Saturday, October 21, 2006

And this is why we watch...

...though whenever possible, we don't listen to Tim McCarver.

Astonishing how a Game Seven like that can allow us to forgive the sins of games 1-6, utterly pedestrian though they were.

Just once, I'd love to see football reporters dump on the Super Bowl the way baseball writers seem intent on dumping on this postseason. No matter how you get there, bases loaded, two out in the ninth with Carlos Beltran up is great baseball and great drama. The World Series will invovle at least two all-time greats (Pujols and Pudge), a couple of other guys who've at least had the Hall of Fame mentioned in connection with them (Rolen, Edmonds), some guys who can really pick it, guys who can throw 103, the resurrection of Kenny Rogers, the young phenoms Verlander and Wainwright, a Cy Young winner who may be sitting on a repeat, and two teams that honestly seem to take real joy in playing baseball in cities that support them. Who gives a damn if neither one is from New York. Stop pissing and moaning, and try to find something good to say for a change.

I'd written Endy Chavez off after his dire 2005 with the Phillies. This spring he found the fountain of swat playing in the WBC; this fall he did something immortal. I still wouldn't want him as more than a fourth outfielder, but making like Eel O'Brien and devouring Scott Rolen's Kirk Gibson moment was magic.

And Yadier Molina said "I'm just going to have to hit it a little bit further."

Good to see that the Billy Wagner verbal floodgates are already creaking open. As much admiration as I have for his ability to throw really hard, the man does seem quick to point out the faults of others while not compiling a sterling track record of his own in the spotlight. I was amused to see that John Kruk berated Willie Randolph on Baseball Tonight for not bringing in Wagner for the 9th, the same show where Jeff "Mr. Excitement" Brantley insisted that bringing in a closer in any non-save situation was the equivalent of throwing open the sonic oscillator and throwing open the reactor power three more triangles. For my part, I'm a firm believer in putting your best pitchers in when you need them most, and explaining to them that this is indeed a defined role. If necessary, I'd come up with a "team save" stat that recalcitrant pitchers could use to salve their statty egos (and haul out at arbitration time). But to hear Brantley say it, these guys simultaneously are the baddest of the bad and yet need perfect conditions to perform - two postulates that would seem to be antithetical, and not conducive to effective running of a baseball team.

In the wake of Ken Macha's firing, what's the over-under on the number of writers who claim or imply that Billy Beane wrote Moneyball? Besides too damn many, that is. Then again, Beane got pilloried after the Art Howe firing, and that seemed to work out better for Billy than it did for Art's next employers.
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