This is a great time of year. Baseball is showcasing its best teams of 2009, football is in full swing and the 28 people in North America that actually care, are enjoying the start of another hockey season (yes, I’m one of them). My plan was to offer a brief synopsis of the first four games of the ALCS and NLCS but I fell asleep after that disaster of a baseball game last night. I’m writing this as I watch the Dodgers/Phillies game five, so a few random thoughts are scattered throughout.
One of the great things about the baseball playoffs is the willingness of wives to sit down and pretend to care about a baseball game. Last Friday, I had my buddy Matt and his wife over for game two of the NLCS. Matt and I have been indulged in the sports world since we were four. We both married young ladies that aren’t as indulged. By that, I mean they honestly couldn’t care less. Anyway, I quickly learned that watching a playoff game with them was more entertaining than the game itself. I could write an entire post dedicated to those few hours, but I have more material to cover. Here are the highlights.
*As Charlie Manuel blew through five different relievers in the 8th inning, Matt and I had to explain that pitchers aren’t positioned by specific innings. For instance, Ryan Madson isn’t listed on the roster as an “8th inning pitcher,” just like Chad Durbin isn’t listed as a “6th inning pitcher.”
*When Ryan Howard led off the 7th with a single to right, Matt got a little excited and clapped. His wife looked up from her conversation with my wife and asked, “Did the Phillies just score a point?” I think if Matty’s eyes rolled any further back in his head, he may have died. (If you don’t understand this one, I’ll help you out. The scoreboard tracks runs, not points.)
*I forget exactly when it happened or who was responsible, but a pitch was fouled off. The ladies referred to this as, “out of bounds.” At this point, Matt’s head was buried in his hands.
*In the fifth inning of game one, Utley threw the ball into the front row while attempting to turn a double play. My wife immediately responded, “Guess you’re not world effing champs this year.” Priceless.
Some additional thoughts from the NLCS:
(8:20PM ET) Who would have guessed Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz would only trail Howard, ARod, and Ibanez in playoff RBI’s after two weeks of playoff baseball?
Chan Ho Park was responsible for two of my favorite NLCS moments. His performance in the 7th inning of game one was remarkable. He entered the game with a one run lead, Andre Ethier on second, and zero outs. Three batters later (heart of the Dodgers order mind you), Ethier was still on second and the inning was over. In game two, his flailing dive at Ronnie Belliard’s 8th inning bunt was priceless (go to 1:01 mark). I love pitchers.
Cole Hamels’ “act of frustration” after being pulled from game one was deplorable. He threw his glove down, knocked over a few Gatorade cups and then looked around like he was going to be scolded. It was the most uncomfortable, awkward tantrum in the history of playoff baseball. It’s ok, Cole, show us you’re fiery; throw a Gatorade cooler; empty the bat rack, storm into the clubhouse. You pitch in Philadelphia, we eat that stuff up.
Just when we thought his arm was going haywire, Utley figured it out. Chuck Knoblauch’s legacy as the “front row gunner” remains intact.
I’m not going to mention how spectacular that player across from Pedro Feliz has been for the Phillies because I don’t want to jinx his success. However, I will say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching him write his own playoff legacy. This is the stuff we tell our kids about.
“Can you meet me halfway? Right at the borderline that’s where I’m gonna wait…for you…” Has anyone else seen this commercial?
The media making a big deal of Manny showering while Rollins was putting LA on suicide watch was overblown. The guy went into the Green Monster to take a pee break in the middle of an inning once. It’s who he is. His teammates accept it and have no issues with him. Find a new story.
(9:26PM ET) The Dodgers stink
How do you walk Matt Stairs on four pitches? The guy swings at anything between his eyes and shins.
Jimmy Rollins’ game-winning hit in game four was awesome. However, it wasn’t as great as Andre Iguodala’s game winning shot against the Magic in game one of the 2009 playoffs.
I’m kidding. I got chills from both events. Chills from Rollins’ hit because of its magnitude, and chills from Iggy’s shot because I was afraid of the disturbing face he made after hitting the shot. Look at your own risk.
(10:15PM ET) Things you won’t hear as the World Series approaches: “It’s ok that Cole Hamels surrenders home runs at an alarming rate, the Yankees aren’t a home run hitting team.”
If I’m Jimmy Rollins, I am ticked off. The aforementioned hit was clearly a triple and they scored it as a double. Triples are so much cooler. We need to address this and appropriately credit players for game winning hits.
I was bored to death by game three. 11-0 is not playoff baseball.
(10:51PM ET) “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.” Can we please kill this commercial? Like now? I have faith we can do it. Someone once told me, “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.”
Why Philadelphia Hates Kobe Bryant: The 2001 NBA Finals. He likes the Dodgers. He used to like the Mets. He doesn’t like the Phillies. Somebody clearly forgot where he’s from. He’s yours, Los Angeles. We don’t need him. We have Royal Ivey.
Don’t walk these Phillies. You’re playing with fire.
The ALCS has lacked excitement. I’ve watched every inning and only have a few thoughts:
Joe Buck called the game 2 marathon, “A Classic.” Is the length of the game the only determining factor in labeling a game a classic? The extra innings made it exciting but the game itself was U G L Y, UGLY. I was so mad that the game ended on an error that I kept rewinding my DVR to see if there were any flags on the play.
(10:57PM ET) Howard just gave ARod the inside track to topping Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive postseason games with an RBI, and then Star Fox homered, again.
Nick Punto, Bobby Abreu, and there’s more I can’t remember; apparently Yankee opponents forget how to run the bases in critical game situations.
Speaking of base running blunders, Robinson Cano was correctly called safe at third in game four. Jorge Posada was clearly out because he was a good two feet off the third base bag. Cano, on the other hand, was absolutely in the “third base safe zone” when he was tagged. Job well done, Mr. Umpire.
10-1 playoff games are almost as boring as 11-0 playoff games.
Only Mariano Rivera can enter a game and promptly load the bases with one out and still have the confidence of his teammates to get out of the jam. I explained how amazing he is to my wife and she responded by blankly staring at me for a few moments before returning to studying, all without saying a word. Obviously, she wasn’t as impressed.
The Blackberry commercial: I’m confused, that move the girl practices in front of her mirror, is that dancing or was she trying to get a spider out of her shirt. I’m not sure.
(11:19PM ET) The Dodgers’ have been as clutch with runners in scoring position as Donovan McNabb in the closing minutes of a tight game (minus the puking of course).
When the Angels look back and see 6 errors in 4 games they’ll have a pretty good idea as to why they’re down 3 games to 1. Well, that and the fact they can’t hit.
CC Sabathia has been worth every penny. Now, if we can only get the Yankees to donate his game worn pants to the military, we could cut costs on parachute production.
Similar to #54/9 (I refuse to jinx him), Alex Rodriguez is having a potentially legendary playoffs. Every time the Yankees need a big hit, he’s there to deliver. It’s amazing how, after being vilified in early 2009, ARod has completely altered his persona on the field and in the clubhouse. I can’t wait to see these two mashers battle it out in the World Series (fingers crossed).
Speaking of coming up big, whoever stole Mark Teixeira’s bat bag should be the Angels’ ALCS MVP. Teixeira is batting .111 in the series. Unfortunately, the Angels are still down 3-1. Yeesh.
Assuming the ALCS continues at its current pace, let’s hope the World Series brings a little more excitement.
(12:02AM ET) Charlie Manuel just took the mic from Ernie Johnson. This is gonna be great. I’m out.