Thursday, August 28, 2008

Go for the kill, Lester!

A three game sweep in the Stadium to close out the rivalry there would be the perfect answer to the 5 game sweep by the Yankees in 2006.

And while we are at it... Go Blue Jays! Get the Red Sox a little closer to first place by beating the Rays... and then sweep the Yankees.

"The Fourth Place Yankees" has a nice ring to it in September.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Umm... Dodgers

You know you are playing the Nationals, right?
You know that they are beyond terrible, right?
As in Worst Team in baseball terrible, right?

You know you went into Washington on a 4 game losing streak, right?
You know that the Padres gave you a gift and beat the Diamondbacks twice, right?


Do yourself a favor and don't get swept by the Nationals today.
You are 3 games under .500, but still only 3 games out.

Teams that have playoff aspirations beat teams like the Nationals.
Teams that don't are the 2007 Mets.

Did anyone tell the Yankees this was a must win series?

I mean I am not complaining... but this was a "Sweep the series or call it a season" type series.

Go for the kill tomorrow afternoon. I can think of no better way to close out Yankee Stadium than to make the Yankees irrelevant in September

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


0-5... grounded into 2 double plays... stranded 7 runners... made an error... struck out twice including the game ending K... Folks, that was a pretty tremendously horrible night for the best player I have ever seen. And it might have put the nail on the 2008 Yankees coffin.

I'm sure the press will give him a pass.

That's the season, Marlins

It was a nice surprising season, Florida.
But it's over.

I got to meet some passionate Marlins fans this year... like Henry Gomez of Fish or Cut Bait, South Florida Fan and Bright Orange Seats...

But you can't lose games to the Giants, you can't keep blowing leads and you can't let up 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth and expect to stay in the race.

You've got 30 games left. If you split those games 15-15, you'll finish the season above .500 with by far the lowest payroll. You'd still be a great story...

But any dreams of post season glory went away along with your 3 run 9th inning lead tonight.

Maybe Marlin fans can take solace with their multiple World Series titles since their expansion in 1993.

I know Cubs and Indians fans would take comfort with that

Can we stop the babying of pitchers?

Between Phil Hughes injuries, Ian Kennedy pitching as well as Teddy Kennedy and Clay Buccholz stinking up the joint, I am hoping it will be the end of this insane babying of pitchers.

All the Joba rules and treating the 2008 season as Joba's private spring training didn't prevent him from going on the DL when he was needed most.

Treating Kennedy like John Travolta in the Boy in the Plastic Bubble didn't prevent his year from stinking worse than Battlefield Earth. (That's two Travolta references in one sentence.)

And my Red Sox treated Buccholz like he was the egg in Risky Business... and look how that turned out. He's in AA Portland!

Here's a radical idea:

Have pitchers pitch.
If they are in the show, show that they have earned it.

I have seen a grand total of zero positives of treating pitchers like fabrege eggs. Go out there and pitch some f---ing innings!

Who would have thought that Carl Pavano would have only one fewer win than the combination of Hughes, Kennedy and Buccholz?

Can someone please show me the pitching staff that has had long term success by turning their drawers brown when a starting pitcher hits 6 innings?

This is why I was advocating Joba for the bullpen:
If your starters are only going 6 innings, you had better be sure talented pitchers are throwing the 7 and 8th innings... because if they blow the lead, you only have 2 or 3 chances to get it back.

Granted that point became moot when Wang got injured and Joba HAD to start.
But still, all the babying in the world for a big guy like Joba... and he's hurt when the Yankees need him

And the tyranny of the pitch count makes no sense.
Sure a pitch count works when you have a guy who tends to wear down (something that Grady Little had a hard time grasping.)

But not every pitcher is built the same and not every pitch has the same amount of stress on the body.

Which is more stressful? Pitching in a 9-0 game or a 2-1 game?
Oh that's right... games are played in vacuums. I forgot.

People are suscribing to a theory that has never worked and yet is being treated as gospel!

They are using the Rick Peterson method that has led to injuries for Mark Mulder, Zito stinking up the joint and Rich Harden needing to legally change his name to "Injury Prone Rich Harden."

Why not have pitchers pitch like Mazzone had the Braves pitch?

Mazzone had Glavine, Avery and Smoltz...
Maddux had his best years with him
As did Neagle, Mercker and Millwood.

And how many pitchers got their careers back on track with him?

My God he made a career of polishing turds and then having those turns sign big contracts with the Yankees

Think Chris Hammond, think Jaret Wright, think Kyle Farnsworth

But better not follow HIS example
Better follow Rick Peterson's whose teams have won fewer post season series than the 2007 Rockies.

Better keep babying pitchers and blowing their arms out because they are so fragile.

Albert Einstein once said "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

But what the hell did HE know?

This doesn't feel like a Red Sox/Yankee series

Well this is a strange scenario for a late season Red Sox/Yankees

The Red Sox have a 1 1/2 game lead in the Wild Card and are struggling to keep their nose above water against the Twins and White Sox.

The Yankees are 10 back in the loss column for the division and 5 behind the Red Sox and are struggling against an irrelevant September for the first time since George Herbert Walker Bush was President.

Yeah these are must win games for the Yankees and Red Sox... but for different reasons than anyone could have ever imagined.

Who would have thought both fan bases were basically going to cede the division to Tampa Bay?

Who would have thought the Yankees would be closer to 4th than to 2nd place?
Who would have thought the Red Sox would be looking at their rotation slowly falling apart and think "How can we compete with the Rays, White Sox and Twins?"

Who would have thought this series would pale in dramatic comparison to the Mets and Phillies?

Now THAT is a series where first and second place could be swapped with split victories.

Or the Brewers and the Cardinals... two teams boxing out for the Wild Card. The Brewers can put St. Lou away... or the Cardinals can make it REALLY interesting in September.

And the Twins could catch the White Sox... and the Dodgers can gain ground on Arizona...

Meanwhile the two bloated franchises that ESPN and I focus on battle it out... and people are looking for the drama.

The best they could come with is "The last Red Sox Yankee series in the history of Yankee Stadium."

And that is dramatic as the team will move next year from the South western corner of 161st and River to the North western corner of 161st and River.

How can they possibly feel the same?

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm sorry dad... but GO DODGERS!

My dad is as big and passionate Giants fan as you will ever meet.
How passionate is he? When we were reading the sports section this weekend, he was breaking down why he still thinks the Giants have a shot.


It is late August, the Giants are 19 games back in the loss column, and my dad is not prepared to wave the white flag.

Well it pains me to tell me dad… and my many other Giant fan friends… that the entire staff of Sully Baseball has unanimously decided to root for the Dodgers in the NL West.

And I would argue that all Red Sox fans should do the same.
Let me count the ways

1. Nomar deserves our love.

Yeah it ended badly, but he played his butt off when he was with the Red Sox and carried the offense alone some years. He was the Fred Lynn of the 1990s and 2000s… a Hall of Fame caliber player derailed by injuries who saw only flashes of brilliance when sent off to his native Southern California.

It would be nice to see Nomar back in the playoffs.

2. Manny deserves our love.

Yeah it ended REALLY badly and maybe there isn’t enough distance from the nasty split. But come on! He was a great player for 7 and a ½ seasons in Boston and lest we forget he was the 2004 World Series MVP! That should buy a lot of love.

Plus it would be worth seeing him in the playoffs if for no other reason than to see if he tries to take a leak in the bullpen during pitchers warm ups.

3. Derek Lowe deserves our love

Yeah it ended badly… no wait it didn’t! It ended wonderfully!
It ended with Lowe winning the clinching game of the Division Series, ALCS and World Series in 2004.

He should be worshipped (and the fact that he blew tons of games as a reliever and pitched himself out of the regular season rotation in 2004 should be long forgotten)

4. The Grady factor

There are still people who think Grady Little got a raw deal in Boston. Last year’s Dodger club house which resembled Lord of the Flies should have put that to rest. But seeing them go to the post season AFTER Grady left should finally put that
nonsense to bed.

Speaking of the manager…

5. Yankee schadenfreude

Come on Yankee haters!

What would be more glorious than seeing the Yankees miss the playoffs all together? How about Joe Torre leading the Dodgers TO the playoffs! Get the Yankee second guessing machine going. Get Hank Steinbrenner to think they made a huge mistake.

And know Joe would be laughing his classy ass off.

Instability in Yankee land gave us the 1980s and early 1990s when the Yankees spent every October playing golf from 1982 to 1993.

6. You can’t POSSIBLY want to see Arizona

For Christsake, even the people of Arizona don’t want to see Arizona in the playoffs!

7. More Awkward Celebrity Sightings

Besides John McCain, who the hell are you going to see at a Diamondbacks game? And I think he is going to be a smidge busy this October. Plus with all of his houses, who knows where he is actually staying these days.

Fox can send their entire fall line up to sit in Dodger Stadium. Awkward to be sure… but what if you saw the dude from Hell’s Kitchen hit by a foul ball? Come on that would be good TV!

8. It’s more convienent for me!

I just got a place which is a 10 minute drive to Dodger Stadium.
I want to be able to see some playoff games live!

(OK, I confess, that one was more for me.)

Two Number 13's

As much as it may pain me to write this...
Alex Rodriguez is probably the single most talented player I have ever seen in my life.

The only one who comes close is his former teammate Ken Griffey Jr, whom I saw as a member of the San Bernadino Spirit in 1988 and many times in the major leagues. But A-Rod is better, I grudgingly admit.

And as such a great player he is beloved by…. Whom?
Seattle fans boo him
Texas fans hate him
And Yankee fans were all ready to say “Good Riddance” after winning 2 MVPs in 4 years.

When else has such an overwhelmingly talented and larger than life player been a force in their sport and yet not be beloved by any fan base?

Well look to another #13… Wilt Chamberlain.

How are Wilt and A-Rod similar?
Let me count the ways

1. Are they the best?

Any discussion of greatest basketball player must include Wilt Chamberlain.
He is the only player to average 40 and 50 points a season… becoming the all time scoring champion, the all time rebounding champion and even led the league in assists.

Oh yeah, he also scored 100 points in a game. The more you think of that stat, the more mind boggling it is.

And over the past 13 season, nobody has homered more, scored more runs, had more total bases or had more extra base hits than A-Rod.

Plus at age 31, was on pace to hit more homers than Bonds, drive in more runs than Aaron, get more hits than Rose and score more runs than Rickey Henderson. If he passes all of them, he would be the all time king in each of those categories.

Yet try to have any conversation with a fan about basketball and see if they put Wilt even in the top 3. And saying A-Rod is better than Ruth, Mays, Aaron, Williams or DiMaggio would get most baseball purist to burn you in effigy from Abner Doubleday’s statue.

2. Which city loves him?

Wilt played for the Warriors, 76ers and Lakers…
You would think he would be the most worshipped player in each of those franchises.

But the face of the Warriors franchise is Rick Barry. Nate Thurmond, Chris Mullin and Tm Hardaway get more love there. An ESPN listing of the greatest Warrior team doesn’t even throw a token mention of Wilt.

The 76ers fans worship Dr. J… and I would argue Moses Malone, Charles Barkley, Mo Cheeks and Allen Iverson decorate more Philadelphia sports bars than Wilt.

The Lakers? Behind Magic, Kareem, Shaq, Kobe, Jerry West and James Worthy… Wilt would be coming off the bench in the “all love from the fans” team.

Meanwhile Junior Griffey and Ichiro are the two faces of the Mariners…
No Ranger will ever surpass Nolan Ryan…
And if you ever feel like pissing off a Yankee fan, tell them “A-Rod is better than Ruth, better than Gehrig, better than DiMaggio, better than Mantle, better than Berra, better than Reggie, better than Donnie Baseball… better than Jeter.”

But don’t say Munson. You don’t f--- with Munson when you talk to Yankee fans.

3. The Stat Compiler

It’s hard to believe but Wilt has been criticized for piling up numbers instead of helping his team win. As if scoring 100 points in a game is hurting his team. Taking shots and making them helps… taking shots and MISSING them makes you John Starks.

A-Rod has hit 546 homers and according to Yankee fans, they have all come in the 8th inning of a 9-1 loss.

4. The Russell/Jeter Factor

On like with stat compiling, fans have gotten over both Wilt and A-Rod for not being a winner in the post season.

More specifically they have each been compared unfavorably to a player whose stats weren’t as sexy but found ways to win in the playoffs.

Bill Russell wasn’t Wilt’s equal on the court, but his Celtics beat Wilt’s Warrior, 76er and Laker teams 7 times in the playoffs.

For A-Rod the unfavorable measuring stick was Derek Jeter. Actually the two only faced off once in the playoffs (the 2000 ALCS) but Jeter’s ability to find ways to win (a la the toss play to get Jeremy Giambi) as opposed to A-Rod’s inability to get the big play (1 run batted in in his last 15 playoff games) make the Jeter vs. A-Rod discussions very one sided… even though Jeter has only a fraction of A-Rod’s skills.

5. Nobody likes the best

Wilt was looked on as a freak of nature when he rose to power in the 1960s and he was quoted as saying “Nobody loves Goliath.” But they love when he falls.

A-Rod’s huge contract has made him a target for fans who relish booing the best player any of them will ever see.

6. Lady Luck

People seem to be fascinated with their sex lives… although Wilt was smart and decided to be a lothario with remaining a bachelor, unlike A-Rod who will be shoveling over most of that $300 million contract to Cynthia.

Wilt’s stats no doubt overshadow A-Rods in this department… but considering that A-Rod shacked up with Madonna, and considering if you sleep with someone you also sleep with everyone THEY slept with… A-Rod might be closer to 20,000 partners than you think.

So there you have it…
Two of the best yet least loved players in their sports history.

Maybe it can blamed on number 13.

(Let the record show I desperately wanted to include a reference to Wilt being in Conan the Destroyer... but I couldn't do it.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Carl Pavano is starting? Are you serious?

People named Carl more likely to start a game for the Yankees in 2008 than Carl Pavano:

Carl Weathers
aka Apollo Creed
The Late Carl Sagan
Beach Boy Carl Wilson
Psychiatrist Carl Jung
Poet Carl Sandburg
NASCAR Driver Carl Edwards
Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden
Olympic Hero Carl Lewis
Carl, the dude who lives next to Aqua Teen Hunger Force
The guy running the shake machine at Carl’s Jr.

Well yo ho ho... isn't that rich?

The Twins and Red Sox are now tied for the Wild Card... and the Red Sox are behind the White Sox.

Oh isn't this fun?
I love having my team uncertain of a playoff spot in late August.

If someone said the Yankees would be 10 1/2 games out and fading... barely hanging onto third place... on August 21, I'd say the Red Sox would be coasting to the playoffs.


Payroll Insanity

Hey Marlins… you had the opportunity to keep alive the ultimate Big Market/Small Market scenario.

The Marlins lost a couple of games to the lowly Giants in the bottom of the 9th and are slipping out of the realistic playoff picture.

Keep that in mind as I map this out:

The White Sox currently have a better winning percentage than the Red Sox.
The Red Sox lead over the Twins is only _ a game and they are tied in the loss column.
And the Red Sox have 60% of their rotation as a question mark with Beckett’s hand injury, Buccholz stinking and Paul Byrd without his injectable God.

The Rays are pulling away, the Yankees are dead as are the Tigers.

It is possible that the Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers… the three biggest payrolls in the AL, would all miss the playoffs.

Meanwhile the Rays with the smallest payroll would be in.
And the Twins, the team that was almost contracted and had to shed contracts last winter, might be in too.

And yet there are still some people who say baseball needs a salary cap to stay competitive.

Which brings us back to the Marlins.
If the Marlins won those games they’d still be in the hunt…
And with the Phillies pitching and hitting woes and the Mets bullpen in disarray, winning the division would have been in sight.

If that happened, then the Mets, the team with the highest payroll in the NL would be out and the Marlins, the smallest payroll in baseball, would be in.

What I am saying is… it’s not how much money you spend. It’s how you spend it.

Case in point… the Marlins let go of Carl Pavano and the Yankees signed him.
Which team was the smart one?

Get Well Yaz

Captain Carl… my favorite player and my grandma’s too… had triple bypass surgery the
other day.

Perhaps too many Kahn’s products.

Recover quickly. There are many more opening day pitches to throw out.

But I want you on the mound for game one of the World Series.

I am actively rooting against one of the greatest stories in BASEBALL HISTORY!!!!

I don’t think I am exaggerating by saying the Rays winning the division would one of the greatest stories in baseball history.

It would be bigger than the Twins and Braves going from last to first in 1991.

It would be comparable with the Miracle Mets of 1969.
Like the Mets the franchise was a laughing stock only once getting above 70 wins before shockingly becoming a powerhouse.

But the Rays are doing it in an economic climate that supposedly prohibits small budget teams from winning.

Sure, a team like Florida, Oakland or Minnesota could win… but there was no free spending behemoth in their division.

The Rays are in the same division as the Defending World Champion Red Sox and the free spending budgetless Yankees.

The Rays have no fan base, no attendance, no lucrative TV deal, they play in an awful park and the general consensus among baseball fans was that the creation of the team was a mistake and they should be contracted.

They were the symbol of everything wrong with baseball.

Now they are the best team in baseball.

The Rays winning the division and possibly the World Series would be the single most unlikely rise to power in baseball history.

The Walt Disney Company already made a film about the Rays, but it involved a high school teacher coming in for mop up work.

A Tampa Bay world series would be too unrealistic for them…

And here we are. The Rays beat and nearly swept the mighty Angels and are on the verge of running away with the division. So much for my Cinderella scenario.

I’ll say it. I want no part of it. I want the Red Sox to pummel them. I don’t care if it looks like an Ogre beating up Winnie the Pooh. I’m rooting for the bad guy.

You can have the Wild Card… but I want that Division. I don’t care how inspiring you are!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why don't I like Tony LaRussa?

I don’t like Tony LaRussa and I’m not 100% sure why.
He’s a Hall of Fame manager… Sparky Anderson and LaRussa are the only two managers in history to win a World Series in both leagues.

Oh I admire him… but I don’t like him.

And I feel like I should like him.
My wife seems to like him, at least when I described him during the 2006 World Series.He’s a vegetarian who saves puppies and kittens.
Anyone who saves helpless animals should be liked.

But here I am not liking the guy.

Plus he got involved in local activities, like the Oakland Ballet. In fact starting when he was the A’s manager, he has performed in the Nutcracker along with other Bay Area based athletes.

As someone who was on the football and baseball team as well as drama in highschool, I love this merging of jocks and art.

It should make me love the guy.
But I don’t.

And it isn’t just because his Oakland A’s pummeled the Red Sox in the 1988 and 1990 ALCS. There are lots of people who beat up the Red Sox whom I don’t necessarily hate.

Besides, the Red Sox returned the favor when they swept LaRussa’s Cardinals in the lopsided 2004 World Series… so that should eliminate any lingering bitterness.

But it isn’t bitterness. I don’t like him.

Is it because he is a lawyer?
My cousin Bill is a lawyer. I like him.
My friend Susannah is in UCLA Law School. I like her.

There is a joylessness with the LaRussa era.
Maybe it has to do with the deaths of Kile and Hancock or his own drunk driving.

Is it because he benefited so clearly from the steroid era having Canseco and McGwire bulk up on his watch and bringing in a roided Big Mac to St. Louis and break Roger Maris’ record?

Nahhh. There are so many people who benefited from the steroid era in ways that we will never 100% know.

There’s something about LaRussa that rubs me the wrong way…
It could be the know it all aura he has.
It could be the fact that he has made some brutally questionable moves in the post season that he never seems to get crap for.

Or maybe he has that Alan Alda in Crimes and Misdemeanors quality.
He seems on the surface like a great guy, but get to know him and he’s a sleaze.

But I don’t think I am alone on this.
This is a guy who turned three proud franchises around…

He took a 90 loss White Sox franchise and brought them to the post season for the first time in 24 seasons.

He took an irrelevant A’s team and transformed them into a powerhouse, matching the 1970s A’s with 3 straight pennants.

His first year in St. Louis he took the Cardinals to within one game of the World Series and they have remained a playoff fixture in the 2000s.

And this year, with a team many people thought would lose 100 games, he has the team in the thick of the Wild Card race in late August.

Yet is he loved in Chicago? Oakland? St. Louis?

I could be wrong, but I get the sense that Whitey Herzog is still more loved in St. Louis.

LaRussa has that Clint Eastwood in Fistful of Dollars quality.
Yeah he protects the town, but what is his motivation? Can he really be trusted?

But then again, I loved Clint Eastwood in Fistful of Dollars.

I guess I’ll never figure out why I dislike LaRussa.

Maybe some Cardinals fans can help me.

Hey That's A Winner, do you look at LaRussa smile or do you look at LaRussa and nod your head thinking “He’s doing his job.”?

Let me ask you, Cards Clubhouse. Who do you have more affection for? LaRussa or Herzog?

Here’s a question for Mike at Stan Musial's Stance. Do you see the LaRussa era as kind of like signing a pact with the devil? And would the devil save puppies and support the local Ballet?

Viva El Birdos, do you look at LaRussa like he is an outsider? This is his 13th season in St. Louis. That’s 2 more than Herzog managed in St. Louis.

Or is it just not that complicated, Gas House Gang. He won in St. Louis. He will go to the Hall of Fame and his number will be retired… end of story.

Either way, the Cardinals are in the thick of it again and LaRussa might win yet another Manager of the Year…

And for some reason I still won’t like him

Angel fans... enjoy the Scioscia era

When Joe Torre brought his Hall of Fame resume to the Dodgers, people were expecting him to bring his professional style of championship baseball to Los Angeles.

The strange thing is that style was already in Los Angeles.
Well… maybe not quite Los Angeles, but in Los Angeles of Anaheim.

(Please just go back to calling them the California Angels!!!)

Don’t laugh but Mike Scioscia is quietly putting together a case Cooperstown already. He’s not there yet, but assuming he won’t blow a 15 1/2 game lead in 37 games… his first 9 years will include at least one World Series title plus 4 more division titles.

Not a bad start.

And when you look at the team, they are built very similarly to the Joe Torre Yankees.
The Torre Yankees had a home grown core (Jeter, Rivera, Bernie, Posada, Pettite) and the 2002 Angels were almost entirely the product of its farm system.

Both teams had good but not great starting pitching, a solid bullpen, and had a lights out closer who earned a World Series ring first as a devastating set up man. (Rivera for Wetteland, Rodriguez for Percival.)

And both had a manager who were All Star catchers in the National League who brought a National League style of play to the AL.

And at this writing, you would have to consider the Angels to be the favorite to win the AL Pennant.

I hope you Angel fans appreciate it. Yeah Arte Moreno opens his wallet up and brings in the Vlad Guerreros and Torii Hunters of the world.

But he plays the free agent market correctly… the core of the team is in place. He isn’t hoping to save the team with wild spending (see Tom Hicks and Alex Rodriguez.)

So here we are… it’s August 21, 2008 and Scioscia can basically line up his playoff rotation. There’s more than a month to play and the Angels will be rested, ready and dangerous.

And Mike Scioscia will have the Angels ready to make their claim for “Team of the Decade.”

Keep in mind before he became manager the Angels had won a grand total of zero post season series and were best known for a few monumental October face plants (1982, 1986 and 1995.)

So, Angels fans… and I have met a few of you… let me ask you:

Are you appreciating it?

Hey Big A Baseball, have the memories of Donnie Moore and the charging 1995 Mariners all gone away?

How about you Gilbert Quinonez? Do you realize that the Angels finally have the edge of “best manager in town?”

Let me ask you, Rally Monkey. Do you just love Arte Moreno for making the Angels players for every big name out there?

Halos Heaven, you better not be jaded.

Hey Angels Win, who would you rather beat up this October? The Red Sox or the Dodgers? I guess why not both.

And finally, Anaheim Angels All The Way… do you call them the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or do you just call them the California Angels.

Either way, you’ve got some time to kill…
The playoffs are a given now… another typical Scioscia year.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


5 wins in a row including last night's dramatic 9th inning rally...

They are the best team in the NL by 5 games...

Their first pennant since 1945 is there for the taking...

Possibly even their title in 100 years!

Man, am I the only person wondering how cruel this ending is going to be?

I have a feeling that when the post season is over, Job will be looking over a Cub fan and think "Man, I'm glad I didn't go through THAT!"

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Case For The Metrodome

The Minnesota Twins are going to have a new open air stadium and by the look of the above computer rendering, it's going to be a great place to see a ball game... under 14 feet of snow.

Baseball has enough trouble scheduling with bad weather.

But I am not proposing putting a roof on the new park.
On the contrary, I am saying something much more radical:


I know it sounds crazy, defending the single most maligned stadium in the game, but I say there is a place for it and a real group of reasons to keep it as the home of the Twins.

Indulge me!

Let's list:

Reason 1: It's a dome

I know I hit on this already but seriously? An open air stadium?

Do you just want the first week of the season snowed out every year?
Have you BEEN to Minnesota?
Have you at least seen Fargo?
That film took place in Minnesota...
I believe during 4th of July weekend!

Reason 2: It's recognizable

When baseball started replacing the cookie cutter ballparks that all looked the same from the 1970s with the new fan friendly ball parks, a strange thing occured:

All the new parks started looking the same.
Seriously what is the difference between the new Philadelphia park, the new Washington park, the new St. Louis park and now this new Minnesota park?

But when you see a line drive hit off the "Baggie", you know EXACTLY where you are!

Reason 3: Everything ugly becomes beautiful again

As bad music and ugly clothes from the 70s and 80s became popular with nostalgia has proven, there is no predicting what people will long for.

Maybe the Metrodome should stand as a lasting monument to an era of bad stadium building.

Maybe it will become a baseball travelers destination.
(Remember, they almost tore down Fenway Park in the 1960s.)

Reason 4: It's a legit home field advantage

When the place is packed and the homer hankies are waving and noise is deafening... the Metrodome is a unique place even on TV.

Plus the quirkiness and color of the roof ads to more of a home field advantage.
Remember sure fielding Willie McGee unable to catch a flyball during the 1987 World Series?

The Twins have yet to lose a World Series game in the Metrodome... which leads us to the next reason.

Reason 5: Two World Champions celebrated there

Don't take that for granted folks...

The Cubs and the Phillies have been around forever and combined they only have 3 World Series titles.

Since the expansion era only Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, the Oakland Collesium and Baltimore's Memorial Stadium have had their team celebrate a World Series on their home turf.

And Oakland has been rebuilt, Memorial Stadium has been torn down and Shea and Yankee Stadium will be abandoned after this year.

Ironically the Metrodome would become the house of Champions!

Reason 6: They already ARE competitive!

Remember how the Twins were supposed to be contracted after the 2001 season?
Part of the reason was they were unable to be competitive?

What did they do in 2002? They won the Division and went to the ALCS.
What did they do in 2003? They won the Division.
What did they do in 2004? They won the Division.
What did they do in 2006? They won the Division.
How are they doing in 2008? They are tied for first place.

So much for contraction!

Reason 7: $522 million can be better spent!

I hate to get all preachy, but 522 million clams could go to a lot of teacher, fireman and police salaries instead of assuring the opening of the baseball season will be snowed out.

So that's my take.
Then again the Metrodome is one of the few stadiums I have NOT been to.
What do you Twin fans think?

Are the folks at Twins Nations ready to lay waste to the place where Kirby made that catch and Jack threw 10 shutout innings in game 7?

Is everyone in Twinkie Town ready to turn the page?

Hey Nick and Nick, aren't you the least bit nostalgic?

Do the Twins Without Spin feel that a third party in the Metrodome will be sweeter than ever, especially after the contraction threat?

Has the Twins Geek always been embarrassed by the giant souflee looking park?

Or will the likes of Seth Stoh help get me to save the Homerdome?

I guess Twins fans won't have to worry about fair weather fans... not under all that snow.

Come on Marlins! Make this interesting

You guys have been doing a great job making 2008 interesting, but let's pick it up!
Your last 4 losses have been close games and if you won 2 of those games, you'd be 1 1/2 games out of first in mid August with the lowest payroll in the NL.

Look, the Mets and Phillies are vulnerable and the Wild Card is coming out of the Central.

My love for late season Anarchy is well documented.
Having anarchy come with the lowest payroll in the NL out playing the biggest payroll would be even sweeter.

Did the Rockies really win the 2007 NL Pennant?

With a year of hindsight, last year's pennant by the Rockies was truly bizarre...

Imagine you are a Denver sports fan and you've been patient with the Rockies and their futile attempt to put a contender on the field.

You saw the Blake Street Bombers of 1995 slug their way to a wild card... but ever since then there's been nothing to cheer about.

The 1996, 1997 and 2000 teams finished just barely over .500... and since then they fell into irrelevance.
And with the introduction of the humidor, the scores weren't even 11-10 anymore.

They were the definition of a filler team on the schedule. A franchise that made you feel sorry for a steady pro like Todd Helton who was cursed with anonymity in the Rockie Mountains.

So let's say you are that Denver sports fan who saw the 2007 team hover around the .500 mark all summer but also spend the season stuck in fourth place.

Yeah it's nice to see a team have a chance to win more than they lose, but it's another who cares season... another meaningless passing of the time before the Broncos started.

So it's September 15th, the Rockies just lost their 3rd straight... 6 1/2 back with 14 to play.

And that Sunday you stop paying attention...
Or you decide to go on a 6 week camping trip...
Or you become the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel.

You'd come back to see the Rockies only lost one more regular season game, won a winner take all playoff against San Diego, swept 2 teams before somehow winning the NL Pennant.

And in 2008 it all went back to normal.
Losing baseball... not contending in a division where 84 wins might be enough.

The Denver fan who stopped following those last 6 weeks might have missed the sole glory this franchise will ever have.

So today I pose the question to Rockies fans... what was the lasting effect of the 2007 pennant?

Folks at Rockies World... do you see more people pumped up and knowing the names of the players?

Hey Rockies Home, what do you think was the fluke? The pennant or this downturn?

Do the folks at Rox Head really think this is the worst Rockies team ever?

Does everyone at Purple Row still wear their 2007 gear with pride?

Are all Rockie fans like Mark at Bad Altitude and tuning out... a la Marlins fans after the post 1997 World Series fall out?

Or is everyone in Denver, including the Up in the Rockies folks, just waiting for the Broncos season to start?

I've got a bunch of cousins who grew up in Colorado and they tried to trash talk with me as the 2007 World Series got started.

They were so green at it I almost felt like I needed to expain the rules of baseball to them.

What I am saying is a month and a half is far too short a "glorious era."

Upon Further Review... Instant Replay Makes Sense

Bud Selig is in favor of using instant replay for questionable home run calls... and let me do something I rarely do:

I am going to praise Bud Selig!

Isn’t the fact that we don’t use instant replay on questionable calls border on insane. If we have the camera and the equipment, why are we relying on eyesight and judgment calls? Isn’t it the equivalent of a meteorologist saying, “I don’t need those fancy doplers and satellites… I judge the weather by a tingling in my toe!”

We have the means to fix it, but we don't. It's like using the Guttenberg press instead of a printer. Here I am hoping that my readers see the name Guttenberg and don't automatically think about Police Academy!

But if we have the technology, why not use it? This kind of logic would have had Lee Majors sitting in a wheel chair instead of spending the $6 million to fix him up!

With spectators having access to remote TVs, broadcasters with every angle at their disposal, teams with TVs in the club house and millions of fans watching the game live, often the only people on the planet Earth who don’t know they got the call wrong are the only people who have a say! It’s a warped athletic version of the Truman Show where we watch them make fools of themselves all while exuding their authority.

And who are these power mad umps and refs? They are the fat kids that the jocks used to pick on. That’s right… Chunk from the Goonies has taken control of the sport. They are probably half blind from diabetes and yet we are taking their eyesight over my HD Plasma!

And have you heard some of these Jabba the Hutts behind the plate talk? One said he likes to call strikes 3 balls off the plate. 3 balls off the plate? That’s called a BALL!

Wesley Snipes’ accountant didn’t play with the rules this much!

Why should different umpires have different interpretations of the strikezone? Isn’t the strikezone in the rule book, or is it a judgement call of a 78 year old dude downing bearclaws between pitches?

I say use cameras and lasers to determine balls and strikes. How could it be worse than the debacle of the late Eric Gregg in the 1997 playoffs whose strike zone was 5 feet off the plate, 12 feet above the batters head and calling the low strike to any pitch burrowing beneath the earth’s crust to the magma.

Gregg that day was loving the fact that the Miami crowd was cheering his every strike call. He literally became Leslie Nielsen in The Naked Gun! Which, for those of you keeping score at home, was the last time O. J. was intentionally funny.

The biggest opponents of instant replay are traditionalists... the same people who fought against batting helmets, play by play on the radio and letting blacks play.

These people are the Christian Scientists of sport. DON’T USE THE MEDICINE! JUST PRAY YOU GET THE CALL RIGHT!

They say "it's a slippery slope!" To what? Getting all the calls right?

They say "it will slow the game down." Have you watched baseball these days? A turtle on qualudes moves faster.

Sheen found Brando quicker than a ball game gets to the 3rd inning!

It's called INSTANT replay... not drop it off at the Fotomat and wait replay.

Does anyone go to the game saying "Oh man! I hear that fat guy is umping the game! He's FANTASTIC!?"

Who ever REMEMBERS the name of an umpire or a ref unless they screw up royally? Like Don Denkinger, whose blown call at first base may have cost the St. Louis Cardinals the 1985 World Series! You think Cardinal fans would have minded if they took the extra time to get the call right? Then again their death threats to Denkinger had such a human quality to them!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Good luck and know that the entire staff at Sully Baseball is 100% behind you.

And please ignore the fact that I claimed your faith in Jesus was a mask for your guilt of being an HGH user.

And let's forget that I said you were lying through your teeth when you said it was cleared with the team and the league.

You are a Red Sox pitcher now... that's all that is important.
(Hell, if I could love J. D. Drew, I can love anyone)

I could be wrong...

But I think David Ortiz's wrist is healed.

It's always nice to sweep a team with a winning record.
Bring on the Jays

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Robbed of a post season MVP Part 3 - World Series

Now I've finally gotten around to finishing up my tribute to Post Season MVPs who were denied their glory.

I covered the ALCS and the NLCS... now for the big Kahuna: The players who were denied the World Series MVP.

I am not including Bobby Richardson who did indeed win the 1960 World Series MVP despite the fact that his Yankees lost the Series.

Ready? Let's go

1958 Yankees Defeat Braves, 4-3

Robbed MVP – Warren Spahn.
2-1, 2.20 ERA. 28 2/3 innings.

How close were the Braves from winning?
The Braves took a 3-1 series lead.
Game 6… bottom 8th inning. Braves put the potential go-ahead run on first but didn’t score. Bottom 9th, Ryne Duren faced Covington, Bruton and Spahn… a single run would win the World Series, but struck out the side. The Yankees scored twice in the 10th. The Braves scored in the 10th and had the tying run on third and the World Series winning run at first, but Bob Turley got Frank Torre to line out.

Game 7, the game was tied going into the 8th but the Yankees scored 4 runs and never looked back.

Goat. Eddie Mathews.

The future Hall of Famer was held to a .160 average with no homers and 11 strikeouts. Held to a single hit total in the Braves four losses.

Actual MVP: Bob Turley

1962 Yankees defeat Giants, 4-3

Robbed MVP– Jack Sanford.
3 starts, 1.93 ERA over 23 1/3 innings. 19 strikeouts. 7 innings 1 run in game 7.

How close were the Giants from winning?
If Willie McCovey’s line drive was a foot more to the left or right, the Giants would have won the World Series.

Goat. Felipe Alou.
He could not get a sacrifice bunt down in the 9th to move his brother Matty to scoring position. Matty went to third on Willie Mays’ double but never scored the tying run.

Actual MVP: Ralph Terry

1964 Cardinals defeat Yankees, 4-3

Robbed MVPs– Mickey Mantle.
3 HRs, 8 RBI, .333 average including a walk off homer in game 3.

Jim Bouton.
2-0 including a complete game victory in game 3 and 8 1/3 solid innings in game 6 to tie the seres.

How close were the Yankees from winning?

Game 7 was tied through 3 and home runs brought the Yankees to within 2 in the 9th.

Goat. Bobby Richardson.
He batted .406 in the series but fumbled a key double play ball that set up a game winning grand slam by Ken Boyer in game 4.

Actual MVP: Bob Gibson

1967 Cardinals defeat Red Sox, 4-3

Robbed MVP– Carl Yastrzemski

.400, 3 HRs, 5 RBI

How close were the Red Sox from winning?
Actually not that close. But George Scott tripled and scored on an error to cut the Cardinal lead in game 7 to 4-1. But the Cardinals unloaded on Lonborg the next inning.

Goat. The Red Sox hitters NOT named Yastrzemski.
Ken Harrleson, Elston Howard, Reggie Smith, George Scott, Jose Tartabull et al were all flops.

Actual MVP: Bob Gibson

1968 Tigers defeat Cardinals, 4-3

Robbed MVP – Bob Gibson.
Mind boggling game one where he threw a complete game shutout with 17 strikeouts and 1 walk. Struck out 35 batters in 27 innings over three complete games with a 1.67 ERA

How close were the Cardinals from winning?
Up 3-1 in the series, the Cardinals scored 3 in the top of the first of game 5 on Cepeda’s homer. The Cardinals led until the bottom of the 7th when the Tigers rallied for the lead.

After the 13-1 game six blow out the Bob Gibson and Mickey Lolich were scoreless into the 7th inning when the Tigers rallied to win.

Goat. Curt Flood
Flood slipped in centerfield and turned an inning ending scoreless tie protecting out into a 2 run World Series winning triple.

Actual MVP: Mickey Lolich

1971 Pirates defeat Orioles, 4-3

Robbed MVP – Dave McNally.
Pitched a complete game victory in game 1 and came out of the bullpen to win game 6.

How close were the Orioles from winning?
The Orioles had base runners in each of the first 3 scoreless innings of game 7. The Orioles put the tying run at third and the go ahead run at the plate, but Davey Johnson grounded out. Steve Blass faced Boog Powell, Frank Robinson and Merv Rettemund, each representing the tying run, in the bottom of the 9th in game 7. They went down 1-2-3.

Goat. Davey Johnson.
Ended the 8th inning rally in game 7 and hit only .148 in the series.

Actual MVP: Roberto Clemente.

1972 A's defeat Reds, 4-3

Robbed MVP – Jack Billingham.

1-0 with a save and let up no earned runs in 13 2/3 innings.

How close were the Reds form winning?
Trailing by 1 in the 8th inning, the Reds put the tying run at third and the go ahead run at second, but Denis Menke flew out to end the rally. Pete Rose came up as the potential World Series run in the bottom of the 9th but flew out to end the series.

Goat. Clay Carroll
Carroll allowed 4 straight pinch hits blowing the Reds 2-1 lead in the 9th as the A’s won 3-2 and took command of the series.

Actual MVP: Gene Tenace

1973 A's defeat Mets, 4-3

Robbed MVP – Rusty Staub.
Batted .423 with a homer, 6 RBI including a key 3 run homer in the Mets game 5 victory.

How close were the Mets from winning?
Up 3-2 in the series but losing 2-1 in the 8th inning of game 6, the Mets put runners on first and third with only one out. Knowles struck out Staub and Rollie Fingers got Cleon Jones to pop up to end the threat.

The Mets had the tying run at the plate with 2 outs in the 9th of game 7, but Knowles got Wayne Garrett to pop up to end the series

Goat: Wayne Garrett. Despite hitting 2 homers, Garrett batted .167 for the series, struck out 11 times, including 3 times in game 7. Inexcusable for a leadoff man.

Actual MVP: Reggie Jackson

1975 Reds defeat Red Sox, 4-3

Robbed MVP – Luis Tiant.
2-0, 3.60 ERA, complete game victories in games 1 and 4, pitched into the 8th of game 6.

How close were the Red Sox from winning?
The Red Sox were up 3-0 after 3 innings of game 7. They took a 3-2 lead into the 7th inning of game 7. The score was tied with 2 outs in the top of the 9th inning of game 7. That’s close.

Goat – Manager Darrell Johnson.
With Dick Drago and Reggie Cleveland available, manager Johnson inexplicably put seldom used rookie Jim Burton in a tied 9th inning of game 7 of the World Series. He walked two and allowed a World Series winning bloop single to Joe Morgan. His career was ruined as he pitched only one more game in the majors after that.

Actual MVP: Pete Rose

1979 Pirates defeat Orioles, 4-3

Robbed MVP – Kiko Garcia

Although he didn’t start either game 1 or 2, he batted .400 in the last 5 games including a bases clearing triple that broke game 3 open for Baltimore.

How Close were the Orioles from winning?
The Orioles took a 3-1 lead in the series with a stunning 6 run 8th inning rally in game 4 that seemed to have broken the Pirates back.

The Orioles had leads in a potential clinching game 5 and 7 while game 6 was scoreless into the 7th.

Goat – Eddie Murray.
Steady Eddie was held hitless over the last 3 games, all losses for Baltimore. The Orioles offense scored 2 runs total over the last 3 games.

Actual MVP: Willie Stargell

1982 Cardinals defeat Brewers, 4-3

Robbed MVPs – Paul Molitor
Had a World Series record 5 hits in game 1. Batted .355 for the series.

Robin Yount
Led the team with a .414 average, driving in 6 runs.

Mike Caldwell
Threw a complete game shutout in game 1 and pitched 8 2/3 for the game 5 win.

How close were the Brewers from winning?

The Brewers had a 2 run lead in the 6th inning of game 7.
The Cardinals rallied on Keith Hernandez’s 2 run single and George Hendrick’s go ahead hit.

Goat – The Bullpen.
With Rollie Fingers hurt and unavailable for the Series, both Pete Ladd and Bob McLure were pressed into critical roles. Pete Ladd walked home the winning run in game 2. McLure blew the lead in Game 7 and went 0-2 for the series.

Actual MVP: Darrell Porter

1985 Royals defeat Cardinals, 4-3

Robbed MVP – John Tudor.
Won game 1 and threw a complete game shutout to win game 4 and give the Cardinals a 3-1 series lead.

How close were the Cardinals from winning?
How about a lead going into the 9th inning of game 6 up 3-2 in the series?

Goat – Don Denkinger
Denkinger is the obvious goat blowing the call at first base with what should have been the first out. But the Cardinal team deserves some heat for how they handled the blown call.

Darrell Porter could have caught a routine pop up that inning to get the first out, but he let it drop.

After the crushing game winning single by Dane Iorg, the Cardinals put potential series MVP John Tudor on the mound, who got bombed out of the building. Whitey Herzog and Joaquin Andujar got ejected arguing with Denkinger and the Cardinals were blown out 11-0.

They got a bad break. A double play could have erased it. (See also Bartman, Steve)

Actual MVP: Bret Saberhagen

1986 Mets defeat Red Sox, 4-3

Robbed MVPs– Bruce Hurst

Pitched 8 shut out innings in the game 1 victory and a complete game win in game 5. Held the Mets scoreless until their 3 run outburst in the 6th of game 7.

Marty Barrett
Batted .433, collecting 13 hits in the series including an RBI single in the 10th of game 6 that seemed to have clinched the World Series… until you know what happened.

How close were the Red Sox from winning?
Are you kidding?

Beyond the 10th inning collapse in game 6, the Red Sox were up 3-0 going into the 6th inning of game 7. And had the tying run on second with nobody out in the 8th inning of game 7. Had the Sox held on, the Buckner error would have been long forgotten.

Get that through your heads!

John McNamara made so many stupid decisions that he should be put in the Grady Little (but not quite Don Zimmer) category of post season bone heads managing the Red Sox.

Calvin Schraldi lost game 6 and 7 of the World Series. Read that sentence again. THAT’S a goat.

Bob Stanley, who threw that pitch too far inside.

Rich Gedman, who should have blocked that pitch that was too far inside.

Actual MVP: Ray Knight

1987 Twins defeat Cardinals, 4-3

Robbed MVP – Tony Pena
Batted a team high .409 as a catcher and DH.

How close were the Cardinals from winning?
Up 3-2 in the series, the Cardinals went to Minnesota to play the last ever day game in World Series history (played indoors, naturally.) Willie McGee’s RBI single in the 5th gave the Cardinals a 5-2 lead. With John Tudor on the mound and a rested bullpen, the Cardinals looked like they were in control.

Don Baylor smacked a game tying homer off of Tudor and Kent Hrbek hit a grandslam off of Ken Dayley and the Twins went on to an 11-6 game 6 win to tie the series.

In Game 7, the Cardinals rallied for an early 2-0 lead but let Viola off of the ropes by failing to score more in a second inning rally. The Twins took the lead in the 6th. Tony Pena doubled and stole third representing the tying run in the 7th, but he was the last Cardinal baserunner of the game as the Twins held on to win 4-2.

Goat – Danny Cox.
The normally reliable starter couldn’t get out of the 4th in game 2 and came out of the bullpen to let up the winning run in game 7.

Actual MVP: Frank Viola

1991 Twins defeat Braves, 4-3

Robbed MVP – Mark Lemke –
The anonymous second baseman wasn’t even in the line up for game 1. But hit .417 in the series including a 12th inning RBI single to end game 3 and scored the game ending run in the 9th of game 4.

How close were the Braves from winning?
Up 3-2 in the series, the Braves put the potential series winning run on base in the 9th, 10th and 11th. But they hit into double plays in the 9th and 10th and pinch runner Keith Mitchell was caught stealing in the 11th, before Kirby Puckett’s homer tied the series.

In the 7th game, the Braves had runners in scoring position in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 8th… but were held scoreless in the 10 inning 1-0 loss.

Goat – Lonnie Smith.
The steady veteran with 3 World Series rings prior to 1991, was fooled late in game 7 by a decoy play by Chuck Knoblauch and Greg Gagne that prevented him from scoring on Terry Pendleton’s double into the gap. He would stay at 3rd and never come home as the Braves were shut out in 10.

Otis Nixon.
The speedy outfielder was suspended from post season play for testing positive for drugs (remember when the league tested for drugs? It almost seems quaint now.) His suspension left the Braves short handed for the World Series.

Actual MVP: Jack Morris

1992 Blue Jays defeat Braves, 4-2

Robbed MVP – Tom Glavine.
Pitched 2 complete games with a 1.59 ERA.

How close were the Braves from winning?
Never got to a clinching game 7, but had leads in the 9th inning of game 2, the 8th inning of game 3, had the tying run on 3rd in the 8th of game 4, had the winning run on 3rd in the 9th of game 6 and the winning run at the plate in the 10th and 11th of game 6.

They lost all 4 games by 1 run.

Goat – Jeff Reardon.
The newly acquired closer let up an unlikely game winning 2 run homer to reserve Ed Sprague in game 2, blowing a 1 run lead. Also allowed Candy Maldonado’s walk off game 3 hit. Bobby Cox had lost confidence in him and would not use him in the 11 inning game 6 marathon.

Actual MVP – Pat Borders

1993 Blue Jays defeat Phillies, 4-2

Robbed MVP – Lenny Dykstra.
Batted .348 with 4 homers and 8 RBIs in the 6 game series. Piled up a .913 slugging percentage.

How close were the Phillies from winning?

Never got to the clinching game, but had a 5 run 8th inning lead in game 4 that would have tied the series 2-2… and a 1 run 9th inning lead that would have forced a game 7.

Goat – Mitch Williams.

No clearer goat in World Series history. His 0-2 record… his 20.25 ERA… the fact that when Rickey Henderson saw him coming into game 6 he became giddy.

Actual MVP – Paul Molitor

1996 Yankees defeat Braves, 4-2

Robbed MVP – John Smoltz.
Won game 1 in Yankee Stadium and finished the series with and ERA of 0.64.

How close were the Braves from winning?
Never got to the game 7, but the Braves out pitched and out hit the Yankees so badly during the first 4 games that it looked like a boring rout of a World Series. Atlanta was winning 6-3 in the 8th inning of game 4, rolling to a 3-1 lead. They never had another lead in the series.

The Braves lost games 5 and 6 by one run and had the tying run in scoring position when both games ended.

Goat – Mark Wohlers.

He surrendered Jim Leyritz’s stunning World Series turning game tying homer in game 4. The Braves never recovered.

Actual MVP – John Wetteland.

1997 Marlins defeat Indians, 4-3

Robbed MVP – Sandy Alomar Jr.

Batted .367 with 2 homers and 10 RBI for Cleveland. Had an OPS of 1.006, which I understand isn’t bad.

How close were the Indians from winning?

They had the lead in the 9th inning of game 7. That’s pretty close!

The Indians then put the go ahead run on base in the 10th and 11th of game 7.

Goat – Jose Mesa.
When you are the closer and you are given a 1 run lead in the 9th inning of game 7 of the World Series and do NOT clinch it, you are a goat.

His failure in the 9th led to Omar Vizquel’s bizarre feud with Mesa.

Tony Fernandez.
The sure fielded shortstop was playing second base and made a critical error in the 11th. The Marlins would win the World Series with a 2 out single in the 11th.

Actual MVP – Livan Hernandez

2001 Diamondbacks defeat Yankees, 4-3

Robbed MVP – Mariano Rivera.
In a World Series where D’Backs closer Byuen Yung Kim blew two critical saves, Rivera was his usual steady self with 2 shutout innings for a game 3 save and a scoreless inning for a game 4 win. Going into the 9th inning of game 7, Rivera had thrown 6 shutout innings.

How close were the Yankees from winning?
They had the lead with Mariano Rivera on the mound in the 9th inning of game 7. Anything other than a win would be the most unlikely scenario since Kirk Gibson’s homer off of Eckersley.

Goat – Mariano Rivera.
I know it sounds odd to be the goat who spoiled the MVP for himself… but who else is there to blame? He threw a ball into centerfield and let Tony Womack beat him with a game tying double before hitting Counsell and allowing Gonzalez’s series ending single. His ERA ballooned to 1.42.

Actual MVPs – Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling

2002 Angels defeat Giants, 4-3

Robbed MVP – Barry Bonds.
Bonds homered in his first at bat, clubbed 4 over all and batted .471 with an OPS of 1.994.

How close were the Giants to winning?
Leading the series 3-2, the Giants ran a 5-0 lead up on the Angels highlighted by homers by Bonds and veteran Shawon Dunston. Russ Ortiz threw a shut out into the 7th inning.

The Giants were still leading 5-3 in the 8th inning and brought in reliever Robb Nen with a 5-4 lead and 6 outs from the first ever World Series title in San Francisco.

Goat – Dusty Baker.
Having his three year old around to run on the field of play during a World Series game was at best the fourth stupidest decision he made. Giving Russ Ortiz the game 6 “game ball” was a rubbing in the nose moment for which the Angels responded right away with 6 unanswered runs.

Bakers decision to pitch Livan Hernandez over Kirk Reuter was bad enough. But letting him even walk out of the dugout in the third when EVERYONE saw he had nothing was inexcusable.

As I wrote before, my dad has never forgiven Livan for pitching so horribly in game 7.

Actual MVP: Troy Glaus.

2003 Marlins defeat Yankees, 4-2

Robbed MVP – Andy Pettite.
Pitched 8 2/3 innings of 1 run ball in the Yankees game 2 win and in the potential elimination game 6, pitched 7 innings letting up 1 earned run. He finished the series with a 0.57 ERA.

How close were the Yankees from winning?
Fresh off of the heart stopping 7 game series with the Red Sox climaxing with Aaron Boone’s homer, the World Series against Florida seemed like a formality. In actuality the Yankees lost games 1 and 4 by 1 run and games 5 and 6 by only 2.

The Yankees rallied in game 4 to send the game into extra innings and possibly take a 3-1 lead in the series. They loaded the bases with 1 out in the 11th but couldn’t score and lost the next inning on Alex Gonzalez’s homer.

Goat – Jeff Weaver
He was on 29 days of rest… so either he was completely rested and ready or he was rusty and a last resort. Either way, he served up Gonzalez’s walk off homer in game 4that turned the tide of the World Series.

David Wells
His lack of body condition finally came back to haunt him as he left a crucial game 5after only 1 inning. Jose Contreras absorbed the loss, but there was no way he should have been pitching in the 2nd inning.

Actual MVP: Josh Beckett.

So there you go… quite a range of players who were denied a World Series MVP. From Hall of Famers like Yaz and Yount to unlikely stars like Mark Lemke and Kiko Garcia.

Here’s hoping they get standing ovations in their home park anyway.

Their team losing was clearly NOT their fault.