The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘Texas Rangers’

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.

Posted in baseball, sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

For the 11th time: Cardinals

Posted by keithosaunders on October 29, 2011

David Freese is the new Jeter.  I hate him!  (kidding — he seems like a good guy)  What a dream post season he had — how is he ever going to top it, or even equal it?  I guess that’s a good problem to have.

I feel bad for the Rangers, and especially for their fans.  What that must have feel like to have victory snatched from them in that way.  I hope the Rangers have a chance to get back to the Series, but I have a feeling this is going to take a lot out of them, and let’s face it– like Verdun said, their pitching is not that good.  Feliz and Ogando alone cost them the Series, but you also have to look at C.J. Wilson.  Terrible job out of him!  He’ll be gone anyway — good riddance.  I hope he goes to the Yankees. 

Chris Carpenter is indeed a great pitcher — tremendous job out of him on short rest.  He seems like a miserable person, though, as does LaRussa.  That’s why I really wanted the Rangers to win.  The Cards have won enough — 11 Series and 18 pennants.  Still, I must give it up to St Louis.  What a pennant race and playoff run they had.

The Cardinals remind me a little of the 2002 Angels, another offensive-minded club  They’re a team full of gamers that played gutty and hard-nosed ball.  The main difference between the two being the Cards won despite their manager, whereas the Angels had a great manager in Mike Scioscia.  

The thing that makes me mad is that LaRussa’s over-managing style has been vindicated and that we will see much more of the same from all too many clubs in ’12.  It’s fun to watch these games in the postseason, but they are death when it comes to a mid-June A’s-Royals matchup.

So now we must say goodbye to that greatest of sports and turn our attention to football.  Here in the Bay Area the fans and media are crazed with the early season success of the 49ers, who at this writing are 6-1.  One of the radio hosts has them finishing at 13-3!  I don’t know about that, but I do know that I am ready for some football! 

Cmon, trainer, get in the mosh pit!

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A surly time in New York City

Posted by keithosaunders on June 17, 2011

I’m back in New York for a seven week stretch while my kids go to camp, and if there’s one word to describe my mood it’s surly.  I’ve been here for just over 48 hours and already I’ve almost made a right turn on a red light, (illegal in NYC) gotten into a shouting match with a gas station attendant, who chided me for not knowing the correct method of swiping my credit card, and suffered sticker shock from crossing the Throgs Neck bridge.  ($6.50 one way)

I’ve played two gigs on the Island with a singer and his quartet — a band I worked with for four years before moving — and was amazed that the east bound traffic has actually gotten worse in the 10 months since I last traversed that hellish thoroughfare called the Long Island Expressway.  In fact, between driving to those gigs, and taking my oldest boy on various college tours, I have been to Westchester, Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and tomorrow, New Jersey.  Almost every road, except for the ones going north towards Westchester, is jammed up.  Brooklyn is a joke — even when the traffic is light, the lights are metered in such a way that you have to stop every other minute.  I do appreciate the more aggressive New York driving style, however.  I am amazed and impressed that even on the congested roads of Manhattan and Brooklyn, people manage to drive as fast as possible, and for the most part, avoid getting into accidents.

I passed my the new Nets arena, which is under construction on Flatbush Ave in downtown Brooklyn, and it appears to be roughly a quarter completed.  All I could think of was that I wouldn’t want to be within five miles of that place on game night.  The traffic will be backed up to the Upper West Side. 

Oh yes…I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the aggravation that goes with seeing the Yankees sweep the AL champion Texas Rangers, while the Mets, in a bid to go over .500 for the first time since the first week of the season, blew Thursday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves in excruciating, Metsian fasion — a blown save by their closer, Franky Rodriguez, and a 10th inning balk with a man on third by reliever, D.J. Carrasco. 

Yep, I’m back. .

Posted in New York City | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Cliff Lee sweepstakes

Posted by keithosaunders on November 14, 2010

…or as it is known around the Bronx, a date with destiny.  Frankly, I don’t get it.  Why would Lee want to go to a franchise where it is a given that he will collect a ring?  It strikes me as a lose-lose situation for him.  Either he helps the Yankees to win a championship, in which case he simply did what was expected of him, or he fails and can take his place alongside Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, and Carl Pavano in the pantheon of Bronx bums. 

If he stays with Texas and brings them a championship he will be a hero for the ages.  Like Tim Lincecum.  He would be the man instead of one of several stars.  In this sense the Yankees are like the Borg —   Lee can be 1 of 9. 

There is nothing new about this — we’re seeing it with LeBron James this year in Miami.  But here’s the thing:  People root against these teams.  Nobody I know is rooting for LeBron to pick up his ring.  On the contrary, we want Cleveland to (improbably) beat them in the playoffs! 

From the Yankee fan standpoint it becomes even more perplexing.  The Yankee fan will never get to experience the unbridled joy of a Giants fan.  I don’t understand where the fun comes from.  If you root for the Yankees you know that, for the most part, you are going to acquire the best free agents, and that year after year you can book your October ticket.  Sure you won’t make the Series every year but you’ll get your share of them.  Yes, they are playing within the rules, but to me, when winning becomes inevitable  the game becomes boring.

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Mr. U-Turn works his magic. Congratulations San Francisco Giants!

Posted by keithosaunders on November 2, 2010

The data you are about to read was complied by my best friend and greatest-ever Yankee fan, Jeff, of Where’s Mazzei fame.  None of the names have been changed to protect the innocent.  That’s because nobody is innocent.

Jeff writes:

 So it occurs to me that before you came to New York, the Mets were horrible, the Yankees were in decline, the Rangers were the Red Sox of the NHL while the Devils were the ultimate doormats.  The Nets and Knicks were going no place fast, and the Giants and Jets were inconsistent on the negative side. 

While you were here, [New York] the Mets became immediate contenders and won their first series in 17 years while the Yankees eventually turned themselves around for one of their best runs since the fifties.  The Rangers won their first cup in over 50 years while the Devils followed with 3 of their own.  The Nets and Knicks made it to 4 NBA finals, the Giants went to 4 Superbowls winning 3, and the Jets at least were able to win some post season games and make it to the AFC championship game which hadn’t happened in ages.  And now you are 3 months in the Bay Area and the Giants win their first World Series in over 50 years.  And when was the last time the Raiders and 49ers won on the same Sunday? 

 It’s ironic, however, that when you arrived in New York, [1984] the Islanders were the 4-time defending Stanley Cup champions.  The first year you were here for the hockey playoffs, they set the all-time  NHL record by winning their 19th straight playoff series only to get swept in the finals.  Except for that 4-overtime game 7 thriller in 1987, it’s been all downhill for them which is why when you come to town, the sports franchises call you “Mr. U-turn”.  Expect a call from the Clippers.

And so, as we bid a fond adieu to the 2010 baseball season and turn our full attention towards the  winter sports I would like to say congratulations to the most unlikely of champions — The San Francisco Giants.  Who would have thought way back in  April — even as late as August — that this team, whose highest profile player, Barry Zito, did not even make the post season roster, would emerge on top.  We also have to give it up to the Texas Rangers, another unlikely contender.  Though they finally ran out of gas this past week, they have had by far the best season in their franchise’s history and with any luck should be able to compete in the foreseeable future.   

San Francisco, my work here is done.  I am now weighing offers from Washington D.C., as well as Seattle.  Chicago called to enquire about the Cubs but I respectfully declined saying that this is beyond even my powers.  Now…how about those Oregon Ducks?!  

Edgar Renteria

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God bless take me out to the ballgame

Posted by keithosaunders on October 30, 2010

Thanks to the events of September 11th, 2001 we have to remove our shoes and belts, and allow our genitalia to be viewed by airport security.  I would gladly walk through the metal detector naked and submit to a full cavity search if it meant the end of the playing of God Bless America during the 7th inning stretch at baseball games.

One of the great things about attending a ball game is the visceral experience it provides of being transported to ones youth.  You never forget what it felt like to be a little kid with your Dad at a ballgame.  The organ music between innings, the hotdogs, and the look and sound of batting practice are engrained in my senses.  

One of my few acts of enthusiastic crowd participation is to sing along with the crowd during the 7th inning stretch.  It’s one of those times where I don’t mind being a little bit frivolous.  Somewhere along the way, however, and I blame the Yankees for this, it became de rigueur to play God Bless America in the middle of the 7th inning, either before, or instead of Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  At first it was only Yankee Stadium that foisted this dark reminder upon the fans, but lately more and more stadiums have taken up this practice.    

Whose idea was it to remind us of the worst day in New York City’s history during the middle of a damn ballgame?  We attend a game to escape the pressures and tension of real life, not to be whipped into a jingoistic state.  There is no greater buzz-kill than this morbid trip down memory lane. 

What’s worse is that Major League Baseball and the FOX network have codified this nouveau tradition on their telecasts by not breaking away during the playing of GBA during the 7th inning stretch.  Are they out of their minds?  How does this enhance our viewing pleasure?  I’d rather watch Cialis commercials than endure this contrived minute of patriotism. 

I have nothing against the song.  It’s not a bad little melody, actually — I like it more than the Star Spangled Banner — and I would have no problem putting it at the beginning of the game.  Here’s a thought:  Why not play God Bless America instead of the National Anthem?  It wouldn’t have to be every day.  How about Sundays, since God is so prominently featured in the title and lyric.  It’s just a game —  why not let it breathe?

Harry Caray

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Texas and San Francisco: An unlikely, yet delightful matchup

Posted by keithosaunders on October 27, 2010

I love these Series in which I have no rooting interest.  As a Mets fan you would think I would grow tired of this situation, but as documented earlier, my pathological Yankee  hatred prevents me from fully enjoying any Series that they are a part of.  

Some of my favorite non-rooting interest Series have been Pittsburgh v Baltimore, a 7 game thriller featuring my favorite, Willie Stargell, and the we-are-family Pirates.  Then there was the Phillies first Series victory the next year — a 6 game affair against the Kansas City Royals.  I also liked the 1982 Keith Hernandez, Willie McGee Cardinals, who beat the Brewers in 7 games.

OK, I now realize there are too many non-rooting interest Series to list, but you get the idea.  When your team is not involved it allows you to focus on the pure joy and beauty of baseball without the ulcer-inducing tension inherent in rooting for your team. 

Who am I rooting for this year?  I honestly don’t know.  I grew up in Los Angeles hating the Giants because we were supposed to hate the Giants.  Truthfully, however, I did not experience the real inter-city rivalry that my father did growing up in Brooklyn in the 30s and 40s.  The Giants were rarely good in the 70s and early 80s and so were not entirely on my radar. 

I love the way this Texas team plays ball but can I root for a team that was once owned by George Bush?  Not to mention the fact that I am currently living in San Fran, for crying out loud. 

So what I’m really rooting for is a 7 game Series.  If it goes 6 or 7 games I’m sure I’ll have been swayed one way or another.  We haven’t had a 7 game Series since 2002, which was the last time the Giants were involved.  They played the Angels and ended up losing in heart-breaking fashion.  They were ahead 3-2 in games going back to Anaheim, and blew a 5-0 7th inning lead in game 6 before losing the final game 4-1. 

Before I sign off for the day I would like to note that my moving to New York City in 1984 coincided with the emergence of the Mets as a force after a decade of horrible baseball.  Now I show up in the Bay Area and all of a sudden the Giants come from out of nowhere to appear in the fall classic.  Don’t you think that Seattle or Washington should want me to move to their cities?  I am considering all offers.  A nice penthouse apartment on K street, and Nationals season tickets would suit me fine.

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Texas vs San Francisco

Posted by keithosaunders on October 24, 2010

Everyone once in a while the good guys win and you remember why you like to watch sports.  There can’t be a more compelling matchup then these two talented and extremely likeable teams.  Sure, Yankees vs Giants would have been classic, and hopefully FOX would have seen it in their hearts to air some old footage, but the Yankees pitching this year was a cut below.  Perhaps they really are aging, but I’m sure they’ll retool and be back for next season.

The Phillies fans are miserable and do not deserve a winning team.  Pat Burrell was being interviewed and all of a sudden an audible boo could be heard from the remaining Phillies fans — they were booing the Giants who were exiting the field to celebrate in the clubhouse.  Burrell was aactually taken aback and said “I don’t know what they’re reacting to…”  As much as I hate the Yankees, their fans would never have done something so bush league after a defeat.

How can you not like these teams?  Texas is young, aggressive and plays with fire.  They take the extra base, pitch their asses off, and have plenty of pop between Hamilton, Cruz, and Vlady.  The Giants are more offensively challenged, but every game a different player seems to deliver the clutch hit.  Whether it’s Cody Ross, Juan Uribe, Burrell, or somebody else, there’s always somebody who steps up.  You can’t help but feel happy for Aubrey Huff, who seems like  a great guy, and will be going to his first Series.  With Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum dueling in game 1 we have an incredible matchup to look forward to.  

Texas has never won a Worlds Series in their 39 year history; 49 if you include their stint as the Washington Senators.  The Giants have won five Series, all in New York, the most recent being in 1954.  One way or another this year’s winner will hail from a city that has never had a championship.  As of now the Mariners, Nationals, Astros, Padres, Brewers, Rockies, Rays, and Rangers have never a title.  The Mariners and the Nationals are the only two teams never to have competed in a World Series.

For me, the good news is that both of the teams I rooted for made the Series.  The bad news is that I can no longer complain about small market teams not being able to make the Series.  Well…I’m sure I can find a way, but now is not the time.  Let’s have a beer.

Posted in baseball | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Tommy Hunter, this is your hour!

Posted by keithosaunders on October 19, 2010

I actually still think the Yankees are going to win this thing, but I’d admit to feeling a little cocky if the Rangers can somehow win tonight. The Yankees have their worst pitcher going — AJ Burnett — even though last year he somehow pitched a great World Series game in a similar situation. You never know what you’re going to get with A.J.

Why aren’t the Yankees starting C.C. Sabathia tonight? I seem to remember him going on short rest during last year’s playoffs and Series. Would they use him in game 5 and 7? (or would that be 2 days rest?)

Of course none of the Yankee fans have heard of Tommy Hunter, but he had a pretty good season going 13-4 with a 3.73 era. If it wasn’t for the 8th inning of game 1 the Yankees would be all but dead.

Unfortunately this means they are due to wake up. How long can you hold Texeira and Arod down?

So come on Rangers, remember the alamo, or whatever is it that psyches you up!

Cliff Lee riding herd.

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Hellraiser

Posted by keithosaunders on October 16, 2010

Last night’s pain was exquisite — worth of the Marque de Sade.  Clive Barker could not have drawn a more perfect script.  It was as if I was Frank with the hooks in my bare flesh and the Yankees were the Cenobites awaiting the perfect moment to tear my flesh apart.  It came in the 8th inning and it did not disappoint.

I have to admit that the Rangers fooled me.  I had watched them in the ALDS and was captivated by their hustle, ability to take the extra base, and of course, Cliff Lee.  I knew they would need a great performance by C.J. Wilson in game 1 of the ALCS and until the 8th inning he was superb.

The Rangers jumped out to a 3-0 lead (before there was even one out!) on Josh Hamilton’s home run, but failed to score the fourth run when a C.C. Sabathia wild pitch took a lucky carom allowing Jorge Posada to nab Nelson Cruz at the plate.  The next inning, when Francour made out with first and thrid and one out, I said to myself,  “They’re going to lose.”  It was only a matter of when.  When my wife arrived home from work and suggested going for a late afternoon walk I uncharacteristacally agreed, eschewing the DVR.  I figured that I’d seen the best part of this game and any more excitement would aggravate me. 

We arrived home an 90 minutes later and I checked mlb.com.  The score was 5-1 in the bottom of the 7th and I figured it was safe to turn the TV on.  It came on just as the Rangers made their final out in the 7th inning.  It would remain on for the next 25 minutes, a span which would see five Rangers pitchers and no Yankee outs.  

It couldn’t have been more perfect.  Before the game I had been crowing about the Rangers fire and hustle.  When Brett Gardner hit a medium roller to first and Jorge Cantu made a lackluster play getting rid of the ball it was just too perfect.  Not only were the Yankees going to erase a  five run lead, but they would expose my hack analysis. 

Thank you sir, may I have another?

Nolan Ryan!

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