As the 2012 playoffs meander on, we are granted episodes of true drama that are trampled without mercy by the overblown hagiography dedicated to whatever player is subject of that moment's TV air time fill. Of course, there remains that constant stream of OMG-THE-MOST-INCREDIBLE-MOMENT-IN-YANKEES-MOST-AMAZING-HISTORY!!! But, fundamentally, the purpose of these playoffs is merely to continue to winnow out one team after another which was terrified of having to face the LA Angels in a series in the first place.
Meanwhile, we wait. We wait to get past all this residual activity so that we can get down to the business of 2013. We wait to be dragged through the pending emotional dissatisfaction of 2012 Reward and Recognition. We wait to unleash Jerry Dipoto on unwitting General managers elsewhere. We wait for the next chapter of Mike Trout's career. We wait for Albert Pujols to settle in. We wait for the housecleaning of our bullpen. We wait to observe the smaller plots of the off-season, such as what happens with the decline of the likes of the Josh Hamiltons even as our own Trout rises.
We still have a few more weeks to wait. But it doesn't mean we have to remain idle. I dare you to digest all this in just one weekend!
- Jeff Miller: OC Register Genius! Miller discovers, via his newly observed pattern of deterioration in Alex Rodriguez, that players can decline with age. And – alert! – this might bode ill for Albert Pujols!!
- The OC Register's "Fletch" gains insight into how Mike Trout is not going to win the MVP. Unscientific, perhaps, but it's interesting to observe him banging his head agaisnt The Old Guard. Anyway, get used to it, everybody. Figure out some way to carry that cause far into the future to mock Detroit fans, BBWA leftovers, whatever. At some point in the future the sorry-assed 2012 MVP result is going to be extraordinarily, and permanently, delicious.
- Arte Moreno, take a note: your baseball stadium wireless and cell phone experience is just a filthy bad as what the baseball fans of Cincinnati suffer.If only we could find a way to shut down cell phone in movie theaters with such efficiency.
- C.J. Wilson's surgery date has been set for October 23rd. Let's hope the procedure includes hanging a new set of cajones.
- Jason Isringhausen still thinks he's got game. "Still, he's not yet ready to say he'll retire." But at the final line of the article, you find that not even Isringhausen is a fanboy of Isringhausen. "When he left the clubhouse for good, he left behind his 2010 Topps baseball card."
Auction Of The Week: Pete Rose has decided to auction off his personal copy of the document that was sent to him by MLB officially banning him from baseball.
This Date In Baseball History (link): 1907: The Chicago Cubs have won only two World Series, 1908 (their last one) and 1907, which was concluded on this date when Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown shuts out the Detroit Tigers 2-0..........1916: The Boston Red Sox went 86 years between WS titles, from 1918 to 2004. Prior to 1918, their previous title came on this date in 1916 when they beat the Dodgers, at "Braves Field"!..........1920: The Cleveland Indians defeat the Brooklyn Robins for the WS title in a best of 9 format, 5 games to 2. Twelve years down the road the Robins will become the Dodgers, while five years earlier the Cleveland franchise was renamed from the "Naps", in honor of Nap Lajoie in a newspaper contest, to "Indians" - mythically in honor of Louis Sockalexis, Native American baseball player for Cleveland - in another newspaper contest..........1929: Hack Wilson of the Cubs loses two balls in the sun in centerfield as Philadelphia version of the A's score 10 runs in the seventh inning on their way to a 10-8 win in a series the A's will win in the next game..........1954: Those same Philadelphia As are sold to Arnold Wilson, who will move the team to Kansas City the next season. Among those fighting to keep the franchise in Philly is Charlie Finley, who will eventually buy the team while in KC and move it to Oakland..........1963: The one and only Hispanic All-Star game is played, which also happens to be the very last official MLB game played at the Polo Grounds (not September 18th, as most reports will state)..........1967: Boston does as Boston always does, finding some hokey theme to hang their hopes on and carry them to the World Series. This particular year it was the musical "Man of La Mancha", with "The Impossible Dream" as their theme music. On this date in that year their Dream is crushed by Bob Gibson, who finishes his third complete game of the WS and shuts down the BoSux with a 3-hitter..........1972: The A's, now in Oakland, dust off the Tigers in the ALC behind John "Blue Moon" Odom and Vida Blue, who will both get into a clubhouse brawl after the game..........1986...........2003: Jose Feliciano sings The Star-Spangled Banner at the start of the NLCS game between the Marlins and Cubs. Feliciano's rendition in 1968 did not sit so well with America. And some things never change, as he caught flack this year as well..........2009: The Chicago Cubs file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection so that The Tribune Company can
free their grubby hand of sell the team.
- Playoff Backstories: So the Stephen Strasburg experiment doesn't look so good after all. And the players are in agreement that it might not have been so brilliant. But why do other GM’s give a shit? It’s not like they have anything at stake other than access to a healthy Stras when he hits the FA market. [Free BONUS LINK! Washington DC local sports radio jockey accuses Ken Rosenthal of inventing his quotes of the players commenting about Strasburg that I linked to here. So, tell me again, what's the difference between MSM and...us?]
- Playoff Backstories (cont.): I miss George Steinbrenner. You might not, but I always find loose cannons to be pretty fun from 2600 miles away. Which is why I am having a gas with Donald Trump channeling his inner George, and tweeting (!!) his disdain for Alex Rodriguez.
- Playoff Backstories (still more): Do I smell a meme? Exhibit (A) = Mariano Rivera, injured and out for the season, throws out a first pitch during the 2012 playoffs. Rivera then goes on to call Raul Ibanez' game-tying home run, by the way. Exhibit (B) = Derek Jeter gets injured fouling a ball off his own foot (the one wear he wears a guard to prevent just that sort of thing) and gutty little Derek fights off the injury and remains on the roster as the DH. Exhibit (C) = Joe Girardi loses his father amidst the 2012 playoffs. Well, he loses his father 6 days before the press gets wind of it and makes it a story.Now, all these things are real and I certainly don't want to make light of the passing of Girardi's father. But something tells me that the NY media is going to be building upon this solid foundation and drowning the rest of us in tales of the 2012 MFY Yankees overcoming monumental obstacles, blah blah blah.
- Playoff Backstories (one last time): What happens when a team is on the verge of advancing, and then GULFS at the last minute? Something Texas must know all too well.
- Some things never change (part I): Moneyball still cannot create smart baserunners.
- Some things never change (part II): Dusty Baker still cannot help but over-manage.
- MLB FanCave Update: Yes, our Ricardo Marquez is STILL alive in the Cave! He shares the space with a rep from the Giants and from the Cards. Today, the 12th, David Eckstein visits the Cave Dwellers.
- Josh Hamilton: The Rangers have decided to not attempt to pre-sign Hamilton and they are going to allow him to enter the Free Agent Market. Maybe they, too, are rather pissed at how they got just a single home run out of Hamilton over their final 18 games. You know, when 3 more of those things would have topped Miguel Cabrera and denied him the BBWA Magical Triple Crown.
- Coaching Carousel: In the midst of all the coaching changes going on, I am sure that you noticed that Jim Tracy surprisingly decided to walk away from that juggernaut of destiny that is The Colorado Rockies, leaving $1.4 million on the table. But, then, in his absence we find that management dismissed hitting coach Carney Lansford. Interesting. I had always thought I had heard positive things about Lansford as a coach. I must be misremembering things in my old age. Anyway, why do that now? Why not wait until a NEW manager is hired and let HIM figure out his staff? Maybe the new guy LIKES Lansford? Hmmm. But then it gets REAL WEIRD. They also let go the third base coach! WTF? Did management even know the name of their third base coach? Is the third base coach some kind of linchpin of destiny?
- Bob Brenly: Here is a fun one. So it appears as if the Arizona Diamondbacks are looking to hire Bob Brenly, game analyst, away from the Chicago Cubs. The DBacks must have gotten all excited and rushed to nab Brenly for a position in The Valley Of The Sun, once they heard that Bob apparently thinks that Earth rests on the back of a giant turtle. Or, maybe they decided to overlook that, because Bob Brenly turns out to be one of The Illiterati (no, not a typo) and is one of the Secret Authors of The Book Of Unwritten Rules.
100 great places to go and waste your employer's Friday morning...
(The Final Three! What's going to replace this next week? Hmmm...)
98) Spring Training Tips (Get the inside scoop for your 2013 plans from the pros!)
99) Spring Training Yearbook (This still has the 2012 data, but keep it bookmarked for next March.)
100) Spring Training Online (Everything you need to know about getting started next season!)
This Past Week in Baseball Rumors. (Well, at least those most interesting to Halo fans...)
- Here is something interesting. Apparently there is a crack in the foundation over in Arlington, with some opening for doubt concerning their coaching staff.
- It looks like we can add the Atlanta Braves to the list of other franchises who are going to try and make it rough for Dipoto to sign Zack Greinke. (The full story is behind the Tribune pay wall.)
- Speaking of franchises chasing a Greinke, we can also include Magic Johnson and Company.
- Before we leave Atlanta, note that they could use a new centerfielder, and we have Peter Bourjos.
- Alfonso Soriano FINALLY has decided that maybe it would be more fun to play for a contender. Somebody who could use a bat. Two years too late, dammit.
- I quit! You can't quit, you're fired! Our own Ryan Langerhans filed for Free Agency this past week. Which is interesting when one considers that the LA Angels then announced that they are releasing Ryan Langerhans.
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday for beer:
The pickin's are getting slim, folks. Of course, their are Oktoberfests everywhere, as I laid out for you last week. Adding to that previous list you can dash out to Pomona and enjoy the LA County Oktoberfest at The Fairplex. Meanwhile, Friday we have the Oktober Beer Appreciation Night at Brewster's in LA. Saturday is Oktober Fiesta at Dale Brothers Brewery in Upland. And Sunday is Beer, Food & Magic at The Federal Bar in North Hollywood.
BONUS: FoodAndWine.com has a review of America's Best Beer Gardens. Enjoy!!