Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sully Baseball Presents... THE MAKING OF A BLOG POST

Hey dear readers... have you ever read one of my posts and thought "why the hell would Sully write that?"

I'm sure you have. Hell, I ask it many times myself.

And I have received a few snarky e mails asking me what the thought process is that leads to me taking the time and energy to write a long list post with some historical research.

Well let me take you through the process of how some idle thoughts and my compulsive list writing can result in a blog post.

Let's take my recent post about second basemen not winning the World Series MVP.

That particular post began when I was at work... I am a producer for The Bonnie Hunt Show.

The other day I was sitting in rehearsal. Bonnie and executive producer Don Lake were going over a segment that I had nothing to do with.

I was sitting in the studio audience seats, waiting to go over MY segment.

I didn't want to leave the studio... so I just sat there, watching rehearsal.

And while I was sitting there, I began to think about the up coming season... and the different divisions.

And I thought about the AL West and how the Angels lost some key players...

But they did pick up Hideki Matsui. Hey! He was the World Series MVP. I wonder how many World Series MVPs I can write on my pad of paper starting backwards from 2009 and Hideki Matsui.

So I filled up the page with every World Series MVP from 1979 to 2009 from memory.

And yes I included 1981 and 2001 when there were multiple winners.

And looking at the page, I thought to myself "Hey! It looks like every single position is represented on my list. I wonder if I could do one of my nutty 25 man rosters.

So I tallied all of the positions... and I found lots of starting pitchers, some relievers, some catchers and shortstops, some outfielders and third basemen and even a pair of DHs.

Only one first baseman oddly (Willie Stargell in 1979.)

But no second basemen.

So on the bottom part of the sheet, I started jotting down all of the second basemen I could think of who had a great World Series.

Before I could break down which ones went to college and which ones didn't, it was time to look at my segment for the show.

I produced some TV and when the show was done, I wanted to sit down and write a blog post.
As it turned out I already had the research done and the format all written on my note pad.

All because my mind was wandering during a rehearsal.
Before I had this blog, those idle thoughts would have been lost forever.

Now I have you to read them!

And if enough of you read them, who knows? I might have a show of my own some day!!!

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Some World Series love for second basemen

Did you know that Bobby Richardson is the only person to win the World Series MVP for a losing team?

Why would you?

I knew that, but I'm Sully and my brain is jam packed with stuff like that which won't help me get a new job.

But I figured out something else that is interesting (at least to me) regarding that World Series MVP from 1960.

He is the only second baseman to ever win the World Series MVP. If the 2010 World Series comes and a player from any other position drives home the MVP's car, then we'll have 50 years without a World Series MVP at second.

I know it isn't an earth shattering concept, but it struck me as odd.

Since 1973, we've had every single position covered.
The last catcher to win it? Pat Borders in 1992
The last first baseman? Willie Stargell in 1979.
The last shortstop? David Eckstein in 2006.
The last third baseman? Mike Lowell in 2007.
The last left fielder? Manny Ramirez in 2004.
The last center fielder? Reggie Jackson in 1973.
The last right fielder? Jermaine Dye in 2005.
The last Designated Hitter? Hideki Matsui in 2009.
The last left handed starting pitcher? Cole Hamels in 2008.
The last right handed starting pitcher? Josh Beckett in 2003.
The last reliever? Mariano Rivera in 1999.

But you have to go all the way back to 1960 for someone at second.
And come to think of it, that 1960 World Series was a damn good one for second basemen.

Richardson got the 11 hits, the .367 average, and 1.054 OPS... but Bill Mazeroski got the World Series walk off homer.

In the years since 1960, some second basemen have had World Series glory. Some were Hall of Famers... others were nobodys who shone on the big stage.

Light hitting Al Weis batted .417 with an OPS of 1.196 in the 1969 World Series. His 7th inning home run off of Dave McNally tied the clinching Game 5.

Future Hall of Famer Joe Morgan got the game winning hit of Game 7 of the 1975 World Series with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the 9th inning.

Willie Randolph homered off of future Hall of Famer Don Sutton in the Yankees Game 1 win in the 1977 World Series.

Phil Garner batted an eye popping .500 with a 1.238 OPS in the 7 game World Series of 1979. Only Willie Stargell's heroics kept him from being the second second baseman to win the World Series MVP

Perenial All Star Davey Lopes started key rallies in Games 3, 4 and 6 of the 1981 World Series to help the Dodgers come from behind and beat the Yankees.

Tiger great Lou Whitaker helped set up several rallies in the 1984 World Series including being on base for both of Alan Trammell's game 4 homers.

Frank White homered and drove in 3 runs to help the Royals escape a 3-0 hole in Game 3 of the 1985 World Series.

In a losing cause, Marty Barrett got 13 hits, batted .433 with an OPS of 1.014 for the Red Sox in the 1986 World Series. He would have been the MVP of the Series had that 10th inning gone differently for the Sox.

Steve Sax batted .300 in the Dodgers stunning victory over the A's in the 1988 World Series. His walk started the Dodgers first inning rally off of Dave Stewart in Game 4 that helped put the Dodgers in control of the series for good.

Chuck Knoblauch batted .308 in the 1991 World Series for the Twins. He helped start the decoy play in Game 7 to fool Lonnie Smith and set up the series winning run with a sacrifice bunt. Later with the Yankees he hit game tying homers in the 1998 and 1999 World Series.

In a losing cause, Mark Lemke hit .417 with an OPS of 1.170 in the 1991 World Series for the Braves. His 2 out walk off single in the 12th inning ended Game 3 and he scored the winning run in the bottom of the 9th of Game 4.

Roberto Alomar scored the winning run in the bottom of the 9th of Game 3 of the 1992 World Series. In 1993, he drove in 6 runs and batted .480 with an OPS of 1.159 as the Blue Jays won back to back titles.

Craig Counsell was involved with two World Series Game 7 come from behind victories. He tied Game 7 of the 1997 World Series in the 9th inning with a sacrifice fly and scored the title winning run for the Marlins in the 11th inning. In 2001, he was hit by a Mariano Rivera pitch setting up Luis Gonzalez's single that won the World Series for the Diamondbacks.

Luis Castillo drove in the first run of Game 6 of the 2003 World Series with a 2 out RBI single. It would turn out to be the World Series winner as the Marlins held on to a 2-0 victory.

Mark Bellhorn hit the game winning homer in Game 1 of the 2004 World Series. He also helped the Red Sox win Game 2 with a 2 run double off the center field wall.

Dustin Pedroia led off the 2007 World Series with a home run, setting the stage for the Red Sox sweep of the Rockies.

Chase Utley hit a 2 run homer in the first inning of Game 1 of the 2008 World Series that gave Cole Hamels all the run support he needed. In the 2009 World Series, he matched Reggie Jackson's record of 5 home runs.

Who knows? Maybe Utley or Pedroia could win the World Series MVP this year. Maybe Robinson Cano will win it for the Yankees. Maybe the Rays make it back to the series and Ben Zobrist will win it. Perhaps Dan Uggla, Ian Kinsler, Howie Kendrick, Ian Stewart or Rickie Weeks will win some hardware.

Or maybe we'll have to deal with 50 seasons without a second baseman winning the World Series MVP.

We may have to cope.

Meanwhile, enjoy the glory that is the 1960 World Series, the last glorious series for second basemen!

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Can there be 42 more wins for Jamie Moyer?

On June 16, 1986, the Cubs were facing the Phillies at Wrigley Field. Both teams were hopelessly behind the Mets. The Phillies started Steve Carlton that day, whose brilliant Hall of Fame career was winding down. Future Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Ryne Sandberg also played in that game. So did some big names from the 1970s like Davey Lopes and Kent Tekulve.

And pitching for the Cubs that day was a rookie making his big league debut. He won the game, beating Carlton, letting up 4 runs in 6 1/3 innings.

That pitcher is now in Philadelphia and still pitching... in fact Jamie Moyer won the 5th starter's job for the Phillies going into the 2010 season... and guess what? When all is said and done, HE could be a Hall of Famer!

He will be pitching in his 4th decade (yes, I am counting this as a new decade.) In his first six seasons in the bigs, he played for three different teams, went 34-54 with an ERA in the high 4's. He spent all of 1992 in the minor leagues. I bet if you told him then that he would still be pitching in the bigs in 2010... well he probably would have thought you were either crazy or wondered how you bent the rules of time and space.

But here he is... all of these years later... still pitching. Thanks to a truly rotten trade by the Red Sox, Moyer settled into a groove in Seattle and pitched for 10 1/2 seasons. And now has spent the past 3 1/2 seasons in Philly.

He has a World Series ring with the 2008 Phillies, a pair of top 5 Cy Young finishes and one more top 10 finish, pitched in the 2003 All Star Game and along the way earned 10s of millions of dollars.

You'd think that would be enough. But folks... he's pitching on arguably the best team in the National League. In two of the last three years his ERA has soared to nearly 5 but his win totals remained in double digits.

He is currently sitting on 258 wins.

Imagine if he wins 12 this year, which isn't out of the question.
And then he wins 11 the year afterwards.

Are you seeing where I am taking this?

Let's say he has 4 mediocre seasons with high win totals. If over the next 4 seasons, get wins 10 or 11 each year...

He'd get 300 wins, and we're talking first ballot Hall of Famer.

Does he have it in him? He'll be 47 this season, so I am talking about pitching into his 50s.

But can he do it? He's not a power pitcher. In his prime, his pitches couldn't destroy a spider web.

He has the NL's best lineup hitting behind him and he'll be starting every fifth day.

Basically Jamie Moyer is to pitching what Harold Baines was to batting.
Harold had a nice but hardly eye popping career. But as I wrote before, if he got 7 more hits a year, he would have cleared 3,000 and been Hall of Fame bound.

Moyer doesn't have a shot without 300. But NOT reaching 300 is the only thing keeping Bert Blyleven out.

And the idea of Jamie Moyer being a Hall of Famer while an ace and a post season stud like Jack Morris is kept out is mildly insane.

But I like insanity. So count me in to wanting to see Jamie Moyer get 42 more wins in his career.

How can you not root for a man who career stretches from playing Ron Cey to playing with Cole Hamels?

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Honoring my Grandfather on the Bonnie Hunt Show

The great host (and Cub fan) Bonnie Hunt gave me a chance to give my Grandfather, David J. Sullivan Sr, his due on national TV.

I never got to meet my grandpa, but I have always been proud of him.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Cubs bad luck... Roy Hobbs

I watched The Natural again this weekend. (why? Because I can!)

And something hit me while I watched the brilliant first act of the movie. When young Roy was off on the train, struck out The Whammer on three pitches and gets shot by Barbara Hershey... he was traveling to his big league try out.

And what team was giving the young Natural a shot?

Not the Knights.


Roy Hobbs could have been the best left handed pitcher in Wrigley!
And he could have had such power that he could literally hit the cover off the ball in a Cubs uniform.

And oh yeah, if he homered in pre-1988 Wrigley Field, he wouldn't have to worry about the exploding lights.

But did Cub fans in The Natural's universe get to experience that?

He gets shot and who reaps the rewards of his talents? THE NEW YORK KNIGHTS!

It was Cubs scout Sam Simpson who discovered him. And what did the Cubs get from it?
A broken clock!

I am telling you, the Cubs can't catch a break even in fiction!

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The Twins blew it on announcing the Joe Mauer contract

About a week ago, the Twins did what many people thought would have been impossible:

They found a way to keep hometown hero Joe Mauer from leaving via free agency and going into a bidding war between both New York teams, the Red Sox, Cubs, Angels and any other big rollers!

Now it's not like he is going to go broke as his deal averages $23 million a year, but the Twins have come a long way from being a team that players automatically leave.

But how was this monumental event in the franchise's history become public?

Through a release and a press conference in Florida.

I'm sorry but the Twins dropped the ball to have a tremendous theatrical event with this contract.

Nick Blackburn signing for 4 years? Sure, send out a press release and have a meeting in Florida.

But Joe Mauer staying with the Twins? That is a gigantic middle finger to everyone who said the Twins couldn't compete and should be contracted?

The Twins needed to announce this with a little bit of flair.

You may not have liked how Roger Clemens appeared in the Steinbrenner box in 2007 to announce he was coming back to the Yankees.

But it was memorable.

It was a secret and it was announced not via a press release but in front of a huge crowd who went berzerk.

The Twins might not be the Yankees... I know Minnesotans are more low key people than New Yorkers.

But this needed a little bit of Broadway showmanship.

Just imagine...

The Pohlads and GM Bill Smith strike a deal with Joe Mauer during spring training... but they keep it under the TC on their hats. Reporters continue to hound everyone about the extension, but they stay mum.

Then it is opening day at the new Target Field.

The place is packed and Twin fans are going nuts for their new home... but there is still the apprehension in the air about their hometown hero staying long term.

Flags of past titles are raised by Twins heroes of the past. Play by play announcer Dick Bremer introduces each of the legens.

"Hey, it's Harmon Killebrew! It's Rod Carew! It's Kent Hrbek! It's Frank Viola! It's Gary Gaetti!"

The players are introduced... and no doubt Mauer will get the biggest applause. (And also there will be certainly people holding up signs saying things like "Don't Go Joe!")

Then Joe is called to home plate.

He is handed his AL MVP Trophy by the Pohlad's and Bill Smith. Mauer holds it up (like Justin Morneau did when he won his a few years ago.)

The crowd goes nuts... but in the back of everyone's mind they wonder "is this all fleeting."

Remember Johan Santana raised a pair of Cy Young Awards at home plate himself.

So the ceremony wraps up... until Dick Bremer says "Wait, I think we have one more thing to take care of."

Then Catherine Puckett and Kirby Puckett Jr., the children of Kirby, walk out with a rolled up piece of paper ink well and a quill.

A small table and chair are set up behind home plate.

The Puckett kids hand the piece of paper to GM Bill Smith who reveals that it is an agreement for an 8 year contract extension for Joe Mauer.

Crowd starts to buzz.

"Do you want to sign it Joe?" asks color commentator Bert Blyleven.

Joe takes the microphone. "I don't know." Then looking to the crowd. "Do YOU want me to sign it?"

Now the place goes ape.

The right field scoreboard starts flashing "SIGN IT, JOE!"

The crowd starts chanting it.

He takes the quill and signs it... right there at home plate where he will call his home for the next 8 years. And when the contract ends, he would have spent 13 1/2 seasons as a Minnesota Twin.

Now the crowd goes nuts.

The Twins have a new home and a legit superstar to call their own. A Minnesotan who will STAY in Minnesota!

Mauer takes a Cal Ripken-esque lap around the ballpark, high fiving the fans who will cheer him on at least through 2017!

Then he gives one last wave to the crowd and the Twins play ball.

I'm actually not kidding.

I didn't suggest that Prince is lowered onto the pitchers mound or someone busts out a Ouija board to get the financial approval of the ghost of Carl Pohlad.

I didn't have a Big Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox wander onto the field.

I had a small table, a chair and a signing of a piece of paper. (Clearly it will be a ceremonial contract. The real one would have been signed in secrecy.)

I feel a moment like this should have been played to the crowd. This is a unique signing and the joy of it should have been a collective outburst shared by tens of thousands of Minnesotans... sitting OUTSIDE together... in early April.

You Christen the new park with a moment Twins fans will remember forever on the very first day.

Provided they aren't under 9 feet of snow.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

And so it ends for Kansas State

Ah well...

My dream scenario for Kansas State fans to be able to rub it into Kansas fans' collective faces fell just short of the Final Four.

I now have to figure out which Final Four team I can find a totally petty reason to root for.

Monday. I'll figure that out on Monday.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Derek Jeter's Bucket List

First of all it makes me sick that I am going to be referring to the movie The Bucket List in this post.

I don't know anyone who liked that movie, and yet its title has become a pretty efficient short hand of describing an essential to do list while facing a definite deadline.

So damn you Rob Reiner for sneaking that expression into our vocabulary.

But I am going to apply it to Derek Jeter's career.

Jeter doesn't have a lot left to accomplish in his career.
He's a five time World Series Champion.
He's been a World Series MVP.
He's had post season heroics.
He has hit 20 post season homers including a walk off shot in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series.
He's won the Hank Aaron Award twice.
He's won the Roberto Clemente Award.
He's a 4 time Silver Slugger Award winner.
He's a 4 time Gold Glove winner.
He won Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year.
He has more hits than any Yankee player ever.
He has become the Yankee captain.
He is the biggest New York sports star of his generation.
He has played 14+ seasons in New York without great controversy nor scandal.
He had the last great moment in the old Yankee Stadium with his impromptu thank you to the fans.
He appeared on Seinfeld.
He slept with Mariah Carey (as Chris DeLuca would say, back when that meant something!)

He has a place in Cooperstown secure for him.

AND his #2 is a lock to be retired and he will be mentioned for all time as one of the great champions in the pantheon of heroes in the most glorious franchise in baseball.

(Forgive me as this Red Sox fan just threw up as he wrote that last sentence.)

What else could he POSSIBLY have left on his to do list?

I am NOT going to say "Win the AL MVP." He has no real control over that and he SHOULD have won it in 2006. No offense Justin Morneau, but you weren't even the most valuable TWIN that year! (Joe Mauer, Johan Santana and I would argue Joe Nathan were more valuable for their division title that year.)

But there are a few things he can do that will, if you can believe it, make his legacy even greater.


It's hard to believe with all their legends over the years, the Yankees have yet to have anyone get 3,000 hits in pinstripes.

Heck, nobody has 2,800 hits in pinstripes for that matter.

Jeter is the All Time hits leader for the Yankees, but 2,747 isn't a round number. Get to 3,000 and reach the gold standard.


As of this writing, Rickey Henderson is the Yankees all time stolen base champion. No offense to Rickey, but he was a rented Yankee.

A franchise like the Yankees should have a Yankee under the "All Time" title.


Trust me, it is super rough for me to type that.

And with all the superstars in history, what difference would a 6th ring make for Jeter.

First of all, it will give him the same number of titles as Michael Jordan, the modern gold standard of champions.

Also no player has won as many as 6 World Series rings since Mickey Mantle retired with 7 after the 1968 season.

6 World Series rings would equal the total of Whitey Ford and Lefty Gomez (and a bunch of other role players like Bob Cerv who happened to play for the Yankees at the right time.)


Cano is already an All Star, finished in the top 10 for batting average twice and has a World Series ring.

Most people would be content with a career like that. But he is sharing the middle of the infield with a legend.

And seeing that he is Jeter's junior by 9 years, it is reasonable to assume Cano will be around after Jeter hangs them up. Cano could become the leader of the team in a similar was that Jeter took over the leadership mantle from the Paul O'Neills and David Cones of the world.

If he hasn't drilled that into Cano's head by now, then he should start now!


This may make some Yankee fans confused. Some may not believe it.

But there will come a day that Derek Jeter is no longer the shortstop for the New York Yankees.

Somewhere, now, alive on the planet Earth, there is a super talented shortstop who will someday play for the Yankees and have to endure the inevitable comparisons to a Yankee icon.

And the Yankees had better hope that Jeter's successor will be handled more gracefully than Mariano's transition to the Joba era.

When the Yankees have a dynamic new shortstop, Jeter needs to take him under his wing and make sure the press is positive.

Meanwhile Jeter will probably move to first base and push Teixeira out of position. (Kind of like how A-Rod had to move to third for Jeter!)


The Harvey Keitel commercials were OK. I liked the ones with Steinbrenner taking him to task for partying too much.

But unless I am mistaken, he hasn't hit one out of the ballpark like the Roger Clemens/Debbie Clemens cell phone commercial.

Or even the Joe Torre coming to LA commercial.

So let's go, Derek. Give us one real solid funny one.


Bobby Orr played his last games as a Chicago Blackhawk.
Babe Ruth played his last games as a Boston Brave.
Ty Cobb played his last games as a Philadelphia Athletic.
Yogi Berra played his last games as a New York Met.
Michael Jordan played his last games as a Washington Wizard.
Joe Namath played his last games as a Los Angeles Ram.
Rickey Henderson played his last games for Mamma's Pizza Softball Team.

We can't have Jeter finish his career as a Padre or a Brewer.


He has played the New York media better than any sports figure than you will ever see EVER!

And one of his best tricks to say NOTHING interesting when a mike is shoved in his face.

In his last year, I just want him to say ONE explosive thing. Like after a tough loss say "Well, we would have won but there is one player on the team who is always drunk" and have the press try and figure it out.


Seriously Derek, you are in.

You are in NOW! So let's say you play for 4 more seasons... that gives you 10 years to make sure the speech is terrific.

No excuse for ramblings. No excuse for a single "um" or "urrr."

I say he should hire a solid writer to create a witty, charming and memorable speech.

Why not Woody Allen? He's already been a front!


Come on Derek!
You've never been married and let's face it, Sandra has had some bad luck.

You have no kids. Sandra has adopted Jesse James' kid but I am sure would love to have her own biological child.

How awesome would the off spring of Derek Jeter and Sandra Bullock be?

Now of course Derek's reputation doesn't NEED all of this... but it would mean there would be no stone left unturned.

Now I must end this post.
I started off with references to the Bucket List and it turned into a Derek Jeter love letter.

I may have to listen to some Dropkick Murphy's just to cleanse the pallet.

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