Enjoy this Wrap by Bob Ryan

wrap picPut the banners away, the parade has taken place, all of the Champaign-goggle celebrations….they kinda look like kids having a soda fight to me…. have finally ended, no more pitchers warming up in the bullpen, ticket prices have dropped back to “normal” prices, conversations don’t begin with, “Did ya see last night…”

 

The Royals winning the 2015 world series was no fluke…nor should it have been a surprise. KC had the best record in the AL with a 95-67 mark. They won the final five game of the season so had so momentum entering post-season. The Royals hit .269 as a team (.270 was league high); drew the most walks in the league; struck out the fewest time; stole over 100 bases.

 

But some of their skill doesn’t show up in pure stats….their speed was not only used to steal bases but was often used to turn 2B into 3B, challenging the defense to make plays; putting the ball in play; a terrific INF and OF defense; a leader behind the plate; and never-say-die feeling..that can’t be really measured (KC outscored their opponents 51-11 from the 7th+ inning in the post season. The Royals stayed with several of their high draft choices though the years …even when it may have been questionable that these picks would reach the levels that the Royals had hoped when drafting..(Hosmer, Moustakas, Gordon). Lorenzo Cain, who was acquired from Milwaukee in 2010, was a outstanding OF and will be receiving a large upgrade in his salary this offseason.

 

Now this club didn’t have it rosy all year… they had to replace their closer (Holland); revamp their approach in the bullpen; they lost several key players from the 2014 team…James Shields(ace of staff), Billy Butler (one of their draft picks), and the pesky, OB-man–Nori Aoki. Several other smaller pieces moved on. No MLB team goes through the 6 month season without tribulations. No one has an easy road. I was rooting for them….heck…if the Cards are out… why not root for the other MO team?

 

Game 1 of this KC-NYM series was a classic…check out some of the background..

Game 1 entering 9th inning—the Mets closer–Jeurs Familia had been untouchable since July 30. On that day, he surrendered a 3 run HR to Justin Upton and the Mets blew a 6 run lead. On the same day a key trade offer fell through for Mil OF Carlos Gomez…some would say this was the lowest point of the season for the Mets.

 

Since that pitch, Familia had permitted only 1 run in 25 innings-racking up the best ERA in the majors for the last 2 months of the season (min-20 inn). Familia wasn’t even a thought in spring training as the NYM lined up their closers. First in was Bobby Parnell (never recovered from Tommy John surgery). Then Henrry ..no…I’m not getting the shakes….that’s how he spells his name…Mejia was suspended for using drugs. Familia established a franchise high 43 saves for the season and had 9 2/3 innings of scoreless work in the post season… all looked good for NYM as he marched to the mound to start the 9th inning with a 4-3 lead. The Alex Gordon HR that tied the game seemed to put a trance on the NYM bats as he gloriously ran around the bases. The 14th inning Sac Fly by Eric Hosmer with the bases loaded ended this 5 hr, 9 min contest.

 

 

There have been some other great World Series….I can’t rate them…for some I was too young…for some not real attached to the teams….for some I didn’t see much of the games as my life schedule was hectic in the fall…but as a Cardinal fan for recent history it’d have to be

 

GAME 6: Cardinals 10, Rangers 9 (Oct. 27, 2011)

TWICE, David Freese was the hero…he tied the game in the 9th with a 2-run triple and in the 11th had the game-winning trot around the bases with his helmet being thrown between his legs as he approaches home plate that is surrounded by his mobbing teammates. There were 47, 325 fans in attendance but in my personal talks with friends, acquaintances, etc….it seems as if there were 470,000 there J Even if you weren’t wearing Cardinal RED that night…this game would be tough to top as the best WS game! Btw…the World Series record that the Cards set that night that I think won’t be broken is that they scored runs in the 8th, 9th, 10th & 11th innings. Think about that Texas scored two runs in the 10th –only to see us tie it up with two of our own….man…I’m getting excited again just thinking about this unbelievable game. I’ve always thought since that night that when David Freese retires …he should return to the Lou and open a “restaurant-bar” called simply “Game 6”

 

Another game for the ages but of a totally different era…

                   GAME 7: Pirates 10, Yankees 9 (Oct. 13, 1960)

The Yanks were still in full throttle as World Series participants(they had Yogi, Mickey, Whitey and many other familiar post-season names). It was their 10th world series since 1947 when they faced the underdog, blue-collar Pirates. Bill Mazeroski’s walk off HR in the 9th is still the only WS ONLY 9th inning walk off. Can you still see him running around the bases…jumping or skipping or some type of combo, throwing his hat off when he approach home, with a smile so wide it almost touched his ears..I can… This game saw four lead changes, 19 runs, 24 hits with managerial decisions that baffled many, key hits, unlikely heroes and yet it was played in 2 hr 36 min…ironically…not 1 strikeout in the entire game! Yes it was before the 2:30 minutes between innings and the word “appeals” was only in the judicial vocabulary.

 

The World Series game with most “movie-like” theme….

                         GAME 1: Dodgers 5, Athletics 4 (Oct. 15, 1988)

Apparently barely able to bend or move in the pre-game, Kirk Gibson (at one time the #2 draft pick of the Big Red) comes off the bench for his 9th inning game-winning pinch hit HR. It was a major upset at the time as Oakland was in the midst of “their run”..can you hear Jack Buck’s call,” I don’t believe what I’ve just seen….” In his two World Series of 1984 and 1989, Gibson hit HR in his final AB in the series…both coming off of two heralded closers—Goose Gossage & Dennis Eckersly

 

For pure beauty, this World Series game is the best…

                         GAME 5: Yankees 2, Dodgers 0 (Oct. 8, 1956)

The ONLY perfect game in Series history was thrown by a mediocre pitcher…Larsen won 81 games and lost 91 in his career and walked just about as many batters as he struck out. On this day however…he was special…only ONE batter would reach the three-ball count…and that was the lead-off batter of the game-Pee Wee Reese…he threw only 97 pitches and ended the game with a called strike on pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell. Larsen did have a bit of good fortune…in the 2nd inning when Jackie Robinson’s ground ball bounced off 3B Andy Carey and caromed directly to SS Gil McDougald who threw out the speedy Robinson. Sure….we’ve all seen Yogi running out to the mound and jumping into Larsen’s arms after the 9th inning…it’s one of those classic pictures.

 

 

For the wildest…weirdest World Series game…

                 GAME 2: Mets 10, Athletics 7 (Oct. 14, 1973)

This 12 inning game might be remembered for being Willie Mays’ last game (got his final hit & RBI of his career). However there were many more items than that… Setting a record …for that time…4 hr 13 min in duration….several fly balls were lost in the afternoon sun….yes…it was still afternoon WS games in 1973….including TWO by the Say-Hey kid himself…a 6 inning relief appearance by Tug McGraw, 5 Oakland errors…two clearly wrong calls by the umpires…a little bit of everything unusual..have you EVER seen more than ONE ball lost in the sun in ONE game? I haven’t….btw…that was a BIG deal in school….World Series games during school time

 

The World Series game that seemed to usher in the “new style” MLB games of longer time, many more runs and hits, multiple bullpen changes..

               GAME 4: Blue Jays 15, Phillies 14 (Oct. 20, 1993)

This was not the Joe Carter HR to win Game 6 but it was the same series….the Phils led this game 14-9 entering the top of the 8th….Lenny Dykstra had belted 2 HR to push the Phils ahead..Philly relief hurler Larry Anderson was replaced in the 8th after getting an out, single, walk and a double…enter Mitch Williams…Williams blew up…the Jays touched him for a single, walk, strikeout, single and finally a 2-run triple by Devon White. White had 3 of the Blue jays 18 hits and drove home 4 runs. 29 runs is still a World Series Record for most runs scored as is the 32 hits in the game.

 

Now that the World Series has concluded …here’s some key dates in MLB

2015

Nov. 4 — World Series Game 7 (if necessary) Five days after WS — Free agency begins Nov. 9-12 — GM meetings, Boca Raton, Fla. Dec. 7-10 — Winter meetings, Nashville, Tenn. Dec. 7 — HOF pre-integration era committee (through 1946) vote announced

 

2016

Jan. 7 — Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 announced Jan. 12 — Salary arbitration filing Jan. 15 — Salary arbitration figures exchanged Feb. 1-21 — Salary arbitration hearings Feb. 18 — Voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players Feb. 23 — Voluntary reporting date for other team’s other players March 1 — Mandatory reporting date April 3 — ESPN Sunday Night Baseball opener (two teams TBD)

…..Enjoying some other “fixings” on your wrap…….

 

….Like the Cards, some are claiming that the Cubs acquisitions at the trading deadline were underwhelming..Danny Haren & Tommy Hunter are long past their prime and did little to support the shallow Cubbie starting staff—Arrieta, Lester & Curly, Larry & Less

…which leads into another consideration….the trade deadlines are important to teams who desire a REAL impact player to help make a difference in the season &/or post-season. Toronto brought in Tulo, Price & Revere; KC acquired Cueto (who didn’t do much in regular season but made a difference in the post-season; NYM brought in Cespedes..those players make a difference. The Cubs/Cards brought in “fillers” to supplement current players but didn’t upgrade their level. The Cards have done it previously. Will Clark, Caesar Cedano.. pop right into mind..those players made a real difference…MO and Theo Epstein receive a “D” for their trade-deadline moves. Yes…I know that sometimes you bring in impact players and it doesn’t pan out…so what…then you have those players the following year.

….after the Tigers demise this year some are wondering if it’s harder to be Tiger or a Lion fan in Detroit? High expectations that headed south quickly for both of these Motown teams…on the other hand Michigan football is relevant again—how did they stop Minn?

…the Rams 4-3….that’s very strange to type

….Who does Rob Manfred of the MLB think he’s kidding when he says DraftKings isn’t gambling…is there money involved…can you lose ur money or win someone else’s money..gee Rob …sure—we know the legality of skills vs chance…well…most fans THINK they have skill…come on…. do we know the game plan, all the matchups, a players exact health,mild injuries, …..the NFL should just say they like the heavy support of these on-line companies as sponsors but don’t treat us like fools…gambling fools that is J

….Bob Carpenter has been rehired for 2016 pbp for the Washington Nationals….it’ll be his 11th season at Wash DC…I liked his work

….I think Drew Brees should be ranked right up there with the “best” in the NFL QB rankings….I know his smaller stature “goes against him” but….he can read defenses superbly, pass expertly– not only to move the ball but lead them into touchdowns.

….the dog & pony show that the NFL held recently as “fans” had their say doesn’t mean a thing to the owners…it was all show…it’s all about the money….I have mixed feelings on the Randy Karraker plea at that forum…sure he’s a long-time season ticket holder and fan…as many others are but can you name any of the other speakers…do you REALLY think he was picked randomly?… it was his radio persona that drew attention while providing him plenty of attention to make his speech..which sounded like someone was dying..with his place of employment having the ONLY StL team coverage is the Rams…there has to be some consideration of a business vs fan conflict there

….Maty Mauk is a 3rd year student…it’s over at Mizzou….it’s my understanding that he’ll graduate this year…look for him at graduation (when all NCAA players become free agents if they have a year of eligibility left) to end up @ MO. State. Springfield, MO is where is Mom/Dad are living now as his Dad is the head coach of a local HS team. … MO State has won only one game this year so it’s obvious that they would welcome a player of Mauk’s level.

…two new things happened to David Freese last Sunday….he missed post-season for the first time since 2010 and secondly he became a free agent for the first time…can’t change the first outcome…free agency may or may not be what Freese expects it to be for him

Comments

  1. Joel delpha says:

    Is it just me or have there been an unbelievable amount of penalties this season in the NFL. Over 20 in the Rams-Browns game, something like 17 in the 49ers game in just the first half. The Arizona Cardinals nearly drove the entire field against the Ravens seemingly on penalties, one-after-another on nearly every play. Some of these are of the “ticky-tack” variety (especially PI calls). Gosh, its got to be horrible to have play DB these days. After every play of consequence I find myself waiting for a flag and am surprised when there isn’t one. It’s ruining the game for me. I find myself choosing not to watch the NFL anymore.

    • Joel,
      Couldn’t agree more…if excessive penalties continue…make the penalties harsher or remove the offenders for “x” number of plays…it is very hard to officiate at the speed of these superior athletes but I’m with you….it’s damaging the game.
      Bob

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