The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Cubs’

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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NLCS GO TIME

Posted by keithosaunders on October 17, 2015

mets hatSomewhere on a lonely, deserted, slab of rock in the desolate radiation-infused paradise in the middle of the San Francisco Bay that is Treasure Island there exists a lone, abandoned Mets cap. But this is no ordinary bit of refuse. This is a cap with the power to see a little team from Flushing known as THE METS on a journey through the baseball post season. It is a journey that has only one possible ending; a trip down the canyon of heroes on a different island. The island in which my brain has been spattered. All over. Manhattan.

So to all you Cubbies fans who have waited 107 years for a title. I say to you, what’s one more year? For it is the pride, the power, the Treasure Island radiation, that is going to insure the inevitable. Oh yeah, folks.

It…is…GO TIME!!!!!

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It’s go time

Posted by keithosaunders on October 13, 2015

If you had told me on April 6th when the Mets opened In Washington against the Nationals, that on October 13th they would be playing a playoff game against the Dodgers that could propel them to the NLCS, I would have laughed in your face. But here they are, poised for success in this most improbable season that turned on a dime with the July 31st acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes.

Matt Harvey was mediocre last night versus the feckless Dodgers, but when you’re facing third-rate starters such as Brett Anderson and your lineup possesses gamers like Curtis Granderson and the aforementioned Cespedes, it doesn’t much matter. The Dodgers [probably wisely] sat Chase Utley, but at this stage of his career he is not an impact player unless you count chippy slides.

As for Harvey, I don’t blame him for not being sharp, what with nearly a two week layoff.  In this era of pitch counts and coddling it is unrealistic to expect your ‘ace’ starter to have any kind of rhythm in his biggest start of the year. I wonder what Juan Marichal and Bob Gibson think of today’s crop of tin-men. Hopefully, if the Mets move on, Harvey will be stronger in the NLCS.  They will need him against a frothing-at-the-mouth, too young to be scared Cubs lineup. (yes I have written the Cardinals off)

In the meantime the Mets have a game to win.  Rookie Steven Matz and his sore back will face Clayton Kershaw, who will be starting on three days of rest. The realist in me wants to believe that the pressure of pitching in a closeout game in hostile Citi Field will be too much for Kershaw, who thus far in his storied career has been a playoff washout.  The fatalist in me, however, hears a voice buried deep inside of my head saying, ‘He’s due.  He’s due.’

This is it, Mets.  FINISH THEM.

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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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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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Cajun food and land locked islands

Posted by keithosaunders on August 10, 2011

There’s no doubt about it, when it comes to driving, I am an animal.  I could make this trip once a month.  If i had another driver I could do this in three days, but with my kids with me, and being that I’m the only driver, I am not pushing that late into the evening.  Still, I managed a good 500 miles today, and tomorrow, if I get an early enough start, I envision doing 600. 

To me, the country appears smaller when you drive its length.  Smaller as compared to flying, that is.  Flying never feels real to me — it’s almost magical, the idea that you can traverse the country in a matter of hours.  I’m always pleasantly surprised at how many states you can cover in one day from behind the wheel.  It makes the country seem more tangeable.

The other great thing about road trips is that you’re your own boss.  (assuming the wife isn’t along for the ride)  I decide when to stop, how far to go, and where to stay at night. 

 There’s nothing as infantalizing plane travel — being told when you can stand up, eat, or go to the bathroom.  Not to mention the demeaning aspect of having to remove clothing while being cattle prodded through security. 

 I love seeing these old, beat towns that you would never get to see from the air.  Des Moines, Iowa  has a  beautiful old state building with a golden domed roof. 

 We stopped took a walk around downtown Des Moines.  Even though it’s fairly well maintained, it has many vacant buildings, and aside from a street with three or four nice looking bars, there isn’t much by way of commerce.  You can see from these old towns that the America of todaydoesn’t produce anything.  There are no jobs.  Places like Detroit, Syracuse, and Des Moines, once thriving cities, are now practicallyghost towns.

We had dinner at a Cajun restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska.  I had the shrimp etoufee, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but ten minutes after we had resumed our westward drive, I exited the highway at the first rest stop I saw and sprinted into the MacDonald’s bathroom.

Omaha

Fully revived I pulled back onto route 80 and began scanning around the AM dial for some baseball games.  I was able to pick up games out of Chicago, Kansas City,Colorado, and Minnesota.  We’re in the plain states now so AM reception, particularly at night, promises to be impressive.

We are in the plain states now and everything will be flat as a pancake for the next several hundred miles.  Most people think of these states as being boring and monotonous, but I have always found a kind of stark beauty in them.  I loved the rolling hills of Kansas when I drove through it several years ago.  There is something about how much sky you can see out here that is amazing.  The sky goes all the way to the horizon and it makes the light beautiful and intense.

We’re bedding down at a Super 8 in Grand Island, Nebraska.  Don’t ask me why they call it an island — I’m as land locked as can be.

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