When things ended up with the Red Sox and Cardinals in the World Series, my wish was for a meteor to fall from the sky and eradicate the event entirely, obliterating any chance of the pompous Cardinal Way or the pink asshatted Red Sox Nation from lording it over the misery we already endure.
Well I did not get my wish. I got much, much better.
This World Series was craptastically bad. A fart stain of epic proportions that should render the losers embarrassed by the association, and the winners hiding behind their showy trophy simply to avoid the tomatoes to be tossed their way by the standards of history. Fox/Bud/Pink hat be damned for their spin. Why do I say this? Well...
We had James Taylor flubbing the National Anthem. We had another guy singing God Bless America, falsely presented as a marine that he is not. This sort of thing used to be a federal offense. We had Cardinal players accusing Jon Lester of cheating. We had Boston players accusing Cardinals of cheating. We had umpires missing incredibly obvious calls in the field. We had umpires making incredibly controversial calls in the field that has everybody confused, so controversial that MLB figures the rule book must be messed up. We had THIRTEEN errors. We had boneheaded baserunning...again...and again...and again. We had Fox Sports failing to show live an important bumblefuck play on the field, so that they could show us an interview with a backup catcher. We had Fox Sports present us a Ken Rosenthal off-the-field update, forgetting to turn on his mic. We had Fox Sports showing us some uptight blond in the stands as Koji Uehara picks off Kolten Wong to end Game 4. We had Kolten Wong getting picked off first base to end Game 4. We had Cardinals tripping over Red Sox and getting an umpire to call off Game 3. And we have had sponsors get all clustered up and figure out that they needed to cancel a stunt they were planning for a very long time to conduct...in the wrong stadium. And it took Reddit to kill it. Finally, we had miserable pitching, with the vaunted Cardinals staff being dragged in at a 3.98 team ERA, led by the Miracle Rookie Michael Wacha's 7.45 for the series. Ugh.
If ever there was a "You Can't Make This Shit Up World Series", this was it. A pox on all their houses.
- Rumor Mill: That stone gravel grist grinding you now hear (as the din of Tim McCarver fades into mere memory), is the Mill of Rumors now running with full power at the force of Major League Baseball's torrent of potential personnel re-dealing. Kind of odd when one thinks about it. The same players are only going to be shuffled around amongst the same teams, all of which are hoping that the new mix will mystically favor them in a way that, unlike the last year, supersedes the next guy. Well, our tribe is no different. The trick the Angels appear to be trying to pull off is to dump several of their lesser expensive producers and gain back even lesser expensive pitching personnel that would be even greater producers. That way they shed more payroll, avoid the luxury tax, and upgrade their pitching staff in a way that is a net gain in productivity. All I can say is: good luck with that.
- Jason Vargas: For example, let's start with Vargas. I think that happened to be one of the more solid moves last year, trading Kendry Morales for Vargas. Morales is a two-dimensional player whose two dimensions we happened to be stocked at, and Vargas is a good arm that should have several strong years left in it at the back of somebody's rotation. Sure, he missed some time last season but that should not be presumed as the norm. So what's the Halos' strategy? Not give him his qualifying offer because they want to avoid the hit he has earned toward the luxury tax, thus costing our franchise our potential compensatory draft pick AND removing a potential roadblock of going elsewhere by lifting the threat of a draft pick loss by any other team. THEN they hope to sign him back, obviously for less than the cost of the qualifying offer. This, of course, requires that NO OTHER TEAM sees enough value in Vargas, or has very little need for that arm, to offer him something in the neighborhood of his qualifying value, or even more. That kind of logic leads to illogical headlines such as this: "Angels unlikely to make Jason Vargas a qualifying offer; to pursue pitching via trade". Just to remind you all, Vargas IS a pitcher, and one for which they don't need to trade.
- AFL: Somewhere out there competitive baseball is still being played on American soil by professional baseball players. And a couple of them are of the LA Angels franchise, and they are not doing too bad. The October 20 report has Taylor Lindsey and Jett Bandy going 4 for 8 with 3 RBI's, and Mike Morin pitching 3 outs against no hits with but 1 walk. C.J. Cron continues to scorch the desert league, still batting .400 across 50 at bats.
- Gimme Some Gibbys: The Greatness In Baseball nominees were announced, and with all the Halo nominations in play one might assume some slight chance that we actually collect one. Mike Trout (up for three awards), Mark Trumbo, J.B. Shuck, and The Bee Swarm (no joke) are all on the ballot.
- Fan Cave Final: Congratulations to Danny Farris of Garden Grove, who took home the 2013 MLB Fan Cave Championship title, defeating fellow Finalists from the Rangers and Blue Jays. Farris' victory tops the 2012 runner-up accomplishment of Halo Cave Dweller Ricardo Marquez, showing that our fans are doing a hell of a lot better than our team these days!
- Buy Serious Stuff: Before I get to Buy Crazy-ass Stuff, a public service announcement to all of you who were thinking about buying me something for my upcoming birthday. Just in time for cooler weather MLB is offering Angels outer wear at pretty good discounts.
Buy Stuff - Crazy-ass Baseball Finds On the Internet:
More Christmas ornamentation! How about hanging Darin Erstad on your tree this season? What? You are not of age to recognize Erstad actually getting hits? Well, that's Ok, because I found one of him just standing around. Or...if you are too old to have been an Erstad fan, well, there is always Nolan Ryan!
This Date In Baseball History: 1979 - Edward Bennett Williams buys the Orioles (for $12.3MM, can you believe it??) and eventually signs a long-term lease that will fund Camden Yards, changing modern baseball stadiums forever. Williams will not live to see the result...........1982 - National League owners block the re-hire of Bowie Kuhn. Kuhn will remain on board until Peter Ueberroth takes over after the 1984 LA Olympics..........2005 - The Mets A ball team unveils a bronze statue of Pee Wee Reese with his arm around Jackie Robinson, celebrating one of the great moments of racial solidarity. (Do not confuse Pee Wee Reese with our Jimmie Reese.).........2007 - Barry Bonds announces that he would boycott his HoF induction ceremony if The Hall accepted his 756th home run ball should Marc Echo brand it with an asterisk. Luckily for us, Echo went ahead and branded it and The Hall accepted it.
Today seems to have been National New Manager Day throughout history (these events really don't need much linkage): 1972 - GM Paul Owens of the Phillies fires himself as interim manager and calls in Danny Ozark to take over the skipper duties..........1982 - Doug Rader takes over the Rangers..........2000 - Larry Bowa assumes the role of piloting the Phillies..........2000 - Jim Tracy takes over the Dodgers..........2001 - Jimy Williams is hired in Houston..........2004 - Wally Backman is hired to manage the Diamondbacks..........2006 - Don Mattingly steps up as Bench Coach below Joe Torre at the Yankees, getting Mattingly ready to take over eventually..........2007 - That plan doesn't quite work out as planned, as Joe Torre takes over the Dodgers on this date and will hold that role through 2010, when he will eventually be replaced by...Don Mattingly.
Rounding Up The Major League News
- Give It A Rest: With Boston's World Series win, at home, can we possibly hope that those miserable puckknuckle (I normally start that word of mine with the letter "f", but this is a family site) fans can finally shut the hell up about how magical their rare success can be? I mean, three titles in 10 years and it was all about finally winning at home since 1918?? Blow me, Boston. We still have eight franchises that have not won since infinity, which also means that eight franchises have ZERO home clinching WS title games in the past 100 years. That's 27% of all teams in baseball. And we have two franchises that have waited a combined 170 seasons since their last WS title. What's it going to be next year? Just for the record, the 1918 WS home clincher was won on a Wednesday too. So Boston has never clinched a WS title at home, on a Tuesday. Never. Is that going to be the new shameful condition worthy of overcoming? While wearing mullets? Why do I rant about this now? Well, because people like this still exist and suck up perfectly good oxygen that could be put to better use by the rest of us.
- Cirque de A-Rod: For those not so interested in the off season trade rumor grist, it looks like we are going to have a sideshow worthy of admission anyway. Alex Rodriguez is going nutso on Bud Selig and Selig's legal team. Oddly, I am on A-Rod's side on this one. "I am deeply troubled by my team's investigative findings with respect to MLB's conduct. How can the gross, ongoing misconduct of the MLB investigations division not be relevant to my suspension, when my suspension supposedly results directly from that division's work?...It is sad that commissioner Selig once again is turning a blind eye, knowing that crimes are being committed under his regime."
- Stirrups: In the grand scheme of things, making such a big deal out of baseball pant styles just gobsmacks the recipient with images of old white guys and well defended lawns. But then, what with my handle and all, I do have a vested interest! " 'Back in the day,' I tried to tell my kid, 'players wore tight pants which came down to the calf. The stirrup sock went over the white sock and definitely identified what team you played for.'...Not only are the pants longer, for about the 15th year running, but they get baggier every year. Few of the players show their socks any longer, although John Jay is one who does. For me, this is a problem. It's a break from the visual identity of the game that takes a certain style away to having....no style at all".
- Baseball is Undead: Contrary to the hopes and wishes of Keith Olbermann, it appears that Major League Baseball is doing just fine. Not only did the ratings for this years baseball playoffs rise 20% over that of 2012 - a very healthy increase - but baseball ratings kicked the NFL Monday Night Football ratings, head to head, right in the ass. Baseball ratings thump football on Monday night. "According to The Nielsen Co., baseball blasted football by more than a 4-1 rate. Game 5 of the World Series, on KTVI (Channel 2), was seen in 43.8 percent of homes in the area with a TV. The "MNF’’ telecast, which was on ESPN and KPLR (Channel 11) drew a combined 10.9 rating." And that is not considering how the WS drove in-stadium game tickets for that Monday Night NFL game down to 8 bucks a seat!
Video Of The Week
(The 2013 Baseball Season is now officially over. Let's close the doors.)
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
Most of the time, such as this particular episode, real life totally out-humors fiction...........Game 6, 2013 was always going to be more important than Game 7, 2002. Why? Well, because Boston is more important than Anaheim and Boston fans are more important than Anaheim fans............PEDs alert: people are starting to talk...again............Cool site: make yourself your own Rookie Baseball Card...........H/T to Sam Miller...Scioscia Face becoming a meme?...........You youngin's missed this whole shtick, before relief players trotted their own ass from the bullpen to the mound they arrived in groovy golf carts as teams all tried to one-up each other..........Winning the WS at home in Boston for the first time in almost 100 years meant, most important of all, that everybody got laid. So, yeah, I guess it was worth THAT...........Lest you get all jealous and everything, baseball remains a harsh mistress. You play for a team throwing money at players in wheelbarrows, and your team is a WS contender. You are a part of it. Until you are told that you are not. That must just suck...........Cards fans have some interesting thoughts about how things might have been different.
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: Boom! Beer Biz is back!! Let's start in San Diego where we have the San Diego Beer Week. I will do a sampling of highlights, but check out the full list of events here. The Friday & Saturday focus on the Brewers Guild Festival, kicking off with Stone Brewery at Liberty Station and a Meet The Brewers with Ladyface Ale Companie...........Downtown Johnny Brown is doing up a 5th Barrel Aged Night...........Stone Brewing is also doing a Rare Beer Breakfast, for which you are already late..........and over at Port Pavilion there will be a VIP Brewer Takeover.
Sunday: Two last events we sample in the San Diego Beer Week, before we go elsewhere, are the Ultimate Beer & Chocolate event is at Stone Brewing...........followed by Saison Sunday, also at Stone..............Now for elsewhere. That would be Studio City, back up in LA. Stout Burgers & Beer is doing a Beer Fest for Beer Geeks.