The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘San Diego Padres’

The big 5-5 and the Mets

Posted by keithosaunders on August 25, 2015

Today I turned 55.  That’s right, double nickels.  The NY Mets were extremely generous, giving me an eight home run game last night and enough optimism to last until October.

I can’t recall a baseball season in which a team’s personality changed on a dime.  If you look back not even a month to July 29th — that’s when Wilmer Flores learned, in the middle of that night’s game, that he was being traded – you’ll see an entirely different team.  One that could not hit to save their lives.  Their pitching was elite (still is) but their lack of hitting made them extremely beatable.

During the July 29th game the cameras captured Flores crying and it looked like it was a new low for the Mets.  The Mets had not yet bottomed out, however.  The very next day they blew a 6 run lead to the Padres at home in the rain.  They were three games behind the Nationals and going nowhere.  I was actually rationalizing the season with an early post-mortem.   “Well they gave me much more competitive four months than I expected…”

And then…CESPEDES.

Who would have thought it possible?  He is the kind of gamer that the Mets almost never get.  Hell, they’re still paying Bobby Bonilla a yearly salary.

Wouldn’t you know it, given a new lease on life Wilmer Flores won two games versus the Nationals.  The Mets swept the series and have gone on to feast on the bottom-dwelling Rockies, Marlins, and Phillies.  True, they were swept by the Pirates, but this humble birthday boy is writing that off as a blip on the radar screen.

The shit’s about to get real.  Fasten your seat belts!

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On the road again

Posted by keithosaunders on August 7, 2011

Almost one year to the day that I moved out of New York, I have left on a cross-country road trip; my second in as many years.  Living at my friend’s house in the Bronx for two months while my kids went to camp was great.  I played several gigs, reconnected with old friends, and confirmed that, yes, New York is the greatest city in the world. 

We crossed the George Washington Bridge at 1 PM and eased onto intersate 80.  There we will remain for another 2,800 miles until we hit Buchanon St in Albany, California. 

I am writing this from a Motel 6 in humid Youngstown, Ohio.  I played at the college here twice.  Once with a quartet led by a drummer — Fred Lite — that featured Youngstown St alum, Ralph Lalama on tenor.  The other time I played here was with my band, the NY HardBop Quintet. 

Earlier this evening I was able to pick up staticy radio broadcasts of the Pittsburgh/San Diego game.  The poor Pirates:  After charming the baseball world with their unexpected great first half of the season, they now seem doomed to continue their streak of sub .500 seasons.  I had hopped onto their bandwagon bigtime, but now it seems I will be getting off at the next stop.  I hope they are able to recover, at least enough to be able to end their losing season streak.  At the very least it seems like better times are ahead for this once proud franchise.

I’m driving with my two younger children.  My oldest boy is still at camp where he is a counselor.  Next stop:  Palatine, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, where we will spend two nights and one day at my brother’s house.

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A pennant race like it oughta be

Posted by keithosaunders on September 24, 2010

This year baseball fans are being treated to a good old-fashioned pennant race.  With a week and a half remaining in the season the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants have been flip-flopping daily for the division lead, with the Colorado Rockies not far behind.  At the moment the Giants are in front of the Padres by a half a game with the Rockies trailing by 3 and a half.  In addition, the Padres also trail the wildcard leading Atlanta Braves by a half game.

Over in the A.L. East the Yankees and Rays have been involved in a close race which has been rendered moot by the absence of an American League wildcard race.  Barring a miracle finish by the Redsox, who are 7 games out of the wildcard lead, both the Yankees and Rays will be in the playoffs.  What should be a riveting race between two great teams is instead meaningless.

In 1993 there was an incredible pennant race between the Atlanta Braves, then in the western division, and the San Francisco Giants.  On July 20th of that year the Giants were a comfortable 9 games ahead of the Braves.  Around that time the Braves acquired Fred McGriff from the Bluejays, and inserted rookie Greg McMichael into the closer role.  They reeled off 27 wins in 35 games before facing the Giants with their new lineup.  They then swept a 3 game series at Candlestick to move to within 1 and a half games of the Giants.  The teams met for their final series on the last week of August, a series in which Atlanta won 2 of 3.

In September, thanks to an injury-depleted pitching staff, the Giants fell 4 games behind Atlanta.  Improbably, that managed to turn it around by going on a 13-1 tear setting up a final weekend of the season which found the two teams deadlocked in the standings.  The Giants played in Los Angeles against their arch-rival, Dodgers, while the Braves played the expansion Colorado Rockies, whom they had owned throughout the season.  It all came down to the last day of the season, both teams owning identical records.  The Braves won their game against the Rockies 4-3 and retired to their clubhouse to watch the Giants lose a laugher to the Dodgers, 12-1.  (This was a modicum of revenge for L.A.  The Giants, behind a home run from an aging Joe Morgan, had ended their 1982 season in similar fashion)  The 1993 Giants finished with a record of 103-59.    

Because a 100 win team missed the playoffs, baseball felt that they had to do something to rectify the situation.  This factor, along with the enticement of additional TV money, prompted the creation of the wildcard team.

In 1995, when the wildcard system was adopted, baseball sacrificed drama for the inclusion of two additional playoff teams.  While there still are compelling races such as the one this year, having a wildcard team precludes the possibility of two 100 + win teams doing battle.  One or the other will almost certainly claim the wildcard spot since the chance of having a third dominant team is practically impossible.

In the two division format there had been riveting tension that lasted all throughout September.  Compare that with the ennui that has settled into the AL East most of this, and every season.  The divional format existed in major league baseball for 24 years.  In this span 100 win teams missed the playoffs twice.  The only other time it occurred was in 1980 when Earl Weaver’s Baltimore Oriole’s won 100 games yet finished behind the division-winning Yankees.  Imagine how crabby Weaver must have been after having squandering a 3-1 lead in games to Pittsburgh in the 1979 World Series only to follow it up in with a 100 year non-playoff season! 

A good friend of mine, and occasional guest-blogger, Jeff Mazzei,  has long thought that the leagues should be divided into four divisions, thus eliminating the need for the wildcard.  There would be the same amount of playoff series, yet each division would at least have the possibility of a good race.  I can live with a good team missing the playoffs.  What I can’t stomach is too many more close, yet meaningless divisional races.
 
Fred McGriff — Crimedog!

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