Oct 07

Talkin’ Baseball …. The playoffs begin.

The playoffs begin this afternoon in Philadelphia with the Phillies against the Colorado Rockies. The Mets should pay close attention because the Phillies play the game the right way. There’s a grit and toughness about them.

The other National League series has St. Louis going against the Dodgers against the Cardinals, the team I think will get to the World Series.

In the American League, I’m not sold on the Yankees because of their pitching. On paper, they are deeper and more talented than Minnesota, but we know how many series have been played on paper. The Yankees chose to start today instead of tomorrow. It was gamesmanship on their part, but this is a case where MLB should have stepped in for the good of the sport.

The other American League series has the Angels and Red Sox, with Los Angeles holding the home field. The Red Sox, however, have the Angels’ number, just like the Angels have something over the Yankees.

I’ll be watching, but I won’t get to the Phillies game right away. I’ll open the Chat Room for you and hope you’ll pick up the slack.

Enjoy.

Oct 07

Something with your morning coffee ….

This Day in Mets History

This Day in Mets History

It was a sweet memory and it wasn’t too long ago. On this day in 2006, the Mets defeated the, 9-5, to sweep their NLDS.

The Mets would lose to the Cardinals in the NLCS, and their window of opportunity has closed in the following three years, being slammed shut this season.

I covered the 2006 team, it was my first year on the Mets beat after long time with the Yankees. I was impressed with how the Mets played that season. They were sharp, aggressive, fundamentally sound. They had some pitching injuries, but the bullpen was deep and strong.

Times sure have changed.

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They Said It

They Said It

The Yankees won their season series over Minnesota, 7-0, but these are the playoffs.

The Twins might be exhausted, but they are hot and playing sharp, crisp baseball right now. They are the underdog, but they are a fundamentally sound team with good pitching. They always seem to find a way to stay in a game.

Said outfielder Denard Span: “We just feel like we have nothing to lose.”

The Twins are dangerous and they know it. The Yankees better know it, too.

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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 02

This Day in Baseball History …. Bucky Clears the Wall.

Yanks beat Sox in playoff game.

Yanks beat Sox in playoff game.

I knew exactly where I was on this day in 1978. I cut classes that day and was in my college apartment where I watched the Yankees complete their overtaking of the Boston Red Sox when Bucky Dent cleared the Green Monster in a one-game playoff at Fenway Park.

What a lot of people forget, is the Yankees not only erased a 14-game deficit, but actually moved ahead of Boston and it was the Red Sox who needed to come back to force the playoff. That only happened on the last day of the season when Cleveland’s Rick Waits beat New York at Yankee Stadium.

Dent’s homer came off Mike Torrez and Ron Guidry won his 25th game of the season. The game ends when Goose Gossage gets Carl Yastrzemski to pop out to third with two on.

Does anybody remember watching that game and what they were feeling that day?

Sep 18

About that vote of confidence ….

Supposedly, manager Jerry Manuel has been given a vote of confidence by management/ownership, but is that melting away?

For the longest time I thought Manuel would get a pass on this season because of the injuries that crippled this roster. I still think it might play out that way, but now I’m wondering if that’s the best way to go.

MANUEL: Is the inspiration there?

MANUEL: Is the inspiration there?


The Mets have responded with only four victories in September, which for the third straight season, has become a lost month. And, if you look back on it, September 2006 wasn’t so red hot, either.

Injuries are part of the game which must be overcome, but sometimes they understandably can’t be because no team – not even the Yankees – have the depth to withstand what happened to the Mets this season. However, is that any excuse for such shoddy play?

For all the talk of how the Mets were going to be a fundamentally sound team this season, and for all the work done in spring training, this team is horrible in that area. For example:

1) The baserunning has been terrible (21 nailed at the plate).
2) Too many at-bats are wasted.
3) The situational hitting is often not there, and their high average with RISP is a misnomer because they aren’t scoring the runs.
4) Defensively, too often the outfielders overthrow the cutoff man.
5) Way too many errors for a team that doesn’t have the power to overcome them.
6) The staff has walked well over 500 opposing batters and might push 600 for the season.

All that is a reflection on the manager and coaching staff. In addition, the team has no life right now, and their record is not an excuse for the lack of spark. Conversely, the lack of spark is a contributor to the record.

All this comes back to Manuel and the staff. If the Mets were playing smart, aggressive baseball, this wouldn’t even be an issue. Injuries are beyond a manager’s control, but the attitude and fundamental base of the team isn’t.