Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fire Dayton Moore (dot-blogspot-dot-com)

The essentials: Dayton is making crucial personel [sic] decisions that have more to do with religion and faith than baseball. 'Character' and 'leadership qualities' are code-words for commitment to born-again christianity.

What the hell?

Don't "flame" the blog. Just help me make sense of it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The excellent Joe Posnanski writes from Japan

If you haven't been following Joe Posnanski's series of articles about the Japan Series -- and why not is the question -- here's how you can catch up:

1. Baseball in Japan is similar to U.S. game, only with dancing girls

Also, they have a halftime in the middle of the fifth inning, featuring dancing girls. Once, early in his time in Japan (this is his fifth season), Hillman was at a managers’ meeting, and a heated discussion began about how to speed up games. Hillman listened to the various ideas and then finally said: “You know, if we really want to shorten games, how about we get rid of halftime?”

The looks on the faces of the other managers told him immediately that he was tromping on sacred ground.

“We’ve been doing halftime here for a very long time,” he was told coldly.

“And that,” Hillman says now, “was the last time I spoke at a managers’ meeting.”


2. Japan Series: 'You have to see it to believe it'

“If the players do not try so hard as to vomit blood in practice, then they cannot hope to win games,” wrote Tobita.

3. They love Hillman in Japan

Tatsuro Hirooka was even more adamant about it. He was a baseball tyrant — sort of like Bear Bryant in his younger days — and according to the excellent “You Gotta Have Wa,” he once ran a 59-day training camp and demanded that every single day his batters take 600 swings and his pitcher throw 430 pitches.

When his team, Seibu, won the Japan Series, he said: “This year was a battle between me and the players. And I won.”


4. U.S. power hitters make it big in Japan

5. Nippon Ham Fighters drop second game (and other notes kind of thrown together)

One more excerpt:

Sunday night in Hillman’s Hangout, a whole group of Japanese people ate Texas food and watched the game on television. Waitresses wearing T-shirts with Hillman’s face on them scurried about. There wasn’t much for a Fighters fan to cheer, but when Hillman appeared on television, there was a smattering of applause. A woman at the next table asked me where I was from.

“Kansas City,” I said.

“Oh,” she said. “I am Kansas City Royals fan.”

“Really?” I asked. “Since when?” She smiled and pointed at a photograph of Hillman and said, “Since him.”


So the Japanese people's American baseball allegiance is split between the Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners and Royals. Split evenly, as far as I can tell.

Trey Hillman, you're a good one. Just 108 days (give or take) till pitchers and catchers report.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Your 2007 World Series champion

Congratulations, Boston Red Sox. In the wake of your recent championship run -- the second in four years, if you've lost count -- you leave so many in a blaze of sadness that we're reminded (inadvertently) of California wildfires. We can't imagine how hard the Indians and Angels and Yankees and maybe four other American League teams are kicking themselves right now, thinking, That could have been us mauling those minor leaguers.

Red Sox Nation, we hope you can sleep at night knowing your team has left entire fan bases feeling wretched and deprived. Just look at Eric Wedge and Todd Helton. I mean, seriously...



Barry Chin/Boston Globe; Jonathan Daniel/Getty

Of course, you don't care, what between your beer goggles and Mass Street riots. But that's okay. Get drunk, New England. You won't have another chance to celebrate like this until February, when that other team of yours finishes disposing of chumps like the "Pittsburgh Steelers," "Indianapolis Colts" and "Dallas Cowboys."



Onward, Nation! More exclamation marks! Procreate and be merry!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A poor, rainy night

The lead from Denver Post's gamer:

Even before Jeff Francis threw his first pitch Wednesday night, the Rockies weren't having a good day. Todd Helton required four takes to read the lineup for the Fox telecast. An annoying rain arrived soon after the national anthem. Troy Tulowitzki's name was misspelled on his new bats, with an s instead of z.

Four takes? Geez.

13-1 Red Sox.

POSTSCRIPT: Feel I like gotta share this, from Dan Lamothe of Red Sox Monster.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hillman's introductory press conference met with international approbation


What I can tell you is that I trust Dayton Moore.
--Tom Fornelli,
FanHouse

After the progress Dayton Moore created this year, I'll trust him.

--Corban, Corby and the Royals

Of all the words that have been written and said, only these from The Man himself -- the namesake of this blog -- really matter:

Dayton Moore: This is a fun day, this is exciting for us.... We had a very thorough evaluation. We knew the type of individuals that we needed to speak with to lead our baseball team. And when I met with Trey, I knew right away that this guy was special. He has a passion to lead, he is a great person, somebody who gets it, respects the game in all the right ways and somebody who is regarded as one of the finest baseball men in the game today, and I can't tell you how proud I am to be associated with him and his trust in the Kansas City Royals. So without any further ado, I want to introduce our next manager, Mr. Trey Hillman.

And like so, to thunderous applause, the shrieks of women, full-throated serenades and a rainshower of bouquets, the new era began.

A few sound bites from Mr. Hillman, who spoke at length without the aid of a teleprompter or notes:

I hope you hear it in my voice, I hope you see it in my face through the jetlag, guys: my excitement and my passion for being named the Royals' new manager. I really couldn't be any happier today.

The Royals have graciously invited me into the fold for leadership on the field. And for someone I've never met before, until a week ago when we hit the interview process and Dayton Moore and Renee Francisco made the effort to come all the way to Japan and find if we had a relationship match, I've just been walking on cloud nine ever since. It's been wonderful. We do match up, I know that in my heart and my head, and this is something that I want from the standpoint of a brotherhood relationship with my general manager. I believe that's something that has to happen to build and maintain the integrity of championship-caliber baseball at the Major League level.

I'm a hungry guy. I do not like to lose. I like to start from the ground up and build, and build in such a way where it's going to be maintained for many years to come. I'm a long-haul guy too. I'm a loyal guy. I'm bleeding Royal blue already. And I'm thrilled. Thrilled to be here.

Question, "What did you know about the Royals a week ago, and what do you know more about them now?" I knew this one was going to come up. All I can do is be honest with you. I gotta tell ya, when I was playing college baseball in Arlington, Texas, for the University of Texas-Arlington, I took a job in the visiting team's clubhouse -- for no money -- picking up sweaty jocks and towels and hanging clothes up and unpacking bags and watching BP on the field and sneaking into the dugout at the end of the tunnel during the ballgame to be around big league players and to get as much atmosphere as I could at the Major League level. And it was wonderful being on the visiting side because I got to see the differences coming in and out of the old Arlington stadium. I grew up there because my father worked out there in the summers -- he was a coach and a junior high principal. I'd grown up at that ballpark. Now as a college player, when the Kansas City Royals came in town, I was down in a three-point stance. I couldn't wait. I'm unpacking Willie Wilson, U.L. Washington, George Brett's bag. I was more excited about unpacking the bags of the Kansas City Royals when they came into Arlington Stadium than any other opposing team in 1983 and 1984 when I worked down there.... And that's the simple truth, because of the interest in Kansas City Royal baseball. The success level, their attitude when they walked through the door -- they knew they were going to win. That was something that you sensed. I understand the master plan now and why I got excited about that when I did. It took a while to come full circle, but here we are. So this is, more so than I could ever express, a tremendous honor to be associated with this organization.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, the Royals have a legitimately good chance to duplicate the success of the 2007 Rockies in two years, and if you're not on board now, you may, like all these Rockies fans, get shut out in the cold when glory returns in the form winning baseball in Kansas City.

I'm all for this hire, especially if, as it seems, Trey and Dayton are spiritual kin. Joe, how do you feel?

Why do they love Hillman? Easy. They love his baseball intelligence; it’s apparent any time he talks about the game. They love his dedication to baseball. They love the way he relates to people of different backgrounds and brings players together.

Perhaps more than anything, they love his ability to adjust to any situation. Five years ago, he went to Japan, to a second-division organization — the Nippon Ham Fighters. Hillman did not know the language. He did not understand the culture. He was a certain kind of manager then; a big-inning, get-on-base, Moneyball kind of manager (the king of Moneyball himself, Billy Beane, has gushed over Hillman). Only that style didn’t work for him there. Japanese baseball is different. The team mostly lost for three seasons.

So what did Hillman do? He changed. He asked his players for input (they asked him to please make practices longer and harder; yeah, it’s different over there). He helped make the Fighters into an aggressive, attacking, bunting, scrapping team. And last year, the Fighters won the Japan Series. No team in the world, perhaps, played better fundamental baseball than Hillman’s Fighters. This year, the Fighters are in the Japan Series again, even though they are by most statistical accounts the country’s worst offensive team.

POSTSCRIPT: At any time this season -- especially since, oh, June 19 -- did you catch yourself wondering, "Hey, whatever happened to that KC Star-endorsed Royals blogger? You know, the one who lives in Atlanta?"? Or, "Why hasn't this KC Star-endorsed blogger written anything in four months?"?

Well, turns out he's just been really busy. Like, really, really busy -- "regular hate mail, work(my real job) work(my secondary job(freelance writer) or procrastination" -- you know, stuff none of us ever have to deal with whenever we feel like kicking back and enjoying our "two games a week."

Anyway, he's back. Just thought you should know.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Rockies are still figuring this World Series thing out



The hottest ticket in town is not the Broncos, who are middling at 3-3 and completely uninteresting, but the baseball team, which has hoisted the city on its shoulders and taken it on a near-month-long ride that's completely unprecedented in the 100-plus-year history of the sport. No wonder Rangers Fan insists the Rockies are "the greatest story in baseball history."

How hot are those tickets pictured above? Well, those who logged onto the team's website today found out. After enduring hours of failed attempts, ticket buyers were met with this message:

This morning the Rockies' ticketing provider Paciolan experienced a system wide outage that is impacting all of their North American customers. They are working hard to resume service as soon as possible and apologize to their customers and all fans for this impact.

Why? Because apparently the website got 8.5 million hits within the first 90 minutes of the tickets going on sale. 8.5 million!

Then there's this (from the above link):

About 20 people lined up in near-freezing temperatures outside the Denver Public Library before it opened in hopes of using public-access computers to score tickets.

“If you can’t get tickets here, you’re going to have to pay $200, $300 above face value,” said Clayton McLeod, a 26-year-old heavy-machine operator who took the day off to try to get seats.

McLeod said he has Internet access from his apartment building but thought the library’s computers might be faster. His mother, father, uncle and girlfriend were trying to buy tickets from other computers, he said.

His boss, also a Rockies fan, agreed to give him the day off and asked McLeod to get tickets for him, too.


This bears repeating: these people lined up in near-freezing weather in front of the Denver Public Library. Ha ha!

Need more proof the Rockies are hotter than the Broncos right now?

Going head-to-head against a Steelers-Broncos game at Investco Field -- that was close throughout, mind you -- a baseball game on the opposite coast captured a 14.3 rating last night in Denver (compared to 18.3 for the football game). In a football town, this is rather incredible.

But it all ultimately goes back to the tickets... 8.5 million hits is an enormous number. For some perspective: this blog, since March, has gotten about 0.2 percent of what the Rockies' site got in an hour and a half.

The good news is, virtually all the tickets for Games 3-5 are still available. I imagine the above error message was received with more joy than any error message possibly should be.

UPDATE: Some pictures for you, from the Denver Post. Only because a couple of these could be screenshots from some future Geico commercial.


Cleveland postmortem


Steve Silva/Boston.com

In tones that can only be described as "exasperated," Dante asked, "Am I in the twilight zone?" With the Red Sox up 5-2 in the 8th, manager Terry Francona decided to leave Hideki Okajima in to start his third inning of work. Hmm... 5-2, 8th inning, pitcher being left in for too long in Game 7 of an ALCS... where have we seen this before?

Not this time, though. These Red Sox, unlike past kin, are unburdened by the pressure that comes from not winning a World Series in entire generations of fans' lifetimes. The score may not be indicative of how close the game was (did I not say the Red Sox would tack on a few runs late? Granted, I didn't expect so many...), but make no mistake, the Sox won definitively, and amid the dust clouds they kicked up a heartbroken city is left wondering, "Are we cursed?"

No, cursed isn't quite the right word, but the situation is unfortunate, certainly. (Imagine being Kenny Lofton, championship-less, having seen his team lose series 3-2, 4-3, 4-3 and 4-3 after being ahead 2-0 (with the Indians), 3-1 (Cubs), 3-0 (Yankees) and 3-1 (Indians again).) If it's any consolation -- and it isn't, I know -- a very deserving team won in one of the better Championship Series in recent memory.

Not much more to say at the moment, so I'll just leave off with this comment from "Yagur," which appears in the above link:

I'm also a Red Sox fan, and registered for this site just to say this to y'all:

Your city fielded a great team this year, and you supported them with heart and soul. Boston fans were taken aback by the spirit and noise and clamor we saw at the Jake, and wondered -- well, I wondered -- not only if we wouldn't be able to beat this team, but whether or not we deserved to. The 2007 Indians were the kind of team I love to root for -- young, over-performing, inventive, a team that found a dozen ways to beat you other than the dozen than you expected. Plus: Trot Nixon! For a while there, in comparison, our guys looked like a bunch of overpaid mercenaries who were getting distracted thinking about spending the winter in their mansions, and our fans seemed puzzled and dispirited by how your guys were just outclassing us between the lines...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Live blog: Game 7

Kevin Millar threw out the first pitch in Fenway, then read the Red Sox' starting lineup.

That's Kevin Millar, contract employee of the Baltimore Orioles.

8:37 p.m.: Youkilis grounder through the hole between short and third. The BABIP is alive and well, and will kill Jake Westbrook.

A friend just pointed out that the Red Sox win probability is now 70 percent.

8:47 p.m.: J.D. Drew just grounded into a double play with the bases loaded. Sox Nation screams, WHAT A BUM! WHAT HAS HE EVER DONE WITH THE BASES LOADED?

65%, down from 71% before the double play.

8:54 p.m.: Dice-K is well on his towards a complete game shutout. On pace for it, you might say.

Westbrook, on the other hand, is on pace to give up nine earned runs in nine innings.

See, we can do sabermetrics too...

WP: Red Sox, 69%; Indians, 31%

Too bad they can't calculate the win probability for when Josh Beckett makes his way from the dugout into the bullpen. I think the Indians are so freaked out that their WP just dipped to 19%.

9:05: Here're 14 letters to describe that Jacoby Ellsbury hit:

Murderous BABIP.

2-0 Boston.

9:22: The folk hero that is Youkilis just doubled, hitting a ball just past the outstretched glove of Casey Blake. All the Red Sox hits have been through the left side, so maybe the Indians should consider the reverse-Ortiz shift?

BAP... ah, screw it. If I don't stop now I'm going to be saying it all night, and I wouldn't want to upset Joe Morgan any more than I have.

9:27: Youkilis just scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Mike Lowell. Red Sox' magic number for clinching game down to 15 (WP=85%).

9:29: Drew hits it 303 feet, essentially flying out to "deep" left to end the inning. Did we mention Westbrook is on pace to give up nine runs in nine innings? Because he is.

9:42: Ryan Garko just had the at-bat of the night. No description here will do it justice, but let's just say he doubled off the center field wall -- a little more to the right and it would've been a two-run homer -- after fouling off some absolutely nasty stuff, and laying off a 1-2 fastball that was about an inch and a half off the outside corner.

3-1 Red Sox. WP down to 81%.

And a Fox graphic tells us the Indians have come back three times from four runs down. The great thing about Game 7s in baseball -- and you can't say this about any other sport -- is that as the contest progresses, one can feel, as sharply as a migraine, the vise of pressure tightening ever so gradually. It's not just one game that hangs in the balance... it's the weight of an entire season, 170+ games and those two months in spring training and, in the case of the Indians, the decades of failure (they have the longest World Series drought in the American League). It's like a countdown towards some doomsday...

9:50: Varitek hits a ball that rolls between short and third. Westbrook wears a look that says, "[expletive] you, baseball gods."

9:55: This is getting silly. Jacoby Ellsbury took off on a pitch, drawing Asdrubal Cabrera to cover the bag, and wouldn't you know it, Julio Lugo singled through the spot vacated by the second baseman. About as predictable an outcome as the law of averages could have drawn up.

Westbrook fell off the mound with slumped shoulders, looking crestfallen.

9:59: This, too, is BABIP at work: Lugo took off on a pitch, again drawing Cabrera, but this time, the batter hit it directly at the second baseman, who tagged out Lugo and threw to first to complete the inning-ending double play.

Had the run scored, the Indians' WP would have been down to 13%. As is, 17%.

10:11: It should be 3-3.

Grady Sizemore's sac fly made it 3-2, but it should be tied, since the second-base ump erroneously called Kenny Lofton out earlier in the inning. What was a leadoff double turned into an out (his left hand made it into the base before Pedroia's (Lugo's?) glove came around to swipe him in the chest). Two base hits followed.

10:15: Randy Marsh's tiny strike zone has given Cabrera second life. "Double off the wall," my friend just said.

10:16: Strikeout. Nasty pitch.

Okajima time when the 6th rolls around?

I'm going to watch the rest of this game with some diehard, hardcore Red Sox fans at a bar. This should be a pleasant, wholly enriching experience for me, possibly life-changing. Will correspond tomorrow.

Game prediction: Red Sox romp

Having been on the record as saying I was rooting for a Rockies-Indians World Series, this is tough for me to write, but here's what I think will happen:

The game will go scoreless for a few frames before the Sox break it open with four runs, knocking out Jake "BABIP Help Him" Westbrook. Dice-K Matsuzaka will pitch into the 7th, where he'll give up two cheap singles and a walk and get replaced by Mike Timlin. Timlin will allow two inherited runners to score but get out of the inning with no further damage.

The Red Sox will tack on another two or three runs in the late innings, and Okajima and the dancing wonder Papelbon will wrap it up to send Boston to the World Series. Final score, 7-2, give or take a couple.

POSTSCRIPT: The Rockies are in Time Magazine again, like they were in 1993. That's a long time between Time appearances.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It's official: Trey Hillman will be the Royals' next manager



That was the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters clinching the Japan Series in 2006 over the Chunichi Dragons. I can imagine a similar scene playing out in Kauffman Stadium in two years, with David DeJesus or Joey Gathright playing the role of Shinjo (are they weepers?) and Billy Butler as Morimoto.

At the 2:40 mark, you'll see a handsome man who slightly resembles Dennis Quaid appear on screen. That's Trey Hillman, the winning manager.

And now he's our manager.

Speculation has turned to fact, it seems. Predictably, this has gotten the Royals' slice of the blogosphere chirping, from The Royal Tower to Royals Review, Lee Warren to Bradford Doolittle. Royals Authority also has a lot of words and links on Hillman, and leave it to FanHouse to give us the lighter side of the news. Way to circle the wagon, everyone.

Soon you'll have to pay to "Rocktober"

Well, this is one way for small market teams to generate revenue:

"Rocktober," the new shorthand for the Colorado Rockies' amazing playoff run, is showing up everywhere from newspaper headlines to handmade ballpark signs. But now the team wants a trademark to keep anyone else from selling keepsakes bearing the word.

The Rockies filed applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Oct. 4 asking for exclusive rights to the name on stuffed animals, Christmas stockings, baby booties, T-shirts, bobble-head dolls and the like.

Guess we won't be hearing "Rocktober" on any Sports Illustrated commemorative issue commercials if the team wins the World Series... not that SI would've used such a corny phrase anyway (I hope).

And soon joining Rocktober© on the list, the phrase "I can't explain it," Todd Helton's facial hair, celebratory videos and Troy Tulowitzki's babies, prompted by the enormous fan outcry to "have Troy Tulowitzki's baby" (mostly by the blogger in the link).

Enemies of The Nation, tremble upon this specter


Pool/AFP

Heed the bristling intensity. Heed the fire and brimstone which will send you into the pits of Hell!

There are two moments last night that basically exemplified/illuminated Josh Beckett's dominance against the Indians. The first came after Kenny Lofton popped out and exchanged words with the fiery Texan. This was a bad move for two reasons:

1. Beckett had a murderous glint in his eye all night, the kind that suggested he just ate a live chicken and was now pissed because of the heartburn; and
2. You're Kenny Lofton, and you're giving half a foot and about 30 pounds.

But if anything, Beckett looked disinterested, like he wouldn't deign to acknowledge Lofton even if Kenny donned a cassock and miter.

Lofton's intensity also seemed manufactured, like a ploy to get his team going. Beckett's, on the other hand, jumped out of his every fastball and seemed to startle Indians' hitters anew. Indeed, it was worn on his face as he walked away from Lofton and retook his place on the mound with a look that said, "If you look at me funny, I WILL rip your nuts off... if you're worth my time."

The Indians, by and large, were not worth his time. He merely brushed them aside. There's a good chance he then downed a few beers Stone Cold Steve Austin-style before donning his cape and flying back to Boston.

The second moment: after the game, he had this to say about the Indians bringing in his ex-girlfriend, Danielle Peck, to sing the national anthem:

"I don't get paid to make those [expletive] decisions. Thanks for flying one of my friends to the game so she can watch it for free."*

We imagine Beckett prepares for games by convincing himself his opponents murdered his family, or snorting steroids laced with cocaine. Man's intense.

*UPDATE: A video of this via Bugs and Cranks.

Just one question this morning

Did the ball Manny Ramirez hit:

a) Definitely clear the fence
b) Probably clear the fence
c) Probably NOT clear the fence
d) "Definitely" NOT clear the fence (the Fox commentators' position)

Please submit an answer.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

After a long, tortuous layoff, Beckett-Sabathia, at last!

But I say all of this to say that today is painful just because seven straight months of baseball every day suddenly ends today.

The above words are taken from the Most Valuable Network's Rockies blog, which also features a great series-clinching entry you should read. Over the course of a long season, baseball acquires a certain rhythm that fans grow accustomed to, and when it's suddenly interrupted -- by rain, snow (God forbid) or corporate greed -- it leaves us feeling all a little emptier inside, a little worse off.

Alas, it returns! (If Cleveland clinches today and we're forced to endure a five-day layoff, I don't know what I'd do.) And with that return we get Josh Beckett -- who last pitched in a Game 5 in 2003, leading his Marlins, down three games to one, past the Cubs -- against C.C. Sabathia, the likely Cy Young winner who's had two poor postseason outings (he did throw 241 innings in the regular season). Personally, I can't see the Red Sox not taking this back to Boston, but then again, I'm not the prognosticator that Royals Nation over at The Royal Treatment is.

Questions abound: will Cleveland rock its socks off? will Bostonians weep, Woe is us! and fail to acknowledge the Sox lost to the superior team? will Manny forget to be Manny, thus being Manny? will we see GagMe?

POSTSCRIPT 1: My thanks to Steve, the commenter in the previous entry, for 1) pointing out that Joe Posnanski also wrote about Chief Wahoo yesterday (and got 132 (and counting) comments), and 2) reminding me that Joe Posnanski's blog is active again. If you haven't already -- try it, you'll like it.

Excerpt:
I was talking with Royals general manager Dayton Moore afterward, and this came up. Moore said: "You know Bob Knight used to be one of my heroes." Guy’s got a dry sense of humor. Then Dayton brought up a really good point. He said: "Funny, Bob must have thought they could contend at Texas Tech."
That's our Dayton!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Indians *scalp* Red Sox

I'm not a big stickler for political correctness, but if Native American coalitions can get Chief Illiniwek banned, couldn't they do something about this?


Tony Dejak/AP

That was on ESPN's frontpage all morning. I'm surprised there hasn't been more brouhaha over the Cleveland baseball club's mascot, especially considering the ruckus raised in 1991 over Atlanta's use of the tomahawk chop. Also, evidence suggests the Indians are not named after Louis Sockalexis, which means they've been propagating an Abner Doubleday-like myth for decades. Oh, and the mascot's name is Chief Wahoo. Chief Wahoo. This doesn't bother enough people for some media outlet to report on it?

Maybe I'm just underestimating people.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Learning something new every day

I've watched a lot of baseball, so this is kind of shameful, but Tim McCarver just taught me something I didn't know: as a runner, you can tag up and run as soon as a fielder makes contact with a flyball -- you don't have to wait until it's actually caught. (I really, really like Fox's baseball broadcasts, and I don't even mind John Mellencamp. There, I said it.)

Who knew? Be honest now.

2-0 Indians, runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the 5th...

Midges love insect repellent. Who knew? (Not the Yankees)

The following nugget from Tom Verducci is easily the greatest thing I've read all week (though Chris Ballard's column about Rockies fever isn't bad, and Jayson Stark does his thing):

OK, you've probably heard too much already about those infamous sacrifice flies of Cleveland, the mighty midges that, unlike almost all AL hitters, knocked Yankees phenom Joba Chamberlain off his game. But this is too good not to pass on: When the bugs started swarming Chamberlain, a local insect expert in Cleveland telephoned the Indians with an urgent message -- those bugs are called midges, and whatever you do, do NOT use insect repellent; midges are attracted to the stuff. The Yankees practically bathed in bug spray; the more Chamberlain put on, the more the bugs swarmed him. So there you go. The Yankees can spend $190 million on payroll and still leave a blatant weakness: no, not their middle relief -- their lack of an entymology expert.

This has to be one of the all-time best examples of home field advantage at work.

World Series bound: Colorado Rockies. Ridiculous


Ken Papleo/Rocky Mountain News

It's nearing midnight in Denver, and no one has left. They're all standing in Coors Field, many waving white towels, too giddy to understand it's nearing midnight with a temperature dipping to freezing.

The Colorado Rockies, winners of 21 of their last 22 games, are going to the World Series. And that's incredible. Ridiculous, really. In fact, here's how ridiculous:

Ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous

Ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous

Ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous

Ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous

Ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous

Ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous

Ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous

(One of the Monforts just said, "Praise God, praise everybody in His stadium, let's bring this home.")

Cormac McCarthy wrote that "each event is revealed to us only at the surrender of every alternate course." Let us review, then, how close alternate courses came to presenting themselves and rendering null and void the actuality that did unfold:

Sept. 18: Todd Helton hits a two-run walk-off home run, beating the untouchable Takashi Saito (1.40 ERA, 78/13 K/BB in 64 1/3 innings) and the LA Dodgers 9-8.

Sept. 21: Brad Hawpe hits a 14th inning home run and the Rockies hold on to beat the Padres 2-1 in San Diego. The winning streak reaches six, but no one -- no one -- knows that it's only begun.

Sept. 29: Tony Gwynn Jr. (the irony!), on a two-strike, two-out count in the bottom of the 9th, triples home the tying run off Trevor Hoffman. The Brewers beat the Padres two innings later, keeping Colorado's still-slim playoff dreams alive.

Sept. 30: Rockies give up two runs in the top of the 9th but hang on to beat the Diamondbacks, who, having already clinched the NL West, played like they wanted the Rockies to win. The Diamondbacks will rue this day.

Oct. 1: Ridiculous.

Fast-forward: tonight, 9th inning. Eric Byrnes (of all people) check-swings on the first pitch, and next thing you know, Troy Tulowitzki, who made the off-balance throw across the diamond to Todd Helton, is the first guy embracing the man holding the ball, that 10-year veteran who hadn't so much as sniffed the postseason nary a few weeks before. Floating out of the ballpark, Todd? Floating, perhaps, but neither he nor his team are going anywhere.

And then, ecstasy. Sheer, blinding ecstasy. Collective ecstasy of a magnitude few within sports -- or outside it -- are ever lucky enough to experience.

Enjoy this, Colorado. It'll never be as sweet as the first time again.

POSTSCRIPT: Kansas City demigod George Brett was at Coors Field and was seen congratulating former teammate Clint Hurdle after the game.

You can expect a "2009 Kansas City Royals can be 2007 Colorado Rockies" post in due time.

Matt Holliday just hit a 3-run home run...

...with fans chanting MVP. It is 6-1.

There are no words for these Rockies.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Jeff Francis on the SI cover

A fourth-grader at St. Clare's Catholic School in Edwards asked the Rev. Bob Kinkel for his prayers regarding a troubling matter.

The Rockies were on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
-- Electra Draper, The Denver Post

Perhaps soon will be the day when appearing on an SI cover means squat, but for now, it's still noteworthy. Kind of.



The feel-good stories keep flowing out of Denver like honey from Cornucopia. Check out the stories from The Denver Post today:
And "It's no mirage: Rox in command," was a headline yesterday, continuing the religious images. The Rockies are, after all, God's team.

Oh, and also the next Big Red Machine:

"I think they could be a club like the Big Red Machine if they keep the team together," said Bob Howsam, a fixture in Denver's baseball history and the architect of the Cincinnati Reds' dynasty in the 1970s. "I've thought over the last few months the Rockies were the best team in the National League."

The Rockies will not lose again.

They're calling him "GAG me"

For a good time, go here, search for the words "Gagne's warming up" and start reading from there.

My favorite might be, "Why is Gagne allowed to sit in the Sox dugout? He ought to be in Cleveland's."

So understated. So bitter.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Will the Rockies lose again???

Smart money's on yes, my money's on NO.

Next two opponents: Doug Davis (1.59 WHIP, .318 BABIP) and Livan Hernandez (1.60 WHIP, 90/79 K/BB).

And here, in so many words, is the difference between a winning manager and a losing one:

"We didn't want to fire (i.e., swing) early (in the count) unless we felt confident it was something we could square up," said manager Clint Hurdle. "We talked to [hitting coach] Alan Cockrell, and I thought one of the keys for us tonight would be the ability to hit with two strikes. We had to be comfortable hitting with two strikes. ... You know, patience -- not just in baseball, but in a lot of different areas -- usually has a tendency to work to your advantage."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

ALCS: bringing sexy back

vs.

The two best teams in the American League face off Friday, giving Fox a sumptious matchup of two AL Cy Young frontrunners, C.C. Sabathia and Josh Beckett. Yankees-Red Sox would have been a Brooke Astor-Leona Helmsley-type grudge match -- actually, that's not fair to Ms. Astor; Helmsley in Red v. Helmsley in Black is more apt -- but it wouldn't have been sexy. We've been there, done that, and only New Yorkers like Mike and the Mad Dog could get atwitter to see that series again. Red Sox-Indians, on the other hand -- now we're talking. Now it's Elizabeth Hurley and Emmanuelle Chriqui territory. Now we Midwesterners can turn on the TV and not feel disgusted by Easterners and their utter lack of richesse oblige. Let's go, AL Central (and former Royal Paul Byrd)!

Prediction -- Red Sox in six, setting up one of the most inconceivable World Series matchups ever, two teams that have absolutely nothing in common: Rockies-Red Sox.

POSTSCRIPT: Poor Cubs.

Monday, October 8, 2007

NLCS... ready, set, go

Not many people probably saw this coming. Last year, the Rockies and Diamondbacks finished tied for last place in the NL West, a combined 24 games out of the postseason. Now they're playing for the pennant, and apparently the only people who care are these guys. Not that there's much wrong with that -- as Chuck Klosterman wrote in Esquire, TV ratings really shouldn't matter. As a fan of baseball, though, it sure would be nice to see the Rockies get, say, the Golden State treatment. Why shouldn't they? The terms "scrappy," "underrated" and "Cinderella" apply as much to them as any team in sports. Remember the Indians from Major League (the movie)? Well, the Rockies' story is better. So much better, in fact, you couldn't actually get away with scripting it. Just this one line would make any movie producer balk:

The Colorado Rockies have won 17 of their last 18 games.

That's ridiculous. And magical, indeed.

The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, have "lucked" their way to 93 wins, the most in the National League. They just tore through the Cubs like the Cubs were, well, the Cubs. Another season ends in heartbreak for the North Siders, and yes, I feel bad for them. Management tries developing ace pitchers, it ends in spectacular failure; management tries buying players, it ends in -- if not quite so spectular -- failure again. I don't want to rub it in at all. But I will say just this: if they Cubs are going to commit to a strategy of aggressive spending, they need to do it smarter. $4.3 million a year for an average middle infielder? $17 million for a guy whose stats resemble (are slightly worse than) a guy making $395,000? $7 million for Jason Marquis, the definition of mediocre? I know the Cubs are desperate to win now, but this execution of strategy just isn't going to cut it. I feel sorry that Cubs fans have to endure this, I really do. I suspect we won't be seeing any In Jim Hendry We Trust websites anytime soon.

But I digress. The Diamondbacks aren't much good at getting on base, but all their guys have pop -- Chris Young, Stephen Drew, Justin Upton sure showed it in the Division Series -- and when you have Brandon Webb as your ace and a dominant bullpen, a few runs per game are sometimes all that's needed. They'll take on a team with much better hitters -- give me Tulowitzki, Holliday, Helton, Atkins and Hawpe any day -- and a bullpen just as good, and if the Rockies don't quite have a front-of-the-rotation ace of Webb's caliber, they have more starting pitching depth than the Diamondbacks, which should come into play in a long series.

When all's said and done, expect the Rockies to emerge victorious and head to their first World Series ever. I don't think I'm merely hopping onto the bandwagon with this prediction (plus, I had hopped onto the bandwagon weeks ago). Let's say, oh, Colorado wins in six.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Red Sox just wanna have fun



I was in Boston the night the Red Sox clinched and the night after, but I wasn't here on Saturday, 9/29. Not like "Stephen." Not with Papelbon and Cora...

Check out Stephen's Kodak Gallery titled, "Drinking w/ the AL East Champion Red Sox." That title is apt in many ways.




I am Pedroia, savior of Rome!

Turner Broadcasting's worst nightmare

vs.

Alright, Cubs, time to make it interesting.

QUESTION: Anyone know why LeBron was wearing a Yankees hat in Cleveland? Someone should kindly inform him he's not 1) bigger than his city, 2) making any sort of statement that baseball is not as important to Clevelanders as his Cavs, or 3) a Yankees fan.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Welcome, Baseball Prospectus readers!

So the estimable Will Carroll of Jenn Sterger fame has directed you here, eh? Well then. Let us say just this one thing while you're around... after all the words that were written about the Royals' "horrible" offseason signing, after all the letters and tears sent to this jester-king over at Salon, after all those message boards filled up with all that foolish claptrap...

We forgive you.

Gilgameche forgives you.

And, most importantly, the baseball gods forgive you.

For those who doubt man-myths like Gil Meche may as well doubt the heart of Optimus Prime, and gods do not like seeing those who walk among them thusly defiled.

But we all forgive you.

Finis. Optimus Prime lives. Gilgameche lives. Dayton Moore Our Hero lives. Trust lives. Royals baseball lives.

Jenn Sterger, thankfully, lives...


Photo by Tomasso DeRosa

POSTSCRIPT: For the record,
the bet was that Meche would end the season with a higher VORP than this guy.

And if you just clicked on the "this guy" link and came back... yes, Cubs fans,
we apologize... we apologize you haven't been to a World Series that wasn't affected by a World War since 1938 and haven't won one in 346 years, we apologize for the supposed curse(s) that makes your team so appealing to literatis, we apologize for the wind, the snow, the sleet in April, the fact that you couldn't win one for Harry and can't seem to win for Santo, for the sacking of Steve Stone, for letting Greg Maddux go... we apologize your hometown media still blames Bartman, we apologize you're about to be overtaken by corporate sharks and, most of all, we apologize your team paid $7 million for an October long reliever. So, again... sorry. Go, Cubs, go!

POSTSCRIPT 2: But let us unite in proclaiming the Cardinals' suckitude.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Rooting against the Cubs is only too human

As the Cubs prepare to take the field in Arizona, we'd like to remind you that it is your civic duty to root against the North Shore Losers, not only because their fan base is flaky and among the least knowledgeable in baseball (with notable exceptions, of course), but also for the sake of plain human drama. As Jeff Caple and Eric Neel of ESPN Page 2 put it:

Losing abides. Losing lingers, painfully, yes, but constantly. Winning might bathe you in glory, but it does not define you. Someone snatches it away too quickly for that. Losing, more than something you do, is something you are. The Cubs are losers. This isn't sad. It's noble. It's brave. It's timeless.

Go Diamondbacks!

(Sorry, Kinsella.)

POSTSCRIPT: Josh Beckett just pitched a complete-game shutout and the Red Sox actually finished a postseason game in under three hours. Incredible.

Getting their licks in while they still can

And not a Ken Harvey highlight among them.

From Old Rich People via Royals Review:

How many times can you scream "Oh my God"?

Too many to count.

This is a better video though:



It tells the same story from every angle, but it still delights me to think that, if we watched the events unfold through someone else's camcorder, we'd catch a glimpse of something different...

One of my college professors, Eric Charles LeMay, wrote a book called "The One in the Many," and I couldn't help but think about that now. It seems a fitting description of the proliferation of video cameras at ballparks as fans try to duplicate this, which ended up getting linked in a Bill Simmons column. Spine-tingling stuff.

Postseason predictions

Before you read this, please read Jayson Stark's column, which serves as one big disclaimer for anyone claiming foreknowledge of this upcoming slate of games.

That said:

Division Series:
Philadelphia, 3
Colorado, 2

Arizona, 1
Chicago, 3

Boston, 3
Los Angeles of Anaheim, 0

New York, 3
Cleveland, 2

Championship Series:
Philadelphia, 3
Chicago, 4

Boston, 3
New York, 4

World Series:
Chicago, 4
New York, 3

That's right, the Cubs.

Although in the interest of full disclosure, I'm rooting for Rockies-Indians but think we'll see Phillies-Red Sox (or Indians).

I understand this runs counter to my claim, nary two seconds ago, that I think the Cubs and Yankees will play in the World Series.

I don't really have a good answer for that...

It begins

To stop and to begin again,
No longer to stretch and rest,
That's life you must accept.

To begin once again, but to begin well,
no longer to make mistakes,
that's life you must percept.

To go on the best way you can,
no longer to stop without reason,
That's the way you must intercept.
-- Ivanka Slavkovska

Postseason fates are decided as often by mistakes as heroics, and so, as the second season begins at the end of the first, we ask: who will make the most costly mistake of the day to cost his team victory?

Here are the games, and your choices:

Colorado at Philadelphia
3 p.m., TBS
Pitching matchup: Jeff Francis vs. Cole Hamels

Possible chokers:

a) Manny Corpas
b) Garrett Atkins
c) Pat Burrell
d) Brett Myers

Los Angeles of Anaheim at Boston
6:30 p.m., TBS
John Lackey vs. Josh Beckett

a) Francisco Rodriguez
b) Vladimir Guerrero
c) Eric Gagne
d) Manny Ramirez

Chicago at Arizona
10 p.m., TBS
Carlos Zambrano vs. Brandon Webb

a) Ryan Dempster
b) Carlos Zambrano
c) Mark Reynolds
d) Chris Young

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Wow.


Jack Dempsey/AP; Kathryn Scott Osler/Denver Post

13 STORIES OF A BASEBALL GAME

Listen to the musnt’s, child.
Listen to the don’ts.
Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts.
Listen to the never haves… then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child.
ANYTHING can be.

--Shel Silverstein, as quoted by
Dan Lucero of MVN: Up in the Rockies

One.
A blog/message board serves witness

12:02 a.m. ET: I can't even describe

how I'm feeling right now. The ball over Holliday's head, the HR that got taken away from Atkins, and Jorge @&5227@#$&# Julio and Ramon Ortiz.

Draw the curtains. --Silverblood

12:03 a.m.: Ortiz?
I think Hurdle must be sending a message to Dan O'Dowd what he really wants him to start working on when the offseason begins tomorrow. --Rox Girl
12:08 a.m.: welcome back...

...I find myself wondering when the last time Trevor blew 2 in a row? --Gumbo

12:12 a.m.: Atkins...

This had better not come down to Atkins's line-up spot. --green

12:13 a.m.: The game was too tight
We needed Garrett's bat. I didn't agree then, and still don't, with yanking him. Carroll hasn't exactly been sterling at the hot corner thus far. --Silverblood
12:14 a.m.: YES!
One-run game! Now, Matt... PLEASE? --Rox Fan in TN
12:15 a.m.: YESSSS!!!!

I SCREAM!

I SCREAM!!! --Silverblood (the last from him on this post*)

12:15 a.m.: I can't breathe!! I can't breathe!!

Oh please --Rox Girl
12:16 a.m.: Okay Jamey

Don't strike out, don't GIDP. Hell, GIDP if Matt can score, I don't care. --Rox Fan in TN
...Carroll hits a line drive to right...
* Ed's note: We don't know who Silverblood is, but he has an epic recounting of his post-win reaction here that has won our admiration (scroll about a quarter of the way down and find the five-paragraph post titled "OMFG").

One more (though the one titled "I cried" from "Tulo will grow a beard soon" is worth reading as well):
1:03 a.m.: Anyone near the Lincoln Park bars in Chicago...

...I left my tab open at Halligan, and told the bartenders to only serve Rockies fans. I'm probably down a few hundred now, but please, be my guest.

Pass the Xanax... --honestyinmotion


Two.
Let's say, for the hell of it, this were all fiction. Or a dream. A dream of a dream. Then we would believe it, the stringency of reality would not apply, sequences would not be constricted by physics or the vise of logic.

Somewhere in the preexistence of time, it is written that this would happen, exactly such a season unspooled at this material time. And it is we who were chosen to be witnesses. We who were written too into this preformed plot. The hand that writes you into your next moment -- future conflated into past, imagined kiss turned to ecstasy or disappointment -- does it too write the past simultaneous? Do we travel in symmetry to unexplored and forfeited alternatives, winding ourselves inch by inch of diaphanous thread, gossamer of time, towards a beginning that is our death? And what stories do we tell then? What memories do we keep? Has free will reign then?

Or do we merely remember dreams, alternatives of alternatives? A dream that was not reality, a baseball game that never happened?

Three.
Let's say, instead, we do live in reality.
Joe: What happened?
Tom: Only the best baseball game I've ever fucking seen!
Joe: I had class. Missed it.
Tom: Who has class from 7 to midnight?
Joe: Okay, I watched Monday Night Football. Put $20 on the Bengals to cover.
Tom: You're twice dumb and a liar to boot.
Joe: Guilty. So what happened?
Tom: Let me start from the beginning...

Four.
...Josh Fogg did not have his best stuff. In the 1st inning I said to a buddy of mine that his pitches kept tailing into the middle of the plate and that I would be shocked if he lasted five innings. I note that the Padres, second time around, will stop swinging over or slightly under these 84-mph two-seamers. But anyway, at least his stuff isn't flaccid like Jake Peavy's. Possibly energized by their frenzied crowd, the Rockies jump on the NL Cy Young frontrunner and lead 2-0 after the 1st. It's 3-0 in the top of the 3rd when the Padres come around to bat for the second time against Fogg. The bases are loaded for Adrian Gonzalez, one of two good hitters in the Padres' lineup, and what happens but what we feared and dreaded and expected, a first-pitch grand slam to silence the crowd and put the Friars up 4-3. It's 5-3 when Todd Helton -- Mr. Helton, as I call him -- hits a solo shot to trim the lead in half. It remains that way until our boys break through in the 5th, again off Peavy. First, Rookie of the Year Troy Tulowitzki (he should definitely beat Ryan Braun, a.k.a. Worst Fielder EVER) doubles, hitting a ball to center that a diving Brady Clark would have caught if he was Mike Cameron... only he's not Mike Cameron, and Mike Cameron is not playing centerfield because Milton Bradley stepped on his thumb last week while chasing after a would-be inside-the-park home run hit by Garrett Atkins. (Oh Milton Bradley -- on one play last week, you live up to your reputation of being a hothead and injury prone by arguing with an ump and tearing a knee ligament on the same play... indeed, in the same instant... this after ending the season of the indispensable Mike Cameron -- you are star-crossed beyond words.) The next batter, MVP Matt Holiday -- he should be, anyway -- hits a single to center, which Clark fields and makes a terrible throw to the plate to allow the tying run to score. Then, in the 6th, Sean Smith. Who's Sean Smith? Just the hottest pinch-hitter in baseball. Brady Clark again misplays a ball hit over his head, which goes off the wall for a triple. He scores when Kaz Matsui hits a sacrifice fly -- to where else, dumbo? -- to shallow center, where Clark makes a catch and again makes a terrible throw to the plate. That gives us the lead, you know. It should be 7-5 a little later, in the 7th, when Atkins homers, but his shot to left-center -- which ricocheted off a hand rail beyond the wall -- is ruled a double. He's removed -- utterly unnecessarily -- for a pinch-runner, Jamey Carroll, who would replace him at third base. This would come back to hurt the Rockies, who give up the tying run in the next half inning when Holliday takes a step in on a ball off the bat of Brian Giles -- the Padres' only other decent hitter -- when he should have stepped back. As if in slow motion, the ball falls just over his head...

Joe: I can't take this anymore.
Tom: No, there's more... there's much more.
Joe: I can't take it. I'm sorry. I can't take it.
Tom: We're only in the 8th inning here... you've yet to hear about Matt Herges and Jorge Julio -- mercy on him -- and Holliday striking out three straight times after his misplay in left and the three-run comeback capped by a Holliday triple and a sacrifice fly and a head-first slide and a controversial call...
Tom: (head explodes)

Five.
By Troy E. Renck

They did it for the fans who were lined up at 7 a.m., filling every parking spot on Blake Street. They did it for the folks who hold up the purple Helton sign underneath the Rockpile on anonymous summer nights. They did it for Ed the parking attendant who didn't have to tell the arriving players what he wanted for his birthday. They did it for those who didn't leave after four hours, whose voices were gone from screaming and arms cramped from clapped.

But truthfully, the players, who grew up before an entire state's eyes, did it for themselves. From the National League basement in 2005, the Rockies' completed their improbable dash from afterthought to the playoffs, securing a berth with an angioplasty-required 9-8 victory in 13 innings at Coors Field on Jamey Carroll's sacrifice fly scoring Matt Holliday.

The Rockies, winners of 14 of their last 15 games, open the National League Division Series Wednesday at Philadelphia.


Six.
An e-mail from Alex L.:
Well that was the opener at Coors Field on my birthday on April 26 1005 when Bichette hit that walk off home run against the Mets, but I think tonights was as little better.

Cranston, maybe the Rockies will play the Red Sox in the World Series! They do have a winning record against the Phillies and the D-Backs this season.

Tao, see even perennially crappy teams like the Rockies can put something like this season together.

For once in my life, I actually care about something other than the Broncos in the fall

Seven.
Symmetry is poetic. Irony is poetic.
  • Brian Giles hit a ball that Matt Holliday misplayed, watched soar over his head, for the tying run in the 8th.
  • Matt Holliday hit a ball that Brian Giles couldn't catch, watched clank off the scoreboard above his head, for the tying run in the 13th.

  • Garrett Atkins had a home run ruled a double by an ump who missed the call.
  • Garrett Atkins, on second base, is replaced by Jamey Carroll.
  • Jamey Carroll, in his third at-bat, in the 13th inning, hits a line drive to Brian Giles for a walk-off sacrifice fly.
  • Matt Holliday (probably) never touches the plate but is called safe by Tim McClelland, who (probably) missed the call.

  • The silence and dejection and deflation after Scott Hairston's two-run home run in the top of the 13th was enough to make you hate baseball.
  • The ecstasy and jubilation and tumult in the bottom half of the inning was enough to wed you to it, till death do you part.

  • The Major League Baseball all-time saves leader blew his second save in three days. The Padres lost their third straight game, when winning any of them would have clinched them the Wild Card.

  • The Mets lost six of their last seven, when winning one more would have ensured a play-in game.
  • The Rockies won 14 of their last 15, when losing one more would have ended their season.

Eight.
A Mets fan threatens to kill himself, and the world does not care. The lonesome world does not care. The cruel world does not care. (Except...)

Rob: i hate my life right now
i hate everything
every fucking news source i come across

has a picture of a small child crying
i hate baseball

the small child is wearing a mets uniform
Sent at 4:24 PM on Monday

...except...

He is saved by, of all things, the San Diego Padres. The Colorado Rockies, too, mayhap, but that which he owes his life is not important. That he is saved is the miracle, for he is saved, he is saved.

The Rockies are God's Team.

Nine.
"Extra innings in an extra game, the team that can not say goodbye gets to say hello to America. And, America, you're going to love these guys." --Bernie Lincicome, Rocky Mountain News

The newspaper poets (and headline writers) and bards in Colorado, like the story of the Rockies itself, will just not stop.

The Rockies took the season to the 13th inning of the 163rd game, and it is not far enough. There is still further to go.

Ten.
Pictures. Lord, these pictures...

Eleven.
Anticipation. Written following their Sunday win, this lead from Mark Kiszla is, if not poetic, quite perfect:
He jumped so high for joy, 34-year-old first baseman Todd Helton did not touch the ground until he landed in October for the first time in his major-league career. And the baseball joint on Blake Street rocked Sunday, with more than 45,000 baseball lovers partying like it was 1995.

Twelve.
Repetition is poetic.
The Major League Baseball all-time saves leader blew his second save in three days. The Padres lost their third straight game, when winning any of them would have clinched them the Wild Card.

Thirteen.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 R H E
San Diego
0 0 5 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2
8 15 0
Colorado
2 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
9 14 1

Monday, October 1, 2007

Padres-Rockies

This game is A-G-O-N-I-Z-I-N-G.

In case you missed it:
  • Padres centerfielder Brady Clark, playing for the injured Mike Cameron, has made three bad plays in the field -- not counting a bad throw on a sac fly -- to allow two runs to score.
  • In the 7th, with the Rockies up one and their bullpen set up perfectly, Garrett Atkins had a home run called for a double.
  • Atkins was removed for Jamie Carroll. I screamed.
  • In the next inning, Matt Holliday misplayed a line drive with two outs, allowing the tying run to score.
  • In the next half inning, Holliday struck out to end the inning with the go-ahead run on second.
  • Now we're in the 10th.
Just now, as Mike Cameron, injured with a torn ligament in his thumb, enters the game to pinch-run, Joe Simpson said, "You don't run on your thumbs... most of the time." Nice.

This game is killing me.

UPDATE 1, 10:58 p.m. ET: Cameron is staying in the game with a torn thumb ligament in his throwing hand.