The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘baseball playoffs’

Bring on the playoffs

Posted by keithosaunders on September 30, 2017

This was a terrible year to be a Mets fan.  The team suffered a barrage of injuries early on, unloading much of the 2015 World Series lineup by the trading deadline.  It appears that Matt Harvey, thanks to overuse during the 2015 post season, is all but washed up. Mea culpa:  I was one of those who supported pitching him during that post season, and I still believe it was the right thing to do.  You don’t get many shots at a World Series ring, especially if you’re a Met.

This was also a terrible year for pennant races.  The National League seemed all but decided by the All Star break, although the Brewers made a run for the Central, and at this writing are still alive for a wild card slot. (although the Rockie’s magic number is 1.) I really can’t get too excited about wild card races, however, especially when the Mets are not in it.

Much to my chagrin the Yankees are good again.  I’m hoping that the upstart Twins can take them out in the gimmicky one-game play-in, but who am I kidding – the Twins are the Yankee’s bitch.

In the junior circuit I’ll be pulling for either the Astros or Indians.  Houston has never won a World Series and has only played in one of them.  It would be nice to see them get through.

In the NL I’ll be rooting for the Dodgers.  I can’t stand the Cubs fans, who I find insufferable, so I’ll be content with their team bowing out.  The Cubs seem to be peaking at the right time, however, and I would be surprised if they do not make it back to the Series. The good thing about the Dodgers going deep into the post season would be to watch these idiot Giants fans up here suffer. (I live in the Bay Area)  Talk about front runners!

Well that’s it.  I don’t have a dog in this race so I’m hoping for some good games and a minimum of exposure to Joe Buck.

Let’s go!

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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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Annnnnd I’m back

Posted by keithosaunders on November 10, 2013

March 12th, 2011 is the date of my last post.   What happened to me? First of all my laptop died rendering me without a keyboard.  In addition, I have experienced the greatest surge in business in my life and am now gigging 5-7 nights a week, in addition to teaching.  Lest you begin to think that I have become a one percenter let me remind you that this is the music business we’re talking about – specifically the jazz business.  I remain, albeit happily, ensconced in my 500 square foot apartment with hot and cold running   pretzels.

So how about those republicans?  Since I’ve been away they’ve managed, through their batshit crazy hijinx, to put themselves in a position where it will be damn near impossible to win a national election.  But conservatives need not despair for the Democrats have become the new Republicans.  Data mining, wiretapping, and endless war will see to it that we the people remain in a constant state of subservience to the conservative ideal.

On the music front the scene has devolved into asking friends, family, and strangers for handouts to fund  projects such as recording dates, concerts, and by virtue of the tip jar, club gigs.  And it’s not just music I’m referring to.  I’m getting ready to kickstart a project to dress my dog in authentic period clothing of La Belle Époque.  It’s out of control!

In sports replay is all the rage.  How we, as a society were able to endure over 100 years of World Series without definitive proof of the accuracy of umpires calls is beyond me.  No matter, baseball, with its inevitable move to instant replay is hell-bent on sucking the final iota of soul that remains in this once proud game.  Any sport that boasts Joe Buck as its number one announcer would have problems, even sans McCarver.  The addition of interminable booth reviews to the 2014 season could be the tipping point to this fan’s tolerance of post season ball.  The thought of Buck having an additional 20% of air time to fill is horrifying to say the least.

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Speed

Posted by keithosaunders on October 16, 2011

I played an early morning gig the other day — like 8AM early.  How strange to wake up for a gig to find that it was still pitch black outside, not to mention leaving the gig in broad daylight — it’s the reverse of how it usually works. 

The gig was for a non-profit corporation that had a breakfast affair and wanted music.  As usual the band was talking sports before the gig.  With the playoffs ongoing, baseball was the subject of the day.   The drummer asked if we remembered that the AL had a designated runner for two years.  The sax player and I knew that this wasn’t the case — that it was an innovation that Charlie Finley, the A’s owner, wanted to implement.

A little while later the  drummer emailed this info:

1974. Herb Washington of the Oakland Athletics is known as the only “Designated Runner” in Baseball history. As a world class sprinter who broke various sprinting records while in College at Michigan State University he caught the attention of Oakland’s free spirited owner Charlie Finley. He was able to convince Washington to take the role of Designated Runner even though he had no Baseball prior experience. He spent the entire 1974 season and 1 month of the 1975 season with the A’s where he had zero at-bats or time playing the field in the 105 games he appeared in. With that said, Washington still accomplished to steal 31 bases, score 33 runs, and win a World Series ring in his short career. After being released by the A’s he remained in professional sports for 2 additional years as a competitive sprinter in Track & Field. 

Funny thing, though.  Later that night I was playing a gig with a bass player who is an avid sports fan and who has lived in the Bay Area for over 30 years.  He remembered Washington and he told me that, in fact, he was a terrible base runner.  He got picked off many times, got terrible leads, and made a myriad of mistakes on the bases.

Kind of funny, but it brings out the point that there actually is a skill to running, and that it is not merely speed that steals bases.  It serves to illustrate how great players like Lou Brock, Tim Raines, and of course, Rickey Henderson were.

One of the things I love about living in the Bay Area, after having been in New York for so long, is hearing the inside dope about the players and teams of yesteryear.  Even though a hard-core sports fan like myself is aware of those teams and players, there is nothing like getting the first-hand, inside dope.  I eat that stuff up!

Too bad the Tigers couldn’t pull out the ALCS.  Now we’ll have to suffer through another Series of Bush sitting next to jowly Nolan Ryan.  In the end the Tigers were a little too beat up, didn’t have the arms, and suffered from way too much Nelson Cruz.  

I’m still hopeful that Milwaukee can pull it out at home, but I am steeling myself for another Series of delicate-genuis LaRussa, with his revolving door of pitchers.  How does he get away with it?  I only hope we see a 16 inning game with LaRussa forced to pitch Nick Punto when he runs out of relievers.

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That just happened

Posted by keithosaunders on September 29, 2011

Wow.  Just wow.  What an amazing night of baseball.  I barely, and I mean barely, was able to see a good portion of it.

Here on the west coast the sporting night begins early — at 4PM — and since I had a rehearsal at precisely that time, I turned to my old friend the DVR.  I set it to record both the Redsox/Orioles game, and the Braves/Phillies game.  I knew I couldn’t watch them both, but my thinking was that if the Sox game was a blowout I would switch to the Braves game, insuring the greatest possible bang for my figurative buck.

The thing about taping baseball is that the games almost always exceed their allotted scheduling.  This means that you must tape the next few scheduled events or risk missing the end of the game.  I had to do this for both games and since they were both on ESPN (one was on the deuce) I realized that there were potential late game pitfalls.  Both stations run similar post game programming so it was going to be tricky discerning which station had which game once the initial three-hour block expired. 

Between the rehearsal, making dinner, and walking the dog I didn’t get to the baseball until 8:30 Pacific time.  I decided to watch the Redsox game since I was in the mood for tragedy.  For a while it looked like I had made the right choice.  It was a close, tense affair, and by the 7th inning Boston was clinging to a 3-2 lead.

Then…a rain delay.  This was the first inkling that this was not going to be an entirely smooth evening.  How was I going to find the proper event stored for completing the game?  Would I have enough recorded events to see the ending?      

No matter — I switched to the Braves game.  I knew that it was 3-2 Braves late.  It was a simple matter of forwarding the event to the 2.20 mark, which was where I had left off in the Boston game.

I picked it up in the top of the 8th inning in time to see the Braves reliever, Jonny Venters. work out of a jam.  They failed to score in their half of the inning and in the 9th they brought on their closer, Craig Kimbrel, who promptly blew the save.  And at that moment the recording lapsed.

I went to my stored recordings and tried the first one I saw only to find weight lifting.  I tried another and saw it was the Braves, but…it was the 12th inning.  Somehow I had skipped over the intervening innings.  Of course I was miffed, but at least I might get to see the ending.  Jayson Heyward led off the inning with a double and was sacrificed to third, but the Braves could not get him home. 

The tape ran out again so I went to the next event.  It was the Redsox and Orioles in the bottom of the 9th with two outs!  (somehow I skipped the Braves  and managed to miss the ending of that one)  The Orioles were down to their last strike when Nolan Reimold smashed a ground rule double off of Jonathan Papelbon tying the game.  Robert Andino followed suit with a single that Carl Crawford could only trap.  Game over! 

But this was not all.  The Tampa Rays had dug themselves out of a 7-0 hole to tie the Yankees.  They were playing in the 12th inning, and after the Sox game ESPN promptly switched over.  Evan Longoria was at the plate and he hit a line drive home run that barely cleared the left field wall.  The Rays had  come back from the dead to take the wildcard!

Part of me had been hoping for some Thursday baseball, but I was happy with the two teams that won, and glad that I managed to see a large portion of the action.  The best part is that these pair of choking teams — the Braves and Redsox — have eclipsed the Mets debacle of 2007.  Happy days are here again!

And now onto hockey.  What’s this you say?  Playoffs?  No, I’m afraid that for me the enjoyable portion of the season has come to its conclusion.  Nothing remains but another Yankee post season.  I have a sinking feeling that they’re about to embark on a run that will end in Joe Girardi changing his uniform number yet again.  

Now where did I put that Sharks schedule? 

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Grand Central Division

Posted by keithosaunders on July 25, 2011

CENTRAL W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10
Pittsburgh 52 47 .525 26-25 26-22 382 378 +4 Won 1 6-4
St. Louis 53 48 .525 25-21 28-27 474 438 +36 Lost 1 5-5
Milwaukee 54 49 .524 33-14 21-35 443 452 -9 Lost 2 5-5
Cincinnati 50 51 .495 3 27-23 23-28 469 433 +36 Won 2 5-5
Chicago Cubs 42 60 .412 11.5 25-31 17-29 411 507 -96 Won 3 5-5
Houston 33 68 .327 20 17-36 16-32 388 506 -118 Lost 3 3-7

Don’t look now but there’s a classic pennant race shaping up and it’s not where you’d expect.  Forget your AL East with its twin behemoth Yankees and Redsox — their passion play will not begin until October, since the team that doesn’t win the division figures to take the wild card.

The action this year resides in the NL Central; that erstwhile laughing-stock of a division.  There, four teams sit separated by two games in the standings.  Given the fact that the NL East-residing Atlanta Braves figure to take the wild card, only one Central club will advance to the playoffs.

My sentiments lie with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are at this writing, leading the division by percentage points over the Cardinals.  The Pirates have reached the rarefied air of five games above .500, threatening to break their ignominious streak of consecutive losing seasons, currently at eighteen.  It is the longest such streak in professional sports. 

The Buccos are winning with a team of gritty, young ball players.  (that’s what several consecutive years of high draft picks, and a savvy GM will do for you) It’s rare for me to watch a Pirate game in which I fail to utter the sentence, “Who is that guy?”  

Andrew McCutchen is a speedy young center fielder who has 59 RBI.  Their second baseman is Neil Walker, a slick fielder, and a good run producer as well.  Their only semi-star is Lyle Overbay, who is playing first base.  The pitching has been surprisingly solid behind Kevin Correia, Jeff Karstens, and Paul Maholm, and their closer, Joel Hanrahan, has been superb. 

The Cardinals are the favorites, with their murderers row middle of the lineup — Pujols, Holiday, and Berkman — but I’m hoping that their shaky bullpen will see to it that the do not run away and hide. 

Milwaukee was a sexy pick at the beginning of the season, and they are proving themselves worthy of the hype.  They’re a good team, and as long as K-Rod doesn’t blow too many games, they are going to be fine.  They’re another team I would like to see take the next step. 

I can’t stand the Reds pitching.  Johnny Cueto?  Edinson Volquez?  Homer Bailey?  It speaks volumes that Dontrelle Willis is making a comeback with this staff.  Still, they’re  another good hitting club that may be able to hang around. 

You see, this is why interleague play is a sham.  Here you have four teams in a pennant race, and they’re all going to playing each other come August and September.  While the Yankees, Phillies, and Redsox, spend September sorting out their post season rotations, there will be daily blood-lettings in the middle of the country.  Interleague is a distraction from pennant race baseball.  It is a novelty act that has worn thin.

If MLB has its way, however, we will see the expansion of interleague play, as well as the end of pennant races as we have known them since 1969, the year divisional play was introduced.  There has been a plan floated around that would do away with divisions, creating two 15 team leagues.  The schedule would be balanced, meaning that all teams would play each other the same amount of times, regardless of league.  Imagine if the Pirates played the Royals the same amount of times as they did the Cardinals.   

Baseball seems high bent on removing any sense of tradition from the game, rendering it corporate and soulless.  All the more reason for us to savor what could well be one of the last great divisional races.  

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