The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘Boston Redsox’

World Series Memories: 1986

Posted by keithosaunders on October 26, 2017

Haley’s comet reached its closest point to earth, the U.S. traded arms for hostages with Iran, and a 20 year old Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history.

1986!

Alcoa presents: Keitho’s World Series Memories!

If one team personified the cocaine-infused, go-go 80s it was the New York Mets! Led by Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Daryl Strawberry, and Doc Gooden, they went through the regular season like Pablo Sandoval at an all you can eat buffet, polished off the Houston Mike Scott’s in 6 games, and advanced to a date with destiny with the Boston Redsox.

Game 6 found the Mets down 3 games to 2 in the Series and me ensconced at my best friend, Jeff’s house in the Bronx.

Most people think it was Ray Knight’s clutch hit and Mookie Wilson’s grounder through the legs of Bill Buckner that completed the most improbable comeback of all time, but I know what really happened.

At last it can be told.

You see, it came down to Jeff’s Yankee souvenir watch and Pez dispenser from hell. Little did poor, hapless Calvin Schiraldi realize that his implosion on the Shea mound was the result of Jeff having dangled the Yankee watch in front of the TV (alternating with the Pez dispenser) while shouting, “Callllvinnnn!”

It was the jinx, you see. The jinx.

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Baseball’s one percent

Posted by keithosaunders on August 19, 2017

Anyone who doubted that baseball, in its current form, is a soulless affair I offer you exhibit A:  The Los Angeles Dodgers.  Here is a team, arguably having their greatest regular season in their 134 year history, that felt the need, with 6 weeks remaining in the season, to add Curtis Granderson to their already stacked roster.

Exhibit B is the New York Mets, a team not two years removed from a World Series appearance, who are now in fire-sale mode.

Baseball as it exists today is a microcosm of our capitalist society. The best talent congeals to form super-teams such as the Dodgers, Redsox, Yankees, and Golden State Warriors.  Money begets money.  The rest of the league – the have-nots – can be content with playoff appearances and the occasional Cinderella season, to be followed by the inevitable selloff once their young talent reaches free-agent eligibility.

Enjoy.

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Monday night baseball

Posted by keithosaunders on August 13, 2017

Last night, while browsing Twitter, I stumbled upon this VHS recording of a telecast of a 1979 ABC Monday Night Baseball game between the Angels and the Redsox.  The recording only contained the first inning and a few highlights, which was fine since the game ended up being a blowout.  It’s a great time capsule, however, and is worth watching for a few minutes.

The thing that struck me the most was how much more pleasant it was to watch a game in those days.  There are hardly any replays, stats are kept to a minimum, and the overall pace of the game is much quicker.

The announcing team was Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell, and Bob Eucker.  Jackson was known largely for college football but he did a professional job and was a good listen.  He didn’t get in the way of the game and you can tell that he did his homework.  Cosell, on the other hand, did get in the way of the game – he had a tremendous ego – but was still a much more compelling listen than today’s bland ex-jock color men, or robotic, colorless Joe Buck.

Check it out!

 

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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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Shellshocked

Posted by keithosaunders on October 29, 2015

OK so that happened. What have we learned in the past couple of days?

  1. The Royals can hit fastballs
  2. The Mets picked the worst possible week to go into a collective team batting slump
  3. I can’t figure out how to tell wordpress I’m done with this list
  4. We should remember 1986 in which the Mets lost the first two games to the Redsox – AT HOME – only to take the Series in seven.  True they were aided by questionable managing by John McNamara, who eschewed taking gimpy Bill Buckner out of the game for defense in game six, but who’s to say that Ned Yost isn’t capable of a managerial boner or two?  What remains to be seen is whether this current Mets squad has the grittiness to overcome a legitimately good, young Royals team.
  5. I saw this stat today: Jacob deGrom threw 94 pitches last night, only three of which went for a swing and a miss.
  6. I believe Cueto’s start was an aberration and that the rest of the Royals rotation simply isn’t that good.
  7. The Mets are a Familia cantaloupe away from being tied in the Series.
  8. Sorry for the listacle

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Baseball’s wildcard fiasco

Posted by keithosaunders on October 8, 2015

In 2011 the fate of four teams and two playoff races were decided on the last day of baseball’s regular season.  The Cardinals defeated the Astros to win the National League wild card berth after the Braves had lost to the Phillies. In the Junior Circuit the Tampa Rays defeated  the Yankees in extra innings  after the Orioles had defeated the Red Sox on a walk-off single.  Tom Verducci, a writer for Sports Illustrated wrote, “These will go down as the most thrilling 129 minutes in baseball history.” 

He’s right.

MLB, in their infinite, corporate profit-driven interests decided that they could have this football-style do or die games every year and thus the current play-in wild card system was born.  Thanks to this unimaginative gimmick never again will we have the end of season drama that existed for over a hundred years.

Since the really good teams will have their divisions locked up, the best we can hope for is a race for the final wild card spot. In the event there are multiple great teams in one division, such as this year’s NL Central, all the teams will make the playoffs thus insuring that a superior team will suffer the ignominious fate of a one game post season.

What a shame that a team as talented as the Pittsburgh Pirates (98 wins) had to bow out of the playoffs so early.  Had the Cubs lost it would have been equally as egregious. Instead we are stuck with Dodgers and Mets teams that backed their way into the playoffs.  Full disclosure:  I’m a Mets fan, but come on, they’re not as good as the Pirates.

At any rate, let’s put this travesty of sports behind us and get ready for some real playoff baseball.  Accept no substitutions!

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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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Freefall

Posted by keithosaunders on September 28, 2011

 Somebody tell Mr. Selig to put his newfangled expanded playoff plan on hold.  The old-fashioned wild car system is alive and well with a pair of improbable finishes.   Going into the final day of the season the both NL and AL wild card races are in a tie.   The Boston Redsox and Atlanta Braves may be running on fumes, but the pennant races are alive and well. 

Pennant race…it’s hard to believe I’m writing that phrase when a mere two weeks ago I was bemoaning the lack of drama in the 2011 season.  How quickly things turned.

How did this happen?  On September 3rd the Redsox were a half game out of first and on a pace to win 98 games.  They were nine games ahead of the Tampa Rays.  They proceeded to go 7-19 in September and will have to rely on Jon Lester on three days rest. 

Let’s compare this fold up with another recent debacle — one that is quite painful for me to recall.   The 2007 Mets were coming off a year in which they came within two innings of going to the World Series.  They had a strong April and May, slumped in June, but recovered their winning form in July and August.  Despite being swept by the Phillies in a four game series at Shea August 27-30, they proceeded to go on a tear, winning their next 9 of 10.  On September 12th they found themselves 21 games above .500 and seven games ahead of division rival Philadelphia .  They would only win five more games the rest of the season.

They lost five of six to the lowly Nationals during the final two weeks, and despite falling behind the Phillies, they could have pulled even with a final game victory over the Florida Marlins.  Tom Glavin started that game, allowed seven runs in the first inning, and the season was lost. 

I suppose this Redsox collapse would be worse, but just barely.  Both the 2007 Mets and the 2011 Bosox had exceptionally high hopes coming into the season, and both teams had high payrolls.  (albeit the Redsox payroll is insane)  The Redsox have been hit hard by injuries whereas that Mets team, for the most part, was healthy.  Even Pedro Martinez managed to return from his semi-permanent home on the DL to pitch a few meaningful games.   

As for the 2011 Braves, who have managed to squander an eight and a half game lead in the wildcard race, I hope they lose.  Not only were they a longtime nemesis of the Mets, their star longtime ace and erstwhile Met, Tom Glavin, spit the bit in the clutch.  Regardless of that,  Atlanta fans do not deserve a winning team.  Their tomahawk chop is offensive, corny, and tired, and they can’t even sell out playoff games. 

Fenway pawk

Either way I’m happy we are finally getting to see some drama.  I’ll be hoping for both teams to win, or both to lose so that we’ll be treated to a pair of one game playoffs.  Let’s play two!

Bum

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At last, races.

Posted by keithosaunders on September 20, 2011

Thank you, Boston, for falling apart.  Your late season ineptitude is providing us with the late season intrigue we so craved.  At this writing the Redsox are clinging to a two game lead in the wild card race with the Tampa Rays hot on their trail. 

Good job out of Tampa going into Fenway this past weekend and taking three out of four from the Sox.  The only Redsox win came on a gutty pitching performance by Josh Beckett, who was returning from an injury.  Beckett, by the way, is unwatchable.  He holds the ball at least twenty seconds between pitches.  The only way to watch a Redsox game is to have it on tape so you can at least fast forward through the commercials.

I’ll be rooting hard for the Rays to pull this thing out.  I’m sick of Boston’s act — I have no confidence that they will win a playoff round, let alone beat the Yankees in the ALCS.  (let me take this opportunity to thank my readers in advance for not going into the Keitho archives and checking my 2011 playoff predictions)  Plus, Tampa is such a feel good story — they have built up a good organization through the draft and a few canny trades.  They play in a disaster of a stadium that looks like a prison field, compared to the designer parks of today.  How can you not like them?

And what’s this I see?  Atlanta’s N.L wildcard lead has been whittled down to two and a half games.  Just when I exhibited an unhealthy amount of man-love for the Braves, they have gone into free fall.  They’re in playoff form — choking in crunch time.  The Cards are improbably two and a half back, with the Giants right behind them at three and a half. 

The Braves will face the Marlins and Nationals, before closing the season out against the Phillies,  (who will have nothing to play for)  while the Cardinals play the Mets, Cubs, and Astros.  Between the expanded roster, and delicate-genius LaRussa’s propensity for over-managing, look for the Cardinals box scores to take up entire pages of the sports section.  

It looks like we’ll be in for an entertaining last week and a half of the season.  I know I’ll enjoy it.  Come the first week of October my season of misery begins — suffering through another Yankee post season.

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The wild card run amok

Posted by keithosaunders on September 15, 2011

Today’s post will be devoted to my esteemed guest-blogger, and best friend, Jeff Mazzei.  Since he wrote this, (last week) a couple of the races have tightened up, but with only 15 games or so remaining on the schedule, time is getting short. 

The Redsox, with their myriad of pitching injuries, have somehow let Tampa back into the picture; they are four up in the wild card race.  In the NL wild card, while I wasn’t looking the Cards crept to within four and half of Atlanta. 

But enough of me.  Here’s Jeff!

I don’t know why I should be surprised and confounded by this, but with the pennant races evaporating, all I read is how we need another wild card team like the commissioner wants because he’s coming to the rescue of this September’s non-races.  Talk about another knee-jerk reaction!  How long has the current format been in place?  To my recollection, this is the only time in 17 years it may come down to the wire with no race.  And may I point out that were it not for the wild card, there would be an exciting race in the AL East.  And if the Braves were to close the gap on the Phillies, that would be another non-race race.  Oh, but if the American league only had a second wild card, then we could throw the Texas – Anaheim race in the trash as well.  They just don’t get it.  The people who run this are so myopic.

Mr. Selig wants 2 wild cards in each league having a play-in game.  I can see this coming from 3000 miles down the road:  the first wild card is the Yankees or Red Sox with the 2nd best record in the league.  The second wild card is a so-so team—-we’ll call them the Seattle Mariners—-who happen to have a blue chip pitcher—–we’ll call him Felix Hernandez—-who throws a 2-hit shutout at the 2nd best team in the league, and on goes Seattle.  Let the hand-wringing begin and sound the alarms.

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