Sunday, September 30, 2012

Who can think of football on a day like today?

I get that football is more popular than baseball.
I understand it.

I understand that American Idol is more popular than Mad Men.
I have grasped that a Michael Bay Transformers movie is going to be more popular than a Joel and Ethan Coen film.

And I don't dislike football.

But please. The NFL is in week 4. There is a way to go.

There's only four games left and there is a real possibility for total anarchy.

How crazy is it?
Yankee fans are rooting for the Red Sox and Red Sox fans are rooting against the Red Sox.

That's so bonkers that it brings up the possibility that the Mayans were right.

Let's just take the American League and bring up the following plausible scenarios.

Orioles defeat the Red Sox. 
Not only is that possible, but Zach Stewart pitching for the Red Sox it is as much of a lock as any bet you could make today.

Twins defeat the Tigers.
Unlikely, but the Tigers are not pitching Verlander today and the game is in Minnesota. It is possible.

Blue Jays defeat the Yankees.
Toronto has a way of playing the Yankees very tough. And while Phil Hughes has pitched well recently, he is due to lay an egg.

White Sox defeat the Rays.
A tall order against David Price. But they are at home and Jose Quintana is no slouch.

Athletics defeat Mariners.
The A's are at home and they play with a certain magic there.

Angels sweep the double header against the Rangers
A very tall order, especially against Yu Darvish and Derek Holland. But Zack Greinke and Ervin Santana can throw well and the Angels are loose.

What would happen if those seven scenarios all came true?

The American League playoff picture would look like this:
The Orioles would be in first place for the East by one game over the Yankees.
The Tigers would be in first place for the Central by one game over the White Sox.
The Rangers would be in first place for the West by one game over the Athletics.

And the Angels would be one game out of the Wild Card.

And that would set up the final three games of the season with not only no playoff position in the American League set, but not one single American League team having clinched a playoff spot going into the final three games of the season.

That is potential anarchy.
That is potential insanity.

And it is happening all over baseball today.

And if you turn on sports talk radio, they are talking about the Packers and the Saints.

Folks! There is a lot of time for football.
This is anarchy.
This is dogs and cats living together and mass hysteria to paraphrase Peter Venkman.

Let's play ball!

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Melky's suspension is denying us dual M. Cabrera Batting Titles

Melky Cabrera is off the Giants. He will not be on the playoff roster. He will probably not be back with San Francisco next year. And his wonderful break through season will forever be tainted by his P.E.D. suspension and that whole weird website thing.

That's not what I am lamenting.

I like strange things in baseball. And the minute Melky Cabrera did what Bud Selig did not have the guts to do and remove himself from the batting race, the game was made better by that moment of accountability.

But history was denied a strange coincidence.

Here are the current batting standings, which include Cabrera:

It's a double take.

But the American League and the National League have M. Cabrera as the batting leader. Miguel in the American League and Melky in the National League.

Seriously, I demand to know the odds of that.

That does not happen where the batting leader of both leagues have the same last name and the same first initial. And for two guys who are not brothers!

There was no William Boggs winning batting titles in the 1980s for the National League.

Nobody named Tiberius Williams won no titles in the National League.

I do not recall anyone named Randolph Carew or Thaddeus Gwynn or Horatio Wagner or Simon Musial winning a batting crown.

This would have been a first.

And would it be worth having a caught PED user win the batting title to have this kind of coincidence in the history books?

I'm not so certain that I know the answer to that.

Sure punishing those who do wrong and teaching our kids a lesson is great.
But so are oddities like this.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

I am rooting AGAINST the Red Sox for the first time in my life

I am doing something this weekend that I have never done in my life:
I am rooting against the Boston Red Sox.

They lost yesterday and I was happy. I want them to lose today and tomorrow.

Let me explain.

I have stood by the Red Sox through thick and thin.
I've been a Red Sox fan since the late 1970's.
I have hazy memories of the red hats of 1978 and vivid memories of the 1979 squad.

I cheered for Carlton Fisk, Fred Lynn and especially Butch Hobson.

I had a Yaz poster and loved Jim Rice. I cheered for Roger Clemens, cried in 1986 and was in the stands in 1988 when they lost the pennant in Oakland.

I have not lived in Massachusetts since 1987 and could have abandoned the Sox many times.
I lived in the Bay Area when the Bash Brothers ruled Oakland and they won three pennants and the 1989 title.

The Giants played a Hum Baby brand of ball and won a division and a pennant.

I lived in New York for the bulk of Joe Torre's run.

I am living in Los Angeles in time to see two Dodgers and two Angels division winners.

I've stayed loyal to the Sox every time.

I wore my Red Sox hat proudly in Oakland and the Bronx for post season games.

I appeared on HBO, ESPN2 and NESN as a representative of Red Sox fandom.

My Red Sox fan credentials can not be questioned.

I have earned them.

So why am I rooting against them for three days?

It is simple.

There is nothing to gain for the Red Sox by winning this weekend.

The season is over. It is a disaster. It has a chance to be the worst season since 1966.

The worst year before the Impossible Dream of 1967 revived the team.

So winning a few games here or there is not going to save the year.

But Red Sox fans can take heart in knowing the Yankees are struggling and could possibly lose the division to the upstart Orioles. And maybe even have to win out to clinch a spot in the post season at all.

There is Red Sox misery this year. It has already happened. But to couple that with Yankee joy would be unbearable.

Hoping the Yankees are scrambling for a playoff spot in the final three games, not resting starters, using Sabathia when they do not want to and having an aura of panic set in the Bronx is worth three more losses in a lost season.

And who do the Yankees play at the end of the year? That would be the Red Sox. And you bet the spirit of Dom DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Johnny Pesky that I will be rooting for the Red Sox in those three games.

It is worth it to see the Red Sox lose Saturday and Sunday to see them have the chance for a spoiler role as the season concludes.

Hoping for misery in the Bronx is almost as important as rooting for success in Fenway.
There will be no success in Fenway this year.

But ending the year knowing that the Yankees could lose the Division and at best use their best pitcher in a one game playoff at the Red Sox hand?

That would be a sweet ending to a rotten year.

All it takes is a 3-2 record the rest of the way. Two losses to Baltimore and three against the Yankees.

Forgive me 2012 Red Sox. But you haven't earned my love this year. Knock the Yankees out. It could be the only thing the team does right all year.

For two games, go Orioles. Then everything goes back to normal.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

The Most Recent No Hitter For Each Franchise (Updated for September 28, 2012)

 The Pittsburgh Pirates will not have a winning season this year. And they clinched a non winning season in a spectacular manner... a 1-0 no hit loss.

But enough of the negative. Homer Bailey let the world know that the Cincinnati Reds will go into the post season with four starting pitchers capable of throwing a big game.

They had faith in Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo. Well a no hitter should make sure that 26 year old Homer Bailey deserves a start as well.

There is no better boost to a pitcher's confidence than a no hitter.
The Reds finally have a no hitter, their first since Tom Browning's perfect game against the Dodgers in 1988.

It is bad news for the Pirates but pretty terrific news for a Reds team that has World Series aspirations.

Here is the updated list.


Homer Bailey - September 28, 2012.
1-0 over Pittsburgh.

Felix Hernandez - August 15, 2012.
1-0 over Rays. (Perfect Game)

Matt Cain - June 13, 2012.
10-0 over Houston. (Perfect Game)

Johan Santana - June 1, 2012
8-0 over St. Louis.

Jered Weaver - May 2, 2012.
9-0 over Minnesota.

Phillip Humber - April 21, 2012
4-0 over Seattle. (Perfect Game.)

Justin Verlander - May 7, 2011.
9-0 over Toronto.

Francisco Liriano - May 3, 2011
1-0 over Chicago White Sox

Roy Halladay - October 6, 2010
4-0 over Cincinnati. (Playoff Game)

Matt Garza - July 26th, 2010
5-0 over Detroit.

Edwin Jackson - June 25, 2010
1-0 over Tampa Bay

Dallas Braden - May 9, 2010
4-0 over Tampa Bay. (Perfect Game.)

Ubaldo Jimenez - April 17, 2010
4-0 over Atlanta.

Carlos Zambrano - September 14, 2008.
5-0 over Houston.

Jon Lester - May 19, 2008.
7-0 over Kansas City.

Anibal Sanchez - September 6, 2006.
2-0 over Arizona.

Roy Oswalt, Peter Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner -
June 11, 2003.
8-0 over New York Yankees.

Bud Smith - September 3, 2001
4-0 over San Diego.

David Cone - July 18, 1999.
6-0 over Montreal. (Perfect Game.)

Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon - July 12, 1997.
3-0 over Houston. (10 innings.)

Hideo Nomo - September 17, 1996.
9-0 over Colorado.

Kenny Rogers - July 28, 1994.
4-0 over California. (Perfect Game.)

Kent Mercker - April 8, 1994.
6-0 over Los Angeles.

Bret Saberhagen - August 26, 1991
7-0 over Chicago White Sox.

Dennis Martinez - July 28, 1991.
2-0 over Los Angeles. (Perfect Game.)

Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson - July 13, 1991.
2-0 over Oakland.

Dave Steib - September 2, 1990.
3-0 over Cleveland.

Juan Nieves - April 15, 1987.
7-0 over Baltimore.

Len Barker - May 15, 1981.
3-0 over Toronto. (Perfect Game.)

Bobby Burke - August 8, 1931
5-0 over Boston.

The Padres are still on the clock. And it would be nice to simplify the list with the Nationals having a no hitter instead of including the Expos and Senators.

But congrats to Homer. With a name like that, you'd think he'd be a slugger.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ozzie Guillen Might Not Get Another Chance to Manage If the Marlins Fire Him - A Bleacher Report Article


Ozzie Guillen is going to be fired.
It is inevitable.
The Marlins were a disaster on the field and he is causing trouble off of it.

If the Marlins can him, would anyone give him another chance?

As I wrote in Bleacher Report, there just might be too much baggage for anyone to take the risk bringing in Ozzie.

You can read the whole article HERE.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hey opponents of instant replay... how do you like the "Human Element" in the NFL?

Another day and another grotesquely horrible call happened in the NFL.

Sure, a big reason for the horrible calls is that a bunch of Division 3 college refs and Lingerie Bowl officials are now calling games in the NFL.

But I can't help but wonder how many people who are calling up sports talk stations and screaming about the refs are also the same people who complain to me about instant replay in baseball.

"You can't lose the human element" is a common refrain. It is also a nonsensical one as I am not proposing to remove the human element from the players. I just think the game is better when the calls are correct.

But for those of you who love the human element, then this year in football must be GREAT! Blown calls! Lots of human elements.

My challenge still stands.
I still haven't heard of a valid reason to NOT have instant replay in baseball

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

A's Have Two of the Worst Kind of Losses in Two Days - A Bleacher Report Article

Not all losses are created equally.

And the Oakland A's experienced the two worst kids of losses in back to back days.

As I wrote in my latest for Bleacher Report, it is always better to lose 10-0 than 2-1 or 10-9.

You can read the whole article HERE.
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Friday, September 21, 2012

I will be a guest on Midday with Dan Rodicks CALL IN

Today I will be a guest on Midday with Dan Rodricks on WYPOR 88.1, public radio in Baltimore.
We will be discussing the Orioles unlikely season, why things have turned around, why some people can't give them credit and the effect of the Smiling Bird Cap.

I will be on around 1:30 PM East Coast Time and 10:30 AM in California.

Call in!

And listen live at this link!

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Dodgers Need to Make the Playoffs to Justify the Red Sox Trade - A Bleacher Report Article

Remember the big trade that the Dodgers and Red Sox made?
Remember how it was going to put the Dodgers over the top?

As I wrote in my latest for Bleacher Report, the Dodgers won the first game after the deal and then dropped 12 of the next 17 games and are fading from the playoff picture.

They had better make the playoffs because this was a deal for short term gains. It is only going to get worse when the contracts go on and the players break down.

You can read the whole article HERE.

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