Sunday, October 31, 2010

I told the Rangers to start Cliff Lee

As I wrote on Thursday, this is not a second guess. Cliff Lee should have started Game 4. He didn't go 5 innings in Game 1 and this could have been a series changing game.

Yes I know Madison Bumgarner pitched brilliantly, but who is to say he would have pitched as well knowing how little margin for error he would have with Lee pitching for the other team.

Maybe Lee goes more than 4 innings and Ogando isn't pressed into multiple inning duty and doesn't get himself hurt.

Maybe the Rangers build on the momentum of the game 3 win.

Instead Lee, in what could be his last ever Rangers start, having to save the season for a day and then hope the Rangers could cobble together enough good innings to hold off Matt Cain in Game 6 just to force a Game 7 showdown.

The Rangers traded for a unique weapon and didn't use him when they needed him.

It may have cost them the World Series.

I told them so.
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What did YOU do at age 21?









When I was 21 I was finishing up my junior year at NYU, eating too much Chinese food, renting movies at Kim's Video on Bleecker street and sharing a tiny apartment with a guy whose name escapes me right now.

When Madison Bumgarner was 21, he pitched 8 shutout innings in the World Series on the road against an amazing offensive team to put the Giants to within one game of their first World Series title since moving to California.

I am going to make a judgment call and say Madison's 21st year was better than mine.

Can YOU top Madison?

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Almost first pitch...



















You know where MY head is.







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I want tricks, not treats from the Giants



















Let's make this Orange and black day a good one for the Giants.

If not, my dad might egg Jonathan Sanchez's house.




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A scary Halloween thought for Giants fans



















Want to hear something that should send chills up the spine for any Giants fan?

Game 7 starter Jonathan Sanchez.

Pretty spooky, eh?

Better win these games!










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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hope you Giants fans who wanted an exciting series are happy

















You've got a series now... you've got drama and tension and a Game 3 starter named Sanchez who looks rattled.

My father described it best. "He sh*t on the floor and p*ssed on the furniture."

So I don't want to hear from any Giant fan friends that they want more drama. As if this season and the entire existence of the San Francisco Giants was the equivalent of General Zod bellowing "Is there no one here to even challenge me?"

The World Series is spilling into November... and the Giants can still win the whole thing with a win from Linecum and a win from Cain.

Fox should be happy. Rangers fans should be happy.
Giants fans... just root for big blowout wins.

And oh yeah, no more 2 out walks to Bengie Molina.

Who is my dad more mad at? Panda or Sanchez













When Pablo Sandoval grounded into a double play in the second, my dad who had been predicting Sandoval wetting the bed all day, just shot me a look that dripped of the phrase "I told you so."

He's been saying that Rowand should be the DH. And so far who can argue.

When Jonathan Sanchez walked Molina with 2 outs, my dad kept saying "He's going to let up a 3 run homer and put the Rangers right back into this series."

Of course he was right and now wants Sanchez cut from the team.
He wants his uniform returned and have the security guards remove him from the stadium.

Maybe even activate Zito.

The game is young... but my dad's anger? So far, he sounds pretty accurate.










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The Texas Rangers - A film by Clint Eastwood





The Texas Rangers story this season has unfolded like a movie... but not just any kind of movie.

Specifically it has been a Clint Eastwood film.
I'm not talking about the Spaghetti Westerns, the Dirty Harry films or even the Clyde the Orangutan movies.

I'm talking about the respected Clint Eastwood films of the 1990s and 2000s.
You know, the ones he churns out about once every 8 months. The ones where, even if you didn't like them, you'd think, "Well, at least it was well made."

Bear with me, but the story of the 2010 Texas Rangers would be an ideal film for Clint not only to produce and direct but also to star in.

It is a story like Unforgiven or Million Dollar Baby where Clint is the grizzled old timer brought in to do what he was born to do... and paired up with a partner his age and a young whipper snapper.

Think about it!
You have Nolan Ryan leaving his ranch to save the Rangers.
You have Ron Washington and Josh Hamilton overcoming their drug past.
You have a Rangers team that is filled with cast offs from other teams giving each other antler signs.

And they beat the Yankees! It seems that every baseball movie, with the exception of Pride of the Yankees and The Scout, has the Yankees as the bad guys. Even the Bad News Bears had the evil little league team called the Yankees.

It adds juice to seeing them win the pennant at the end.

Rent your tuxedo for the Oscars, Clint... the movie is tailor made. The script would practically be a Mad Lib.

And let this blog post be one of two things:

1) My pitch, in case anyone at Clint's Malpaso Productions reads my blog.

or

2) A way for people to see I predicted this movie before they even rolled cameras.


The film stars...


CLINT EASTWOOD as NOLAN RYAN
Yeah, he doesn't look like Ryan (as Ryan has clearly discovered the Rawlings All American Grill). But Clint has Ryan's imposing presence. He's the legendary cowboy whose background makes everyone stand at attention. He's the old school hero who wants nothing to do with these crazy new ideas. You can imagine him responding to the concept of pitch counts with a quiet, "Say what?"




MORGAN FREEMAN as RON WASHINGTON
Sure he's older than the real Washington, but this is Hollywood. Stockard Channing played a teenager in Grease for Christ's sake! Besides he can play the instant respect card when he arrives in the dugout. And he can play the troubled side when his cocaine use comes out. Plus let's face it, he could narrate the hell out of the film. Give it the ole Shawshank Redemption - Million Dollar Baby treatment.




MATT DAMON as JOSH HAMILTON
Clint has used Matt in his last few films, and why not? He's awesome. He doesn't really look like Josh Hamilton, but who cares? He can play the many layers of Hamilton. Ryan will inevitably get Hamilton pumped up, reminding him not to throw away his gifts and chance to be a great player. The Rangers are his third team and best shot at redemption. And Clint is big on redemption. Plus, when Washington has the cocaine problem, it can be Hamilton, the young player, who reaches out and helps him. When he stands by his manager, it will bring a lump to the throat like Jimmy standing by Coach Dale in Hoosiers.



HILARY SWANK as CLIFF LEE
Let's face it. Hilary is dying for a third Oscar... and Clint loves her. She's already won an Academy Award playing a woman pretending to be a man. Why not push it all the way? She'll just play a guy! And just treat it as if it is normal. By the end people will be saying, "I completely forgot it was a woman playing Cliff Lee" and BAM! She'll have a third golden guy for her collection.




And there are the supporting roles.



ADAM ARKIN as CHUCK GREENBERG
He's the investor who lures Ryan out of retirement to save the team. He has to visit Ryan at his cattle ranch and no doubt steps his expensive shoes in some cow pies. He has to deliver the inevitable "We need you to come back" speech and tell him he can run the team HIS way. Then later in the film they'll cut to him a lot clapping.



JESSICA LANGE as RUTH RYAN
It's a shame Sondra Locke can't play this role, which will inevitably be thankless. Ruth, Nolan's wife, initially is skeptical about Ryan's going back to the Rangers. She realizes how it will be his last bit of youth sparked again and agrees. Then later in the film they'll cut to her a lot clapping.




GIOVANNI RIBISI as JON DANIELS
Ribisi would be spot on as the super young GM who works well (and shows respect) to Nolan Ryan. And along the way teaches Ryan that the young kids may have a few good ideas in their head. He looks concerned during a lot of the ball game scenes and gives Nolan Ryan someone to growl to.



NATHAN FILLION as C. J. WILSON
The left hander has a great season pitching the Nolan Ryan way... and let's face it. He looks like the star of Castle. And why would Fillion turn down a role in a Clint Eastwood film?



MICHAEL PENA as BENGIE MOLINA
The actor from Crash worked with Clint in Million Dollar Baby. He comes over to the team in mid season and gives the pitching staff a boost... plus when he hits for the cycle and later steals a base in the playoffs, it can be a comical moment.



RYAN KWANTEN as MICHAEL YOUNG
The Aussie does a nice job with an American accent on True Blood, and he's in shape enough to play the versatile Young in the film. Plus he's a nice looking man.


JAIMZ WOOLVETT as MIKE MADDUX
OK, he looks NOTHING like Mike Maddux. But damn it, Woolvett was GREAT as the Schofield Kid in Unforgiven and proved he could handle himself in a scene with the likes of Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman. He should be in the cast, damn it!



TIMOTHY BOTTOMS as GEORGE W. BUSH
The former owner of the Rangers who dabbled in politics will show up from time to time. No, you can't put Will Farrell in this movie. Besides, Bottoms played serious Bush in a 9/11 TV movie and silly Bush in "That's My Bush." He can handle the cameo.



So, come on! You can picture it! Even the poster can say

ACADEMY AWARD WINNER CLINT EASTWOOD
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER MATT DAMON
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER MORGAN FREEMAN
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER HILARY SWANK
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER JESSICA LANGE

IN A FILM BY CLINT EASTWOOD
(WHO HAS 3 MORE OSCARS NOT COUNTING THE FIRST ONE WE MENTIONED WHEN WE LISTED CLINT IN THE CAST!)

It smells like Oscar bait.
I demand a producer credit.


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Haven’t you earned this, Giants fans?

I remember when my Red Sox won the 2004 and 2007 World Series, I got flack from a few of my Giant fan friends.

One of them, let’s call him Greg Lee… because that is his name… said “You couldn’t have been excited by those World Series. They were blow outs.”

I responded “Don’t blame the Red Sox for making those World Series boring. Blame the Cardinals and Rockies for not winning a game.”

The person we will call Greg Lee responded “Wouldn’t you rather have the games be dramatic?”

And I replied “I had enough drama as a Red Sox fan. Between 1986 and 2003 I had enough drama to last a lifetime. In 2004 I had to live through the 3-0 hole and facing elimination with Mariano Rivera on the mound. In 2007, the Sox came back from another 3-1 hole. I HAD DRAMA! I wanted a title.”

Then the hypothetical person I have dubbed Greg Lee asked “Wouldn’t you rather win the series at HOME?”

I responded “That would mean I would have to root AGAINST the Red Sox in a few games. I root for the Sox in every game. The celebration was sweet on the road.”

So now let me turn the question around.

If the Giants win big tonight… would you be excited? Wouldn’t you rather have a close series? Don’t you want the games to be dramatic? Wouldn’t you want to clinch the series at home?

Or have you earned a blow out?
Have you seen enough close calls that you just want to win it as fast as possible?

The brand of baseball the Giants have played has been called torture.

If the Giants win the next two games with ease, I have a feeling Giant fans will be quite happy… just like I was in 2004 and 2007.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

This series is OVER! (So were these)


















A team that gave their fans generations of frustrations and a heart stopping playoff stormed into the World Series, out slugged the favored opposition one day, out pitched them the next and beat the other team's marquee ace (who was gone after 5.)

Now they knew they had their two aces available fully rested for Games 5 and 6. Just split the next two and they'd be in the drivers seat for the World Championship.

The title was all but assured... a great moment for fans who already felt they had waited enough after years of near misses.

Am I talking about the 2010 World Series and Giants fans?
Or am I talking about the 1986 World Series and my beloved Red Sox?

That's what happened when the Red Sox took the first two games from the Mets (including battering Doc Gooden) and went back to Fenway with the Mets reeling.

And we all know what happened after that.

I've seen many series in my life, both best of 5 and best of 7, that looked 100 done after 2 games. Where one team just looked over matched and dead from the neck up... only to win the damn thing.

I've seen my Red Sox win two Best of 5 series where they dropped the first two and didn't have their best pitcher available for games 3 and 4. In 1999 when they lost the first 2 to Cleveland and in 2003 when they dropped the first 2 to the A's, the Sox looked like a defeated crew.

And things turned around (and the Indians and A's started making mistakes) and before you can say Trot Nixon homer, the Red Sox won.

The 1982 Brewers were battered and injured against an Angel team that boasted 4 former MVPs in their lineup and somehow pulled it off.

The 1985 Royals looked overmatched by both the Blue Jays and Cardinals... yet with some help from Don Denkinger won the whole thing.

The 1988 Dodgers looked overmatched by the Mets even though they split the first 2 games. The bullpen blew 2 Hershiser starts and the NLCS looked like a formality. Yet they won.

Remember how the Yankees just looked so overwhelmed by Atlanta at HOME in 1996? And when they took a 6-0 lead in Game 4, I remember thinking "Man, this Yankee team is just embarrassing themselves."

Remember how it ended... the Yankees won in 6.

A lot can happen in 2 games. Sanchez and Bumgarner could fall on their faces.
The Rangers bats can wake up.

People didn't think the Giants had 20 runs in them for the whole series... can they keep this offense up?

I think the Giants are in great shape. They need 2 more wins and will get 1 more Lincecum start and 1 more Cain start.

But things can turn fast.
Just ask the 1986 Boston Red Sox.

My son Aidan noticed something
























I was watching the game last night and my son Aidan sat with me.
At one point he looked at the TV and had a confused look on his face.

They cut to the Giants dugout...

And Aidan observed "They are all wearing my hat."

And with THAT moment, Aidan felt a one on one connection with the team.

He took his first step into a larger world.


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I don't think Eli Whiteside is getting into a game

























I hope you are enjoying the playoff experience, Eli Whiteside. If you couldn't make a cameo in a 9-0 game, then it is clear that Bochy isn't going to use you.

It's tough to bust into a box score when Buster Posey is the #3 hitter. And it is important to keep a catcher on the bench invcase of an injury.

So enjoy the view. It's the best in the house. After Guillermo Mota pitched yesterday, it made Whiteside the Maytag repair man of the Giants.

Maybe he can taunt Zito by saying "well I am at least ELIGIBLE to play."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I know I won't be the only person to say this



And it was high school friend Marina Franco who posted this on Facebook...
The Texas Rangers were indeed walkers tonight.

I was rooting for the Giants of course... but wow. Derek Holland's appearance was special bad.
13 pitches and 1 strike in zero innings pitched?

I may not understand all the new stats people use, but I am pretty sure that throwing 0.07% of pitches for strikes is a bad ratio.

That whole insane inning started with 2 outs and nobody on...

It got to the point where even I was thinking "Oh just throw a strike!"


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Not a second guess


Note time and date that I am typing this.
With Cliff Lee pitching less than 5 innings in Game 1, Ron Washington HAS to throw him in Game 4.

As it stands right now, if the Rangers split Games 2 and 3, then they will be handing the ball to Tommy Hunter to prevent it from being a 3-1 hole.

Cliff Lee versus Madison Bumgarner is a mismatch and (assuming Texas wins games 2 or 3) would give the Rangers the best shot at a 2-2 series.

They NEED to do this.

The Rangers can't pull what the Yankees did and let A. J. Burnett and not Sabathia save their season.

Note time and date.
This is NOT a second guess
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Yes we Cain



Going into the World Series, I felt that if the Giants could be tied 2-2 after four games, they would be in terrific shape. So after last night's stunning offensive output, The Hum Babies are almost at the point where 2-2 would be the worst case scenario after 4 games.

All it takes is a kick ass Matt Cain outing (because we ALL know the Giants aren't scoring 11 runs again.)

Hands up if you would have taken 2-2 after four games, Giant fans.
Have Cain win today and you will be playing with house money.

(And I can't be the only person who thinks of Cains Mayonnaise when I hear Matt Cain's name. Maybe I am.)



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The ghost of George visits Hank and Hal























(Hank and Hal Steinbrenner sit in their Tampa offices. The TV is on showing the Giants and Rangers playing in the World Series. Each are reading over details of Joe Girardi's contract offer. They both look up when they hear a strange rattling.)

HANK:
What the hell was that?

HAL:
Who's there?

(The ghost of their father, George M. Steinbrenner III, appears.)

GHOST:
I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night.
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love--

HANK:
That doesn't sound like you, dad.

HAL:
You never spoke in iambic pentameter.

GHOST:
What? Your old man didn't have a flair for the dramatic?
I ought to fire you both.

HANK:
Now THAT'S dad.

HAL:
What are you doing here?

GHOST:
(Pointing to the TV.)
First of all, I want that turned off. There's no World Series being played
this year. Not as far as we are concerned. Now for the last few years my
body has slowed me down a little. But let me tell you... I am charged up
and ready to be the old George again.

(Ghost sees they are reviewing papers.)

GHOST:
What are you working on? I assume the apology to the fans of New York
for such a poor showing this October?

HAL:
Um... no dad. We're not issuing a statement like that.

GHOST:
Why not? What are you satisfied with this showing? Did you break camp
in April saying "Ooooo. I hope this rag tag bunch of misfits scrapes together 95 wins and gets the Wild Card?" You think New Yorkers want that? You see those "Wild Card" hats and shirts flying off the racks? We should donate the whole damn line to Goodwill. It's a disgrace. What are you working on?

HANK:
These are about Girardi.

GHOST:
Ah. Good work. Get him out of here.

HAL:
Actually it's a three year extension. We're bringing him back.

GHOST:
WHAT?

HANK:
We believe in Joe.

GHOST:
Oh I believe in him too... I believe he just cost us a trip to the World Series. Did you see how he managed that ALCS? He wouldn't bring in Mariano Rivera with the season on the line, but in every big spot out came David Robertson. I read the box scores and kept thinking "Why the hell are they listing his social security number?" Then I realized THAT WAS HIS PLAYOFF E.R.A.!

HAL:
The Rangers were tough.

GHOST:
Tough? We used to beat them and they'd score only one run all series. And those were the Rangers who were all on steroids. But it's easy to score runs I guess when you don't use your Hall of Famers and keep throwing the Robertsons and Mitres of the world. Where the hell was Sabathia when the season was on the line in Game 4?

HANK:
Joe didn't want to wear down his arm.

GHOST:
Wear down his arm? He threw 10 innings over 2 weeks. Billy Martin used to throw Sparky Lyle 10 innings every other day out of the bullpen. Does Sabathia look like a guy who is going to wither away? He's built like a brontosaurus. But I guess Joe got his wish. He'll be well rested for spring training!

HAL:
Burnett actually pitched well.

GHOST:
6 innings and 5 runs for the loss. That's a 7.50 ERA.
For $16 million I'd expect a little more than that.
Catfish Hunter could throw better than that and he's as dead as me!

HANK:
That's not fair, dad. Burnett pitched well for the first 5 innings.

GHOST:
Well unless they shortened the game to 5 innings since I've been gone,
those other 4 innings count too! And going into that game, every Yankee fan out there would ask a GENIE for 5 innings from Burnett... then 2 from Wood and 2 from Rivera. But Clueless Joe kept Burnett out there until his arm fell off. Which reminds me, when the hell did we start letting players wear tattoos on their arm?

HAL:
Molina hit a fluke homer right after the intentional walk.

GHOST:
That's another thing. Why was every other batter intentionally walked?
David Murphy was walked? Did David Murphy become Joe DiMaggio since
I went away? And what's he doing walking Josh Hamilton twice early in
Game 6?

HANK:
Well, best face Guerrero. He didn't do anything all series.

GHOST:
He got 4 hits in one of the games! What happened to going after the hitters?

HAL:
Joe likes to go "By the book."

GHOST:
Let me give you the Cliff Notes for that book. "I have the biggest payroll in baseball and I spit the bit 2 out of 3 seasons." I've read it. Let me spoil the ending for you. It ends with the words "You're fired."

HANK:
He has Cashman's vote of approval.

GHOST:
There's another one. This guy has Monopoly money to play with. He can just keep building Hotels on Park Place and Boardwalk... and we don't have a #4 starter? We don't have a decent pen? That poor shmuck Joba kept being shifted back and forth that Girardi tried to bring him into the game as a reliever but forgot he was starting. Get rid of Cashman.

HAL:
We can't do that!

GHOST:
Why not? There's good GMs floating around out there. Let's see how
they'd feel about working with blank checks. They might even put a Division
Winner on the field... something we've only done ONCE since 2006. And get a
manager in here with some guts.

HANK:
Like who?

GHOST:
Why not Bobby Valentine? I liked that whole "disguise" thing he pulled in
Queens. Very clever. Or hell, Joe Torre's available. Get the author back in here and have him write a sequel.

HAL:
Torre? We've already parted ways. There's too many bad feeling there.

GHOST:
Like Billy Martin and me were singing Kumbaya. I'd bring Billy back sometimes WHILE I was firing him. Let's go. Let's shake things up. I can only do so much from the other world.

HANK:
What should we do first?

GHOST:
Can you shake up the coaching staff?

HAL:
We already let Dave Eiland go.

GHOST:
That's my boy! And by the way. I saw my monument at the Stadium.
It's nice. Understated.

HANK:
Thanks dad.

GHOST:
Fare thee well at once!
The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,
And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire:
Adieu, adieu! Hank and Hal, remember me.

(Hank and Hal look confused.)


GHOST:
That's Billy Shakespeare. Good guy. Turns out he has a wicked curve ball.
Lived in the wrong century. I would have paid him Kei Igawa money.

(Exit Ghost. Hank and Hal exhale, look at Girardi's extension, and then search for Joe Torre's number.)

HANK:
(Into Phone)
Joe. It's Hank Steinbrenner. You won't BELIEVE why I am calling you.


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Poll Results from the Live Blog










During Game 1 of the World Series, I did a Live Blog. And along the way, I would give quick polls to the participating readers.

Let's see the results of the polls:

When Tim Lincecum looked shaky in the first few innings, I posted this poll.


When Linecum forgot to throw to third on a run down, I asked this question.



I posed this one after the Giants just looked over matched in the first few innings.



A Pizza Hut commercial prompted this poll



The Giants offensive explosion off of Cliff Lee brought this poll.



A shot of Brian Wilson made me send out this poll.



Keeping in mind how unlikely the Giants 11 run output was, I asked the readers this question.



And the game itself was summed up by this poll.




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