October 2011

My Blogging Plans for the Off Season

Now that the 2011 MLB season is over, all of its players are either taking vacations to foreign countries, or are going to play in other leagues for the Fall and/or Winter months. They might be going somewhere, but I’m not. No, I plan on blogging the entire offseason, with at least 2-3 blog entries a week. It’ll be a challenge, but it’ll also be fun.

With this being my first entry of the off season, I thought I’d use it to let you know what to expect the entries on this blog to be like during the off season:

  • I currently have 12 Q and A’s that I haven’t posted yet, and one other Q and A with Brad Penny, that I’m in the process of completing. I hope to post a Q and A entry once a week for the entire off season, but for that to happen, I’ll have to get a few more players to agree to answer some questions. I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
  • I also have around 8 or so ideas for blog entries during the offseason, that have to do with random baseball topics, that I feel you–the reader–will enjoy.
  • Other than that, I’ll post entries as the breaking news topics occur. With all of the free agents this offseason, it shouldn’t be hard to find something to write about.

I hope I helped you to better understand what to expect from this blog during the off season. With all of that said, I hope to have you follow/read along.

TONY LARUSSA RETIRES

I decided to not post an entire entry about this, but I felt that it was newsworthy enough to put at the bottom of this entry. As you more than likely have already heard, Tony LaRussa decided that the 2011 MLB season, was his last.

Wheter you like him or not, you can’t argue that he’s had a Hall Of Fame career. Here’s some of the things LaRussa accomplished in his 33 season managerial career:

  • One of only two managers in the history of MLB to win a World Series title in both the NL and AL. (Sparky Anderson being the other.)
  • Ninth manager in the history of MLB to win three or more World Series titles. (LaRussa won three.)
  • An overall record of 2728-2365, between his seasons with the White Sox, Athletics and Cardinals. (.544 winning percentage.)
  • Third all-time in managerial wins. (Behind Connie Mack and John McGraw. Both Hall of Famer’s.)
  • Six pennants won, over his 33 season career.
  • 14 playoff appearances made.

LaRussa made this statement in a news conference earlier today:

There isn’t one (factor) that dominates (my decision). They all just come together telling you your time is over. We went through the season and I felt that this just feels like it’s  time to end it and I think it’s going to be great for the Cardinals to  refresh what’s going on here. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead. I’m ready to do something different … Other than some of personal attachments, I feel good. I feel good that this is the right decision. I think this just feels like it’s time to end it.

I guess it’s better to go out on top–three days after winning the 2011 World Series–then to go out on your way down.

My World Series Game 7 Recap

Last night’s game 7 of the 2011 World Series was do or die, for both the Cardinals and the Rangers. A win for the Rangers would mean their first World Series Championship in the franchises history. A win for the Cardinals would mean their second World Series Championship in the past ten years. It was game on.

The start of the game saw Cardinal’s pitcher Chris Carpenter on the mound. He was pitching on only three days rest, but as the Cardinal’s best pitcher, he was their best chance of a victory. He had to be on his game.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Carpenter didn’t seem to be on his game to start out. Giving up two runs in the top of the first inning. The first run for the Rangers coming off of an RBI double by Josh Hamilton, who’s not had the best post season, but has come through in some big spots. The second run of the inning came on an RBI double from Michael Young, that scored Hamilton from second. It was 2-0, Rangers, just like that. It wasn’t looking good for the Cardinals.

Moving on to the bottom half of the inning. The Cardinals have a runner on first and second, with two outs. The two base runners came off of two straight walks by Ranger’s pitcher, Matt Harrison. The next batter, David Freese, came through again for the Cardinals, by doubling to left field, allowing both Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman to score. The game was now tied, 2-2.

Jumping ahead to the bottom of the third, the score is still tied 2-2. The batter, Allen Craig, sends a ball to right field. At first it appeared as if Craig had popped the ball up. But it kept carrying and carrying, just enough to get over the wall. The Cardinals now lead, 3-2.

Now skipping ahead to the bottom of the fifth inning. Things got ugly for the Rangers. After bringing in Scott Feldman to replace Matt Harrison, he walks Allen Craig, plunks Albert Pujols, and then intentionally walks David Freese. The bases are loaded with two outs. So what does Feldman do? He walks the next batter, Yadier Molina, which allows the runner at third, Allen Craig, to walk home. The score is now, 4-2, Cardinals. With the bases STILL loaded, and one out left to get, the Rangers replaced Feldman with their Ace, C.J. Wilson. What does Wilson do? On the FIRST pitch he throws, after coming in the game, he hits the batter, Rafael Furcal, allowing another run to WALK home. The score is now 5-2. Wilson then strikes out Skip Schumaker. But the damage has been done.

Moving onto the top of the sixth inning. The Rangers look to cut the lead by a run, as Nelson Cruz launches a ball to deep center field. It appears as if it will sail over the outfield wall. But at the last second, Allen Craig makes the leaping catch, robbing Cruz of a home run. To me, that catch by Craig was the nail in the Ranger’s coffin.

Bottom of the seventh. The Cardinals have runners on first and second, with one out. The batter, Yadier Molina, hits a single to center field. Lance Berkman, the runner at second, scores. The RBI single by Molina makes the score 6-2, Cardinals. The Cardinals start to feel the victory.

Moving on to the top of the ninth. The score is still 6-2, Cardinals, with Nelson Cruz coming up to bat. Jason Motte, the hard throwing “closer” for the Cardinals, is the new pitcher. Motte gets Cruz to fly out to center fielder, Jon Jay. Two outs to go. The next batter, Mike Napoli–who’s been oustanding for the Rangers in the World Series–grounds out to third base. The Cardinals are now just one out away from winning the World Series. David Murphy approaches the plate as the last chance for the Rangers. Everything rides on him. But Murphy doesn’t come through, as all he can do is fly out to left field. The crowd goes insane! The Cardinals have done it. After being down 10.5 games to the Braves in the Wild Card chase on August 25, they’ve come all the way back to win the World Series. It’s truly one of the more remarkable runs in baseball history.

Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals, for winning the 2011 World Series.

I feel bad for the Texas Rangers. After making it all the way to the World Series last season, and losing to the San Fransisco Giants, this season was their chance to redeem themselves. But it wasn’t meant to be I guess.

After the game was over, Bud Selig presented the M.V.P. trophy to David Freese. Freese–who’s the reason the Cardinal’s even made it to a game seven–came through for the Cardinal’s every single time they needed him to. He truly was the Cardinal’s Most Valuable Player.

Once again, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals for winning the 2011 World Series. A remarkable end, to a remarkable season.

POLL RESULTS

The very first poll I posted back on October 10th, asked who you thought would win the 2011 World Series, and in how many games. The majority of the votes had the Rangers winning in six games. It’s funny how far off that prediction was.

My World Series Game 6 Recap

If you missed last night’s game, I feel sorry for you. You missed an unbelievable game. One of the best games in World Series history. It was truly remarkable what went down. Under the circumstances of last night’s game you expected the Cardinal’s to play their heart’s out to stay alive, but I don’t think anyone expected them to play the way they did.

The top of the first inning saw Cardinal’s starting pitcher, Jaime Garcia, giving up the lead off walk to Ian Kinsler. Garcia then proceeded to give up a single to Elvis Andrus, which allowed the speedy Kinsler to make it all the way to third, with no outs. Things then got worse for Garcia, as he allowed a single to Josh Hamilton, allowing Kinsler to score. It was 1-0, Rangers, just like that, with still no outs. But Garcia did a nice job of getting out of the inning with just the one run allowed, as he sat down the next three batters 1-2-3.

Moving onto the bottom of the second, Lance Berkman hammers a two run home run over the wall, with two outs. The score quickly became. 2-1, Cardinals. You knew then and there, that this was going to be a back and forth game.

Jumping ahead to the top of the seventh inning, the score is now tied, 4-4. Adrian Beltre, the leadoff batter, hits a solo home run. Not to be outdone, the next batter, Nelson Cruz, does the same. A solo home run to left field. Back-to-back home runs make the score 6-4, Rangers. Later in the inning, after reaching base safely on a bunt, Derek Holland is the runner at first. A wild pitch by the Cardinal’s pitcher, Octavio Dotel, to Ian Kinsler, allows Holland to advance to second, with two outs. Kinsler scores Holland on an RBI single to center. The Rangers are starting to smell the Championship. Up 7-4, with only nine outs left to get.

To make matters worse for the Cardinals, they go down 1-2-3, in the bottom of the seventh. The Rangers are now 6 outs from the World Series title.

In the bottom of the eighth, after getting the lead off batter out, the Rangers allow a solo home run to Allen Craig. The Cardinals fans can feel a rally. The score is now 7-5, Rangers.

After failing to extend their lead in the top of the ninth, the Rangers still seem to be in a good position. Up by two runs with only three outs left to get, in the bottom half. Neftali Feliz comes in for the Rangers to try and close things down for the win. He does his job with the first batter, Ryan Theriot. The Rangers are now just two outs away from the World Series title. The next batter, Albert Pujols, makes things difficult for Feliz, by doubling to the center field gap. Neftali Feliz then walks the next batter, Lance Berkman. Just like that, the tying run is on first. The next batter, Allen Craig, strikes out looking, however. It all comes down to David Freese. Feliz quickly got ahead in the count. The Rangers are now just ONE strike away. But David Freese comes through will a fly ball to left field that bangs off the wall allowing both Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman to score. Freese makes it all the way to third. But the next batter, Yadier Molina, can’t get him home. Thus, sending the game to extra innings.

Top of the tenth, Josh Hamilton, who’s had a terrible post season, hits a two-run home run to center field, giving the Rangers a 9-7 lead. No way the Cardinals can recover from that blow right? Well, in the bottom of the tenth, after allowing the Cardinals to get runners to second and third, the Rangers give up a run for an out. There are now two outs, with the score 9-8, Rangers. Lance Berkman, the next batter, quickly gets a two strike count on him. The Cardinals are down to their last STRIKE yet again. This is the end of the game right? NO! With one strike left, Lance Berkman singles to center field, allowing Jon Jay to score from third. The score is now tied 9-9. Like I said, if you missed the game last night, I feel sorry for you.

The Cardinals force an eleventh inning. In the top of the eleventh inning, the Rangers fail to score a run. Then, in the botom of the eleventh inning, David Freese–who came through for the Cardinal’s earlier in the game–comes through again with a walk off home run to center field. The Cardinals win, and force a game seven. Truly unbelievable. Maybe the rally squirrel does exist?!?

Eleven innings. Four hours and thirty-three minutes. A game for the books.

Tonight’s game is a MUST win for both the Cardinals and the Rangers. Win and you get the honor of being 2011 World Series Champions.

Will the Rangers loose for the second year in a row after getting so close? Or will they come out swinging, and win the first World Series title in their history? Watch tonight on FOX, to find out.

QUICK FACTS

  • The last time the World Series made it to a game seven was 2002.
  • The home team has won game seven in the past EIGHT game sevens of the World Series.
  • This series is incredible/unpredictable.

Although this series is unpredictable, please vote in the poll below:

My World Series Game 5 Recap

Last night’s game was the most important game of the series thus far. A win would allow you the privelege of being able to lose the next game and still be in the running for the World Series title. While a loss would mean having to face the near impossible task of winning two games in a row. The pressure was on.

The Cardinals and Rangers both had their Aces on the mound. Christopher John Carpenter for the Cardinals, and Christopher John Wilson for the Rangers. Notice similarities in their names? Interesting isn’t it. (From now on I’ll refer to them as Chris and C.J. I just wanted to point out their same names.) Anyway, they both have had success as well as failure in the past. It all came down to this game. They had to be on their game.

The first runs of the game were scored by the Cardinals in the top of the second inning. The first run coming from an RBI single by Yadier Molina, and the second coming off a ground out by Lance Berkman. The Cardinals had a quick 2-0 lead.

Moving onto the bottom of the third. An absolute BOMB by Mitch Moreland put the Rangers on the board. When I say BOMB, I mean BOMB. The home run soared into the upper deck of the outfield, traveling an estimated 446 feet. It was the longest home run in the World Series since records began being kept back in 2006.

The next Rangers run came in the bottom of the sixth inning. A home run by Adrian Beltre tied things up for the Rangers. The amazing thing about this home run, is that he hit it on one knee. Or at least ended his swing on one knee.

 

Let me change gears for a moment, as I want to talk a little bit about the Texas Legends race that took place during the middle of the sixth inning. The legends race is run by people who dress up as legends from Texas’s history. The race is done every Rangers game, but last night wasn’t a normal race. Last night’s race saw MLB Network analysts dressing up as the characters for the race. Kevin Millar as Davy Crockett, Harold Reynolds as Sam Houston, Sean Casey as Jim Bowie and Mitch Williams as Nolan Ryan. You had to figure that Keving Millar, who said that he was “going to win”, on yesterday’s episode of ‘Intentional Talk’, was going to do whatever it took to increase his chances of winning. Even if it meant cheating. Whatever Millar did, he must of done it without standing out too much, as he won last night’s race by a good 15 feet. Harold Reynold’s, Sean Casey, and Mitch Williams, finishing in that order, felt that Millar did in fact cheat. Below is a video I found on Youtube. Watch it, and you tell me:

Did Millar cheat? Let me know what you think, by leaving a comment in the comments section below.

Getting back to the game, it appeared as if it would go into extra innings, with the score still tied, 2-2, going into the bottom of the eighth. But Mike Napoli couldn’t let that happen, as he drove in two runs on a line drive single to center. Napoli came through again for the Rangers, and the fans let him know it with the continuous chanting of, “NA-PO-LI. NA-PO-LI. NA-PO-LI……” It went on, and on, and on. It had to be a good feeling for Napoli, who’s now, in my opinion, a great candidite for MVP. He’s come through for the Rangers the entire series. He deserves it more than anyone else.

Neftali Feliz was brought in to close things out in the top of the ninth inning. He imediately plunked Allen Craig, sending him to first base with Albert Pujols coming to the plate. Then things got weird as signals became crossed. Allen Craig says that he saw the hit and run sign from the third base coach, while Albert Pujols says he put the sign on. Whoever it was, it didn’t work, as Albert Pujols failed to make contact, and Craig was easily thrown out by Napoli at second. A strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play. Just like that, there were two outs. Neftali Feliz made quick work of the next batter, Lance Berkman, striking him out to end the game.

The Rangers win the game 4-2. They now lead the series 3 games to 2. Unless the rally squirrel makes an appearance in St. Louis, I’d say the Cardinals chances of winning the World Series down 3-2, are slim to none. But stranger things have happened. That’s the great thing about baseball. You can be down, but you’re never out. There’s always that chance that the unbelievable can happen. You never know.

Remember my Q and A blog entry with the ‘Batting Stance Guy’? Well, he was up to his old tricks of imitating MLB players batting stances last night in the Rangers Clubhouse. Check out his hilarious imitation of Adrian Beltre’s one knee home run:

The guy’s great.

Please vote in the poll below:

Thanks.

My World Series Game 4 Recap

The Rangers went into last night’s game with their backs against the wall. A loss would give the Cardinal’s a chance to win the World Series in the very next game. While a win would at least guarantee a trip back to St. Louis. As Kevin Millar said, on yesterday’s episode of ‘Intentional Talk’, “It’s as close to a must win as it gets.”

On the mound for the Rangers in this game was their young lefty, Derek Holland. Holland, who’s had his good games and bad games in the past, would have to pitch the best game of his life to keep the hot Cardinal bats from scoring in the early innings. He got off to a good start in the first, as he set down the first three batters, 1-2-3, including a strikeout of Allen Craig.

Moving on to the bottom of the first, the Cardinal’s had Edwin Jackson as their pitcher. His last start didn’t go as planned, and thus he was looking for a little bit of redemption in this game. But things didn’t go as planned again, as after a single by Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton hit a double down the right field line, allowing Andrus to score all the way from first. The score was 1-0, Rangers, just like that.

Moving onto the bottom of the sixth inning, Edwin Jackson found himself in a bit of a jam, after walking the second two batters of the inning. Tony LaRussa had seen enough, as he made the call to the bullpen to bring in Mitchell Boggs. Things didn’t turn out as LaRussa had wished, as the first pitch thrown by Boggs was crushed by Mike Napoli over the left field wall. With that home run, Napoli became the first catcher to hit two homers in a Series since Mike Piazza of the Mets in 2000. The score now had the Rangers leading 4-0. With Holland pitching the way he was, you could pretty much feel that the game was as good as over.

Derek Holland, as mentioned earlier, had to pitch the game of his life in order for the Rangers to have a chance at winning. Well, not only did he pitch the game of his life , but he still had a shutout going into the ninth inning. Could he hold on for the complete game shutout? That’s the question everyone, including Ranger’s manager Ron Washington, was asking themselves. Everyone was on the edge of their seat in anticipation. Holland retired the first batter of the inning on a groundout. Then after walking the next batter, Washington felt that Holland’s night was over, as he makes the trip out to the mound. You can tell by the look on Derek’s face that he wanted nothing more than to stay in the game, but Washington wouldn’t hear of it, as he called in Neftali Feliz to shut things down. That he did. Final score 4-0, Rangers. The series is now tied at two games a piece.

My World Series Game 3 Recap

I could type up a few paragraphs talking about how the Cardinals took an early lead off an Allen Craig home run. How the Cardinals and Rangers battled it out up until the last few innings when the Cardinals completely blew the Rangers away. But I find it hard to do, when something as incredible as what Albert Pujols did last night happens. Afterall, it’s only been done three times before, in the history of Major League baseball. Once by Reggie Jackson (Mr. October), and twice by Babe Ruth. When you have a player as good as Albert put beside those Hall of Fame players you know that something amazing had to happen.

Three home runs in a game is amazing. Three home runs in a World Series game is unbelievable. But that’s the thing about Albert. He’s unbelievable, and unpredictable. Who knows? He could get out there tonight and hit three home runs again. I understand that it’s not very likely, but neither was hitting three home runs in the first place.

THREE HOME RUNS IN ONE WORLD SERIES GAME

The feat was first accomplished way back on October 6, 1926, by Babe Ruth. He liked the feeling so much that he decided to do it again on October 9, 1928. Babe is the only player in history to hit 3 home runs in one World Series game twice.

There was then a 49 year drought, as no one was able to do it again until October 17, 1977, when Reggie Jackson hit three in a game, earning the nickname, “Mr. October.” The name stuck, as he’s still referred to that today.

Then, as stated earlier, Albert Pujols did it last night. With a good decade left in his Major League career, he might surprise everyone and do it again. Although with Pujols, nothing is surprising. The guy is amazing.

Albert’s three home runs helped the Cardinal’s pull out a 16-7 win. They now lead the series, 2 games to 1.

DON’T Bounce It!!

When it comes to throwing out the first pitch there’s one thing that you don’t want to do, and that’s bounce the ball. It’s one thing to throw a little wide, but a flat out bounce will more than likely result in a roaring boo.

The reason I’m bringing this up at all is because Dirk Nowitzki, George W. Bush and Roger Staubach, are scheduled to throw out the first pitch of game 3, 4, and 5, respectively, of the World Series. All three have thrown out a first pitch before, but you never know. One of them, or all of them, could get nervous, resulting in a bounce. You never can be sure of what will happen.

With all of that uncertainty, I’ll leave it up to you to decide what you think each person’s first pitch will be like:

UPDATE

Dirk’s first pitch was thrown right over the plate, but was a little low, as it had to be scooped out of the dirt by Michael Young, the catcher. The pitch was clocked at 67 MPH. Not bad for a basketball player. Congrats to the four people that voted “ball.” You were correct.

UPDATE

George’s first pitch was slightly better than Dirk’s, as it didn’t fall short, but it was still a ball. A little outside. But to make things worse, the catcher, Nolan Ryan, missed the ball. Then again, Ryan isn’t used to catching, but still, it wasn’t THAT outside. Congrats to the four people that voted “ball.” You were correct.

UPDATE

Roger’s first pitch was far worse than George’s or Dirk’s, as it bounced just short of the plate. Catcher, Kenny Rogers, had to play the bounce, which I must say he did nicely. Maybe it’s that Roger is used to throwing footballs, but that pitch wasn’t even close. Congrats to the two people that voted for “bounce.” You were correct.

My World Series Game 2 Recap

First of all, I’d like to congratulate David Ortiz for winning the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award. For those who don’t know, it’s an award that’s given out each year to the player that “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” In my opinion David Ortiz is one of the nicest guys in the game, and does a lot to help out his community. It was an award that was well deserved, and I felt he truly appreciated it.

As for the game, it started out kind of slow. Not a single hit until the bottom of the third inning. A double by Rafael Furcal. It would turn out not to matter, as the next batter, Jon Jay, grounded out to end the inning.

The first true excitement of the game came in the bottom of the fourth as a spectacular bare handed double play was turned by Ian Kinsler on a flip from Elvis Andrus. A truly remarkable play.

As I mentioned earlier, the first hit of the ballgame didn’t occur until the bottom of the third inning. The first run of the ballgame came four innings later, as the Cardinals scored a run in the bottom of the seventh. An RBI single from Allen Craig that scored David Freese.

With the first run of the ballgame coming as late in the game as it did, you had to be thinking that it could easily of been enough for the Cardinals to win. The Rangers only had six more outs to answer, and considering the fact that the ball wasn’t carrying–due to the cool temperatures–it was going to take a few base hits to score a run. Unlike the warm air the Rangers where used to back in Texas that causes balls to fly out of the ballpark. A home run would be a hard task to pull off.

Ask Albert Pujols. He pretty much got all of one in the bottom of the eighth inning but the ball fell JUST short of the bullpen, as it was hauled in by Nelson Cruz, as he banged up against the fence. If ‘King’ Albert couldn’t hit a home run last night, you had to figure no one could.

Now moving on to the top of the ninth. The Rangers are down to their last three outs, and are still trailing 1-0. To make matters worse, Jason Motte, the Cardinal’s “unofficial” closer–who had proven himself as a dominant force in the past–is on the mound. As of lately, Motte is as sure as it gets.

Motte gave up a lead off single to Ian Kinsler, who the proceeded to steal second. Elvis Andrus then singled to second allowing Kinsler to advance to third. The throw home from the outfield was misplayed by Albert which allowed Andrus to advance to second. It’s now second and third with no outs. Cardinals fans began to fear the worse. But this is Jason Motte! He’ll get out of it. Right? Well, he didn’t get the chance, as Arthur Rhodes was brought in to replace Motte. The next batter Josh Hamilton, who wasn’t 100 percent, hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Kinsler. Tie game. Michael Young, then proceeded to do the same, this time to center field, scoring Andrus. The score is now 2-1 Rangers. And that’s how it ended.

The Rangers tied the series up at a game a piece. Game three is tomorrow in Texas. Should be an interesting game.

World Series Game 1

Cardinals-3

Rangers-2

It was a great game, but that’s all I feel like writing. (I’ve been sick.) Sorry. I’ll try to write more tomorrow. But be sure to vote in the poll above.

World Series-Cardinals Vs. Rangers

With last nights win against the Brewers, it’s official. The Cardinals will be joining the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series.

I can’t say I’m shocked. The Cardinals outscored the Brewers 43-26 in the NLCS, with the Rangers outscoring the Tigers 39-25, in the ALCS. So in this case, the best teams made it.

Now that you’ve had a good luck at both the Cardinals and the Rangers throughout the playoffs, cast your vote below as to which team you think will win the World Series, and in how many games:

My next blog entry will be Thursday. (A recap of game 1 of the World Series.)

Congrats again to the Rangers and Cardinals.

UPDATE

The polls have now closed. The majority of the votes were for the Rangers winning the World Series in six games. We’ll have to wait and see if you’re right.

 

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