‘Tis the Season by Bob Ryan

‘Tis the Season…..all the annual hustle/bustle  of Christmas  begins as Christmas decorations begin appearing inside & outside…..holiday shoppers appear in larger numbers… Holiday parties flourish …since Christmas parties aren’t allowed…MLB winter meetings bring player movements….bowl matchups are announced…so a quick look at the sports news of the “Season”


Some reactions to the baseball winter meetings & signings/trades

…walking down aisle with Bridesmaid…..the Cards get Dexter Fowler….clearly they have improved their team…. according to almost every single offensive stat…he’s very solid in the batting stats comparisons of all CF in MLB…so it helps the Cards…. however…there are a couple stats that “stick out” to me—some good some not so good….a) 2nd in pitches per plate appearance @ 4.41 b) 19th in games played-125  c) 6th in average @ .276  d) in runs created he was #6 @ 87  e) 12th in ground ball to fly ball ratio 0.72  f) career batting average is .268…but I feel like the Cards really wanted someone else ….but didn’t get him or decided the asking price was too high for the player that they really wanted…who knows who that was….they wouldn’t have waited until some other players were “off the board.. they  would have signed him right off the bat ….pardon the punJ  I do think that not only does Fowler improve the on-field play but his personality ….smiling, overt….will be good medicine for the seemingly stoic, businesslike atmosphere of the Cards locker-room.

 ….no more closer by committee…the SF Giants signed Mark Melancon to be their closer after the Giants tried “matching up”, using the hot or fresh  reliever through a committee of bullpen guys…that didn’t work out so well…so welcome aboard Mr. Melancon

…I’m Mr. Lonely….you remember that song by Bobby Vinton…vintage 1963…anyway  Edwin Encarnacion has been given the cold shoulder  by MLB team in these early day of free agency…it makes you wonder about this guy…he can hit with power–.263, 42 HR, 127 RBI..he’s clearly a better hitter as a DH… somehow the fielding bothers him as a hitter but come on…but…there’s always a but…when he rejected a 4 year $80 million deal he  began walking around like he has the plague ….I suspect he’ll end up in AL

….same ol’, same ol’….Yanks do it again …sign a big name, to a big contract in the diminishing years of his career…welcome aboard  Matt Holliday

….HR Leader looking for a home…Mark Trumbo searches for a team…I’m choosing Toronto as his landing place…as long as he isn’t asking for $20mil per year

…is it now or never?….the Boston Red Sox add a dominant starter, a 1B replacement for Big Papi and a wonderful lefty for the bullpen as they acquire Chris Sale, Mitch Moreland and Tyler Thornburg…. Thornburg cost the Sox their starting 3B for much of 2016-Travis Shaw (16 HR, 71 rbi, .242) but Thornburg fills a real need.  He was 8-5 in 67 games, 67 inn, 90 strikeouts but had a wonderful 2nd half for the Brewers. Mitch Moreland is signed as the free agent 1b—he’s coming off of a disappointing .233 season but Boston hopes it’s a 1 year hiccup…the big trade for Sale from the White Sox sent 2  very highly touted prospects (including the highest ranked prospect in the minor leagues –Yoan Moncada) and 2 other highly rated prospects…clearly the Red Sox are playing for now…they have a starting rotation that has a robust upper 3 for 2017—Porcello, Price and Sale… I like it.. no guarantee it’ll work… but play for now…worry about the future as it gets closer

… is this fools gold or the real thing?…..meanwhile the White Sox are now in possessions of 8 of the top 30 minor league prospects of the entire MLB…they are hoping that 2 …maybe if they’re  lucky..4-5 of the prospects live up to their glossy  billing…it is said that they are rebuilding…”rebuilding ” is a term that implies to me…that we know that we’re going to lose but we have an alibi…we “Might” win  sometime in the future

…pinned in a corner….the rule 5 draft allows any one MLB team..say team 1….to choose a minor league player  from another MLB team..call this team 2…. The chosen player must have a certain  amount of years in organization and have been left off of the MLB 40 man roster….the only restriction on team 2 is that the player that they choose MUST stay up on the Major league roster for the entire season OR that chosen player reverts back to his original team…well…San Diego chose THREE rule 5 players…so in 2017 they’ll have 3 players that they can’t move…sometimes  it does work out and this minor leaguer does become productive…e.g. matt Bowman of the Cards last year was a rule 5 player.


…just by chance….I caught the Army-Navy game on Saturday night….it was terrific….two highly disciplined teams, playing with emotion but none of the self-centered, attention grabbing antics that permeate throughout most of college athletics…clearly it was a “team” 1st mentality…and…as a sucker for underdogs….I must admit, I was rooting for Army who hadn’t won since 2001. In a game where the forward pass was abhorred by both teams…almost as much as Christmas shopper abhorring the thought of the checkout terminal losing its power…it was a great game… the Cadets came from behind to upend the Midshipmen 21-17. Sure…these aren’t the premier college football teams….but one has to be impressed by these young men who will be representing and fighting for us…the USA.


Clarification…last week I wrote that Martin Van Buren was the 1st President born in the USA….I received many “corrections” from readers…thank you for keeping…or trying ..to keep me straight.. at any rate..Van Buren was the 1st Prez born after America was the USA(therefore 1st born after 1776)…my son Tim clarified it on facebook but I thought that I’d try to “save face” by giving the explanation…thanks to all  of you for keeping me on the “straight & narrow”.


The bowl season announces its pairings

In the JV bowls….the ones prior to Dec 29…there are riveting matchups….I can’t wait to watch the Old Dominion vs E. Michigan in the Bahamas Bowl…go ahead give me the mascot of either of those teams…or in the New Orleans Bowl where So. Miss tangles with UL-Lafayette….remember Houston’s great start…well Houston plays San Diego St in the Las Vegas Bowl..and there are many other similar mediocre teams in irrelevant games


In the Varsity Bowls outside the BCS…I’m tired of writing about the BCS….Georgia vs TCU in Liberty Bowl appeals to me—one team that has little offense and good defense against a team that moves the ball but couldn’t tackle their grandma….LSU vs Louisville in Citrus Bowl gives the Cardinals an opportunity to play a “big boy” from the SEC…Colorado will try to prove their new level of skill as they face the run-gun Ok State Cowboys in a game that the over/under will probably be 90…the Sun Bowl features two teams that disappointed their fans this year in Stanford and N. Carolina but I’ve enjoyed McCaffrey as a player so it’ll be the final time to watch him perform…I always enjoy watching Boise State in bowls…this year Boise faces Baylor in what should be a high scoring game in the Cactus Bowl and the last bowl that looks good to me…one that doesn’t seem to have two 6-6 type teams…. is in the Orange Bowl—Michigan vs Florida State…I may end up flipping on some of these other bowls out of curiosity but…really…just the names of the Bowls…the Quick Lane Bowl, the Russell Athletic Bowl, the Belk Bowl, the Baca Rotan Bowl, etc…don’t  even sound like a bowl to me


….what will he do?…so Montie Cross (the Def Coordinator @ Mizzou) is returning next year but Odum is calling the defense…guess he will  be assigned to be the “high fiving” coach…ya know…the coach that greets all the kids as they exit the field with a high five for their play….reading between the lines it seems that Mizzou doesn’t want to eat his contract and release him so…..high five it baby.


Now its Tis the Season for me to exit and return to the Christmas tree, Christmas Cards, yada-yada-yada   that are longing for my attention.


  1. Jim Pleimann says:

    The high five coach??? That’s a beauty!
    I don’t care if the Red Sox, Yankees or the Toledo Mud Hen’s load up and spend enormous amounts of money. as long as the Cubs don’t win, I don’t care who wins… LOL Maybe the White Sox will become good as quickly as the Cubbies did….
    Only bowls I may watch are on New Years Day…
    I actually saw a good chunk of the Army Navy game. Good stuff. (The pregame was well done!)

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