Nov 5, 2014

Thoughts from (another) World Series haze

Wow. It's pretty dusty in here. I hope those are spider webs...

After another extremely improbable playoff run by Bochy's Boys, I felt compelled share some thoughts that I had during that amazing month of October.

  • Buster Posey has never lost a postseason series.He was exhausted, and appeared to be taking his at bats in five feet of standing water. He still stole some vital strikes with his ability to frame pitches, and called some great games.
  • It's been 9512 days since the Dodgers won a World Series (come on, A's).
  • It's been less than 7 days since the Giants won a World Series.
  • I can't remember all the superstitions I can forget now.

    I gave Lyle a dryer sheet during game 1 of the NLCS. He didn't use it, and left it on top of the dryer. The Giants won that game, so I left it sitting on top of the dryer all month. It's still there. I will be contacting Cooperstown and MLB about getting it authenticated.
  • History is unscented, in some cases.

Oct 16, 2008

Rays Stun Sox to Win AL Pennant

"Rays stun Red Sox to win AL pennant
Improbable Fenway sweep puts Tampa Bay in World Series."

That was all the info I could find on at 9:47 p.m. Pacific Standard Time while I was furiously searching for details on a game six first pitch. While it’s no “Dewey Defeats Truman,” it is a little embarrassing for a budding brand trying to carve out a niche in the world of cable sports.

I never thought that I would miss Joe Buck and Tim McCarver stepping over each others words with the snide pretentiousness of Cindy McCain waiting for her Cobb Salad at Morton’s. But, Chip Carey, Buck Martinez and Ron Darling are nearly insufferable.

Chip Carey thinks every ball hit in the air is a home run and isn’t quite sure as to the distinctions between a ground ball and a line drive. He can also find a way to bring up Mike Lowell’s torn labrum at any point in any broadcast. That actually may be a skill? Martinez seems to be interviewing for a job as Joe Maddon’s bench coach while simultaneously making claims about Pedroia and Youkilis as if he’d known them since their birth. “Dustin’s never given up anything his entire life.” Buck claimed with the hubris of a proud grandfather. Ron Darling is probably the least harmful of the three amigos, but he too has made some ridiculous claims this series. I believe in the top of the first of Thursday’s game he said B.J Upton’s homer turned around the veracious winds that were blowing in from off the Pike. One baseball that went Green Monster high for a little more than 300 feet reversed the incoming winds? Did B.J. Upton turn into Dumbledore? Windimus blowless danTBS. Just give it a couple trys.

As a fake Bostonian based on my mothers birthplace I am happy for the Sox. As a baseball fan I am thrilled that we could get another epic LCS, provided Josh Beckett can remember he’s one of the best big game pitchers going. As a homosapien with an IQ, presumably, above 80, I’m not sure how I will survive another evening (hopefully two) with the treacherous trio in my living room.

Which network has the worst broadcasting team going? Discuss.

Dodgers done, Kent too?

A collective sigh of relief swept across Northern California as the LA Dodgers season came to an unusually late end Wednesday night. As the Phills made short work of the Dodgers I for one was sort of sad for our former mate, Jeff Kent.

Kent’s hall of fame career likely came to an end last night as he has been in decline for the past few seasons. Slowed by injuries, dwindling production and eventually relegated to the bench in the playoffs Jeff Kent isn’t the type who will hang on for money or an imbalanced sense of pride or self worth.

Kent will hang up his mirrored sunglasses, and trade in his bat for cross bow, go to his barber and get his Ivy-league part trimmed up and never be heard from again.

While it’s easier to feel sorry for Levi Johnston than anyone wearing a Dodger uni, I do share some empathy for Jeff Kent. He didn't often open up to the media but when he did it was usually in regards to his goal of winning a World Series. He never made it to the bottom of the pile with his teammates celebrating a World Series Championship. He came close a few times and could find himself in Cooperstown within a decade, but those of us who watched Kent play for any portion of his 17 year career know the accolades mean nothing to him.

Thank you, Jeff. It was a great career and we were lucky to be a part of it.

How will Giants fans remember Jeff Kent? Start the discussion.

Oct 14, 2008

Ah Wicked Pissa

For Sox fans you've been here before. For Rays fans that was a baseball game; its a sport created by Abner Doubleday in the 19Th century which matches a hurler with a spherical object and eight of his gloved mates as they defend against nine other bipedal men who's intent is to squarely hit the round "ball" with a round club, or "bat," in an effort to circle the three bases and make it "home" in a counter clockwise fashion safely before the defense records three "outs." But, more on that later.

Its true, Sox fans, this is a post 2004 world we live in and there is no need to curl up in a ball of loathing a self pity. Besides, according to the McCain campaign and its surrogates you guys won the game decisively! When asked how the Sox did Gov. Palin replied "they did awesome" in her accent that is surprisingly less annoying then that of TBS analyst one of two, Buck Martinez. While it’s unsure which debate, um, I mean game the Governor was watching truth be told this isn't 2004, 2007, or even the ALDS last week.

As I’m writing this Papi just struck for his first hit of the series and it wasn't exactly in a clutch situation. Mike Lowell is going to have surgery, Ellsbury ironically has lost his spot to Coco this time around, the only way Beckett keeps up his rep as a Mr. October is if he dates this month's playmate, Mike Timlin gargles fish crap, Tek is washed up, Lester went from Bruce Hurst to Matt Clement, and Manny will be watching the World Series from his Holiday Inn in LA.

That being said, Soxaholix, take comfort in the fact that you still have a pulse, and if the Sox can take the series back to the Trop all of the pressure shifts to the young mo-hawked shoulders of the Rays. I've got a fever and the only prescription is hushed cowbells.

Nov 1, 2007

The Hot Stove League Already at a Simmer

The game of managerial musical chairs is seemingly already in mid-off-season form. After Joe Girardi and Joe Torre dawned their new Yankees and Dodgers caps respectively, we here at seamhead are already looking forward to our second favorite season... the baseball off season.

On the local fronts the managerial positions of the A's and Giants aren't going to make any headlines, but you can bet the Dodgers landing of Torre will send a semi title wave through McCovey Cove. To be honest, as a Giants fan myself, I hoped the Boss and Torre would go their separate after the 2006 season when the Giants would be in search of a new skipper. As the story goes, Torre stayed for one more uneventful year and Bruce Boche manged the Giants to their first last place finish since 1996. While that was by no means solely or even partly due to Boche, certainly the hiring of Torre improves their rivals chances.

Torre to the Dodgers raises more questions about future dominoes that will soon fall this off season. Does this mean the end of Nomar in L.A.? Who will bat lead off, Peierre or Furcal? Will Russel Martin and Alyssa Milano last? Okay, so maybe those aren't the questions you'll here Buster Olney answering on ESPN in the months to come. But, everyone is wondering if Torre gives the Dodgers a leg up in the A-Rod derby? The answer? No. However, they still may have an advantage regardless of the Torre factor.

The Dodgers have shown a propensity to over spend in the past and the Angels recent success has made those bleeding Dodger Blue green with envy. The Dodgers do have a solid foundation that includes good young position players, a sound rotation, and a bull-pen that features the best closer in baseball who doesn't river dance. Combine the attraction of A-Rod to a major west coast market that won't treat him like he's Brittney Spears dragging the Chavez Ravine infield with a tabloid photographer, while drinking a frappuccino, with her kids holding on to the luggage rack of her Range Rover, every time he grounds out, with the fact that Dodger Owner Frank McCourt, the engineer of the infamous "Big-Dig" in Boston, won't shy away from a price tag of $300 million or more.

The Giants also can make a compelling case for Rodgriguez. They can boast a beautiful water front ballpark that treats right handed hitters much better than lefties. A fan base that will adore him unconditionally, and a major media market that is even more casual than Los Angeles. Not to mention they have a rotation that features young, affordable talent that will be there for the forseeable future. Tim Lincecum justified the hype he came with. Matt Cain was the best pitcher to lose 16 games in a year since Cy Young. Noah Lowry won 14 games on a team that only won 71. Barry Zito won 11 despite an awful start that can be partly contributed to the pressures of signing the largest contract to a pitcher in history. And the fifth spot of the rotation could be in the young, capable and inexpensive hands of Kevin Correia who proved to be a vastly different pitcher in the first inning then he was in the eighth.

The Giants can also guarantee him his old position of short-stop, and whether or not they will admit this, they can afford him. But, to make San Francisco a real attractive option for A-Rod they will need to convince him that the spending won't stop with the Latin slugger. They have to add a second and a third quality bat to their line up or your looking at the same problems they had when Bonds was there, a one man firing squad with no ammunition. Plugging the hole that Bonds has left isn't nearly enough to improve this team, even if it is Rodriguez who replaces him. They need a corner outfielder with power, a second baseman not named Ray Durham, and an everyday first baseman that can produce runs. That is just looking forward to 2008. In years to come they will also need to handle the impending free agencies of Lincecum and Cain and give them enough to stay by the bay.

With Brian Sabean at least admitting that the Giants would "kick the tires" on A-rod, unlike in the past with other free-agents Vladimir Guerrero, and Gary Sheffield, one has to think the Giants are in the top 5 of possible new homes for A-Rod. Who else is in the running? The list goes as follows:

5. Texas Rangers. Tom Hicks, the owner the Rangers has the propensity of spending money at a rate only equal to a teenage girl with a Bloomingdale's credit card. Yes, the first round of the Texas A-rod marriage didn't work out, but we can bet that money will play as much of a role in this signing as anything else, and the Rangers will spend money.

4. New York Yankees. I know I am losing credibility by the sentence here with these first two teams, but the Yankees have the deepest pockets, and may soon be in the most desperate decision considering what might happen with their other free agents. If the Yankees lose Posada, Rivera, Clemens, and Petite they may feel the need to keep as much of the nucleus together as they can. That could mean bringing A-Rod back and not giving the job to Wilson Betemit just yet.

3. San Francisco Giants. A-Rod will make approx $30 to $35 million a year. The Giants have Bonds ($20 million), Morris ($8 million), Benitez ($7 million), and Mathney ($7 million) off the books in 2008. That leaves some serious iron left over for Rodriguez and others. And lets not forget the need for Giants Ownership to put a player on the field to attract the casual fans. Don't expect them to fill the park to watch a bad team without the allure of a home run chase.

2. Boston Red Sox. I know, I know, but despite how good Mike Lowell has been, and how much more likable hi is, he is 34. He has experienced a rather nice resurgence over the past two seasons but Theo Epstein has shown the Bill Walsh like quality of letting a player go a year too soon rather than a year too late (See Johnny Damon and Pedro Martinez). And after 2008 there will be about $20 million freed up if they don't re-sign Manny Ramirez. Also the Sox have the money, a great core of young talent, and the love of sticking it to the Yankees.

1. Los Angels Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Frosted tips and all A-Rod is tailor made for the So-Cal lifestyle. Big money and big celebrity go hand in hand in L.A and A-Rod likes his money and his image. Both teams would offer a chance to compete and a chance to get away from the rabid east coast media. Don't be surprised if you see Alex Rodriguez getting kicked out of his Beverly Hills pad by the Mrs. after another "eventful" road trip next season.

Buyers be ware. Let's not count on A-Rod's next team being his last either. Look at what Boras was able to do for J.D. Drew? If there is more money to be made they will find it elsewhere when the moment arrives and you can guarantee that Boras will have the necessary escape clause in his A-list clients contract. Heck, at this rate A-Rod might end up with more teams over his career than even Alyssa Milano.

Loose Stitches...

It's a Pretty Good Time Out

Its an unpopular opinion, but Golden State Warrior fans, I hope you have Tivo. The Warriors aren't as good as they played at the end of last season, but that doesn't mean you can't re-wind and bask in their glory once more.

It was a perfect storm. Baron Davis was rested, J-Rich was healthy and Matt Barnes was Scottie Pippen. The Warriors are a younger team with out Richardson, who was the heart-beat of the squad over the past several seasons. Boom-Dizzle needs to decide if he wants to play to the level he showed he can, even when he's not on TBS. Steven Jack(son) is liable to hold up a strip club in North Beach at any moment and wind up playing for the California penal league. Monte Ellis is still very young, and played at his best when he was on the floor with Davis and Richardson. Al Harrington is good, but needs to be outstanding, and that includes rebounding more, or at least some. It is fair to expect even more out of the likes of Andres Biedrins and Mickael Pietrus, and an added bonus from Marco Belinelli, but for the Warriors to reach the bar they set last season, they will need to do more than just believe.

This team, as currently constituted will win 44 games and be in the play off hunt vying for the eighth or seventh seed at very best. We are not going to be seeing the same magic we saw the last month of '07 stretched out over seven months of the regular season. But, with Nelly still in town the Warriors will prove to be a very entertaining team that, even on a night where they lose by 20, will keep you interested.

Are You Waiting for Someone?

The 49er's are late. No Seth Rogen, this time it isn't your fault. Many people expected the Niner's to arrive this season, maybe even win 10 games and be serious contenders for a play-off birth. Well, not this year. But, lets give Mike Nolan and Scot McCloughan one more full season. We have seen what they were able to do with the defense since last season, now they'll have a shot to significantly upgrade the offensive side of the ball as well. Lets remember that the teams strongest asset last year was the running game and the left side of its O-line. Possibly the weakest part of the offense on this year's team and an obvious cause for the lack of success in the running game.

The idea that Nolan should be fired is absolutely lazy journalism being perpetuated by unsophisticated fans. Lets remember the team he inherited. It's okay take a minute......................................................................................................................................


... Wow! Remember that? The question that should be asked is, can they fire Erickson and Donahue again?

By the way, Go Sun Devils!!

Oct 30, 2007

Boston Reigns Supreme

If someone would have told me five years ago that by 2007 the Red Sox would win not one, but two World Series titles, and that Casey Affleck would play a starring role in a critically acclaimed major motion picture, directed by his brother Ben, without the help of Matt Damon, I would have called you crazy.

Well there is egg all over my face. The Sox are now the ideal that other teams, even the Yankees, strive to be and "Gone Baby Gone" is bringing in bucks and praise from movie goers and critics alike. But I'm not alone. Many pundits felt that the Rockies were poised to complete one of the greatest and most unlikely championship runs in the history of sport. Apologies to the gladiators, perhaps a man named Spartacus Maximus defeated 21 out of 22 tigers on an epic streak of gladiatorednessosity. Unfortunately, however, there are no such records of this, at least not on Wikipedia.

The Rockies, despite playing out of there mind for the better part of a month, proved to be... "Denny Green to the microphone please"... "Who we thought they were!" Yes, the Rockies would have been a third place or fourth place team without the great run in late September when they went 13-1. Lets say they played at a .553 clip, (which was their regular season winning percentage) over those final 14 games. Keep in mind those final 14 games got them to that clip, but never the less, they reasonably should have gone 8-6 over that span. But only 5 fewer wins than they finished with. That would have put them in third place, three games better than the fourth place Dodgers. Now I completely understand that is why you play the game, and that a team on paper can't beat a team on the field. But, at some point every hot black jack player busts. The Rockies had a great ride, but they were by no means a World Series caliber team.

The Red Sox on the other hand are a team built with the sound scouting of Theo Epstein, and his team of Bill James saber-metric disciples. A manger in Terry Francona who is probably as good as anybody at managing games and the personalities in it; Manny, Schilling, Foulke, Pedro. It has a group of young talent that includes the 2007 AL Rookie of the Year, Pedroia, the 2008 AL RoY, Ellsbury, Papelbon, "Yoooouuuuke", Lester, Buchholz, and Okajima. And a core of veteran stars, Many, Ortiz, Beckett, Schilling, Veritek, Lowell, Crisp, and Lugo, that most any team would give their farm system for. Yes J.D. Drew was intentionally left out, but good hit in game 6 buddy.

Boston, enjoy this moment. You have the best baseball team in the "World," the best football team in the Universe, a basketball team that is going to make some serious noise in the "LEastern" Conference, and the Affleck brothers! At least I think they're from Boston, aren't they? Well if they're not just substitute them with the BCS number two ranked BC Eagles.

While this World Series may have been short on drama, it certainly wasn't a post season with out annoyances. Here are my top 10 things I cold have done without.

10. Tim McCarver. He is not funny, not insightful, not even that completely coherent at this point in his life. Joe Buck is bad, but the cocktail of the two of them together is like buttered rum. It isn't any good, but for some reason the thought of it makes you happy and reminds you of Christmas. I guess like McCarver's wit and the postseason they unfortunately go hand in hand. I can do with out Tim McCarver.

9. Dane Cook. Did you notice how they didn't even bother to shoot any new promos once the World Series match up was announced? At least they could have dubbed in some fresh audio. I'm sure in a couple of years, we will all be doing without Dane Cook.

8. Diamondback Fans. Sorry to all my college friends whom I'm insulting now, but if you can't sell out a play-off game, you certainly don't get to boo your team in a play-off gmae. I can do without self-entitled fair weather fans.

7. Roger Clemens' Cingular Ad. Although I found it, as I'm sure most every Red Sox fan did, to be pretty funny considering it was running while his current team was losing and his former team was being crowned champs. How did that move back to New York work out for you Rocket? To quote a t-shirt I saw in Boston once, "Roger Clemens is a pile of Sh*t." You sir, I can do with out. Please, look up the definition of the word, and then retire.

6. Joe Buck. I know I touched on this earlier, but in game two he kept saying the Colorado Rockies have a "group" batting average of... I'm sorry, my dad wasn't an announcer, but I am still pretty sure that there is a more specific word, next time try using this one, team. "The Rockies have a team average," it has a nice ring to it huh? Joe Buck and his shameless endorsements I can do with out. But, I can not wait for some network to pick up the Joe Buck Show, please, someone, anyone pick it up and run it in all of its glory.

5. Applebee's Commercials. I didn't think is was possible to be even more turned off by the idea of eating at an Applebee's, but that was before I heard Wnada Sykes as a talking apple-slash-spokes fruit for the restaurant. I can do with out both Applebee's and Wanda Sykes, I'm sure I'm not alone on this one.

4. Taco Bell's Free Taco. Although it brought us a priceless exchanges between Royce Clayton and Jacoby Ellsbury, how shameless was the in-game interview with the Taco Bell Exec. with Chris Myers. "Uhh, uh, um, uh ... I don't know." Chris Myers? How does FOX, of all the networks, not realize that the American sports viewer, can do without Chris Myers. Was Pam Oliver on vacation?

3. Many Bashing. First, the "Who Cares" quote was not properly reported, then it seamed to be his fault the the umpiring crew in Cleveland couldn't do their job and call a home run when the ball landed beyond the fence, and Manny ended up with a single. Then the presumption was that once the series moved to Colorado Many would be held utterly helpless in the vast outfield. Then they kept putting up that graphic that showed how Fenway Park could fit inside of the playing field of Coors. Many bashers, I can do without. But please give me more footage of Many running the bases. He is to unintentional physical comedy what George W. Bush is to unintentional political parity.

2. The girl in Epstein's Suite. I'm sure most of you missed this, but when Fox showed the replay of Epstein's reaction after the final out was made in game seven of the ALCS, you could clearly see a younger woman with her back turned to the field, who for a good five seconds had no idea the Sox had won the pennant. Then, once she noticed that no one was paying attention to her, what I can only be sure was inane babel, she turned around and to see what possibly could of been more important. Then with the genuine spirit only matched by John Edwards' smile she started jumping up and down and clapping her hands. You, my friend, I can do with out.

1. A-Rod. If you can't beat 'em, upstage 'em? That is exactly how it came across, that Alex Rodriguez thinks of himself as bigger than the game no matter how grand a stage, or how big a moment Sunday night may have been for millions of baseball fans everywhere. Have the class to wait until Monday, at least, to announce you want more than $25 million a year. Likely this is the reason A-rod will be heading for his fourth team since 1996 and is still sans a championship ring. A-rod the person? I can do with out. A-rod the player? Sign him up now!

Oct 25, 2007

World Series Games 1 & 2 in Review

Watching the game with the intent of finding good topics, or an interesting angle to write about can cause one to pay, perhaps, too much attention to the details. For example when my family sang me happy birthday (yes the 25th was my 27th) I could of swore they were singing it in melody with the Ford truck commercial with John Fogerty. "This is my biiiiiiiiiiiiiiirthday!"

By the way, did Tim McCarver try to tell us that in his opinion the curve ball of Jimenez would break well in Boston? So, they've been playing baseball in Boston for 150 years, and McCarver still isn't sure if the law of physics apply? Please, if you have an explanation let me know what it is?

But I digress. Game one went much like we expected, with the Rockies showing obvious rust. There is a saying in baseball, usually spouted during the All-Star Break, that goes like this; You take one day off and nobody notices. You take two days off, and you notice. You take three days off and everybody notices. Well, the Rockies took 8 days off both Joe Buck and Tim McCarver noticed. Now that speaks to the truth of the expression.

In game two Ubaldo Jimenez pitched very well for the better part of four innings. And to be honest the case could be made that even though he was tagged with the loss, he may have saved the series for Colorado. Unlike in game one when the Sox pummeled the Rockies, they have to feel like they let game two get away. While any player will tell you its harder to get over losing a close game, it is also true the Rockies proved to themselves that they can play with Boston, in Boston. And heading back to what is sure to be the Rocky Mountain equivalent of hyphy inside of Coors Field on Saturday, this could prove to be just enough to get the Killer H's (or h sounds) Helton, Hawpe, Jimenez, Herges, and Howdoyou Getpickedoffthere in the win column.

Schilling is an absolute blow-hard, but he is one of the best competitors in modern sports. Less than a month shy of his 41st birthday (we're both Scorpio's?) he still has the guile, the intensity, and to be fair, the stuff to compete and succeed when the lights are shining the brightest. Do you think he will break out the bloody sock if he gets another start?

Now that Barry Bonds is semi "retired" and no longer at the top of his game, is there a better at bat to watch from a pure baseball stand point than Manny Ramirez? The man is severely locked when he is at the plate. Part of it is his "who cares" (quote intentionally taken out of context) attitude that keeps him from trying too hard. This is why he is so effective hitting with two strikes. While Big Pappi gets the lion's share of the attention from the media, which he is entitled to, why do you think teams continue to pitch to him in game breaking situations? That's right, because Manny is usually on deck. Ortiz is tremendous, but without Manny, there is no Pappi. Just ask him himself how good he was in Minnesota.

GAME 1 MVP: Josh Beckett

GAME 1 LVP: Jeff Francis. Still no Canadian born pitcher has one a Workld Sereis game. Take that Canadian Dollar!!

GAME 1 Turning Point: Dustin Pedroia's first inning homer. "I'm a Sun Devil Baby." Even though that was most famously uttered by Cuba Gooding Jr. I can imagine Pedroia saying it.

GAME 1 Biggest Question: Why did Beckett pitch 7 innings with a 13-1 lead?

GAME 1 Biggest Question Answered: Can the Rockies pick up where they left off? Answer: a resounding NO.

GAME 2 MVP: OkalBon. (apologies to Mike Lowell)

GAME 2 LVP: Holliday. Despite going 4-4 every little league coach is making sure the runner isn't picked off in that situation, except the little league coach usually isn't a former major leaguer.

GAME 2 Turning Point: Lowell taking third on J.D. Drew's single in the fourth, setting up Varitek's sacrifice fly.

GAME 2 Biggest Question: Can Hideki Okajima give Terry Francona 2 or more innings on Saturday if needed?

GAME 2 Biggest Question Answered: Can the Red Sox line up be held in check? Yes.