Oct 11

Something with your morning coffee ….

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

It was Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS in Fenway Park, one of the most intense games in one of the most intense rivalries in all of sport.

Headhunter Pedro Martinez and punk Manny Ramirez were the biggest instigators in a brawl filled game between the Yankees and Red Sox. Ramirez waved his bat at Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens after a pitch that was no where near the Red Sox outfielder which caused the benches to empty.

In the scuffle, Martinez threw 72-year-old Yankees coach Don Zimmer to the ground. The game later featured a scuffle in the Yankees bullpen involving a Red Sox grounds crew member. The Yankees would win the game and Clemens got the decision.

The Yankees would go on to the World Series where they would lose to Florida.

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They Said It

They Said It

The Cardinals are the first playoff team to see winter as they offered no resistance in Game 3 of their NLDS with Los Angeles to be swept out of October.

Said Los Angeles’ Casey Blake: “Anytime you win a series it’s good. But to sweep the Cardinals, it just doesn’t happen. I would have never guessed we would have swept them.”

The Dodgers will play the winner of the Colorado-Philadelphia NLDS, which is tied at a game apiece with Game 3 tonight in Denver.

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BY THE NUMBERS

0: Extra base hits by Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols in the NLDS vs. Dodgers.

Oct 10

TALKIN’ BASEBALL: Dodgers stymie Pujols; go for sweep.

The Cardinals were a pick of mine to advance. I thought the Dodgers’ pitching was suspect and Albert Pujols could take over a series. So far, I have been wrong. The Dodgers have limited the Cardinals to five runs in the two games and go for the sweep today in St. Louis.

Of course, if Matt Holliday could catch a line drive the NLDS would be tied at a game apiece. He couldn’t and it is not.

PUJOLS: Cardinals need his bat.

PUJOLS: Cardinals need his bat.

That play was a major storyline. So is the Dodgers’ unwillingness to pitch to Pujols. Like Barry Bonds a few years ago, Pujols is to be avoided.

Pujols, the NL MVP favorite, hit .327 with a major league-leading 47 homers and 135 RBI. He as also intentionally walked 44 times, most in the majors. In the first two games of this series the Dodgers have limited him to a single in six at-bats. They’ve walked him intentionally the three times he came to the plate with runners in scoring position.

“To me, Albert is just out there in a class by himself,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Friday. “It may cost me, you know, a three-run homer instead of a two-run homer. But I’m still going to make somebody else beat me.”

The Cardinals have the power to complement Pujols, but Los Angeles’ pitching has been too good.

“One of the reasons we were a lot better in the last half of the year is we have protection behind him,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “If Albert keeps getting on base, we’ll pick him up.”

For the Cardinals, who stranded 14 runners in Game 1, it has to happen soon.

Oct 10

If they’re going to have instant replay, then do it right ….

It’s one thing when a player makes a mistake or a manager a bad decision. That’s part of the game. It’s expected. It is the human element.

It’s also expected umpires will blow calls, but in that case, there’s a vehicle in place to get it right. Baseball has introduced technology to work with the human side. Unfortunately, it’s only used on home runs, but the game is far more than the long ball.

CUZZI: Blown call could alter playoffs.

CUZZI: Blown call could alter playoffs.


Who knows … perhaps it would be the Tigers playing the Yankees had plate umpire Randy Marsh got it right and called it a HBP on Brandon Inge with the bases loaded Tuesday in the Metrodome. Replay got it and the Tigers should have had a run. Maybe they beat the Twins, maybe they don’t, but we shouldn’t be wondering.

And, who knows what Phil Cuzzi saw a ball when he ruled Joe Mauer’s ball off Melky Cabrera’s glove foul instead of fair, which it was by close to half a foot if not more. Later, when it was too late, the umps admitted they got it wrong. Worse, Cuzzi was the extra umpire used for the postseason.

Instead of a runner on second and no outs, the Twins had a man on first with no outs. The Twins eventually loaded the bases with no outs, but with the human element, did not score. They lost in the bottom of the inning.

Had the play been ruled correctly and the inning unfolded as it did, the Twins would have scored. The ump’s admission does not remove them from the brink of elimination.

“The left field umpire Phil Cuzzi saw the ball foul and called what he saw, rendered the ball foul decision,” crew chief Tim Tschida said. “Afterwards, like any close play, we went in and looked at it and it’s a clear indication that an incorrect decision was rendered.”

There’s a vehicle in place to get it right and it should be expanded.

Unlike football where the action takes place anywhere and the view is often obstructed by fly bodies, baseball has fixed locations in the foul lines and bases. It’s far easier to correct plays. Even on trapped balls in the outfield, there’s rarely another body to blur the view.

If the goal is to get it right, then MLB should use everything at its disposal to ensure the game is correctly called. There’s too much at stake otherwise.

Oct 09

Pedro wants the ball ….

I’m not second-guessing the Mets’ decision not to bring back Pedro Martinez. I thought it was time to move on also. However, in light of the collapse of the Mets pitching staff, Martinez’s success with the Phillies shows they might have made a mistake.

Martinez finds himself in position where he could get the ball in the pivotal Game 3 of the Phillies’ NLDS at Colorado tomorrow.

The decision will be announced between Martinez, Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ. Martinez thinks it will be him.

“I’ve been around long enough to know that it’s my turn,” Martinez said. “I’m supposed to get some action in there. And I’m looking forward to getting an opportunity to help this team. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do that.”

Martinez was 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA this season in a couple of months with the Phillies. If used the right way, meaning as a back end of the rotation starter, he could be valuable, and his numbers will get him a job if he wants to pitch again.

Did the Mets make a mistake?