Tagged: Playoffs

Grrrumpiring

If the White Sox make the series, it will be the first time since 1959.  That was the year I was born, and I’m a grandpa.  And for the life of me I can’t ever remember a post season as marred by umpiring as this one.  Sure there are always bad calls.  But there were what, three or four in game 4 of the ALCS?  Cuzzi’s strike zone in game 4 of the NLCS was embarassingly erratic, causing La Russa to lose his cool.  In all fairness to Cuzzi, he was an equal opportunity bungler.  La Russa knew he was going to get tossed.  He wanted to make a point:  managers getting tossed is like a sac fly.  But tossing Edmonds?  That’s one of those unwritten rules: you don’t eject an impact player from a playoff game unless he can serve jail time for the offense.  You don’t punish an entire city for what someone calls your mother. 


But beyond the bad calls and short fuses, it has been the utter chaos that has really defined this year’s playoff umpiring.  The Eddings situation. And what about tonight when Ensberg thought he had time called?  In both of those situations, the typical behaviour is for umpires to simply “reset” the game—whether the ball was cleanly caught or not, time given or not, the “play” is disregarded, like a ground rule double.  Bad calls are part of the game. 


One hundred percent accuracy is not attainable, probably not even desirable.  Bad calls are like bad hops, introducing an element of randomness into what is essentially a game of concentration.  In moderation, they become an acceptable part of the story told at the watercooler the next day and to our grandchildren generations later.  This year, unfortunately, officiating is becoming the story.   Let’s hope we can get back to playing ball.  — amn

Deer in the Headlights

Exciting series, but why do they play the games so late here Eastern time?! I’m forced to live on either little sleep and weekday hangovers, or first three innings, the highlight reel, and game scraps until the weekend! They just have no consideration for us folks who must go to work at 6 A.M. Oh well, I suppose I should find viable solutions like taping the game and watching the next evening. However, it’s hard to avoid inadvertently discovering the results during the course of the day. Perhaps I need to start taking a vacation every October…tell ‘em it’s a “religious retreat.” 😉 

I’ll have to agree with my father and co-author here on SBY regarding the “small ball” thing. The Angels have seemed to impose this upon the series, often leaving Chicago with the “deer in the headlights” look (e.g., not tagging up on flies, making poor base running decisions, etc.) In this regard it is odd that the “little league” error was on the Angels. ****, in my short stint as a catcher in the little league I was burned by that one and learned my lesson. 

Yet and still we mustn’t indulge in conspiracy theories on the part of the catcher or the Ump. Remember “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you get rained out"…think about that. Take care all! — cmn 

T Ball

The ALCS between the Angels and White Sox has turned into a small ball matchup, and I love it.   Game One was decided by bunting and baserunning.  Game Two?  Well, Darin Erstad summed it up:  "More proof that people who say they have seen it all, haven’t seen it all."  Let’s be clear here:  I’m partial to the Angels in this series.  My son and co-author here on SBY, is a White Sox fan, hence the logo.  I have nothing against the White Sox, and I wouldn’t be sad to see the south siders win the whole thing.  But still, I’m partial to the Angels.  Why?  Because for the last several years they’ve brought small ball to the American League, and I like small ball.  So it is ironic that they got beat on the smallest of small ball. 

A Little League play.  Anybody else think the play looked like a T ball game?  Pierzynski was walking back to the dugout with his head down after striking out.  You could hear all the parents screaming “Run! Run!”.  And sure enough, he did.  Heads up play by Pierzynski.  Bad play by Paul.  I was a catcher and was taught if your glove hits the ground, tag the batter or throw to first.  It really doesn’t matter if the ball bounced an instant before it hit the mitt.  If you think about it for a moment, there is no way the home plate umpire can see that happen—the mitt itself blocks his angle of view in those scenarios.  He is calling that play on what he thinks happened.  Nor is the third base umpire really the correct arbiter.  Remember, he has to watch whether the batter checks his swing.  It is really too much to ask for him to watch the pitch, too.  That is precisely why the checked swing call is defered to the third base umpire.  The particular scenario is one of those gray areas that caught up with baseball last night.  I’ve always thought the dropped third strike rule was one of those anachronisms from the dead ball era at the turn of the century that should be scuttled.  — amn

I Can’t Lose

My son and co-author here on SBY, Chris, is fortunate: he has a team he likes and a team he despises in the ALCS.  Personally I have nothing but positive vibes for both teams—actually for all four teams.  It would be great to see Chicago go to the World Series.  Can’t you just see those classic pinstripes and the Cardinals eternal uniforms?  It would look like something out of the forties.  Then again, I love the way the Angels play small ball.  And as much as St. Louis deserves a trip to the Series, so does Houston.  Hmmm….I have nothing to lose.  Unfortunately I don’t have as much to win, either.  — amn

First Day of Winter in New York

For a Yankees fan, the exit of the boys from the Bronx from the stage is the first day of winter.  The Hot Stove is heating up already in the chill wind of cold bats.  Even the Central Park Zoo’s beloved penguins have shrouded themselves in darkness to conceal their mourning. 

I’m always disturbed when I see something like this from the New York Post:  “So for $208 million Steinbrenner got an eighth straight AL East title and a fifth Animatedcconsecutive empty October.”  Championships are not for sale.  The marquee players pack butts in the seats all season.  Their statistics are meaningful over the course of a long season, and hence predict success.   But as my son and co-author of SBY Chris notes, it is amazing how often it is the little guy who contributes the big play in the playoffs.  The dynamics of the playoffs are different.  If the Yankee management hasn’t figured that out, particularly after this year, then they deserve what they get.

There is a great article on SI.com on this subject, Bang for the Buck.

— amn

Rootin’ Tootin’

C’mon Yanks! Who do you root for in a situation like this? I definitely don’t like the Angels, but a hunch tells me that the ChiSox will have a better chance against them than the Yanks. Would it be wrong to root for a team only in hopes that they will get beat in the next series? I suppose in a way, either team I may root for in this series will have the fate of being rooted against when they play the Sox in the next series. How about that game yesterday between the Braves and Astros? You hate to see either team go home empty handed when both fought so hard. I suppose in a way it was Houston’s turn. You hate to see the same teams get the shot every time. This game sure is getting exciting! Unfortunately, I believe I may have to go to bed and discover the results of this game tomorrow. I live for this! Garr!!  — cmn