October 2010 Archives

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When I found my way out to California this May, I was lucky enough to visit AT&T Park and see a tidy pitchers' duel between the Padres' Mat Latos and the Giants' Jonathan Sanchez. Latos came within one infield single of a perfect game but Sanchez was no slouch, either. (The slouches were sitting in the stands with me. Hi, Farthammer and Phillas!) Eight innings, five strikeouts, three hits, one walk. A tough luck loss for a talented pitcher, something that the Giants' rotation is used to.

No longer. With twenty runs scored in the first two games of the World Series, the Giants bats are hot hot hot and Sanchez is hoping to get even a fraction of the support his pitching mates got got got. Sanchez started Game 6 of the NLCS for the Giants but got a quick hook from an impatient Bruce Bochy after an ineffective two innings. Sanchez has never started a game in Arlington before tonight; a ballpark that can sometimes turn into a hothouse of hellishness. Which must explain why Jonathan jogged around yesterday and marked his territory in the stands.

I'm heading to The Big City to watch the game tonight with Liakos with the hopes that we see good, error-free baseball, and maybe even spot the elusive "Neftali Feliz" I've been hearing so much about. Maybe if we're hungry we'll hit up this new, hip Italian restaurant Tommy Lasorda recommended.

No glog tonight, but who's to stop you from commenting on this here post? Right? Follow Kris and I on the Twittersphere if you want to hear our cogent nonsense about the game.

(photo gently borrowed from the Gettys)

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Just like the Ian Kinsler long drive that sat atop the outfield wall before bouncing back on the field for a double instead of continuing over the fence for a home run, Ron Washington's bullpen management in a miasmic seven-run eighth inning nixed any chance for the Rangers to make up a 1-game deficit in the World Series. Washington's best reliever, young stud Neftali Feliz, was left doing Sudoku puzzles in the pen while lesser humans like Mark Lowe and someone named Michael Kirkman were thrown to the lions.

Not that it mattered with Matt Cain's fantastic performance. Cain stranded Kinsler at second with aplomb in the fifth. The Rangers failed to score against him, so every run that came after Edgar Renteria's solo homer (which I missed, thanks illegal Internet feed) was gravy. And such a delicious, meaty gravy it was.

(photo courtesy of our new pal @bubbaprog)

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Welcome to the official Walkoff Walk liveglog of the second game of the 2010 World Series! The National League champion Giants took a one game to none lead on the Texas Rangers last night in a high-scoring affair. But with a win tonight, the Rangers can still grab home field advantage from San Fran as the series moves to Texas, where postseason baseball is helping the locals forget just how bad the Cowboys are.

Your pitchers tonight are Matt Cain (one-time face of the franchise!) and C.J. Wilson (the taoist, liberal racist) and, if you are among the 342 million people in the United States who still have access to the FOX network, your announcers are these two schmucks:

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Ick! I feel sorry for you folks. Me, I'm just a poor, poor, pitiful Cablevision subscriber, so the FOX network is blacked out for me. Who do I blame in this miasma? Everyone! So I'll grin and listen to Kuiper and Krukow on the Giants radio network, via the MLB app on my iPhone. That should free up enough computer cycles for me to do an OLD SCHOOL LIVEGLOG.

So join me at 7:30PM this evening and dive on in. Little Ron Washington insists.



Here's Dallas reporter Newy Scruggs doing a stand-up outside AT&T Park in San Francisco prior to last night's World Series game one. Newy spots some locals hanging out smoking some wacky tabacky and cannot hold back expressing his shock and awe to the lobotomized newsreaders back at the studio.

"That's not cigarettes. That's weed. THAT'S WEED!

I think Newy just had flashbacks to that Cypress Hill show back in '92 at the Underground in Houston. Lucky for Newy's new friends, Juan Uribe's big home run last night means FREE WEED!

(via NBC Dallas-Forth Worth and Duk Stew)

2010 World Series Liveglog Club: Game 1

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When I say, "World Series!" you say, "Liveglog Club Blazers!"

Now, World Series!

(crickets)

You're all so self conscious. Ozzie Guillen just said he's gonna separate his heart from his brains. I was unaware they'd ever been connected on him, but I get what he's saying. Pick a side! Root with your whole throat! It's the Fall Classic, it's a starting pitching matchup for the ages, and I bought some Cranberry Lemonade Four Loko! Come get crunk after the jump. SEEEEEEERRRIIIIEEEESSSSS!

They say, "respect your elders". Okay, I try to follow that advice. Our senior citizens are a national treasure; they've got stories to tell we can learn important lessons from. Still, sometimes these old folks tell the same stories over and over and over again so very incessantly that we young folks might nod off while listening. Old folks are simply a rich but repetitive source of oral history and Dodgers legend (and world record-holder for most scungilli consumed in one sitting) Tommy Lasorda is no exception.

Kirk Gibson is auctioning off some of his 1988 World Series memorabilia for charity but could not attend the press conference in Los Angeles. In his stead, Lasorda spoke at the presser about Gibson's famous walkoff home run off A's pitcher Dennis Eckersley. It's a pretty interesting story if you haven't already heard it seventeen times already, including how Mike Davis drew a two-out walk, stole second with two strikes, and yet Eckersley still neglected to walk pinch-hitter Kirk Gibson with the open base. What a cafone!

Later, Tommy mentions that he never saw the ball leave the park because he was too busy ordering a post-game veal parmigiana sandwich from the clubhouse attendant.

Roberto Baly of the superb Dodgers fan blog Vin Scully Is My Homeboy (follow him on Twitter) was there and filmed Lasorda telling his tale. He also caught Lasorda scolding L.A. Times writer Bill Plaschke dozing off during Tommy's talk:


Part 2 - Tommy Lasorda (Kirk Gibson's Auction Items) from Roberto Baly on Vimeo.


The rest of Roberto's videos are here and here. I'll wait until about 11PM tonight to watch the rest of them. Should be a great sleeping aid.

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The professional sporting world is a tough place for a true eccentric. A true sense of individuality is hard to achieve when so much uniformity, hard work, and achievement is expected out of the world's highest echelon of athletes. But that doesn't stop some smart baseball players from trying to have a little bit of fun with the game, and it also doesn't stop the dumb ones, either.

The latest athlete to hit the spotlight and earn the descriptive word "eccentric" near his name is the closer for your National League Champion Giants, Brian Wilson. Oh what a crazy guy! Look at that beard! Haha, let's get a silly quote from him and scratch our heads!

But really, is Brian Wilson's bizarre behavior born and bred, or is he just putting on an act? To wit, Brian Wilson has made many nutty appearances on Walkoff Walk over the past three seasons, including one of our very first posts back in Feb 2008. Here's just a selection of the wackiness:

Then, in perhaps Brian Wilson's most egregious moment of affected oddball-ness, he had a very special friend, "The Machine", walk through the background of a television interview, and feigned ignorance. Check the 43-second mark of the video of this interview with FOX Sports' Chris Rose:


Clever! Funny, even. But eccentric? Far from it. Brian Wilson is just a smartass prankster with an audience primed on "Jackass" and "Punk'd". He's no poet, he's no genius, he's just a refreshingly hilarious guy with a wicked cutter and a desire to entertain.

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Here's something that you might not know about the world of baseball writing: when the team that one covers ends their season without making the playoffs, a beat writer for that disappointing team will actually be asked to continue writing about baseball, sometimes even writing about other, more successful teams. Crazy, right? I thought those guys just took six-month-vacations to Antigua.

So all your favorite Mets writers and Mariners bloggers are still filing stories. The good guys will put on their neutral fedoras with a generic press card stuck in the band and shed any biases they might have used during the regular season in order to provide fair coverage to the teams participating in the postseason. The bad guys will just crap all over the playoff teams out of sheer jealousy. Quite the dichotomy.

So let's take the easy road and dial up one of these sadsack writers who'd rather fan the flames of discord instead of writing intriguing human interest stories about Josh Hamilton's redemption song. The simplest target of all is our old pal Steve Dilbeck, Dodgers beat blogger for the Los Angeles Times, who manages to simultaneously insult both the Giants' fanbase, the Dodgers' longtime primary rival, and the enthusiastic fans of the American League champion Rangers:

The Giants are going to the World Series. Some nightmares really can become too real. The Giants and their Halloween-colored uniforms and their wine-sipping fans are going to the World Series.

This provides the answer to the heretofore never imagined question: How do you turn the entire city of Los Angeles into Texas Rangers fans? And until today, I don't think I ever met a Texas Rangers fan.

I've never met a Texas Rangers fan either but (a) I've never been to Texas and (b) I know they exist because I've seen them on television and, unfortunately, in the Oval Office. On the other hand, I've met Houston Astros fans in person but I'm not quite convinced that they weren't actually Russian spies.

I was at a local Division-III football game Saturday night, and when the PA guy announced the Giants had won, it was actually greeted by a spattering of applause. I popped up and told them all to leave immediately.

The Giants have been hiding in the fog since 1958. Haven't won a single World Series since moving to San Francisco from New York. Meanwhile, down in blissfully beautiful L.A., the Dodgers have won five. It's such a great thing.

I guess Dodgers fans hang on to the past as much as Tommy Lasorda hangs on to used up rinds of Parmigiano-Reggiano for that healthy winter minestrone he'll never make. Yes, the boys in blue have won five titles since their big westward move, but haven't even won a pennant since 1988. Meanwhile, this is the Giants' third pennant in that span. Love the fog joke though, Steverino. Now give us that bonus insult of another successful team:

I don't know much about the Rangers, except they have Cliff Lee and the Dodgers don't. They play in Ft. Worth, like to call it Dallas-Fort Worth and call themselves the Texas Rangers. When you have that kind of identity crisis, it's no wonder you can't find you way to the postseason.

No matter, I am now a huge fan of the Rangers, whoever they are.

Naturally, our trusty reporter Dilbeck remembers Cliff Lee who memorably pitched eight innings of shutout ball against the Dodgers in last year's NLCS game three. Those ten strikeouts and zero walks will make a fella very hard to forget. And speaking of forgetting, Dodgers fans should immediately forget the idea that Cliff Lee might sign a contract with L.A. this winter. What big-time free agent would want to join a team with a brand-new, inexperienced manager and a team whose finances are threatened by feuding owners in a divorce proceeding?

But for now, Cliff Lee's in the World Series and we should salute him and his team's fans. Let's smash those sour grapes and make some sour wine to get the Dilbecks of the world drunk on good baseball.

greatsantinifamily1.jpegWelcome to Walkoff Walk coverage of Game Six of the American League Championship Series, in which the Texas Rangers take on the role of a stern father demanding his young child get back inside this instant. The New York Yankees will depict said child, begging for one more game.

Yes, this makes Cliff Lee the belt, plainly in view and in position to be unleashed on the unruly.

Join us in the liveglog hereabouts to witness Colby Lewis using his big boy voice to chase down the Yankees like Dad told him to and Phil Hughes putting on his best petulant face. Also, Josh Hamilton will probably make out with your girlfriend. It's what he does.


...but that doesn't mean the game is any less important. Just ask that horrible Yankees fan in that horrible video above. It's putting me in a trance! Love the Thriller-era Michael Jackson red leather jacket, though. Classy touch. But yes, it is true: the Yankees must win Game 6 to push this nonsense another night and give America what it thirsts for: Cliff Lee in a deciding Game 7. I am salivating at the thought.

Come back here tonight at 8PM sharp to witness the glory that is a Tuffy-produced liveglog. Our fabulous Phoenix friend was last seen around these parts killing it during the 2009 World Series and we welcome him back with open arms. After all, he glogged two very important games: the Johnny Damon double steal game and the clinching Game Six. He's practically a good luck charm for the Yanks.

Follow Tuffy on Twitter and don't hold that fact against him



I realize that our nation is barely struggling its way out of a crippling recession, and I realize that Florida, with its numerous foreclosures, abandoned empty lots, and crippling unemployment, is the epicenter. But who thought that one of our real heroes, Florida Marlins rookie outfielder Logan Morrison, would be affected in such a stark and criminal manner?

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That's the charming Morrison's sweet ride up on blocks (well, up on two blocks) outside his South Florida condo. Looks like some unsavory characters descended in the night and walked away with four new tires, presumably to have some good times. Sure, LoMo's got enough cash to buy a fancy, white Lexus but as he is still yet unable to cash in with free agent dollars, he's too poor to get his McMansion in a safe neighborhood.

No worries, I'm sure insurance will cover the loss, so I can only hope Logan paid his GEICO bill. It's so easy, even a baseball player can do it.

UPDATE: It's not Logan's car. But my point remains: Logan Morrison is charming and not wealthy but he lives in Florida, which sucks.

timmy.jpgOh boy are we in for a treat.

Big Time Timmy Jim is on the AT&T Park hill tonight against everyone's favorite OB/GYN, Doc Halladay. Honestly, I can hardly contain my excitement.

Tim Lincecum is like the pot-smoking Joe Mauer of the National League to me. In short, he's a man after my own heart who also pitches for a living in a crushingly-dominating-adorable sort of way. Plus, he strikes people out all the time. Everyone knows K is the sexiest letter in the alphabet.

Of course, that doesn't mean I dislike the Phillies. Roy #1 threw a no-hitter a couple weeks ago, and who can argue with that? Jayson Werth's beard is really good at baseball, as is Chutley and Big Brown. Ross Gload is also amazing... Please don't make me choose.

P.S. I learned from Al Leiter today that Cody Ross is more or less "Sorry Doc" spelled backwards. Very interesting.

...and glog.



Be very careful, Phillies fans: Tim Lincecum is driving the Giants station wagon tonight and it'll take another masterful performance by Roy Halladay to stop San Francisco from advancing to the World Series. Game Five of the NLCS gets underway tonight and our very good friend Sooze from Babes Love Baseball will be our very special guest glogger.

Normally I'd ask you to be on your best behavior but Sooze is such a sharp-witted badass that it would almost benefit you smartasses to be on your worst behavior, just so you can keep up. Press your blazers, folks. Tonight is going to be one awesome glog. See you at 8PM EDT, right after those of us east of the Rockies have watched MDT on Jeopardy!

(credit for that fannntastic GIF should go to mymclife, I think.)

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In what seems to be a marriage made in hell, noted beltway rag The Washington Post has created a content-sharing deal with the idiotic fan-driven blog platform Bleacher Report. What is Bleacher Report, pray tell? Well imagine the irrational writing here at Walkoff Walk except with fewer babies dressed as animals and more Top Ten Female Golfer Cleavages slideshows.

To that end, any schmuck with a computer and a 9600 baud modem can 'publish' their 'thoughts' and 'opinions' about sports for anyone who deigns to visit the WaPo site and dare look for any sports coverage that isn't The Bog. Meanwhile, our stupid opinions and unfounded theses go completely unnoticed by the mass media. Where's our multi-million dollar cross-publishing deal? We're waiting for the phone call, Bon Appetit magazine.

The unsavory relationship between the two 'media' companies must have already been consummated, though, because when I opened up my copy of the broadsheet in the Walkoff Walk offices this morning, I saw this hilarious opinion piece written by none other than Phillies legend Mike Schmidt! Ha, it's funny because he was once a baseball player.

Here are Schmidt's thoughts on why the hitters have struggled so much this postseason. Hint: it's not the stellar pitching and defense, no no no!

Why is it so tough to put together a rally in this postseason?

I have the credentials to answer the question, maybe better credentials than anybody. I have two World Series trophies in my office - an MVP and a "Goat." In 1980, I hit in every game and had seven RBIs as we won the championship. In 1983, I went 1 for 20 with no RBIs and got the "Goat" trophy as we lost in five to the Orioles. What was the difference?

The difference was not the high quality pitching, it was my ability to execute my game plan in a relaxed at-bat.

In 1980, I got hits early and relaxed, a la Cody Ross. In 1983, I lined out against the right-center field wall with men on base the first two at-bats and started to press.

There's a big difference in "feel" and "confidence" when you hit in a big series early. It makes you relax, it gives you a sense that there's nothing to prove, that you've shown the opponent, your team and fans that you do hit under pressure.

So stop stressing so much, Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Howard and Vlad Guerrero! Relax a bit, chill out. Here, drink some of Dmac's Mike Schmidt Wine. There's no need to think so much about what pitches are being thrown or what location the pitchers are putting them in. Roy Halladay? Cliff Lee? Tim Lincecum? Chumps! They can all be beaten with the power of positive thinking.

Maybe Derek Jeter needs to start meditating at the plate and going to his happy place. After all, it's working for the Rangers' star slugger:

Josh Hamilton is a good example of a hitter in these playoffs that has a carefree approach at a time when most clam up. He hits with a smile, a soft stride and easy swing. He doesn't clamp down when he connects, just applies the sweet spot and lets the ball go where it wants - 380 feet is far enough.

Mike Schmidt's key to good hitting? Smiling! Man, if Tony Romo were a third baseman, he'd already be in Cooperstown. So Josh Hamilton's success has nothing to do with Boone Logan hanging sliders in Josh's hot zone, it's just because Hamilton is standing in that batter's box thinking of unicorns and rainbows.

(Sending a pallet of Diet Coke to the BBTF Newsblog)

Wednessday Afternoon Liveglog Club: ALCS Game Five

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The champagne is on ice for all y'all. Except the oft mentioned Yankee fan jamooks. And Josh Hamilton. And the rest of the Rangers I guess since they're all empathetic and stuff. Anyway you get the point. The Rangers can clinch. And I have internet finally after moving to New York City! Let's glog, friends.

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When playoff time comes around and the crisp, autumnal chill descends upon our American ballparks, the cold feelings of remorse and regret follow quickly after any loss, be it close or of the blowout variety. The only thing that fans of losing teams have to warm them on mornings after sad outcomes is the wasted heat energy generated by brain matter that over-analyzes every managerial move. I know this to be true. There is a second-guessing, coal-burning oven in my noggin as I type this emitting all kinds of irrational ideas and carbon monoxide.

We are all Wednesday morning bench coaches; we are all op-ed columnists and television squawking heads. At our water-coolers and on the Twittersphere, fans and non-fans alike will look back and judge. What do we judge? Every damn thing, from the fastball left too high to the jamooks who lean over outfield walls to the cable outlets who don't protect their video equipment well enough. But more than anything, we judge the discretion and decisions of managers, and usually give them far too much credit for both success and failure.

For the second night in a row, the Texas Rangers piled run after run upon the recently beleaguered Yankees bullpen, turning an otherwise close game into a huge blowout. So when we look back and write our history of Game 4 of the 2010 ALCS, do we judge Yankees manager Joe Girardi for leaning too hard on his 'pen or not leaning hard enough on the relief crew?

Was Girardi's decision to intentionally walk David Murphy ahead of eventual game-winning homer-hitting Bengie Molina a mistake? Or did his error lie in the fact that he didn't call on warmed-up reliever Joba Chamberlain to pitch? Did Girardi mismanage the 'pen later in the game by asking Boone Logan to retire Josh Hamilton? Or was Hamilton simply too good for any Yankees reliever to retire?

All of these questions, whether or not you have a good answer for them, are rendered moot by the final score. So instead of second-guessing a manager, or cursing the bad timing of Mark Teixeira's hamstring strain, perhaps the Yankees fans are better off shrugging their shoulders when they try to understand why everything went wrong.

Or better yet, Yankees fans ought to look at this shockingly dominant Rangers team and tip their caps. The Rangers can pitch, the Rangers can hit. They did both last night with far, far better results than the Yankees. So Girardi made a couple bad moves, but in the end, it was all for naught. Texas is a hot team and even the cold-hearted jamooks can give credit where it's due.

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The Giants and Phillies are set to start the third game of the NLCS under the San Francisco sun any moment now, but let's look ahead to the thrills of the night: it's the Rangers and the Yankees in the fourth game of the ALCS, starring A.J. Burnett, Tommy Hunter, and Francisco Cervelli! The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of the Bronx, amirite?

The Giants have invited indie-rock cover boy Ben Gibbard to sing the National Anthem and he's bringing along his twee lady Zooey Deschanel to croon God Bless America. The Yankees, on the other hand, counter with some dumb country singer and someone named Patrick Wilson. I told you, they only bring in the true stars in New York City. (/tugs at collar awkwardly)

Also of note: Matt DeTura continues his reign of terror over the Jeopardy studios tonight, so check your local listings. It's a busy TV night and if I catch you watching "Glee", I'll suspend your commenting privileges.

So join us at 8PM to liveglog the only game of the day I can actually watch on my television set. See you then. You too, lobster baby.


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Look, here are Cliff Lee's "Career Pitch Count High's." Career Pitch Count High is a band Cliff Lee is in, and the group owns something.

Only if TBS had messed up your/you're would I have been more incredulous last night.

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Once you fill out this stack of forms I'll take you to meet Kenny in payroll and he'll go over direct deposit. By the by, his office is next to the FREE coffee machine. Just please try and go easy on the flavored creamer, we're in a recession.

I'm looking at YOU, Eric Wedge. The Mariners have, by all accounts, hired the former Indians skipper as their new skipper. I guess when you're still longing for the halcyon days of being managed by Mike Hargrove you retain the services of a younger Mike Hargrove. Genius! And how about those Indians, a team currently under the tutelage of Patton-like leader of men, Manny Acta? Any sage advice for Mariners fans as they embrace being Wedgied? Let's turn to the always wonderful Indians Comment of The Day:

"Seattle fans should prepare to see their backup catcher in right field, their first baseman in left field, three career utility guys in the infield and a different lineup and batting order every day." -blackohiosky

So uh, good luck with all that M's fans. Geoff Baker's LiveJournal is gonna explode!

Seattle isn't the only place planting the seeds of their 2011 campaign in old manager compost. The Cardinals announced that Tony LaRussa is coming back for a 16th season. That's a lot. And excitement has reached a fever pitch.

Financial terms were not disclosed on the new contract, finalized 15 days after the end of a disappointing season that left the 66-year-old La Russa wondering if he'd worn out his welcome. The Cardinals won the World Series in 2006 but have missed the postseason three of the past four seasons.

"For the last 10 days or so, Tony and I have had daily dialogue," general manager John Mozeliak said. "And I'm happy to report that we're welcoming him back."

Jesus. Were the negotiations held in couple's therapy? Have a manager and team ever "stayed together for the kids" before? The Cardinals had a lousy year and played flat, uninspired baseball to the point where one of their announcers said they had "poopy in their pants".

Yes. Bring that manager back. Everyone, bring every manager back ever. We are not taking any new candidates. The managerial pool is full and new slots will only be brought on by death. Thank you.

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This is Matt DeTura. You might remember him from the 2009 Walkoff Walk Field Trip: the Citizens Bank Heist or the 2010 Walkoff Walk Field Trip: the PNC Park Heist. But after tonight, he'll be far more memorable for either winning a massive amount of scratch or disappointing millions with a distant third place finish when he appears on the popular syndicated quiz show "Jeopardy!".

Matt actually flew out to Los Angeles from Pittsburgh just a day after the 2010 Heist to tape his episode(s), so if he wins big bucks, we can slap each other on the back here at the Walkoff Walk offices knowing that we helped Matt relax and prepare for his big day. Of course, if he falls flat on his face and flops, we'll take credit for that, too, and send him a bouquet of dead flowers to apologize.

Tune in tonight (check your local listings) to see Matt aka MDT test his mettle against two chuckleheads and the non-mustachioed Alex Trebek. Check out his "Hometown Howdy" video over at the Jeopardy site and then enjoy the special message Matt recorded specifically for the Walkoff Walk readers.

So hit the bricks, Phil Catelinet. There's a new #HEIST attendee to make a splash on television and, hopefully, he'll walk away with a gigantic bag of Money Baby.

UPDATE: He won!

On the same day that Rob somehow condensed the playoffs into a series of anthemic power-ballads, another video was posted with the power to capture our bandwidth and our hearts. To attempt to encompass it's brilliance with the limits of the English language would be suicidal. As mortals we must merely behold...and surrender to it and the infinite awesomeness of its Freakish muse. SING, GODDESS!1





1 First Homeric reference on WoW?

A lot of Coke Zero to the ever-awesome 'Duk at Big League Stew.

Finally, after a brutal two-night absence from playoff baseball, the League Championship Series(es?) are set to kick off tonight with the Texas Rangers hosting the New York Yankees. The Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants will start tomorrow night and we'll have, at the very least, four more consecutive nights of hot LCS action. Walkoff Walk will take a break from liveglogging this weekend but we'll be back on the beat Monday night for the big Cliff Lee-Andy Pettitte matchup in the Bronx.

To get you into the playoff mood, I've named myself your musical sommelier for the day and selected four different postseason anthems, one for each team. Sample each one and tell me which is more to your taste, and which one makes you want to drive an icepick into your eardrums, then leave your LCS predictions in the comment section.

Texas Rangers, "The Claw"


New York Yankees, "Dynamite"


San Francisco Giants, "Don't Stop Believing"


Philadelphia Phillies, "Untitled"


The Phillies' jawn is easily my favorite and I'm taking the Yankees in four and the Giants in seven. How's about you, chucklehead?

All week, baseball fans online have been talking about "MoneyBART," Sunday's episode of The Simpsons that espoused sabermetric principles and featured an opening storyboarded by Banksy. Pfft. This is old hat.

Many people have thought this was the first time baseball statheads have made it on a television program. Not so! The other Saturday, after cartoons, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody came on, and the above clip -- which counts as E/I programming -- clearly shows Mr. Moseby (Phill Lewis) talking about how base stealing is overrated, a common sabermetric argument. He claims to have learned in the Baseball Encyclopedia, but we all know he was reading one of Bill James' old Baseball Abstracts.

The NFL has its strictly-enforced Rooney Rule, but when it comes to hiring minorities to fill managerial roles, baseball has been doing a pretty decent job on its own ever since Al Campanis had his Jimmy the Greek moment. It is essential for professional sports teams to consider all qualified candidates for a job regardless of race, color, creed, or ability to execute the double-switch.

Sometimes though, even if a team has decided which manager they want to hire, they'll go ahead and open up the interview process to some other candidates, just for appearance's sake. Dale Sveum doesn't mind. He likes the frequent flier miles.

Here then is a list of some of the candidates for managerial openings in places like Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and Seattle, and the associated minority group or special category they represent.

Name
Identifying group
Career record
What's his deal
cecil-cooper1.jpg Cecil Cooper African-American men with goatees
171-170
Interviewed for the Mariners job but also under consideration to return to his roots in Milwaukee. Probably far better than his record indicates since he rallied a terrible Astros team to a good finish.
(See also: Don Baylor, Lloyd McClendon)
kenmacha.jpg Ken Macha Doddering senior-citizens
525-447
Absent-minded perfessors need love, too! Macha's bullpen management in Oakland and Milwaukee was questionable at best but the Pirates need to make sure AARP doesn't file an ageism suit.
(See also: Tommy Lasorda)
bob-melvin.jpg Bob Melvin Menschy control freaks
493-508
Could be a candidate for the Jays job but he calls for bunts too much. Smart fella, but he could opt not to work on certain fall holidays if his new team ever makes the World Series.
(See also: Gabe Kapler, Larry Rothschild)
timwallach.jpg Tim Wallach Former Expos
NULL
Wallach has no MLB managerial experience but was named the 2009 Manager of the Year in the PCL. He's up for the Blue Jays job but in the end, Ontario folk could care less aboot those jerks in Montreal.

(See also: Gary Carter, Ned Yost)

bobbrenly.jpg Bob Brenly Learning-disabled yokels in the media
303-262
Former managers on television have almost a hypnotic effect on baseball execs but it's a dangerous hire. If you listened to Brenly's "analysis" on TBS during the LDS, you agree that his brain has pretty much melted in broadcasting.
(See also Bobby Valentine)
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Good news, Red Sox fans: if Bud Selig has his way, we may be seeing the incremental expansion of baseball playoffs to include possible third place teams as soon as next season! Not good enough to win your division or finish in second place? No worries! As per Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune:

Commissioner Bud Selig has confirmed baseball is studying possibilities to expand the postseason field. Eight teams currently go, but there is strong consideration being given to increasing that number to 10, beginning as soon as 2011. The new games would provide programming for the MLB Network and allow fringe teams to remain competitive deeper into September.

No surprise there; more playoff teams mean more late season jockeying for position, higher attendance, and more ratings. The capitalist in me who wants my favorite sport to succeed financially agrees, but the cynic in me wonders if an extra playoff team will saturate the postseason and cheapen it for everyone involved.

The introduction of the wildcard made baseball purists bristle and made many accuse Selig and the owners of making a crass money grab. But in light of great teams that missed the playoffs like the 1993 San Francisco Giants and their 103-59 record, forward-thinking folks agreed that the expansion of the playoffs just made sense for fairness' sake.

In this case, it's not only the purists who will decry a change in format but also the sabermetrically-minded people who question whether that second wild card team per league deserves to compete as much as the first wild card team. The blog Walk Like a Sabermetrician ran the numbers to see how the extra team would fare:

In the 32-league seasons since the wildcard was implemented (1995-2010), the average W% for the best team in the league is .620. The second-best division winner averages .583, the third-best .556. The wildcard team is .573 on average, while the team that would be the second wildcard averages .548.

So on average, the first wild-card team's record is far better than the worst division winner while that potential second wild-card team's record is slightly worse. Imagine then the potential situation in Selig's new system: you'd have two Wild Card teams, one with a great record, one with an average record, play either a three-game series or a winner-takes-all elimination game. Meanwhile, the third division winner skates into the Division Series despite having a far worse record than the first Wild Card team. How is this even remotely fair?

Not to mention the "ick" factor associated with promoting a mere third place finisher into the postseason. Remember your schadenfreude-induced glee in 2008 when the Yankees missed the playoffs? Under this system, they would have been still playing in October. You really want that?

So what's a better solution for adding playoff teams? Simple: expand MLB to 32 teams, return to four divisions, and reward two Division winners and three Wild Card slots per league. That way, you'd guarantee that the fourth and fifth best records in the league would be fighting for that final spot. An even better idea would be to eliminate divisions entirely and just take the top four, five, or even six teams per league, but that's too radical. Instead, there should still be some sort of geographical separation between divisions.

But under the current three-division system, to punish a strong wild card team by making them play a weaker, potentially third-place team in a luck-filled three-game series is just ridiculous. If Bud wants better TV ratings and higher attendance, do the smart thing and move the Rays to Jersey.

(links via Tango at The Book Blog and David Pinto's Fribble Musings)

Tonight: the first LDS to go the distance since the Angels somehow beat the Yankees in five games back in 2005. It's a repeat pitching matchup from Game One, when Cliff Lee outshone David Price. Tropicana Field will be hopping tonight - the team sold 5,000 extra, obstructed-view seats in the upper deck - so we've brought in a special guest glogger to handle all the cowbell and Dick Vitale.

Thanks to njpaNick for agreeing to host tonight's liveglog. Please follow him on Twitter or read his Tumblr if you want to stroke his ego a bit more.

Come back here at 8PM sharp and follow along with us as we chit-chat about the big Rays-Rangers game. Afterwards, there will be coffee and pie in the Walkoff Walk basement.


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San Francisco Giants outfielder Cody Ross, who in last night's NLDS-clinching win hit a solo home run that broke up Derek Lowe's no-hitter and later hit the eventual game-winning RBI single, was not even supposed to be on the Giants roster. Acquired via a mid-August waiver claim, the Giants didn't even need or want the guy; they were only trying to prevent their desperate, offense-hungry division rival, the Padres, from claiming him.

Turns out that things worked out quite nicely for Giants G.M. Brian Sabean, despite his seemingly bizarre manner of collecting mediocre outfield talent. As if picking up Pat Burrell and Jose Guillen wasn't enough, Sabean threw a gigantic butterfly net over Ross' head and, while they successfully blocked the Padres from working out a trade, they were stuck with their sixth (seventh if you include Aubrey Huff) two-tool outfielder. The Marlins were so ready to part ways with Ross and promote young Cameron Maybin that Jeff Loria himself helped stuff Cody's carry-on with an extra pair of boxer briefs and a souvenir Billy the Marlin bobblehead. Ouch, pointy!

Ross, the accidental Giant, turned out to be the unexpected hero. He finished the series with four hits, three RBI, and one huge homer. There is no MVP in a Division Series, but when all four games are decided by just one run, when any of the games could have easily been won by either team, when the pitching is stout and the defense is questionable at best, I'd have to say that Cody Ross is easily the Most Valuable Unwanted Player of the entire LDS week.

For fans of schadenfreude, I suggest you temper your expectations. Bobby Cox has benched the erratic Brooks Conrad in favor of shifting Omar Infante to second base and allowing oldster Troy Glaus to man the hot corner. Nevertheless, the Braves will attempt to stave off elimination tonight at 7:30PM against Madison Bumgarner and the Giants. Go ahead, Madison. Garner all the bums you want, but Derek Lowe on three days' rest will induce wormballs aplenty.

Glogfolk, get your liveglog blazers ready. See you later.


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Baseball-nutty customers of the country's eighth largest cable television company may soon be up shit's proverbial creek without the necessary paddle come October 16th, as two corporations are engaged in a standoff over fees that may result in Cablevision pulling the FOX network from their platform entirely. Tough news for any baseball fans among the three million Cablevision subscribers: the NLCS starts that same day, and a prolonged pissing match between these two conglomerates may keep the World Series off their television sets, too.

So, what's the big deal here? Why is the average American schmuck stuck in the middle?

Carriage contract talks have become more bruising as TV companies push for the first time to land monthly cash fees for broadcast networks. Cable- and satellite-TV operators say they try to withstand fee demands to avoid passing on costs to their customers' bills. As contract deadlines creep closer, each side blames each other for possible losses of favorite shows.

So Cablevision charges me, the customer, to receive the FOX network over their wires but FOX gets none of those fees. Now both companies are pushing advertising campaigns to get public support on their side in this horrible money grab, but in the end, they'll both lose.

Yes, this is just a regional problem in the greater New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania-Connecticut area. But (a) the two teams most favored to reach the World Series have fans concentrated in the reach of Cablevision's claws and (b) the same thing could happen to any fan in any state. What's the solution here? Simple, the FCC must allow and encourage more competition for carriers of television signals. But that's another post for another blog. How am I going to watch baseball this weekend?

Right now in my condo, my options are either subscribe to Cablevision or go watch baseball in a sports bar, which is what I did for most of the 2002 season, when Cablevision refused to carry the then brand new YES Network. But there are only so many Presidente margaritas I can quaff and so many Oldtimer burgers I can ingest at the Chili's down the street. If this nonsense means I cannot watch the NLCS and the World Series from the comfort of my sofa, I may have to resort to watching illegal feeds on my laptop. My hand would be forced!

No, access to crappy television shows like "Glee" is not an inalienable right, but access to baseball, our bucolic national pastime, sure the hell is. I'm pretty sure Abraham Lincoln mentioned it in the Gettysburg Address and I'm almost positive that I check off a box on my tax return every year donating $1 to the Keep the MLB Anti-Trust Exemption Alive and Well fund. Therefore and henceforth, no conglomerated corporation can keep me away from the World Series. Go ahead and fight, FOX and Cablevision. Baseball will find a way.

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Bill Buckner. Brooks Conrad. Napoleon in Russia. What do these three people have in common? Well, besides the heartbreaking, soul-crushing, game-changing errors they committed that changed forever the course of history, none of them have ever been in my kitchen. But just like Buckner and Napoleon before him, Atlanta Braves "second baseman" Brooks Conrad was just a regular person in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Conrad made three egregious errors in yesterday's 3-2 Braves loss, two of which led directly towards Giants runs. Just one-half inning after Eric Hinske smacked a two-run tater tot that put the Braves up 2-1, Conrad let a Buster Posey ground ball split his sticky wickets and roll tauntingly into the outfield, which let the winning run score. Therefore and henceforth, Brooks Conrad deserves ridicule and derision from non-Braves fans, and he deserves to be ridden out of town on a rail by the marauding hoards in Turner Field, right?

Well, not so fast, hoards. Brooks Conrad is a patsy, he's a red herring for a greater problem plaguing the 2010 Fightin' Bobby Coxes. Injuries have so plagued the Braves infield this season (see: Jones, Chipper and Prado, Martin) that they started a crucial playoff game with a scrub playing second base who had only made 11 career starts at the position. That's like preparing for your bar exam by watching a seven-hour marathon of "Judge Judy". That's like training for a triathlon by pedaling a tricycle downhill into a pond. That's like invading a cold, tundra-covered country lacking an established agriculture with an army that can only survive by living off the land. It just makes no sense, you see!

Were Bobby Cox' hands tied? Well not literally, but yeah, he had to start Conrad over light-hitting Diory Hernandez. The Braves are carrying eight 1B/OF types against only four middle infielder-type dudes, so he didn't have many options to pencil in the lineup. But there's a reason Abner Doubleday invented the bench player: so Bobby Cox could bench Conrad, who had made five errors in six games before Sunday's miasma, in favor of the defensively-skilled Hernandez late in the game.

So we can do one of two things now. Sit here and play "Second Guess the Old Codger" or we can realize that my amateur Monday morning managing is ridiculous. After all, there's another game to play tonight and, if Bobby Cox is smart, he'll put Conrad through a nightmarish gauntlet of Tom Emanski defensive drills so hellish it would even make Fred McGriff wet himself.

While Catshirt is in the middle of a major life changing event and yours truly heads to the South Bronx Applebees for some pregame riblets, our pal The Colonel will be your host tonight for the Twins-Yankees liveglog. Treat him with the same respect you'd give me or Kris. By that I mean give him a clever nickname and crap all over his heritage and upbringing.

To the glog, which commences at 8:15PM EDT:


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Gonna try something different tonight, folks. Come back here at 8PM for the first ever Walkoff Walk Primetime Overlap Glog where we'll chat about the rear end of the Phillies-Reds tilt and the front end of the Giants-Braves game. It makes no sense whatsoever, and that's why we're doing it. Although this way, I don't have to choose one of the two games to glog. I can do both! Our Braves fan friends and our Phillies fan friends can co-exist in peace. You too, Giants fan friend.

Also, this means I can do some food-shopping before I sit in front of my dumb laptop and stupid TV all night long, and so I can get to bed at a reasonable hour so I can wake up early and train for a triathlon.

So, see you in a bit for the debut of the WoW POG.

Sorry folks, something came up so I am going to have to cancel the liveglog. My bad.

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Sunday is going to be a busy day in downtown Cincinnati. Not only are the Bengals hosting the Tampa Bay Bucca...zzzzzz, not only are there TWO performances of Disney On Ice, but the Reds are hosting their first home game since Ron Gant was their home run leader. These three events are expected to draw over 100,000 excited people to the area. Sounds like a lot of fun actually, and I'm happy for the city.

But the KY Post (an online newspaper, not a Johnson & Johnson info site) apparently thinks that Reds fans are so out of practice at this whole playoff thing that they're gonna hold everyone's hands and walk them through this strange new postseason world.

On a collection of different reseller web sites from Major League Baseball's site to goticket.com and stubhub.com, available tickets for the 7 p.m. Reds-Phillies game are going from $200 to almost $400 for mid-level seats.

Depending on how the Reds play in game two of their series in Philadelphia on Friday, it could help push prices for remaining tickets even higher.

Well, that's not so egregious. We all know that scalpers have been part of the scene since tickets were invented, but if you just woke up from 1995 not only would you have bad breath and be horrified when you saw a current picture of Courtney Cox, but the omnipresence of legalized scalping in the form of brokers would be new to you. Now let's say you don't wanna pay these newjack crooks the bounty they're demanding. Well the KY Post has you covered there too.

A cheaper alternative for those who can live without seeing the game in person is to find a favorite bar or restaurant showing the game.

For the price of tickets currently available, you could easily pay for dinner for yourself, your family and some friends to watch the game on a wide screen high definition TV at your favorite watering hole.

If you select the restaurant option, consider calling ahead today or Saturday and seeing if you need to make reservations to get the best seats at that restaurant.

Good suggestions, but let me add a couple of my own. When you get to restaurant or "watering hole" don't just yell out names of things you feel like you want to eat. Ask for a menu. That will have all of the things that they serve on it. If you spill chili all over your Aaron Harang jersey, ask for a napkin. They will give it to you for free, and there may even be one at your table already. When your meal and/or the game is over, leave the restaurant and return home. You're not allowed to live there.

Along those same lines, I have one final tip for the Reds themselves. If you want to win the game you should try and get a hit this time.

SadGuy.jpgOne would think that the first half-dozen or so playoff games (and the poignant love-letters that followed) would stoke interest in baseball, bringing the warm & fuzzy feelings we all harbour to the fore. Celebrate the grand old game! History! Intensity! All that good stuff.

Not emo poster boy Geoff Baker. No sir, Geoff Baker took to the electronic pages to launch an epic diatribe against the lowly Mariners and his job in general. Take it away, Sad Girl's Dad:

Trying to cover this team as if it mattered from about May 1 on was a gargantuan task this year, none like any other I've been put through in 13 seasons of writing about MLB. In all of those years combined, there were not as many off-field distractions that required me to put pen to paper.

It's been too much. It made this blog a less fun place to be for me, and for you, at times.

Nothing personal folks. It's been a tough year on everybody. The second time in three years this has happened.

Baker assails the cult of personality surrounding the Mariners front office and ownership. Like a good and righteous arbiter of fact, he couches much of this in "this fanbase deserves better" sentiment, though it comes across more as his own belief that the ownership is misguided and out of touch.

Baker's deep pools of melancholy don't stop there, oh no. His very next blog post features, in very Bakerish fashion, a photo snapped of one of his clippings, a full-page feature on Roy Halladay. Baker casts doubt that any Mariners prospects could stand up to the abuse and scrutiny hurled at Halladay by Mel Queen in 2001.

Before getting to that, Baker simultaneously links to and calls-out two separate posts he believes stole liberally from his original Halladay feature. An odd decision, though I suppose he's doing his readers a service?

All the praise and adulation heaped upon Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik sets the contrarian muscles in Geoff Baker twitching. As soon as the process and the results fail to match up, Baker proudly annoucnes his independence from the Jack Z Appreciation Society. Baker proclaims a local radio appearance as a "kool-aid free discussion."

There isn't anything wrong with healthy skepticism from the reporters charged with covering a team. As we've teased here for nearly 3 years, it is the overwhelming angst with which Geoff Baker goes about his daily business that drives us batty and makes us laugh. Get this man a tanning bed! The rainy days in Seattle not only washed away Baker's zeal for his job, apparently his sense of humor and will to live went with it too.

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That's San Fran catcher Buster Posey stealing second base in the fourth inning of last night's Giants-Braves tilt. Posey would come around to score the only run of the game and the Giants would prevail behind the super-dominant pitching styles of Tim Lincecum. Tidy, right? Too bad Posey should have been called out.

Replays on TBS showed, without a shadow of a doubt, that Braves second baseman Brooks Conrad applied a tag before Posey's foot touched the bag, yet the umpire called him safe. Announcers Dick Stockton and Bob Brenly, however, did not say a damn thing about the botched call and missed a huge opportunity to visit the popular talking point of instant replay.

We've asked for it before. On more than one occasion. We've spelled out solutions that would work. The time has come to institute expanded instant replay in baseball. At the very least, put it in the gosh darn playoffs when the casual fan watches more frequently.

And don't blame second base umpire Paul Emmel for the botched call. He saw the play safe and he called it safe; he has no ulterior motives. He blew the call because he's only human, after all. And the human element is important to keep in baseball because human beings make quick decisions and they have the judgment and ability to keep order on the field. We only need expanded instant replay just to correct the 0.01% of the umpires, folks who are highly-trained and experienced but still just bags of bones and guts. They're not machines, they just need machines to help them out every now and then.

In Wednesday night's Yankees-Twins game, the umps botched a call in th ninth inning that, unlike the Posey stolen base, had no impact on the final outcome of the game. But both botched calls are equivalent in one important way: they could have been overturned easily and quickly by having an umpire sitting in a dark room with nine monitors radio down to the crew chief. That's it. No manager challenges. No game delays. Just one guy, watching TV like the rest of us schmucks who can flip calls INSTANTLY. Yes, INSTANT replay. Not the NFL system of five-minute commercial breaks and kabuki theater. Just a lightning-quick correction that will ease the minds of fans of fairness everywhere.

The players don't want instant replay expanded; instead, they want these super-human umpires to somehow become more super-human and accomplish the impossible-to-reach 0% error rate. Bud Selig doesn't want instant replay expanded, either, so that means the majority of the ownership cabal doesn't want it. You know who wants it? The paying customers. The fans. The television audience. You and me (and Joe Girardi, too! Now if we only had a way to express our outrage in a written medium...

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Every single one of your faithful gloggers is far too busy to host a chitter-chatter room tonight. We leave you with this open-ended post in which you can register your pleasure or displeasure about the Yankees-Twins and Braves-Giants games (and the remnants of the Rays-Rangers mess). See you tomorrow, though: I can assure you there will be a return of the Cover It Live festivities for the NL games Friday night. Same WoW channel.

Or if you're feeling artistic, check out our first Dabbleboard of the year!

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In her 1969 book On Death and Dying, Swiss psychiatrist Elizabeth K├╝bler-Ross introduced "the five stages of grief" to describe the process by which folks deal with tragedy. Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera, victim of Roy Halladay's epic and historic no-hitter, is obviously still stuck in stage one: denial.

Cabrera, who has a history of being a horse's ass, took umbrage with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck's liberal interpretation of the strike zone. He pretty much accused Hirschbeck of favoring Halladay and giving him a wider, taller strike zone while calling a tight game for his own guy, Edinson Volquez. Effectively, Cabrera denies that this amazing event should ever have happened.

Via the ultimate snappy dresser, Reds beat blogger John Fay, here's what O-Cabs had to say:

"It was a bad combination with John back there. He gave him every single pitch. A guy like Halladay feeds like that. It makes it nearly impossible with a guy like that. He can hit every single corner, and he was low in the zone.

"He and the umpire threw a no-hitter. Another umpire and another zone, he wouldn't have been able to throw a game like that. Basically, he was getting every pitch. We had no chance."

In a way, Cabrera has a point. The strike zone has never been a perfectly shaped rectangular box; it's a fluid, changing creature that can only be made consistent and concise with robot umpires. Last night, Halladay got a couple of favorable calls but that's no different than any pitcher in any given game. Balls are sometimes strikes, strikes are sometimes balls, and until technology eliminates it, the human element will exist in umpiring.

So to shit all over an amazing accomplishment like Halladay's by accusing the umpire of being in cahoots with history is just sad. Shame on you, Orlando.

Soon, possibly as early as this morning, Orlando Cabrera will progress towards a more familiar stage: anger. Here's hoping that Dusty Baker can cheer him up with some nifty Riverdancing.

Join me within the Cover It Live below, friends, as I try to remember how this place works after a posting absence of over two months. To say nothing of how difficult it is to follow a no-hitter, I imagine my transition back to contributing will be much like a hippo riding a unicycle. Timely returns! Twinkies, Yankees! Rusty writing! Baseball! Your 310ToJoba reunion tour starts now!1

1 Wholly untrue when read at any time before 8:35PM Eastern.

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Folks, there isn't a more likable pitcher in MLB right now than Harry Leroy Halladay. Any single man that can bring together an entire country full of people who absolutely despise Philadelphia and actually make them cheer aloud for the Phillies to have success must be quite the charmer.

Halladay did just that against the Reds, throwing a masterful no-hitter while allowing but one baserunner. Yes, Jay Bruce's fifth inning walk was the only blemish on Halladay's night, but don't hold that against him. Tonight's performance was nothing short of dominant and will go down in history as one of the top ten moments in the pantheon of Philadelphia sports.

Interestingly, the Reds bullpen also did a fantastic job tonight, holding the Phillies to one hit and one walk over six and one-third innings. I can only imagine that the quick pace of this game after slowpoke Edinson Volquez departed helped Halladay out in his quest; he never had to sit and wallow in the dugout after the third!

Also helping out Halladay tonight, at least according to Orlando Cabrera, was home plate ump John Hirschbeck:

"(Halladay) and the umpire pitched a no-hitter. He gave him every pitch. Basically, we had no chance."

Sour grapes!

Es Tine: The 2010 Playoffs Begin Now

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Hopefully we've prepared you well. For the postseason, that is. Not this horrible rap video. If your voice trails off at the end of all your lines does that mean your flow is "tapered"? All I know is that at 00:55 dude says "Guess what, Angels? Lettuce still wants your mother. OHHHHH!"

Indeed.

FIRST PITCH IS NOW. ES TINE. GIMME THEM PEANUTS OLD MAN. HAPPY PLAYOFFS.

(note from Rob: We will be liveglogging playoff games every night. Feel free to comment on day games but don't expect a formal glog.)

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Without too much pomp or circumstance, let's jump headfirst into some poorly-formed playoff predictions that have little basis in reality, because in a short series ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. It's true, even the Royals once won a World Series. Yeah, crazy thought, right?

Dan McQuade

  • LDS: Braves over Giants in 4, Phillies over Reds in 3, Rays over Rangers in 5, Yankees over Twins in 5
  • LCS: Phillies over Braves in 6, Yankees over Rays in 7
  • WFS: Phillies over Yankees in 6

Drew Fairservice

  • LDS: Giants over Braves, Phillies over Reds, Rays over Rangers, Yankees over Twins
  • LCS: Phillies over Giants, Rays over Yankees
  • WFS: Phillies over Rays

Rob Iracane

  • LDS: Braves over Giants, Reds over Phillies, Rays over Rangers, Yankees over Twins
  • LCS: Reds over Braves, Rays over Yankees
  • WFS: Rays over Reds

Kris Liakos

  • LDS: Giants over Braves in 3, Phillies over Reds in 5, Rangers over Rays in 5, Yankees over Twins in 3
  • LCS: Yankees over Rangers in 6, Giants over Phillies in 4
  • WFS: Giants over Yankees in 7

Looks like the only first round result we all agree on is that the Yankees will eliminate the Twins quite easily. But, we are all idiots. So if you're a betting person, I highly recommend putting your life-savings on the Twins to win.

But really? I picked the Reds in the World Series when everyone and their mother are predicting they'll get swept out in the first round? Sure, anything can happen when you practice the ancient art of DUSTYBALL.

Feel free to add your own predictions in the comment section, or just harass us for our wacky choices.

The Walkoff Walk 2010 Playoff Previews: Texas Rangers

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Evan Grant is the Rangers beat reporter and blogger for the Dallas Morning News and everyone's go to source for news about the team. Thanks to the humble In-N-Out cheeseburger, he's also one of Walkoff Walk's oldest friends. He's done all of us the solidest of solids and prepared us for the Rangers playoff run. Please to enjoy.

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Dear Chicago baseball fans: Shut it. Cleveland: Close your pie hole. San Francisco: Cry us a river.

You want to live a tortured life?

Come to Texas.

Sure, it's been like 200 years since the Cubs won the World Series. Yes, goats, and Bartman and blah, blah, blah. And you know your baseball history is sordid if Wesley Snipes shows up in the team's uniform to make a couple of films as he did for the Indians (Major League) and the Giants (The Fan).

That's nothing compared to life in Texas, where Ranger fans have had to live with the fact the team hasn't won anything - World Series or Playoff Series - in the history of, well, ever. And if life wasn't bad enough living in the figurative shadows of the Cowboys for all those years, now Jerry World sits right across the street from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and casts its own real imposing shadow.

It's been rough.

That may be about to change. These Rangers - which has taken the motto "These are your Rangers," - are definitely not your father's Rangers. Not only are the Rangers back in the playoffs for the first time since 1999, they don't have to face the heart of the New York Yankees dynasty. And when you break down their Division Series matchup with Tampa Bay, it becomes possible to see this team not only breaking it's 14-year-old, nine-game post-season losing streak but also advancing deep into the playoffs.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Pitching: There. I said it. No longer are the Rangers to pitching what schlocky haunted houses are to Halloween (a gory, gross and laughable joke). The Rangers ranked seventh in the AL in rotation ERA this year at 4.23. But the four pitchers who will start in the Division Series (Cliff Lee, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and Tommy Hunter) combined for a 3.65 ERA. It's not much of a stretch to say the Rangers have the deepest rotation in the AL playoffs. And Wilson's like a Ninja, or something.

2. Josh Hamilton: Since June 1 when he junked the "toe-tap" trigger mechanism in his swing (apparently Bruno Tonioli thought it was as bad as Michael Bolton's jive), Hamilton is hitting .410. The only thing that's been able to stop him was a stone wall in Minnesota that left him with a couple of fractured ribs. But after missing 25 days, he's back. And if his life story of damnation and salvation isn't enough to make into a movie, now he's coming back to face the team that made him the first overall pick in the 1999 draft. "Ironic, isn't it," Hamilton said, channeling Alanis Morrissette.

3. Karma: Good things have been happening to the Rangers ever since Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg teamed up with Texas baseball legend Nolan Ryan to put together a group to by the club. For example: Just as the bankruptcy auction to determine the club's ultimate ownership was really heating up on August 4, Michael Young hit a grand slam homer to put the Rangers ahead of Seattle. Moments later, Greenberg and Ryan put up a bid that would ultimately defeat Mark Cuban and Houston businessman Jim Crane. Eerie isn't it?

4. Balance: Remember the late 1990s when the Rangers faced the Yankees in the playoffs? (I know our Walkoff Walk hosts do.) They had a bunch of sluggers who swung for the fences and beat up bad pitchers, but when David Cone and El Duque started throwing sliders off the plate, Juan Gonzalez and Co. became helpless hackers. This team? Not so much. While the Rangers are still aggressive swingers, they've cut their strikeout total by more than 200 from 2009 while upping their walk total. They ranked fourth in the AL in OBP (.338), first in sac bunts (53), second in sac flies (57), fifth in steals (123) and first in times going from first to third on a single (122). This team can create runs. It's a real part of why the Rangers won 30 one-run games in 2010, tied for the most in the AL and the best by a Texas club since Nolan Ryan was pitching.

5. Hey, did we mention Nolan Ryan? He's awesome. Even on General Hospital (ed: or Ryan's Hope!). The only time the guy has been wrong this year: He picked the Rangers to win 92 games this season. They won 90. Sue him.

Resistance, it is said, is futile. Submit now, and for the rest of the playoff season, to this entertaining ditty, "Bomberoo, Yankees". It incorporates John Sterling's infamous home run calls with an uplifting melody and a beat you can dance the hully-gully to. So, for the love of all that is Jeter, get up off your chair, put yourself into the hully-gully starting position, and DANCE:


It's so bad it's good, so good that it's nightmare-inducingly great. Check out the rest of the official MLB postseason videos at YouTube. They're all pretty cringe-worthy.

Via ShareBro Ben Kabak of River Ave Blues

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So what can we expect from the Minnesota Twins this postseason? Well, we can most certainly count on them being the underdog, even though they have home field advantage over the New York Yankees in the ALDS. The Yankees, who backed their way into the playoffs thanks to the hardcore Tampa Bay Rays, are not only the defending World Series Champs, but they have lots of guys who are damn good on their team. Then again, so do the Twins.

Justin Morneau, My Canadian Crusher, has been experiencing post-concussion symptoms ever since his head was mangled by a wayward Blue Jay knee on July 7 and won't be doing anything but kicking it on the bench the rest of the way. I'm totally fine with that, because Michael Cuddyer, who should probably put those dimples away this instant, has been crushing it at first base.

Then there's Joe Mauer. Tall dark and wholesome. Man Muscles. I don't really need to go into great detail concerning what a total badass he is, do I? Mauer decided not to be such a showoff this season, so he only hit nine bombs and drove in 75 runs. However, he made up for that with 167 hits, including 43 doubles, and some swell game-calling behind the plate. Also, his knee feels fine, so he's going to be awesome and you know it.

Denard has been Spantastic, Delmon Young is 30 pounds lighter and swings a gorgeous bat, Jason Kubel has been irreplaceable, and don't even get me started on the infield.

Third baseman Danny Valencia. Man that kid can play baseball. And he does it best under high pressure situations, which comes in handy during the month of October. J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson make a super double play combo up the middle, and the bench is chock full of scrappy little guys like the head-first-diving-into-first-base-on-a-poorly-executed-bunt Nick Punto.

And then there's Jim Thome, every Twins fan's new favorite. Jim Jam plans on mashing home-made tater tot hot dish all the way to his first World Series ring, especially since his 40-year-old back is feeling much better these days.

pavstache.jpg Francisco Liriano will face CC Sabathia during game one Wednesday night, and if Minnesota wins that one, they'll rest easier with Carl Pavano, Brian Duensing and Nick Blackburn (the only starter to have beaten the Yankees not once, but twice this season) on the hill for game four if necessary.

Both of these teams sucked during the final leg of the season, which makes their momentum (or lack thereof) fairly evenly matched. Just because the NY Media thinks this series will be a piece of cake for the Bronx Bombers doesn't make it true. Didn't your mother tell you that you can't believe everything you read on the internet? Minnesota's pitching has been stellar with a better team ERA, not to mention a guy whose mustache clearly has super powers.

If you've never been to Target Field, I suggest you get your butt there as soon as possible. While you're there, you're almost guaranteed a Twins win, since they went 53-28 at home this year. Seriously though, that's pretty good. Actually, it's the best mark in the American League.

I'll be furiously waving my homer hanky Wednesday evening, slamming ice cold beers, and eating at least one sloppy Murray's steak sandwich in section 303. Come say hi!

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One of the most frustrating aspects of modern sports journalism is the connection of sports to real world events. There are a million sports analysts and almost none of them do any analyzing. Instead, the Saints win the Super Bowl as part of the healing process for Hurricane Katrina. Spain's World Cup win unites Catalonia and the rest of the country. Barbaro has God on his side. In The Tenth Inning, Ken Burns said the 1998 home run chase was a welcome distraction from Monica Lewinsky. Baseball been very, very good to Bill Clinton.

Maybe not everyone wants to read about, say, how defensive positioning helped in the game, but I'd rather read a good strategy column than the latest from a columnist who insists sports be the event to unite people after a tragedy. Except, of course, when it involves cats. While a black cat did run across Citi Field while the Mets stretched one game, not one cat ran onto the field during a game this year. But that's not what I'm interested in (for once): Great things happen when you have a cat in your life (unless you're allergic).

Right? If you want to make it on the Internet, it helps to have a cat mascot. Example 1: Snacks the Cat, from ubiquitous-on-your-Twitter-feed Best Coast. Example 2: Cat Stairs (pictured), who has no doubt helped me get at least a little attention. (In each case, there's probably some underlying talent there. But it's mainly about the cat.)

Why do I bring this up (other than an excuse to run a photo of Cat Stairs)? Well, before Cat Stairs as an unofficial secondary mascot, the Phillies never won back-to-back pennants. Look, if we as sportswriters are allowed to connect one event to another with impunity, why not go all out and credit wins to a cat?

To put it another way... Matt Stairs, missed playoffs. Cat Stairs, best record in baseball.

For all my life, the Phillies were almost always one of the worst teams in baseball. With the exception of one steroids-fueled fluke World Series appearance in 1993, the Phillies were pretty much out of it by late May for most of my life. In 2000, they led the division in June but eventually fell apart. But a weird thing happened: They kept having winning seasons. Except one 80-81 year, the Phillies kept coming close to the playoffs and missing them throughout the decade.

You know the rest. The Phillies won an improbable division title in 2007, the World Series in 2008 and another NL crown last year. This year, for the first time in 128 seasons, they finished with the best record in baseball. Look, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley and Roy Halladay are great, but I explained it: There are external forces at work here. Cat Stairs.

We should thank Cat Stairs' owner; this regular season was definitely the best in Phillies history. Don't believe me? Here's what happened: Several fantastic catches of foul balls by fans, a toddler drinking beer, a dude faceplanting in the stands behind home plate during a game, a dude running onto the field and being tased, another dude running onto the field in a complete red outfit, a fan vomiting onto an off-duty police officer and his daughter (intentionally), multiple curse words picked up by the mics throughout the season, Jayson Werth cursing out a dad and his son (and a whole section) after missing a foul ball, a dude grabbing his girlfriend's breast on live TV in celebration, a million instantaneous jokes about the team on Twitter, et cetera, et cetera. All of this was broadcast in 1080i high def.

I'm sure some stuff happened on the field, too. But no way the Phillies finish with the best record (after being 48-46, no less) and all of that awesomeness happens off the field without Cat Stairs. I fully expect the Phillies to go 11-0 in the postseason, which will help the healing process of the city's current terrible economic situation.

This guy did our Reds preview but instead of writing down his thoughts, he decided to record a video of some a capella Christian rap lyrics he cobbled together inspired by the National League Central division-winning Cincinnati Reds. No, I didn't realize Chris Coghlan was such a big Reds fan either:



Wow, that was something else. Thanks, Marge Schott's grandson! So, dear reader, when you're cheering on the Reds tomorrow afternoon against the Phillies, remember these fresh rhymes:

"Because that devil was a lion that constantly roams, you need to check your armor and go crazy for the lord, Jonny Gomes"

"And he died on the wood, but he's not Travis (Wood)."

"Because pleasure won't be found in money sex or drugs, you need to spring towards Jesus, Drew Stubbs"

Also, I think he compares Brandon Phillips to Satan, which is weird because the Dark Lord always hustles. So let's help out this God-fearin' fella and help him think up some new lyrics for his rap song. Something like, "Three days later, our Lord Pete Rose from the grave".

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Previewing the Rays shouldn't take more than 20 words, really. "They're really, really good." And...we're done. This Rays team is excellent at baseball and there isn't much you or anyone else can do about it.

If I was to pick one word to describe the Rays and their fanbase, it would be "aware." Rays fans are quite aware of how good this team is. The Rays themselves seem to appreciate that, too. Both sides seem acutely aware of how well-assembled the 2010 Mantamen of the Rayspocalypse are; a brilliant jumble of stars and complimentary pieces. By no means are any Rays fans content with simply making the playoffs, they're in it for the long haul. They've bought into the Process and damned if they won't see it through.

Playing against and/or watching the Rays can be, well, trying. I don't think the word unconventional quite does them justice. The roster is constructed in such a way as to ring every ounce of worth out of each non-Rocco drawing a paycheck. This leads to lots dudes playing second base and right field on consecutive nights. Expect lots of right fielders in general.

The Rays do things like load their lineup with right handed batters when facing a right handed pitcher because his best pitch is tougher on lefties. If you suggested such an idea to Tony LaRussa he would soil his pants and call you a heretic. They pinch hit with their backup catcher because he's a good bunter. They hit their starting catcher leadoff.

At the behest of enabling hipster Joe Madden, the Rays deploy crazed offensive schemes and overmanage their way to "undeserved" victories. More times than I care to reflect on, Overmanagin' Joe Maddon made a dizzying array of changes which somehow conspired to deliver a W; bringing his DH in defensively, placing his pitcher in the heart of his batting order and ordering a Malbec to go with his freshly caught grouper. CHRIST MAN, ARE YOU SOME KIND OF SAVAGE?

From their gimmicky outfits to their gimmicky ballpark, it would be easy to dismiss the team as a joke and wait for the inevitable Yankee parade. Despite the occasionally bizarre machinations of the Head Hipster in Chief, the Rays are an excellent team with a rock solid core. The rotation is strong, the bullpen even better. They run like crazy but they'll take a walk, too. This is a team you simply do not want to play. There's a good chance three different fanbases will learn that very same lesson over the next few weeks.

Baby Jesus Tips His Hand On Bobby Cox Hall Of Fame Vote

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When you picture Bobby Cox you picture him shuffling out to the mound in that Braves windbreaker, cap pulled low over his brow, scowl on his face. How then, were we to know that the whole time THERE WAS A HALO UNDER HIS CAP!? Beyonce was singing about Ol Beatific Bobby all along. He's ten times the Angel that Mike Scioscia could ever hope to be.

Come back tomorrow for more playoff preview wonderfulness. Xoxo same WoW channel.

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Inherently more cosmopolitan and far less whiny than their custardy, championship starved brethren in Cleveland and Chicago, the San Francisco Giants are this year's history burdened postseason darlings. And if you don't have a horse in this year's race, why wouldn't you be rooting for them? Heck I'm a fairly big Dodgers fan, but this season left such a sour taste in my mouth that I feel no qualms about rooting for the rival. When I was trying to pick a team for these playoffs, Rob said he was certain I'd pick the bandwagon with the most beer on it. I'm not sure if that's San Fran or not, but I've got a handful of other reasons that I'm jumping on.

1. The pitching, duh. The Giants lead the MLB in ERA and Ks. 3 of their starters (Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez) have a WAR of at least 3.5. Any team is going to have to beat 2 of these guys to have a chance.

2. Scott McCaughey, prolific music dude and mondo Giants fan wrote one of my favorite songs of the year "Panda And The Freak" about the team. It's gonna be on the next Baseball Project record and it slays. But I can't find a good live video anywhere. So trust me.

3. Florida State Seminole Buster Posey has had the best rookie season in a league where a lot of guys had great rookie seasons. He slugged .505 and had an OPS+ of 128. While this team isn't known for its bat, Posey is a genuine hitter and leads a team that showed flashes of streaky scoring ability during the season. The catcher could spark one of those streaks at the right time (lousy career numbers against ATL in a small sample size notwithstanding).

4. So many likable weirdo dudes. "Panda And The Freak" is an awesome rock song because Sandoval and Lincecum have awesome nicknames. They have awesome nicknames because they're awesome. Sandoval has been up and down all season and is struggling again having hit only 1 ding dong in September. But he's fat and his nickname is Panda, so high five. Lincecum's off field persona has become as large as his on field skill; getting famous for smoking trees, having a cool dog and swearing on TV. And let's not forget Aubrey Huff. Dude returned to his 2008 form this year (26 HR 137 OPS+) and is taking his self-pleasuring hotel antics to his first postseason. That aint champagne foam!

5. Speaking of champagne, if the Giants win the pennant, maybe Will Clark will come back to celebrate.

Huzzah, Giants! To long overdue victory! Stick it, Cubs and Indians fans! Lemme get rid of this gum!

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In what can be deemed the least surprising wholphin news of 2010, the Wilpon-family-owned New York Mets have relieved both Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel of their duties as of today. Minaya's legacy as general manager of the team is spotty at best; his career might be best remembered for overpaying Frankie Rodriguez, putting too many eggs in Johan Santana's broken basket, and every single thing about Oliver Perez' entire career.

Jerry Manuel, on the other hand, was just supposed to be a stopgap solution, an interim guy who replaced poor Willie Randolph. Jerry did an okay job with the team he was given. If anything, we'll always remember him fondly for his botched sex change operation.

That slobbering noise you hear in the background is former Mets manager Bobby Valentine foaming at the mouth. Bobby V was recently seen dining with Fred Wilpon at an Italian resto in Valentine's hometown of Stamford, CT. Rumours are swirling that Wilpon is so desperate to sell tickets that he'd stoop to hire that lunatic from the TV set. (note: those rumours are not swirling)

Also, the Pirates fired manager John Russell, but if a tree falls on a dude in a forest and nobody is there to hear him whimper in anguish, should anyone really face the death penalty?

UPDATE: In news that I thought happened months ago, the Brewers shit-canned Ken Macha.

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The playoff previews continue, folks. We were lucky enough to have a typewritten letter from Braves third baseman Chipper Jones overnighted from Turner Field and delivered to the WoW offices early this morning. The paper was splattered with Dom Perignon and scented with deer musk, so I know for a fact that Chipper himself wrote it. He has kindly previewed the Braves' chances in the 2010 postseason for us in the letter, so we want to share it with you. Here's a transcript:

DEAR FOOD FANATICS,

WELL HERE WE ARE AGAIN FALL HAS FALLEN AND OL CHIP AND HIS BOYS ARE BACK IN THE CHASE FOR THE CUP IT FEELS GOOD LIKE A WELL WORN CIRCLE Y SADDLE - THE PREFERRED SADDLE OF THE DOUBLE DIME.

SO FIRST OFF CONGRATULATIONS ARE DUE TO THE NEW YORK CITY YANKEES FOR WINNING THE WILD CARD DIVISION OF THE AL. YOU MUST THINK I'M CRAZY FOR PROPPING THEM OUT BUT SEE US BRAVES WON THE WILD CARD DIVISION OF THE NL AND THAT MEANS WE BEAT OUT ABOUT 12 OTHER TEAMS TO WIN OUR WAY INTO THE BIG DANCE AS OPPOSED TO THE PHILADELPHIANS WHO ONLY HAD TO BEAT OUT 4 TEAMS IN ONE DIVISION MAN WE BEAT THE WHOLE LEAGUE. I WAS NEVER A ROCKET BUILDER OR ANYTHING BUT I CAN SEE A BIG DIFFERENCE WHEN I SEE ONE

SO WITH THAT KIND OF DATA YOU MIGHT THEN SAY THAT WE HAVE THE BEST CHANCE TO RAISE THE SELIG TROPHY AT THE END OF THE YEAR AND I WOULD SAY THAT YOU ARE RIGHT LIKE A BUCK IN THE BRUSH. BUT IF YOU HAVENT FOLLOWED BASEBALL MUCH AND I SUPPOSE IF YOU ARE ON THIS MUSIC BLOG YOU PROBABLY HAVENT I WILL GIVE YOU A HANDFUL OF REASONS WHY THE ATLANTA FIGHTING WRENBIRDS (WHAT UP FRANK) ARE WALKING AWAY WITH THIS WHOLE BAG OF BONES

FIRST OF ALL IS THE EXPERIENCE REMEMBER THE LAST TIME WE DIDN'T PLAY IN THE POSTSEASON YEAH THAT WAS LIKE LAST YEAR AND A FEW YEARS BEFORE BUT OTHER THAN THAT WEVE BEEN THE TOP DOG FOR 18 STRAIGHT. SO WE ARENT RUNNING SCARED LIKE A BULL ON BRANDING TUESDAY

SECOND UP IS OUR ROSTER I MEAN LOOK AT IT GLAUS IS LIKE ADAM LAROCHE IN HIS PRIME AND ALEX GONZALEZ REALLY IMPRESSED ME I MEAN I MISS YUNEL AND ALL BUT THIS KID CAN PLAY AND THEN OF COURSE IS MARTIN PRADO WHO WON THE TRIPLE CROWN THIS YEAR AS THE BEST HITTER IN BASEBALL AND THEN THERES MCLOUTH WHOSE SPIRIT IS LIKE SID BREAM I THINK IT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH PITTSBURGH COAL OR SOMETHING OH AND ALSO HEYWARD THE KIDS LIKE HIM

AND THEN LAST BUT DEFINITELY NOT WORST IS BIG BOB COX WHO IS MANAGING US IN HIS SWAN SONG SEASON. AT THE MIDDLE OF THE YEAR WHEN I WENT DOWN IN A HEAP OF PAIN BOB ASKED ME IF WE SHOULD JUST PLAY OUT THE STRING AND TRY FOR IT NEXT YEAR AND I TOLD HIM WHAT DO YOU CARE OLD MAN YOURE GETTING YOUR GOLD WATCH IN SEPTEMBER AND THEN YOURE OUTTA HERE UNLIKE ME WHO WILL BE AT THIRD FOR ANOTHER 6 OR 7 YEARS AND HE LAUGHED WHICH WAS GOOD BECAUSE I WASN'T JOKING AND HE HAS A SICK LEFT HOOK. SO WE ARE ALL BANDING TOGETHER LIKE A PACK OF BIRDS AND WE ARE GONNA GO WIN THIS THING FOR COXIE WHICH IS ABOUT AS MUCH MOTIVATION AS ONE MAN NEEDS.

SO COME JOIN YOUR OL PAL CHIP ON THIS WILD HAYRIDE INTO OCTOBER I PROMISE THERES PLENTY OF ROOM ON THIS TRAILER WITH JACKRABBIT JERKY FOR ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.

YOURS IN BLOOD,
CHIPPER "LARRY" JONES

Thanks, Chip!

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Yankees fans are an annoying lot. I know this for a fact; I've been embedded in their dirty camp for my entire life. I've even taken advantage of my membership in a massively un-exclusive club by going on the road to a rival's ballpark and acting the fool at an ALCS game. What were those Baltimoreans going to do, shake their fist at me, cluck their tongue, and bury their fat faces in Boog's BBQ? Actually yes, that's exactly what they did.

One thing we Yankees fans like to do on the eve of the playoffs is make a seemingly guaranteed prediction. There is no middle ground on these predictions. Usually, it's "we're going to win the World Series" but sometimes, like this year's model, or the 2006 edition, or even back to the Subway Series winner of 2000, the typical Yankees fan would say, "this team is garbage, we're getting swept in the first round, screw this post-game traffic on the Cross Bronx." Such is the nature of a spoiled, obnoxious fanbase operating in an era when a World Series trophy only comes after a whopping three rounds of playoffs.

Me, I'm just happy to be here. The ultimate goal, to me, is the pennant, but even the tiny notch on the bedpost that comes with a mere Wild Card win is worth taking notice. So to that end, I'm not going to predict exactly what will happen to the 2010 edition of the New York Playoff Yankees. The numbers and history are there to give us guidance but luck plays too big a role in short series to make such a sweeping judgment. Instead, let me break down what I think the odds of each possible outcome are:

  • Swept in ALDS by Twins, 10%: The really terrible part about this possible outcome is the way it would end. No Yankee fan should be forced to suffer the indignity of watching the Twins clinch the ALDS with Carl Pavano on the mound in the Bronx. Yecch. (update: I've been informed that Pavano will pitch Game 2 and someone named "Brian Duensing" will pitch game three. I think that's actually Bert Blyleven in disguise)

  • Lose ALDS in five games because of bad umpiring, 14%: Sometimes the universe rights itself. But don't get too excited, Minnesotans. In this case, the universe would immediately un-right itself again and Joe Mauer would lose both his legs in a freak trampoline accident.

  • ALDS canceled when Bud Selig's statue comes alive and terrorizes entire Midwest, 2%: You laugh now but you won't be laughing when this happens. Hope you're all paid up on your statue insurance.

  • Lose ALCS in seven games to Rays, 25%: Yankees teams never lose League Championship Serieses, except for those few times that they did. But this Rays beast is worrisome, what with their strong starting pitching, tidy bullpen, and a defense that sucks up baseballs like an industrial-strength Shop Vac. I fear this outcome the most, although I cannot imagine how the Yanks would even make the seventh game with that rotation. Stinkeroo!

  • Swept in World Series by Giants, 13%: Not going to lie, I would actually enjoy this. My dad grew up rooting for the Giants and it's pretty unfair that Dusty Baker gave that fat slob Russ Ortiz the game ball and blew up the 2002 World Series for San Fran. The last time San Francisco won a World Series was, well, never. So I endorse this endpoint, as disappointing as it would be.

  • Sweep Braves to win World Series, 10%: Only because nostalgia for the 1990s is totally hot right now.

  • Win World Series in six games over Phillies, 19% This is the same thing that happened in 2009. It's the sort of repetitive East Coast-centric event that will irritate any American living west of the Susquehanna River, so I wholeheartedly approve.

  • Lose World Series to Phillies, 7%: The only positive result I can see from this is that our pal Meech would make a killing selling "DYNASTY" t-shirts with a silhouette of Carlos Ruiz in the background. There, I designed it, now give me a percentage of profits.

So place your bets now, folks. I've got twenty bucks on Bionic Bud Selig.

Weekend Questions

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Hey kids, it's an angry world.

  • ARE the earlier start times for this year's WS games a direct result of the syrupy pablum that Bob Costas and Ken Burns dribbled all over us earlier in the week? The "for the kids" argument always annoys me. If you don't let your son or daughter stay up an hour or two later than usual for the World Series once a year then you probably aren't much of a baseball fan to begin with.

  • IS Omar Minaya going to get canned along with the definitely going to get canned Jerry Manuel? Jon Heyman says so, but that dude's a speculating speculum.

  • CAN the Giants clinch tonight against San Diego, or will the Pads come storming back to sweep the weekend and save their season? Not likely from a team that blew a 7 game lead in about 3 weeks.

  • DID you catch Will Carroll's farewell column at BP this week? There'd be no Creampuff without him (not that there's really a Creampuff anymore, but whatever) and even though I ripped him off he was still kind enough to write a column for us once and appear on Furious Five. So happy trails Will, in whatever your next endeavor may be.

  • SINCE when do I know enough about the minor leagues to be a voter in the Bus Leagues Baseball Postseason Awards? Since they asked me!

  • DID you read Drew's new column at The Score about those woebegone Padres? I KNEW YOU WHEN YOU WERE LLOYD!

  • WERE you shut out of Matador 21 this weekend (like me)? Stream it here all weekend.

  • WHERE to begin with this week's Cruise Planners News? The change in setting? Paul looks like he's on location at a factory that makes the plexiglass for hockey rinks. Is he drunk or just heavily medicated? A BODYBUILDING CRUISE??? All in favor of Rob planning his honeymoon through Paul say "Stock Soptions."

That's it for a relatively slow week around these parts. Monday we start running our 2010 Playoff Previews done by the WoW staff and a few very special guests. The postseason is coming, people. We'll have you covered in our special weirdo style. We love you like that. Same WoW channel.

The Magical 7-Up Dispensing Home Plate - 1980

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This commercial is pretty boring, and Bruce Sutter is a bad actor even for an athlete. BUT everything is redeemed by the breathtaking device at 00:23. And I'm not talking about Schmidt's mustache. America is turning to Walkoff Walk Classic TV Friday.

It's the last week of the regular season and our favorite players are doing one of two things: either getting ready for the playoffs or trolling strange cities looking for some good local eats. Or, if you're Paul Maholm, you're watching golf. To each his own, I suppose.

So let's take one last stroll down the boulevard of broken tweets in the latest edition of This Tweet in Baseball!

There was a good deal of uproar about Rays pitcher David Price's tweet complaining about the Rays poor attendance which let Orioles outfielder Adam Jones' missive go unnoticed.


There were actually about 13,000 people at the park, but hey, this is a guy who struck out 118 times this season. It's not his fault his eyesight is garbage.

Pity poor Hunter Pence and his fourth place Astros team. Pence joined Houston a couple years after they won the NL pennant and has yet to drink from the postseason chalice. To add insult to mediocrity, Pence and his teammates probably should have chosen the Cincinnati Marriott instead:


A's pitcher Brad Ziegler has decided not to cross the thin green-and-yellow line this year. He won't post hilarious photos of Oakland's rookies dressed up in what I can only assume are S&M gear and Wonder Woman costumes. Shame. But at least Brad has enough of a sense of humor to share a picture of his own rookie hazing costume.


What is it with MLB rookies oversharing on the Twitters? It seems like all the veteran players on Twitter have some poor schmuck sending out boring social networking missives but the rookies, man the rookies just want so desperately to be loved that they'll tweet anything and everything. Just like Reds hurler Sam LeCure:


But even more than they like talking about hair product, these baseball youngsters simply love talking about food and drink, including our old friend Chris Coghlan, who might be ingesting a bit too much soy during his rehab:


On to Atlanta, where the Florida Marlins just came off a sweep at the hands of the streaking Braves. I don't know who this Giancarlo character is or what he does for fun but I'd sure like him and his sauce to stay as far away from me as possible. Mike Stanton, though, disagrees:


Later, Stanton gets a hankering for a toasty sub sandwich so he whips out his smartphone and dials up the local Quiznos. Because I know when I'm in a strange city, the first thing I want to do for lunch is walk eight blocks away from my hotel and eat a sandwich that will almost instantly induce a case of explosive diarrhea:


Dope lol, indeed. Braves superstar rookie Jason Heyward knows the score in the ATL, though. He doesn't mess around with those nasty sandwiches. Nah, he goes straight for the good stuff:


And finally, Matt Antonelli of the San Diego Padres organization loves shrimp almost as much as we do: