The World According to Keitho

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Archive for the ‘baseball’ Category

The bullpens are out of control

Posted by keithosaunders on April 19, 2017

Baseball these days is almost unwatchable.  Without a device that can skip through commercials you’re watching drama on a par with paint drying.  The only time I can watch a game in real time is when I have it on in the background while I’m practicing,  or when I’m eating.  Thanks to a revolving door of relief pitchers from the 6th inning on, the game has slowed to a crawl.  Throw in a few booth reviews and the snail-like pace of most pitchers and hitters and you’ve got yourself a cheap sedative.

What is it with these corporate push-button managers?  They’ve got bullpens, often eight deep, stacked with loutish buffoons, each one throwing in the high 90s.  Yet these pampered gorillas are seemingly incapable of throwing more than one inning at a time.

Then you’ve got the delicate genius managers in the mold of Tony La Russa, such as Cubs manager, Joe Maddon, and Cardinals skipper, Mike Matheny, who mix and match righties and lefties until you want to throw a shoe at the screen.  God forbid these guys ever get into a marathon 20 inning game, they’ll have to forfeit when they run out of players.

 

Delicate genius

Image result for Tony Larussa

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Let the intentional walking begin

Posted by keithosaunders on April 2, 2017

Baseball games are really going to fly by now.  Forget the fact that every single close play at first base warrants a three minutes review, intentional walks are now automatic!  Now that’s progress.

This year, rather than a normal baseball prediction post, I’m going to present a baseball soulful (wishful thinking) prediction post.

In the NL East the Mets, flush with pitching, Cespedes, and just enough hitting, will dominate and cruise to their third ever World Series victory.

In the NL Central the Cubs will revert to form and miss the playoffs – the first of 110 more years without a championship. The Pittsburgh Pirates will win the division with the Brewers taking the wild card.

In the NL West, having lost track of whether or not they’re supposed to win in an odd year, the Giants will begin 166 straight years of last place finishes.  The Dodgers will win the west, losing to the Mets in the NLCS.

Moving along to the junior circuit, in the AL West we have my dark horse prediction:  My East Bay homies, the Oakland As will shock the world!  You read it here first.

In the AL Central the Detroit Tigers will win the division, as well as the pennant before losing to the Mets in a 6 game World Series.

In the Al East the Yankees will go 6-156.  The Bluejays will win the division and Joey Batista will set an MLB record with double digit bat flips.  Baltimore gets the wild card.

There you have it:  Major League Baseball according to Keitho.

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Billy goat begone!

Posted by keithosaunders on November 3, 2016

 

For the first time in my life — for the first time in anyone’s life – the Cubs have won the World Series.  On the way they overcame a  3-1 deficit in games, the last two being on the road, and a delicate genius, hands-on manager who did everything in his power to sabotage his team’s victory.

This was the worst managed Series deciding game I have ever seen.  Joe Maddon is one of these managers, from the Tony LaRussa school, who likes to let you know he’s in the dugout running things.  He pulled starter, Kyle Hendricks, out of the game too soon, attempted a squeeze with two strikes and one out where a fly ball would have scored a run, and had burned Aroldis Chapman needlessly in game 6 so that he had nothing left for game 7 when he really needed him.

Terry Francona, on the other hand, stuck with his starter, Corey Kluber, too long.  Kluber, who has been pitching on short rest throughout the series was running on fumes.  Francona had fresh arms on the bench – Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer — and he chose to stick with Kluber.

Still, it was one of the great Series games, packed with drama and tension and I was glad to have seen it. In fact, I stumbled into a windfall.  When I arrived at my solo gig I found that the game was on their TV.  The owner asked me if I would mind waiting for it to end before beginning to play.  Suppressing a grin I said, “Well…I suppose,” while thinking, ‘Oh baby!’ By the time the game ended my gig was over.  I ended up playing three and a half tunes during the game’s rain delay.

Years ago I had missed the greatest World Series ending of all time while at one of my gigs – the Joe Carter walkoff home run in 2003.  I was prepared to miss another classic, telling myself I could take it and that nothing could be as bad as 1993.  But the truth is I would have been upset to miss this game.  It was a great game despite the momentum-killing booth reviews, the incessant droning of Joe Buck, and the perpetual pitcher-changes.

Now  on to football!

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The Indians v the Cubs: Battle of the disgruntled senior citizens

Posted by keithosaunders on October 26, 2016

This World Series is sexy time for senior citizens.  Which disgruntled alte kaker fans will finally get to see their team win a championship?  Will it be old Grammy Ginny from Skokie, or Grandpa Mortie from Cuyahoga Heights?  Mortie was knee-high to a grasshopper the last time the Indians won a Series, the poor bastard.  Ginny wasn’t even a twinkle in Great Grammy Gertrude’s eyes back in aught-eight.

One thing is for certain, in addition to de rigueur shots of fans praying, it will be all seniors all the time at Fox.  This is the feel good series of the century.  Forget your corporate N.Y. Crankees, or the staid, tired Redsox Nation, this is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Myself, I’m on the Indians bandwagon bigtime.  I feel there has to be one team in sports that never wins, and that team should be the Cubs.   Right now the Cubs fans are still [somewhat] sympathetic.  I don’t want them to morph into the arrogant, insufferable mess that comprises the Boston Redsox and San Francisco Giants fan base.  Let there still be one bastion of humility.

Image result for old Cubs fanImage result for old Indians fan

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Buh bye Giants

Posted by keithosaunders on October 12, 2016

At last I can begin to enjoy the playoffs now that this even year garbage has been put to bed.  Once again push button, corporate managing ruled the day and this time it came back to bite Giants manager Bruce Boche in the ass.

Matt Moore had well exceeded the sacred number of 100 pitches – the number that no major league pitcher , regardless of size and make-up shall be allowed to exceed, lest his career be struck dead by the God of sore arms.  The Cubs could not touch Moore but it was their good fortune that delicate genius, Bruce Boche, saw to it that they received their fair chance to score somes runs.  What a gentleman!

Out came the parade of relievers.  In modern day baseball lefties can only get lefties out.  Except, that is, when they walk them.  Binc binc binc, leftie, righty, lefty, righty, leftie, righty and the Cubs win.   Fly the W!

The Cubs, who have a delicate genius manager of their own in Joe Madden, could be ripe to be taken in the next round, hopefully by the Dodgers –  I’m sick of these douche teams advancing.  I’m looking at you, Nationals.

In the meantime the Giants can grab there crying towels, on sale at Target, and lick their wounds until next April.

 

crying-towel

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Go time for the Mets

Posted by keithosaunders on October 5, 2016

In many ways this year’s Mets team has overacheived more than last season’s pennant winners. In the middle of August, when they lost the first two games of a series in San Francisco, they were buried in the divisional standings and had four teams ahead of them in the wild card standings.

Then the improbably happened.  With 3/5 of their vaunted pitching staff injured and a lineup with as much punch as the 1969 Seattle Pilots they turned it around, playing .600 baseball for the remaining six weeks and clinching the top wild card spot the day before the season ended.

Tonight they will face the even-year, fru-fru, techie-infused San Francisco Giants in a one game do or die contest. This is baseball’s answer to the tedium that is perpetual pitching changes, interminable booth review delays, and batters that take 5 minutes to adjust their sanitary cups. This is the wildcard game, or as I refer to it, The Gimmick Game.

You can’t even brag about winning it, crapshoot that it is, and at least in the Mets case, I can’t feel too bad about losing it.  Let’s face it folks, this team can only go so far with this rag tag bunch.

But how sweet it would be to beat the hated Giants with redneck Bumgarner on the mound and send all of their front-running fans home crying.  Is that too negative?  Who cares?

GO METS

 

mets

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The retirement tour

Posted by keithosaunders on September 29, 2016

These days when superstar athletes retire they have to go on a tour, meaning the road team felates them with video tributes and while showering them with gifts.  Why these millionairs need gifts is beyond me, but that’s the way it goes in the corporate world of MLB.

Yesterday someone on my Facebook feed bragged that he was going to David Ortiz’s final game at Yankee Stadium.  Suffice it to say that I just about threw up in my mouth.  Who cares?!  He’s the enemy!  (…of Crankee fans, that is.  I always loved it when he would destroy them his P.E.D.-enhaced home runs.)

Do you think Harmon Killabrew went on a retirement tour?  Bob Gibson?  Ernie Banks?  No!  They retired like men – they played their final game and got the hell out.

Sandy Koufax pitched the entire 1966 season in pain, along the way compiling a 27-9 record with 1.79 ERA.  He started 41 games and pitched 323 innings.  He started one World Series game which he lost, mostly due to six Dodger errors.  (three by Willie Davis in the same inning!)  Then he retired.  No tour!

Lifelong Giant, Juan Marichal, inexplicably ended his career on the Dodgers.  He started two games, was lit up in both, and retired.  No Tour. Get out.

The Dodgers, when I was growing up in the 70s, had a streak of signing superstars near, or at the end of their run.  They had Dick Allen in 1971, Frank Robinson in 1972, Jim Wynn in 1974 & ’75, and Boog Powell in 1977.  I can remember going to a game and seeing Powell his a 340 foot single off of the right field wall.

So there you have it.  For God’s sake can these players just retire with dignity?  Leave the circus for Ringling brothers.

Image result for boog powell dodgers

 

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The revolving door of pitching

Posted by keithosaunders on September 9, 2016

With the rosters having expanded for September, baseball games are becoming nearly unwatchable.  Push-button managers such as the Giant’s Bruce Bochy take advantage of 13 man bullpens by using as many as four pitchers in an inning.  Nine inning games are becoming four hour affairs.  Baseball, now wedded to computer print outs and saber-metrics, has become a push button sport. Seemingly no right handed pitcher is capable of retiring a lefty and vice versa.

In the old days pitchers such as Rollie Fingers, Kent Tekulve, and Bruce Sutter were able to pitch as many as three innings at a stretch.  Dick Tidrow once pitched eight innings in relief during a long extra inning game.  Funny how those old time pitchers were able to retire both lefties and righties.

I have to commend the Washington Nationals on their deft handling of Stephen Strasburg. They have babied him in his formative years so as not to overtax his delicate arm, going as far as shutting him down for the season in September of 2012 when they were a playoff team.  Better to have him fresh for subsequent years since they would surely be a World Series team.  What’s this…they haven’t made the Series yet?  And Strasburg has broken down like clockwork every season?  Oh well – you can never be too careful!

 

Image result for stephen strasburg injury

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My first night in New York

Posted by keithosaunders on July 11, 2016

I arrived at JFK airports in New York City on April 10th, 1984.  I took the subway from the airport – read express A train to Manhattan –  but when it came time to change trains I discovered that the uptown IRT was out of service.  I emerged from the subway and immediately discovered the reason why:  a rain storm of biblical proportions. This was my introduction to the charm of New York weather.

I tried to hail a cab but this proved to be no easy task in midtown Manhattan during rush hour in the middle of a subway outage.  Finally I was able to share a cab with a couple of strangers and I was able to travel the mile and a half to 74th st and West End Ave in a mere 45 minutes.

My cousin, who I would be staying with until I found a place of my own, lived in the old Hotel Esplinade. I arrived, dropped my bags off and went in search of dinner. I walked a few blocks up Broadway until I came to The Pizza Joint.  There I ordered the best meatball hero I had ever tasted.  Of course this could have been me, fresh off the boat,  over-romanticizing New York.  Over the years, however, I would return to the Pizza Joint, as well as its cousin, The Burger Joint, and I’ll be damned if they didn’t make some of the best meatball heroes and burgers ever.

I returned to the Esplinade and my cousin still wasn’t home from work.  With nothing to do I sequestered myself in his bedroom and turned on his clock radio hoping to find a baseball game.  The Yankees had just finished and the Mets were off that night (Monday) so I was out of luck there.  Turning the dial I stumbled upon a Rangers/Islanders playoff game that was in overtime.  What luck!  Ten minutes later the game came to an end on an Islander goal.  All of a sudden, out of one of the adjoining bedrooms I heard this blood-curdling scream.  If I hadn’t have been listening to the game I’m sure I would have thought somebody was committing murder.  Later I would discover it was my cousin’s sullen roommate, Rothstein.

And that was my first of 9,490 nights in New York City.

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Replay is killing sports

Posted by keithosaunders on June 3, 2016

In the old days if a referee of umpire made a bad call you steamed about it for a few minutes and moved on.  These days we have to sit in front of our televisions and endure dozens of slow motion replays while neutered officials spend several minutes in front of a monitor deciding whether or not they made the correct ruling.

In last night’s Warriors/Cavaliers finals game 1 there was a play in which Cavs guard, Matthew Dellavedova, went for a steal and ended up accidentally hitting the Warriors, Andre Iguodala in the groin.  Tempers flared but the players didn’t brawl.  Instead the refs went to the video tape, and what had been an exciting, back and forth  contest turned into a snooze-fest as we waited five minutes for things to be sorted out.

And the upshot?  A foul was called on Dellavedova. Not even a flagrant foul.  I ask you, was it necessary to study the play as if it was Talmud to end up calling a non shooting foul?  I don’t know about you but I can live with the occasional bad call if it will spare us the drudgery of waiting for a replay review.

The players make errors all the time.  Refs and umps make errors too – it’s a part of sports.

Replay is especially maddening in baseball, which is a slow game without much action to begin with.  You’d think that the the last thing MLB would want is for the flow of the game to be any slower.  But…here we sit as the once proud umps are reduced to waiting for a ruling handed down from a New York bunker.

Shabby.

 

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