Kris Liakos: October 2009 Archives

WWF Wrestlers Vs. Chicago Media All-Stars - 1994

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This week on Classic TV Friday we travel back to Chicago in the summer of 1994. If you'll remember, once August rolled around there wasn't a whole lot of baseball being played in this country. The player strike had taken effect and who would save the country from the dark abyss of a baseball free summer? Who always saves the country in their time of need? Professional wrestlers, of course.

Our video is a charity softball game between a bunch of wrestlers and the "Chicago Media All-Stars." It bugs me they didn't mention any names of the media guys in this post, but Gorilla Monsoon never struck me as a voracious reader. I was searching for Mariotti or that bozo Steve Rosenbloom, but my eyes aren't so good anymore. Plus, who could possibly avert their gaze from Macho Man's flowing shoulder tassles as he rounds first base? Please to enjoy.

The other day I whined about this Phillies/Yankees matchup and about how I wasn't really rooting for either team. Well tonight, I'm excited because I do have a rooting interest. I'm amped to watch Pedro Martinez face this Yankees squad. I'm more invested in this game than any World Series game since 2007. Seeing him lead the Phillies squad into Yankee Stadium is like watching David Byrne do Life During Wartime at one of his solo shows, or Bob Pollard doing Back To The Lake with the Boston Spaceships. He's older, and his backing band is different, but it's Pedro facing the Yanks in the postseason and it's as close as you'll get to the old days.

So join me below for tonight's glog. It's a special Live Collaboglog, because our intern Darren (above right) further delays his search for an actual job and provides live photoshopping all night.

P.S. While we're talking about music, why the hell does Jay-Z tuck his jeans into his Tims? That looks stupid. See you at 7:57.

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Though the reasoning may be not be the exact same, I know there are some other people in the baseball loving populace for whom a Phillies/Yankees World Series is somewhat of a worst case scenario. And it's not the level of play that concerns me, it oughta be a tightly contested series with a dramatic game one matchup. Still, I was frightened, but not surprised, that in Rob's very first post celebrating his favorite team's newly minted pennant... he used the word "blogosphere." Ugh. This is going to be one obnoxious flame war.

The next ten days or so will so feature so many jamooks flapping their gums up and down the 1-95 corridor, the garlic hued spittle that accumulates on the pavement will flood it. I fully expect every Philly or Yankee fan I know, and all those that I don't, to turn into a live action Gashouse Gorilla at the mere suggestion of this series. "No, our (blunt instrument of culture/glorified carnival food/moronic clownish outfielder) is better than (opposing team fan)'s." I'm already sick of it.

But, I digress. Hey, those games start too late! Amirite? I never thought of it before, or heard anyone mention it before, but how are THE KIDS™ supposed to stay up and watch the whole game and become stand up citizens? Surely there's gotta be someone willing to take up the cause of our Nation's Pastime with a cuckoo plan that he's totally serious about. And as is usually the case with these things, it's an old timey columnist from a mid-to-small market newspaper. We love those guys! This time it's Frank Murtaugh* of the Memphis Flyer. He thinks we need a mandatory National Baseball Day in October. Socialism!!

Here's how the holiday would unfold: On the Wednesday that coincides with Game 1 of the World Series, the aforementioned schools and offices would close. Most importantly -- pay attention, Fox -- the game would start at 3 pm eastern time (noon on the west coast). Every child in the entire country with an interest in the game would be able to watch all nine innings, and before dinner. The television fat cats aiming to maximize ad revenue with prime time slots are missing a critical opportunity here: kids are a demographic, too. They -- and more often, their parents -- spend money. Maybe not on cars and beer, but certainly on video games, snacks, movies, and fast food. And when National Baseball Day is marketed the way it should be -- for the kids! -- smart-thinking sponsors will line up to be part of the outreach.

I can't believe he actually said "fat cats." But do you see, that people? He's using logic here. And there are two things you can't argue with: logic and your guts. American business, you're THROWING MONEY AWAY by not supporting a federally mandated day off for people to watch baseball on TV. Instead of working or going school.

Continue reading for even MORE logic, and see Murtaugh reveal a softer, more caring side to life behind his Communist Iron Baseball Curtain.

With colder, wetter weather a part of the mix, wouldn't daytime baseball make sense, simply for the brand of baseball we all want to see from the sport's two best teams? (Baseball hats designed with earmuffs are an abomination.)

Baseball isn't for everyone, and there will be no obligatory viewing on National Baseball Day. Take your kids to a park or movie. If you don't have kids, spend some bonus time with someone you love, maybe a special friend you need to catch up with. Or chill out and start some leisure reading you've been meaning to do. Just remember it was baseball that got you there.

How could we ever forget, Frank? BASEBALL IS A WISE AND JUST LEADER.

But in all seriousness, if kids aren't allowed to stay up to watch a World Series game it isn't baseball's fault and it isn't Fox's fault. It's our nation's fault for breeding a country of dorky overbearing parents who are hardliners when it comes to bedtime.

*Frank Murtaugh should be the name of all cranky old-timey columnists. It's too perfect.

Friday Night Liveglog Club: ALCS Game One

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Hey how's your bird, Mrs. Robinson? It's game one of the ALCS and I'm doing something I never thought I'd do and giving into the horrible A/S/L chatroom abomination that is "Cover It Live" for tonight's glog. Let's seem em put that on their ad material. But see, it's Friday. I'm kinda out of it, I got a soup on the stove and two different bombers of Pretty Things waiting to be cracked open. I'd rather stay a little detatched. If you're looking for engaging, dramatic liveblogging, go back to my masterpiece from last Sunday. It's got Regis.

But tonight, we've got playoff baseball in the new Yankee Stadium, and that just feels like Fall. So join me below and we'll hang out.

This Guy Is Playing Golf Right Now: Shin Soo Choo

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As the playoffs and award season gets underway, we want to take a gander at some players who had outstanding seasons in 2009 but whose teams ended up just shy of making the postseason and who will (most likely) not pick up any fancy trophies. Quite a consolation prize: a round of golf and a write-up on a low circulation sports blog.

Previously, Wandy Rodriguez, Adrian Gonzalez, Pablo Sandoval, Javier Vazquez, Russell Branyan, Ben Zobrist, Adam Lind and Prince Fielder.

Kris Liakos is sexy and you should either mail him some money or some port wine. He writes for Walkoff Walk whenever he can snatch some square's computer while their back is turned.

Talking about an athlete's contract year is well worn territory. A guy is about to become a free agent and every at bat/shot/reception is accompanied by the sound of a slot machine unloading. There's nothing extraordinary about it, and despite what most old dudes would have you believe, there's nothing nefarious about it, either. It's human nature to perform with more focus when there's an incentive. But what about when the opposite happens?

What if no matter what a guy did this year, his country was gonna pull the conscription card and pluck him out of his career in the to join the military? In South Korea. Well that's what Shin Soo Choo could be dealing with next year, but had to start answering questions about this Spring.

Choo responded by being the brightest spot in a dismal Indians season, and (with apologies to Chan Ho Park in 2000) turning in the best MLB season by any South Korean in history.

Dude banged out 20 HRs and waltzed to a .394 OBP despite striking out 151 times. A K will not break your back, so let's be clear. He was the ONLY Indian with at least 20 HR and his 285 total bases were almost 60 more than the team runner up, Asdrubal Cabrera. Where would the Indians have been had Shin Soo Choo been taking target practice at a picture of fuckin' Kim-Jong Il? Somewhere worse than their 65-97 record, I'll tell you that much.

Word on the street is that Choo may avoid conscription and be able to stay here in the states. That's good news for him, and good news for the Indians who seem to be lacking any coherent plan for the future. Maybe they can convince the South Koreans to take Jake Westbrook. Just don't count on him to throw any grenades.

Choo!

Sunday Afternoon Liveblog Club: Angels at Red Sox, Game 3.

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Oh, hi there. Welcome to what could be the end of the line for my beloved Red Sox. If they get swept right out today, they deserve it. They've scored a measly one run in the series so far and Saints Lester and Beckett didn't turn in the incredible starts the team needed. If they do come back and take the series it'll be quite the dickpunch to Angel fans everywhere, and it'll all start here. In either case, we gotta get through today. So let's do it together, after the jump, in about 15 minutes. Also, I'll rant about Cardinal fans and clue you in to the ridiculous new cocktail I invented for today. See you then.

Oktoberfest Party Boy #6: Boston Red Sox

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The original Oktoberfest in 1810 celebrated the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen and featured a big horse race. This year, baseball's Oktoberfest celebrates the eight teams that were skilled enough to keep playing deep into October and, if they're lucky, finish the year with a trophy, a platter of sausages, and an imperial pint of Hofbräu. Next up, the Boston Red Sox, as penned by Kris Liakos.

The 2009 Boston Red Sox were a Duncan Yo-Yo of a baseball team. At times during the early part of the season they were thought of as nearly a consensus pick as best team in baseball, yet later in the year found themselves in real danger of missing the playoffs. All this before pulling away to an extent that they could back into the postseason while losing 6 straight. They went into the season dealing with a "surplus of arms" that had them dealing packages of young pitchers in nearly every trade rumor. With the various self immolations of Daisuke Matsuzaka, Brad Penny, John Smoltz and at times Josh Beckett (who at other times was the leading Cy Young Candidate) the team relied on second half emergency starts from Junichi Tazawa and Paul Freakin' Byrd.

All of this played out on the field in one of the streakiest teams I can ever remember watching. A full week would go buy where Boston couldn't buy a win, only to be followed by a 7 day span where they looked unbeatable. There was quite a bit of roster upheaval in early July with Theo Epstein quietly putting together one of the best front office summers in baseball. Our friend Brian MacPherson claims it was the GMs best year in Boston, including 2004. With a glaring hole at short and an aging lineup that could sometimes disappear, they nabbed Alex Gonzalez and Victor Martinez to deal with those respective needs. The cost to the team? Justin Masterson and Chris Carter. Gonzalez interjected the closet thing the Sox have had to consistency at SS since well, Alex Gonzalez, and Victor Martinez has been a revelation to Sox fans that didn't see enough of him with Cleveland.

But this team goes into the playoffs with the same feast or famine M.O. that has been theirs all year. If you weren't aware before this week that "momentum means nothing for the playoffs" the chorus of self-assurance from columnists, fans and even Theo here would have more than made up for it. Of course, it's true. That Silverman column gives concrete examples of teams that turned it around once the playoffs started, but people are talking so much about it, they doth protest too much. The thought of this team just going lights out, ice cold in the first round is too real. Even with Beckett and Lester.

If current momentum means nothing, than momentum from past postseasons means even less. You're going to hear a lot about the Angels having a mental block against the Red Sox in the divisional playoffs. It's all hooey. A ballclub is different each season, and the Angels are too well coached (brainwashed, conditioned, etc.) to buy into any hooey concerning the Sox. Expect nothing less than another high drama first round series with some testiness and some great starting pitching.

If Boston gets beyond that, expect nothing. You'll just have to wait and see which Red Sox show up for the ALCS.