready to give up on the Angels just yet.

MIN/NY: Nothing annoys me more than when someone jumps at the wall and the sports reporters/announcers say he robbed a home run when obviously he didn't. Happens all the time. Now it didn't happen here, but we have equivalents. There has been lots of talk of btoh Santana pitching "big" when he needed it and the Twins great fielding. I didn't see either. A pitcher pitching big will get strike outs /pop ups / weak grounders (Schill had a couple innings like that). Santana got hit all over the place and couldn't keep the Yankees from putting the ball in play. The Yanks just hit 'em where they were. The Minnesota D also simply made plays they should make. None of those double plays involved a abnormally difficult situation. Only Hunter's catch at the wall was beyond what you'd see an average player do. This being said, the Twins got the win they HAD to get. If the Yanks hit like they did tonight, they should pound Radke tomorrow. Once the teams head into the Homer-dome though anything can go. Makes it more of a toss-up but I won't back out on my picks just yet.

BY the way - based on how teams fared against Montreal the World Series should be Atlanta vs Minnesota (the only AL team to play Montreal) .


Playoff Picks

I know you were all waiting for this (all three or four of you that read this)

Braves over Astros - There' a reason the Braves always win. They're always good. The Astros did make the playoffs with an incredible run but that's it. Teams that make great comebacks helped by teams collapsing never win it all. Did the Mariners win in '95? The Impossible Dream Red Sox? The Miracle Mets? Skip that last one.

Cardinals over Dodgers - Man that Dodger team is weak. Weaver, Perez, and Lima in the playoffs? I love Lima Time but no way. The Cardinal lineup is just too strong and their pitching has been so consistent I can't believe it will suddenly blow-up now.

Yankees over Twins - The Twins could win, but never bet against the Yankees in the playoffs. You'll make more money than you'll lose. The Twins are a next-year team. As they cast off the last of their unecessaries (Guzman, Koskie) and become a hitting machine with a killer #1 starter.

Angels over Red Sox - Everybody thinks the Sox will win. Therefore they won't. There is something about this Angels team - a supposed best team in the league who won against division rivals when it counted. The Red Sox didn't. A loss for Schilling in game 1 and the wheels come off.

Division Series
Cardinals over Braves - Did I mention that lineup was strong? Looking at today's score, I'll up that to "Killer".

Yankees over Angels - Don't bet against the Yankees. The Yanks always seem to beat a team given a second chance - this is revenge for 2 years ago.

World Series
Yankees over Cardinals - for the wagering public. Cardinals will face in the AL team (unless it's the Twins) a team with almost as good a lineup as their own. They'll be completely discombobulated. I think this would be a great series though.

Monday, October 04, 2004


Season over

on an Endy Chavez groundout to second. The 'Spos didn't take the last game, but they did take 2 out of 3 from the Mets. The second game in the series showcasing the best of the Expos Hernandez pitching well, Wilkerson hitting a bomb. Not much to say.

A win would have gotten the Expos "Kings of Cananda" but in the end the Jays win on a technicality (playing 161 games) 67-94 to 67-95. The Expos really tanked the end of the year going 17-29 since mid August including a 6-14 stretch. They managed to catch absolutely noone finishing only ahead of Seattle, KC and Arizona.

Later I'll go through what to expect of this team next year and who, in my mind, should be getting the playing time.

Saturday, October 02, 2004


Ain't going out like that, we're ain't going out like that

Now this is Expos baseball. 3 innings of 1 hit ball by the relief core (including Rauch - trying to impress where he can) 11 hits by the team but only one extra base hit (Terrmel Sledge's double)
and a 4-2 win. Scott Downs, who has pitched admirably since being called up, does so again and gets the win. I tell you there will be real competetion for the 4th and 5th starter next year (Behind I imagine Hernandez, Patterson, and a healed Armas). The only sad part is that Izturis might be too injured to play any more games. We get to see another minor league shortstop (Landaberia) but Izturis is most likely the wave of the future.

Sweep the Mets!

Friday, October 01, 2004


Lies, damned lies, and ESPN

Well, not just ESPN, but every news outlet. Generally despite the serious concerns about moving the franchise (see below) there are only two types of reports about the move to Washington

Report A: "YEAH! Baseball is back in Washington!"
Report B: "It's a shame they screwed the Expos...but on the bright side YEAH! Baseball is back in Washington!"

I would say that it's going to happen, because I believe in the power of money and the allure of professional sports. But it seems at least slightly precarious and announcing that DC has won and has gotten baseball, at this juncture, is almost a flat out lie.

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