October 2010

Random Thoughts

So here we are, two down and two to go. The Phillies and Yankees have unceremoniously dispatched the Reds and Twins respectively while the Giants are a win away (thanks to Brooks Conrad) and Tampa Bay has returned from the depths to even the series with Texas. There have been a lot of big moments, plays, miss called plays, check swings, and more in the space of 13 games.

Without further adieu…
  • Bill Buckner had a terrific career for the LA Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and California Angels. He led the National League in hitting in 1980, was an all-star in 81 and had a lifetime batting average of .289. Unfortunately for Buckner, he is remembered for one play.  Let’s hope that something positive happens for Brooks Conrad. Unlike Buckner who made the majors quickly, Conrad has played over 1,100 minor league games and less than 200 major league games.
  • Are we really going to argue about check swings and think that instant replay is going to solve that? How many times have you watched a game with a buddy and still argued over whether something was a swing or a check swing even with super-duper, double-strength, instant replay?
  • And speaking of instant replay, do we really want the games stopped to check on every call? Okay so maybe you are thinking I’m saying this because I’m a Giants fan and Posey was out. Well earlier this year in a game against the Mets they would have won a game they lost if there was instant replay. 
  • Instant replay discussions drive me crazy because no one gets to actively second guess a football coach or a baseball manager. 4th and 1 and a toss sweep is called instead of pounding the ball up the middle, no one gets to question the coach. And oh my gosh, if a reporter DOES question said coach in the post-game news conference, well, how dare you. Of course the head coach knows more than you.
  • Okay, so when players quit making errors and coaches/managers quit making mistakes, then we should have expanded replay.
  • Quick, off the top of your head think about the biggest baseball play you can think of over the last 30 or 40 years and then wonder whether instant replay would have helped. Now do the same for football. As I was typing this, I thought about Ed Armbrister and Franco Harris. Armbrister and catchers interference and Harris and the double touch. 
  • How many random thoughts have I typed before I talk about Roy Halladay? He was one walk, one 3-2 pitch away from a perfect game in the playoffs. That was just about as dominating a no-hitter as I’ve seen in a long time. There was really nothing much close to a hit.
  • Speaking of dominating, how about Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum. Baseball has very quietly returned to the past where good/great pitching nearly always beat good/great hitting.  
  • It’s a shame with all the good pitching and with Tampa and Texas now moving to game 5, that we are collectively spending so much time talking about errors and bad umpiring.
  • We learned again last night in the Braves and Giants game just how tough it can be to get 27 outs, especially those last three. With Billy Wagner injured, the Braves relied on a couple of guys that have been lights out in the 7th and 8th innings. So much tougher to get three outs when they are the last three of a game.
  • My hats off to Cincinnati and Minnesota even though they didn’t win a game in their respective playoff series. The poor Twins keep getting matched up with the Yankees. And the Reds ran into the buzz saw otherwise known as the Philadelphia Phillies. 
  • My love to the Giants aside, I can’t see anyone beating the Phillies in a series. Pitching, Defense and Hitting, what more could you want?
On the home front…
We are putting together plans for a Hot Stove Dinner to take place in late January or early February. We’re also putting together plans for a couple of other events to be held here at the ballpark. This should be an exciting off-season here on the island and I’ll do my best to keep you abreast of everything happening.
The ballpark/team have received accolades surrounding the ballpark/in game experience and I’ll be writing a story later today regarding the ballpark/team accolades. 
Lastly, I’m still working on a season recap and thoughts on different players. Don’t forget to keep in touch with the happenings in Arizona in the Arizona Fall League (AFL). I’ll write more about the AFL tomorrow or Wednesday.
Until then have a great couple of days of watching baseball!

Bonus Baseball…

1971 – lost to the Pirates 3-1. Ugh!

1987 – lost to the Cards 4-3 and didn’t score in the final two games in St. Louis.

1989 – Beat the Cubs 4-1, lost to the A’s 4-0.

1997 – Lost to the Marlins 3-0.

2000 – Lost to the Mets 3-1.

2002 – Beat Atlanta and the Cards, dropped the WS to the Angels 4-3.

2003 – Lost to the Marlins 3-1.

2010 – ???????

Growing up in Northern California and being a Giants fan longer than I can remember being anything else, those are the years that they have reached the post-season that I’ve been alive. There have been several well-documented near misses (1993 and 1998 among) them, but these are the only years I’ve really cared about post-season baseball.

I’ve been lucky enough to be at the 1987 games against St. Louis, the 1989 games against the Cubs and the A’s (yes, including the Earthquake game) and the one 1997 game against the Marlins.

There’s just something about following a baseball team, through thick and thin, that makes it different than following a football team.

Quick, off the top of your head, when did the Buffalo Bills last win a championship? Okay, how about the Chicago Cubs? I’m guessing that many of the people reading this know the last time the Cubs made a World Series Appearance was in 1945.

So what makes it different following baseball as compared to football, basketball, or hockey? Fans of other sports will argue with this, no doubt, but there is nothing like the opening game of spring training or certainly opening day in baseball. 

As a kid in Sacramento, I would mysteriously have a stomach ache or cold on the day of the first spring training game on the radio. It just seemed that the world was right again when I could hear baseball on the radio. It meant the school year was closer to being over than not. It meant that spring and summer were around the corner. And it meant that maybe, just maybe, the Giants would make the playoffs and win the World Series.

Well I’m 47 years old and am still waiting for the World Series win.

The Giants were poised to finally win one in 2002. They led the Angels 5-0 into the 7th inning only to watch the Angels rally and win forcing a game seven. Unfortunately, I, along with thousands of other Giants fans, knew that they had no chance in game seven.

So here we are for the first time since 2003. Seven long seasons of not really caring about playoff baseball have come to an end and this year, I do care.

Go Giants!

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Now onto our regularly scheduled, albeit short, blog. Seven other teams have made the postseason this year along with the Giants. I perused the season ending 40-man rosters for all eight teams and I came up with the following former Sens on those 40-man rosters that could potentially be on their teams playoff roster.

Yankees – Jonathan Albaladejo & Javier Vasquez

Reds – Bill Bray, Brandon Phillips & Orlando Cabrera (added note, Chris Heisey played his college baseball at Messiah College)

Phillies – Brian Schneider

Rangers – Cliff Lee and Vladimir Guerrero

Four of the eight teams have affiliates in the Eastern League (Giants, Phillies, Yankees, and Twins) so without counting, there are a ton of former EL players and Sens opponents that are in the playoffs.

To me, it’s more fun to watch these games knowing we’ve seen players that have played against the Senators.

Speaking of the Senators, it’s raining on the Island today. We’ve had a great couple of weeks to start our off-season and later this week we head to New Britain for the annual Eastern League Meetings. A lot of great ideas come out of the two days meetings.  Next week, we’ll hold our own two day meeting to talk about what went right and wrong during 2010 and then get things pointed in the 2011 direction. I love the meeting process as it is exciting to talk about ideas and to get them started. I’m sure you’ll all be thrilled with what we come up with for 2011!

Coming up in the next few days I’m still going to write a recap of the Sens 2010 season.