Oct 07

Did you see the game?

Yesterday was one of those days when baseball can be a magical sport. The tension was so thick in the Metrodome because of the finality of it. Somebody has to go home.

The Tigers took the lead and the Twins’ luck had run out. But, they regrouped and with the Metrodome as loud as only that place can be, the Tigers came back. It was one of those games where there was tension on every pitch.

If you weren’t a baseball fan then, you would have been later. The game was over four hours, but would anybody have complained about the length. When the game is that good, nobody cares about the time of game. Save overtime, you know when football and basketball will end. The clock tells you so. But, there is no clock in baseball. That’s why it is a timeless sport and always will be.

Just play the game right, and people will watch.

I know I will, and I hope you’ll join me as I blog throughout the playoffs.

Oct 06

Talkin’ Baseball: Tigers at Twins (AL playoff)

The finality of these one-game playoffs breeds the tension and excitement. On the surface, the Twins carry all the momentum and the Tigers are reeling. It’s the second straight year in which the Twins needed a playoff, with last year saw them losing 1-0 at Chicago.

Twins roll into playoffs.

Twins roll into playoffs.

Few could see this happening a month ago when the Twins trailed Detroit by seven games. A week later, they lost All-Star Justin Morneau to a season-ending back injury and most thought their chances were cooked. And, just last week, they were three down with four to play.

While the Tigers went 11-15 down the stretch, the Twins won 16 of 20 and four straight to force the extra game. They are kind of like the roll the Colorado Rockies were on in 2007. The winner of today’s game gets the Yankees, who had the option of having until after today’s game to decide whether to open the ALDS Wednesday or Thursday.

Tigers stagger into playoffs.

Tigers stagger into playoffs.


Gamesmanship all the way, they chose tomorrow, giving today’s winner no chance to catch its breath.

“Everybody wrote off the Twins, it seems like, a long time ago, especially when Morneau went down,” said Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon. “A team needs to keep fighting and they’ve been one of those special teams for a long time. It seems like they don’t give up. That’s the great thing about baseball. You never know.”

The one thing we do know about today’s game is it will be loud.

My plan is to blog as much of the postseason as I can, and that begins today. I don’t have a favorite in this game. The consensus seems to be Detroit has a better chance to unseat the Yankees than Minnesota.

Oct 06

Something with your morning coffee ….

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

In 2000, the Mets tied their NLDS at a game apiece, 5-4, in 10 innings on Jay Payton’s RBI single. The Giants tied the game, 4-4, in the bottom of the ninth on J.T. Snow’s three-run, pinch-hit homer off of, well, who else? Right, Armando Benitez.

Edgardo Alfonzo’s two-run homer in the ninth had given the Mets the lead. Al Leiter pitched eight innings for the Mets.

*************************************************************************************

They Said It

They Said It

A lot of things were said yesterday at Citi Field, with one of them coming from Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon, who left little doubt GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel would be operating on a short leash.

Said Wilpon: “They are very much on the hook now to work hard and correct the problems and flaws of the team. Injuries are not an excuse. They need to get us back to being a championship caliber team.”

*************************************************************************************

ON TAP FOR TODAY

Bonus baseball from the Metrodome. The Twins and Tigers have a one-game playoff, with the winner to take on the Yankees.

Aug 21

Just let him go ….

Both parties are following their nature, paths leading on an inevitable collision course. Gary Sheffield and the Mets clashed last night, and it won’t be the last time before this train wreck of a season comes to its bitter end.

SHEFFIELD: Time to let him go.

SHEFFIELD: Time to let him go.


The Mets stumble through moments like this with veteran players, holding on to them too long, hoping for glimpses of the past rather than seeing the likely end. They grasped too long with Pedro Martinez, Moises Alou, Julio Franco before finally letting go. They did right with Livan Hernandez, but saving money by not paying out innings incentives was probably the true motivation.

Sheffield, as is his wont, is complaining again about his contract. He asked for an extension last night, was turned down, demanded his release and then wanted to sit out.

For his part, Sheffield has been a model citizen this season until last night. He’s proven he still had flashes of pop, and even at 41 next year, he probably would have gotten a contract. If not with the Mets, then maybe in the American League as a designated hitter.

The Mets, as they should have, exposed him to the waiver wire earlier this month and the San Francisco Giants put in a claim. Rather then get something, the Mets pulled him off the wire. Why? They weren’t going anywhere. Would he sell that many tickets?

With this move, the Mets lost the opportunity to trade Sheffield and if he’s claimed again they get nothing. Not smart.

Concurrently, manager Jerry Manuel, who doesn’t always measure his thoughts before speaking, said he thought Sheffield still had something and wanted him back next year.

Sheffield’s timing was poor – it usually is when it comes to talking about his contract – but he had every reason to assume he was in the Mets’ plans for 2010.

When the Mets turned him down – they didn’t even say let’s talk about it after the season – they were saying he wasn’t in their future. Sheffield now says the Mets are holding him hostage, which is only partly true.

Barring his release through irrevocable waivers, he’ll languish over the next five weeks in the mediocrity that has become the Mets. There will be no postseason for Sheffield. However, he’s still making $14 million this year (Detroit is paying $13.6 million) and if he finishes quiet with him mouth and loud with his bat, he’ll play again.

It is hard to understand if Sheffield weren’t in their plans why the Mets would keep him. With the season lost, wouldn’t this be a good time to give Nick Evans extended playing time in left field to see if there is something? If Evans showed something, it might alleviate one less off-season headache. You never know.

If history is any indicator, Sheffield will purposely become a distraction. The Mets would likely blame the media for stirring the pot, but with a loose cannon like that, he’s going to be asked questions. He’s an easy story now.

He did so while with the Yankees to the point they were pleading for somebody to take him. The suckers were the Tigers who gave him a $28 million contract.

The Mets should realize this season is lost and there’s no benefit to keeping Sheffield. They should pull the trigger now and be done with it.