I have this friend who lives in Missouri and is a huge fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. She goes to quite a few games each year, and snags some cherished seats to the best dates on each home schedule. But she is not a season ticket holder.
She has seats behind home plate for tonight's Game 6 in STL. But the fun part was that she got her hands on those tickets this past Tuesday. That put her into the interesting conflict between rooting for her team to get the 4th win while the getting was good (on Wednesday) and get into the World Series for sure...OR...rooting for the Dodgers to win one last time so that she could be present at the potential NL Pennant clinching game while having the best seats in the house.
I find this interesting. What with MLB set asides for sponsors and Most Favored People, it can be pretty tough to get a chance to attend an important playoff game. Note that I want to emphasize CAN BE. It's easy is you are OK with getting your wallet cleaned out. And it's easIER when your fellow fan base is not so crazed. But what if, in your particular situation, you are only going to get ONE game in the current series? What if THAT ONE GAME is at the back end of the series? Deep in your heart of hearts, how badly are you pulling for the opposition to extend the series so that you can take advantage of your opportunity, at the risk of that same opposition putting your team in a bad situation completely??
It's the same kind of problem, writ large, that Fantasy players can have all the time. It's why I don't ever bet on any games involving my favorite sports teams. Because I, specifically, would have to admit that there would be a part of me that would be rooting against my team. And I don't like that part of myself. That Stirrups is an ass and I resent how happy he can be while I wallow in my despair.
How about you?
- Don Baylor: Did you miss it? The Angels chose to hire Mike Scioscia's Future Interim Successor. 64 year old Don Baylor comes to the Halos with a long resume (see below). I always liked Baylor as a man, and always hated the way he could launch mile high infield pop fly outs to kill a rally. We gloried in his 1979 MVP win (which, foreshadowing 2012, should have gone to Fred Lynn), just like we gloried in the two playoff appearances while he was here (1979 and 1982, although - technically - one could make the claim that Baylor WAS here during the 1986 playoff run). On the upside (ignoring roster changes throughout the league, and player cycles, and even stadium changes, as if none of that stuff matters), when he was hitting coach at Colorado his teams were in the Top 3 in the NL in Runs, Average and Slugging. This was a slight improvement for that team versus 2007/2008. And on the upside, while he was most recently hitting coach with the D'Backs, the D'Backs grew from a (barely) Top 10 offense in terms of Runs/Ave/SLG into a solid Top 5 in those categories. On the downside, the Halos have been practically a Top 3 in those same categories over here in the AL, so that wasn't the problem and there isn't much headroom left to grow (not exactly true, since there is no upper limit to offense that comes with merely being #1 in the league). Anyway, here's hoping that Baylor can mentor young Mark Trumbo in the fine art of drawing more walks instead of striking out, one thing Baylor was clearly better at. And let's hope he does that quick, since the odds are he isn't going to be here too long:
Player - 1970 to 1988Hitting Coach Milwaukee Brewers - 1990 to 1991
Hitting Coach St. Louis Cards - 1992
Manager Colorado Rockies - 1993 to 1998
Hitting Coach Atlanta Braves - 1999
Manager Chicago Cubs - 2000 to 2002
Bench Coach New York Mets - 2003 to 2004
Hitting Coach Seattle Mariners - 2005
Washington Nationals Broadcast Game Analyst MASN - 2007
Hitting Coach Colorado Rockies - 2009 to 2010
Hitting Coach Arizona Diamondbacks - 2010 to 2013
Fun Don Baylor History: For Baylor the employee, try this: "After that, Baylor never thought the Angel front office was worthy of a halo"..........For Baylor the teammate, try this: "He was right where he wanted to be in Games 4 and 5 at New York...He didn't want to be pitching with all the people screaming at him. He can't handle that. He couldn't handle it when he was in New York with the Yankees. I know, I played with him."
Albert Pujols: What with the Cards back in the NLCS again, one would think that their fans would have finally let go of the pain they felt when they were rejected by Pujols as Pujols realized fair market value for his level of talent. For years and years and years those same fans feasted off of the very best of Pujols' career, and all at bargain basement rates that allowed the franchise to fill out the balance of their roster and surround him with the parts necessary for Pujols to take them to The Promised Land, again and again. When the leverage was fully in Pujols' hands, St. Louis chose not to pay. Pujols did what anybody would do and took the fair compensation. But Cards fans continue to re-write history and filter their consumption of facts. "Rather than staying on in St. Louis, Pujols went for the big bucks and the Hollywood lifestyle, as he signed a 10-year, $250 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. Now, he’s a spectator during MLB playoffs while his old team and his current crosstown rival battle for the National League pennant....Pujols was reaching legendary status in St. Louis and he gave it all up. He could have been the modern Stan Musial or even bigger...It may be nonsense, but it feels like Pujols has fallen off his throne...He’s an aging superstar, but one who should he have stayed in St. Louis where he was loved and where he could have been part of another team making a playoff run." Just stupid.
- Trout Porn: Andrew Karcher over at Halos Daily does a look back at Mike Trout, Version 2013, and confesses to just how wrong he was in (as so many other people also did) predicting a major regression for young Master Trout. In looking back, he focuses on Trout's power as a slugger. Fishtales Fact #2: Trout Hits Baseballs Very Far. The coolest tidbit on the piece concerns Trout's home run prowess. Even as Karcher notes that "Basically, Trout may have hit fewer homers, but he was still efficient hitting for extra bases"...he then digs up an absolute nugget: "The drop in home runs isn’t really all that concerning either because he won ESPN Home Run Tracker’s Golden Sledgehammer. This means Trout had the longest average true home run distance for players with at least 18 dingers, at 419.6 feet...So if Trout’s home run balls were not interrupted...he would have the longest average home runs. Of anyone. In baseball. If that’s not power I don’t know what is."..........By the way, if you REALLY want to drool over some Trout Porn, read the very short Fishtales Fact #1 by Nathan Aderhold.
- Schadenfreude: Remember how we all cheered those ex-2002 Halos as they helped the Cardinals to a later WS title or two? How many of you have that same sense of pride and joy (and lamentation) watching Mike Napoli and John Lackey carrying Boston past Detroit? One thing is for certain, no matter he might be cornered into saying publicly, Mike Scioscia must be rather galled every time Napoli swings his bat. But the best moment might have come last night, in the post-game interviews. Was Napster trolling Sosh?? "Mike Napoli provided a 460-foot missile to center for a solo shot in the second that started a three-run rally..."We basically turned the page," Napoli said..."
- Stuffing The Roster Box: The Halos added what was the Mets' 17th best prospect going into 2013. Left Hander Robert Carson was claimed off of waivers yesterday. Jerry Dipoto has commenced the momentum necessary to win yet another off season!
Buy Stuff - Crazy-ass Baseball Finds On the Internet:
1977 Royal Crown Cola soda can. Empty. Pop-to missing. BUT IT HAS A PICTURE OF JOE RUDI and some California Angels stats! Buy It Now for only $2.49...plus $2.75 in shipping.
This Date In Baseball History:1950 - Connie Mack retires as Manager of the A's, and the winning-est & losing-est skipper in baseball history..........1967 - AL owners allow Charlie Finely to carpet bag his way out of Kansas City and steal the A's off to Oakland. (Missouri Senator Stuart Symington: "Oakland is the luckiest city since Hiroshima.") To keep from having their asses sued by Kansas City (and Symington getting Congress to revoke the anti-trust exemption), they vote in two new expansion teams; the Royals and - to keep things even for scheduling - the Seattle Pilots. The A's hate playing in Oakland to this day, while the Pilots lasted only one season before being run through bankruptcy manipulation and landing in the lap of Bud Selig at the last minute. So last minute, in fact, that it was too late to change the team colors. The Brewers of today are pretty much the colors of the original Seattle Pilots of 1969. And that's how Major League Baseball found itself wrapped up with Bud Selig..........1977 - Today is the day all Dodger fans hate. Reggie Jackson hit three home runs on three straight pitches. I have told this story before, but this is the series where, during game 4, Jackson hit a home run that landed in the empty seat of my oldest brother, who was in the beer line watching it all happen on TV...........1988 - Mark McGwire hits a walk-off in Oakland as the A's defeat the Dodgers 2-1. It's the only time that two walk-off home runs have happened in the same WS. This one is pretty much forgotten, because the other one in this series was Kirk Gibson. You might know that one..........1992 - During Opening Ceremonies between the Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays, the U.S. Marine Corps accidentally raises the Canadian flag upside down...........2005 - The Montreal Canadiens honor the memory of the Expos, having been the first team to be ruined by Jeffrey Loria there, and now playing in Washington, DC.
Rounding Up The Major League News
- The Biz of Baseball: Here we go! One of those things that we track here on Friday Linkage is the ongoing story behind cable TV rights packages and the revenue stream they bring to franchises such as the Angels. After all, anything that knocks the legs out from under that would impose serious challenges to funding the career of Mike Trout. And one of the major stepping stones along this path to upsetting the apple cart would be unbundling of channels as they are sold to carriers, allowing carriers to pick and choose which content they want to present to their customers and, in turn, allowing customers to choose what content they will pay for. That means that a lot of people would no longer be forced to fund sports content against their will. that would be an "uh oh" moment. Well, ladies and gents, Oh, Canada!
- Speed Kills: Fans of Mike Trout, fans of Peter Bourjos, fans of Billy Hamilton, take note. There might actually be a sleeper candidate for superfast base runners. You all saw the Puig showboat triple the other day, where he mistakenly though he had homered. Larry Granillo still timed Puig at 6.97 seconds from 1st to 3rd. That might have been a mere 6.5 without the showboat pull up at 3rd. That would put him into the 13 - 14 second range all the way around the base paths. Which is right in line with Hamilton at 13.8 seconds and Bourjos at 14.02 seconds.
- Instant Replay: Like WiHalo did yesterday, let’s dig further into what the world would be like if we had true Instant Replay. I (sarcasm alert!) like the theme: "Sometimes players are called out because everybody, including the player, agree that they should be called out." I mean, like, really? Does any sane person really and truly believe that in a world where technology can finally start assisting the umpires in their difficult job of getting calls correct, people are going to continue to accept unfavorable outcomes on every close play?? And the author (Will Leitch) here is not alone in his sentiment. Matt Snyder over at CBS Sports Eye On Baseball goes into that same territory: "...let's just assume for the sake of argument that Molina didn't touch Ellis with his glove. Do we really, actually want this type of play to be overturned via replay and have the Dodgers awarded the run?", which quotes A.J. Ellis with "That would be a shame for a great defensive play like that, the great throw by Carlos, and great play by Yadier at the plate to be overturned because of a technicality that he didn't graze him with the glove." Beware, robot fans. The road is clarity is steep, and dotted with innumerable potholes of ignorance.
- Things That Make You Go "Hmmm...": One might be led to wonder whether or not Uncle Bud's testing minions are making any visits to Venezuela these days. "Jesus Aguilar…is hitting .647 with a .727 on-base percentage and .824 slugging percentage…those are Nintendo-like numbers…". This is the same Jesus Aguilar that in 6 Minor League seasons has a slash line of .270/.349/.441.
- Things That Make You go "Hmmm...", Part 2: A playoff assemblage of many of the best pitching arms in all of baseball: Verlander, Scherzer, Wainwright, Kershaw, Greinke, Sanchez, Ryu. So Tom Verducci of SI decides that there is not enough offense in these here playoffs, and wonders "whether procedures and rules need to be addressed to encourage the ball in play more often." Methinks tom Verducci needs to move over tot he Rules Committee there in the NFL.
Playoff Video Of The Week
(Sponsored by Mitch "The Biggest Rally Killer in the World is a Home Run" Williams)
Yeah. The very Mitch Williams who is on the mound on this particular play, is the same Mitch Williams who thinks home runs are bad for rallies.
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
R.I.P. Wally Bell. Say what you will about the general lack of quality amongst modern umpires, very few of them warrant personal animosity. And nobody who vests their life into the delivery of that sport which we adore and thrive off of should be allowed to pass without honor...........Typical. T.J. Simers is an asshat towards EVERYBODY. It's his schtick. And everybody buys ad space everywhere. Simers got fired, so he is suing. His claim is that is was because he was an asshat to the likes of Arte, and Arte buys ad space. (Snowhor's linkage from Wednesday)............I guess that personal rewards and honor were the priority this season. Not working out so well come October...........Pretty Freaking awesome groovy GIFs, made out of multiple baseball cards throughout the years. (This page gives you all to date, including bunting and base running, but those are not as coolio as pitching. More should come over time so visit often!)..........Dear Sosh. If a lame Cabrera can steal, so too can a healthy Trout. You should try it more often...........Focusing on a telephone would be trite. An indication of playoff media over saturation. But then, behind it, there is a real story..........The Human Factor. Those are what infuse baseball with "…one hell of a story." John Lackey. Still John Lackey...........This kind of take...reminds me of the stupid position taken by Harold Reynolds in defending Pitcher Wins whilst debating Brian Kenny...........Jon Daniels defeats Nolan Ryan. Ryan rides off into the sunset. the Windows of Opportunity on the Texas Rangers and their Amazing Multi-Colored Farm System continues to close..........Meanwhile, Dallas MSM idiot Randy Galloway frames the whole thing as Nolan Ryan versus stats geeks..........Here is the Bestest Use Of Baseball Statistics, EVER!..........Hidden gem!
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...
Friday: Pacific Park Market in Aliso Viejo is doing a Tasting of Stouts from 6 PM to 8 PM............
Saturday: From Ladybug: The Ultimate Beerfest OC on October 19th at the OC Fairgrounds. Again, Living Social..........Out in Riverside we have HOPtoberfest Beer Festival at Killarney's Restaurant & Pub..........HUMPtoberfest, as an IPA Celebration Day, occurs at Latitude 33 Degree Brewing Company in Vista..........Neighbors of the Upland area might want to drop by Oktober Fiesta at Dale Brothers Brewery...........Draughts Restaurant & Bar in Thousand Oaks is (boringly) not doing any word play, but a pure Oktoberfest event...........Uppers & Downers tasting event will focus on coffee-infused brews, at the Intelligentsia Pasadena in Pasadena............Whole Foods market in Folsom is conducting Whole Lotta Brews Going On, a charity event.
Sunday: Stone Brewing Company in Escondido is the site for their own Stone Pour It Black Beer Festival, all targeting the darkest of dark beers.
BEER BONUS: Baseball Beer List.