The World According to Keitho

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Archive for the ‘sports’ 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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The Olympic sham

Posted by keithosaunders on August 4, 2016

Is there a more bullshit sporting event than the Olympics? What a joke. The networks package idiotic sports that nobody gives a rats ass about into a barrage of human interest, kumbaya dreck. Nobody cares about track and field. NOBODY. Ooh! Who won the 400 meter swimming party? WHO CARES!
 
I’ll tell you how you know the Olympics are a sham. We send NBA athletes. That’s right, next week you can tune in to a great prime time basketball event: USA v Luxembourg.
 
If you are a fan of the Dream Team going back to the original I have no respect for you. Zilch. You’re the kind of person that would spike a volleyball onto the head of a 5 year old and follow it up with a fist pump and a Howard Dean-esque scream. You’re probably a Trump fan but you could just as easily be for Hillary. They’re both Olympic-worthy.
Come to think of it there *is* a more bullshit sporting event than the Olympics. It’s called The Winter Olympics.
 

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Durant to the Warriors

Posted by keithosaunders on July 4, 2016

Maybe the Warriors can get LeBron too. Why stop at Kevin Durant? All the stars should congeal on one team which will save us the time of having to watch regular season games. We’ll tune in during June for the Dream Team exhibition Finals while the one per centers enjoy their corporate luxury suites.

I’m just about at the end of my rope with sports which has turned into a corporate, joyless cesspool full of overpriced arenas, arrogant, over-paid athletes, and tedious replay reviews. The only thing that keeps me going is inertia – I’ve been watching practically my entire life and old habits are difficult to break.  That, and I’d like to see the Mets win one more time.

The toughest thing will be what to talk about in social situations and on gigs.  I’m going to have to come up with an entire new set of topics.  Comic books anyone?  How about basket weaving instead of basketball.

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1958

Posted by keithosaunders on January 14, 2016

In the meantime I’ve read a great book – The Glory Game –  by former NY Giants running back, Frank Gifford about the 1958 NFL Championship game between the Giants and the Colts.  This was the game that is considered to have put the NFL on the map on its way to sports supremacy.

Now talk about salaries:  Most of these players were earning less than $10,000 a year – well less.  Many of the players couldn’t afford their own apartments, doubling up in dorm like rooms in a Bronx Hotel a few blocks up from Yankee Stadium where they played their home games.

They played 12 game seasons. The league was divided into two conferences consisting of six teams.  There were no playoffs!  In 1958 the Giants finished in a tie with the Cleveland Browns so they, in fact, did have to play a playoff game which they won on a last second field goal by Pat Summerall.  (yes, that Pat Summerall)

My father, who recently passed away, went to the Championship game with my Uncle Herb. It was played on December 28th at Yankee Stadium.  They didn’t have tickets — they decided on the spur of the moment to go.  Imagine a world in which you can take a subway to a stadium where a championship game is being played, walk up to the box office, and buy a ticket.  That’s what they did.  They probably paid $5.00.  (incidentally, my best friend, who lives in the Bronx, tells of doing the same thing for the 1976 World Series between the Yankees and Reds)

The Giants started off shaky with sloppy offense and porous defense.  Gifford, never known as a good ball handler, fumbled twice and as a result the Giants found themselves down 14-3 at the half.  In the second half the Giants turned it around and took the lead 17-14.  A late Giant drive stalled out at their own 40 and with 4th and inches and 2:30 to go in the game coach Jim Lee Howell elected to punt. A first down would have put effectively put the game away for the Giants.

After a punt the Colts took over on their own 14 and that’s all Unitas needed.  He proceeded to engineer one of the great drives in NFL history, picking apart the tired New York defense.  The drive ended in a 20 yard field goal as the clock expired in regulation forcing the very first overtime game in NFL history.  No NFL game to that point had ever gone overtime.    Don’t forget, up until the 1980s if a regular season game ended in a tie it was over.  There was no sudden death overtime — there were ties.  So when the clock ran out the players didn’t know what they were supposed to do!

The Giants won the coin toss and elected to receive.  Don Maynard, who would later go on to win a Superbowl with the Jets, muffed the kickoff return but recovered his own fumble.  Regardless, the Giants went 3 and out and punted.  The Colts took over on their own 20 and once again Unitas put together an epic drive culminating in a Alan Ameche touchdown.

Some people consider this the greatest game ever played.  All I know is that my Dad was there and that I have the program to prove it.

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Posted in football, sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Dodgers v Giants: A feel good taping story

Posted by keithosaunders on September 1, 2015

For years my buddy in the Bronx and I have traded taping foible stories.  What is a taping foible?  That’s when you set your DVR, or in the old days, VCR to record the game and something goes horribly wrong.  The most common thing is to learn of the score either by accident or having it told to you by a random person.  In the old days it was actually difficult to program VCRs.  The taping landscape was fraught with danger.

Today I have a taping story with a happy ending. I had the night off (I’m a musician and gig most every night)  so I decided to watch the Dodgers/Giants game. Since I also wanted to watch this horror show I’m into called The Strain I decided to tape the game and watch it on delay.  I set it up to tape 2 hours extra. I use the word ‘taping’ in the generic sense.  I recorded on a DVR.

By the time I got to the game it was about 90 minutes old.  It was a slow moving game with deliberate pitchers and lots of pitching changes. In other words, it was a normal paced ballgame. The game went extra innings but since 9 innings took 3 hours and 40 minutes there was only 80 minutes left on the timer.  By the 12th inning there was only 20 minutes of taping time left and was 40 minutes behind real time!  I was rooting for a broo-ha-ha so I could get in some serious fast forward action but it was not to be.  I began forwarding between every pitch all the while sweating bullets.
Finally it was zero hour but I still had 1 minute of tape to get through.  The tape ran out with Justin Turner up representing the winning run.  I was sure that the one minute gap was going to do me in and that I would miss a Turner walkoff homer but the taping Gods were with me. I only missed a single.  Or a walk. Or a hit by pitch. I don’t know because I missed it.
I watched the final 2 innings in real time, every once in a while hitting the fast forward button on the remote by mistake.    A great pennant race game and a happy taping ending!
VCR

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Throw it back

Posted by keithosaunders on August 13, 2015

throw it back

For years the bleacher bums at Wrigley Field have had the quirky habit of throwing the opposing teams home run balls back onto the field.  When I first learned of this I thought it was a badass thing to do.  It was original and funny too.  In the past 15-20 years, however, fans of other teams have adopted this habit until now it has become de rigueur.  It’s a trope and a tired one at that.

If I was ever lucky enough to catch a home run ball the last thing I’d want to do is throw it away.  How often do these nimrods who mindlessly shout ‘throw it back!’ think this happens?  Allow me to offer a hint:  Almost never!

It’s one thing for the Cubs fans to do this.  I can stomach it from them since it’s their long-standing tradition.  But for a Cardinals or a Brewers fan to do it?  Well that’s bush league.

If I was sitting in the bleachers in Busch Stadium (no pun intended) and I caught Kris Bryant’s home run do you think I would throw it back?  Hell no!   Not only would I keep it, I’d have it bronzed and would brag about it until the day I died.

Imitation is not always a form of flattery.  in this case it’s a form of sheep-like stupidity.  Not for nothing, the Cubs are known as lovable losers.  Is this the kind of tradition you want to imitate?

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Getting it right…wrong.

Posted by keithosaunders on August 10, 2015

umps

The worst thing that’s happened to sports in the past decade is the proliferation of instant replay. Nothing makes me reach for the remote faster than the sight of a zebra going under the hood for a 3+ minute booth review.

In the case of baseball it is an abomination.  There’s nothing like taking a slow game and slowing it down.  Every single close play at first base is reviewed.  Every single play!  It’s gotten to the point where I feel embarrassed for the umps.  Why do they even bother to make a call when they know it’s going to confirmed or overturned by some slacker in a N.Y. bunker.  Safe, out, who cares?  Let the boys in New York decide. (by the way, where can I apply for that gig? I’d like to sit around in my underwear all night eating pretzels while staring at half a dozen MLB feeds.)

Don’t give me this tripe about ‘getting the call right.’ Are the umps not skilled professionals?  For a hundred years the umps ‘got it right’ well over 90% of the time. Improbable though it is, the game has not only survived but thrived.

Do people even want umps, because if folks are souless enough to trumpet the ‘we have the technology to get it right’ argument then they are tacitly admitting that umpires are an anachronism.  Let the fucking quest tech robots call the balls and strikes and your little bunker boys can review every damn play of the game.

Oh yeah, and enjoy your 5 hour April Mariners/Rangers games.

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The dog days of February

Posted by keithosaunders on February 29, 2012

There’s no doubt about it — February is the most brutal sports watching month of the year.  After the Superbowl, which after all only takes up one evening, there is nothing but mid-season NBA and NHL games, meaningless college basketball games, and scattered baseball arbitration news.  Sure there was the Ryan Braun intrigue, which was about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Then there was the Jeremy Lin sensation, which was actually kind of fun, but then came the All Star break, killing any accrued basketball-watching momentum.

Did I mention the NHL All Star game and the Pro Bowl?  No?

Here is what the KNBR sports talk radio drive-time hosts have been talking about for the past two days:

Yesterday I was treated to an in-depth analysis of the NFL Combine workouts, where I learned about the inevitability of ESPN televising the event in future years.  You see, it wasn’t a question of if, but when.  Be still my beating heart…

Today I was held rapt (or was it hostage?) with NASCAR extra, as I learned that Danica Patrik’s tour debut consisted of four crashes.  Four!

February, you are a cruel wench.

Danica Patrick

 

Oh Manica!

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What’s the deal with hockey?

Posted by keithosaunders on May 28, 2011

Watching a hockey game is like sitting in on a meeting of a secret society that you are not a member of.  You can decipher the gist of what is going on, but you have no idea how the details work, or how they are implemented.

Every few years I’ll go on a playoff hockey watching jag.  This has been one of those years.  I watched a lot of our local San Jose Sharks, who went deep into the playoffs, but were eliminated earlier this week by the Vancouver Canucks.

First of all, let me say that hockey is an amazing sport to watch.  How these guys are able to make pin point passes on skates at break neck speed while being pursued by 250 pound gorillas is beyond me.  And they still have time to fight!

Hockey is a non-linear sport.  Viewing it on television, you never know who is on the rink at any given time.  Think about it — they’re constantly changing lines.  You are at the mercy of the announcers to let know who is on the rink.  In baseball there’s a set lineup — you know where everyone is at every moment of the game.  Sure, in football and basketball there are in-game substitutions, but they occur during breaks in the action.  Hockey players are change on the fly.

How do they know when to change?  The announcers won’t tell me.  They must know — half of them are former players.  I think they don’t want us non-hockey people to be in their exclusive club. 

You have the three-man lines, as wellas the two defencemen.  Do the defencemen work in tandem as pairs, or are they separate entities?  Do they see more ice time than the forwards?  How do they know when to get off the ice? 

These are mere quibbles.  Hockey is a great sport, albeit a perplexing one.  And they have one of the great traditions in sport, in which the players line up after the conclusion of a playoff series and shake hands.  I watched the victorious Boston Bruins shake hands with the Tampa Lightning after tonight’s game 7.  The players appeared to have genuine affection and respect for one another.   Good job out of them.

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