Archive for October, 2011

10/29/11: The Legend Of The Red Cat: Just One Strike Away

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

The  media is unexpectedly happy – in spite of none of their little petsy-poo teams being in the stories, this post season is just FULL of storylines.

The Home Town Boy is the World Series Hero!!! Good for David Freese – traded from the Padres for Jim “Hot Dog” Edmonds at the end of his stellar Cardinals career, he overcame too much boozing and too many injuries to come through for the hometown 9 when it counted most.

Allen Craig, nobody, comes out of nowheres to hit all kinds of Important Hits and to Save The Game when Nelson Cruz, both Hero and Goat (more on that latah) hit what would have been a rallying homer that Matt Holliday would nevah have caught.

Matt Holliday, hitting like a pitcher in the cleanup spot, gets picked offn 3rd base in an absolutely crucial time with bases loaded, by Mike Napoli, woulda been WS MVP only IF – and gets his fingah spiked and can’t play at all. How fortunate for the Cards, because he was worse than useless and TLR wouldn’t nevah have benched him or batted him 8th.

Mike Napoli, disliked and discarded by the Angel’s manager, who holds more power than most GMs, proves himself to be unbreakable in the playoffs.

Nelson Cruz comes within an Allen Craig of breaking Barry Lamar’s record for most homers in a postseason. Almost makes it to a tie with Napoli for Ws MVP, but earns the Buckner-Bartman Designated Goat Award by misplaying Freese’s fly ball in the bottom of the 9th, which SHOULD have been the 3rd out. I shouldn’t really name the award after either Bartman, who had absolutely NOTHING to do with Alex Gonzalez then booting a dead easy GIDP ball, which ACTUALLY led to the remainder of the disaster (AND that was Game 6, and The Flubs blew a 3-0 lead in Game 7, which nobody remembers) - or Buckner, who wasn’t the one who couldn’t pitch with a 2 run lead, 2 out, nobody on, top of the 9th and wasn’t the one who couldn’t hit in the bottom of the 9th neither. But Cruz just flat out misplayed that FB. And in that minute, went straight from Hero to Goat. Which, he wouldn’t have had the Cards not tied it up again in the 10th. But I digress….

Which brings me to the REAL Designated Goat of the Series – Ron Washington – of whom I have to ask, why on EARTH didn’t he, with a 2 run lead, 9th inning, have his best OF, Endy Chavez out there? This is not even beginning to ask questions like – why didn’t Derek Holand pitch the last, crucial game? Why on EARTH did he send in Scott Feldman instead of Holland to pitch to all those leftys? All those idiotic IBBs???!!! My GAWD, he made Phil Garner look like a GEEEEENYUSSSSSSS.

I thought about the one pitch away business – we all know that the Rangers botched it in Game 6 not once, but TWICE – thank you Lance Berkman, who, as he did in 05, had a WS OPS over 1 – still basically underrated. He went 11 fer 26 with 5 BB, a double, a homer, 9 runs scored, 5 RBI.

Of course, the one most painful is the strike 3 that wasn’t made to David Eckstein in Game 5 NLCS 2005. 2 outs, no one on, count 0-2. People never remember that, just the hung slider to Uncle and that wasn’t a 2 strike count.

It wasn’t an 0-2 count, or even 2 outs, when Mo Rivera got blooped by Luis Gonzalez to lose the 01 series – which SHOULD have been won by the DBax long before Game 7. It wasn’t 2 outs, 0-2, 1 strike away when BK Kim gave up those game losing homers in Games 5 and 6, neither.

AND it wasn’t bottom of the 9th in Game 6 of the 2002 WS when, with 1 out, 2 on, Dusty Baker decided to pull Russ Ortiz and give him the Game Winning Ball, neither. And it wasn’t the last strike in the last game when Jeff Kent hit the walkoff against Izzy in Game 5 in the 04 NLCS – the best series no one ever saw. Though of by me as The Year When McLane refused to spring for one more reliever and 1 more starter after Pettitte went down and Micelli lost 3 games on walkoffs all by his lonesome.

sigh

I suppose my favorite 1 strike away game would be this year’s game in which Bogusevic hit a walk off grand slam against Carlos Marmol, but it was really a meaningless game. But I was more than happy for Bogusevic, long since discarded from the list of “prospects” at age 27, just like David Freese and Allen Craig, who has been labeled 4th OF, lefty bat for the past 2 years. Yes, I know the count wasn’t 0-2 and there weren’t 2 out and the game was between 2 loser last place teams, but like, so what. Us Astros fans are relegated to enjoying the few teensy bits of joy like these.

There is something absolutely magical about 9th inning comebacks for the simple reason that teams who are winning at the start of the 9th go on to win over 9 of 10 times. Comebacks, whether against yesterdays’ starters or today’s closers, are rare (please omit 2011 Astros from database – thank you). Yes, you read that right. Closers have NOT increased the winning percentage of teams who are winning entering the 9th.  But there you are, a fan of the losing team watching the other team’s guy come in. Maybe it’s even the bottom of the lineup and you are out of bench guys – especially these days when there are so many relievers that there are only 3 pinch hitters plus the spare catcher. And your #8 guy gets HBP. And your reliever, who hasn’t had an AB since high school, maybe, fouls off 2 bunts, then hits an inside the parker. I mean, everyone expects Uncle to hit balls over the tracks, but not, say, Wandy. It’s the youneverknow.

But you want to know what on earth A Strike Away has to do with a Red Cat.

It’s that damm Siamese. A couple weeks back, he introduced himself to me when I was eating lunch with a few gf – scrawny, loud and proud, he talked his way into my gf’s car after I insulted him by calling him a Yankee fan. She was meaning to take him to the shelter, but he’s a grown cat and has no papers, and that would be signing his death warrant by lethal injection or disease, whichever came first. We (yes, me too – don’t look at me, I don’t know why because I do NOT like cats) checked the cat rescues, the lost and found, the local Petsmarts, but nobody seemed to have a lost Red Siamese – and they aren’t very common, so it was either put him on Death Row or find him a home.

My gf couldn’t keep him because her daughter, like my Husband, is allergic to cats, and we (yes, me too – I don’t know why – don’t look at me because I do NOT like cats) got him a cat carrier so as he would have a place to stay – he was quite indignant about the whole thing, but tolerated it. Very strange because cats don’t exactly need people as they can manage quite well on their own, unlike most Dogs, but he did NOT like being by himself with only his lonesome to talk to and that cat he hardly EVER shut up.

So when I told Husband about him – this was during the LCS – he said – well, Red and Cat – guess it’s a sign that either St. Looey or the Tigres are gonna win the series. So you can call him either El Tigre Rojo or Louis, depending on who wins. I said to Husby – well then, I guess if the Brewers win we can call him Dead Meat. Husband sneezed, then rubbed his eyes. Know what, he sez, I think you like that cat. You been petting on him, aintchu? I glared – don’t be stupid, I told him – you KNOW I do NOT like cats and I do NOT touch no cats – he prolly full of disease and cat cancer or something. Natcheriilly, sez Husby and pretends he don’t notice he’s getting glared at.

So we, I mean my gf, tried to find him a new home, but people want little kittens, not cats. And it’s already been 10 days and it’s Saturday night, the night after Greinke looks bad against the Cards because his fielders don’t got no glove – or bat, and the Crew are gonna face Saint Looey at Miller Park, where the Crew don’t lose, unless it’s to the Cards, who swept them just a few weeks back. But anyway, I’m talkin to My Mama and we’re both rooting for Berkman and for the Crew, even though we both got a feelin that they don’t have anything left as both Braun and Da Prince seem to have de-composed them selves, and I’m telling her that Myesha is sending Louis to Death Row (calling Animal Control) on Monday morning because we, I mean she, can’t find someone to take that stupid loudmouth caterwauler seeing as how he’s a grown Tom, gots no papers and is most likely gonna cover someone’s entire place with cat pee unless he gets cut.

So Mama sez, suspisciously, I thought you don’t like cats and I said, I do NOT like cats – don’t mean I like sending a perfectly healthy animal off to his death when I’m sure he would make some person who for some reason, actually LIKES cats, a good pet. So of course, she tells one of her cousins, who, by Family Tradition, is a Cards fan, and says – well, if the Cards win tonight, it’s a sign and I’ll keep him until you find someone who wants him for good.

But come Monday, he says that I best go get the cat and Myesha tells me I have got to get him before she leaves for work and she’s got to call animal control to get him, so I call Mama because I can’t put that stupid cat in our car, and off we go to pick up that stupid loudmouth, who is supposed to be ready in his carrier, and naturally, he’s out and about Myesha’s place, stalking about like he owns it and when Mama and I come in, he ambles over, jumps up on the back of the couch and starts talkin to Mama – arrrrrrrrrrrow, mrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrwooooowwwww rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrow. She looks at me – I look at her – she says, Well, I’ll be darned, he really IS a red Siamese, and I told her – yep. She says – he reminds me of someone, can’t think of who, know what I mean? So I tell her – he reminds me of a cat won’t never shut up, that’s who he reminds me of. But I kind of know what she means, somehow, I have this odd feeling I know him, although, of course, that ain’t possible.

So Mama picks up the carrier and then is going to try to get the cat to put him in it – he kind of looks at it like a grrrrl wearing Prado shoes who has to step in a mud puddle and I tell him – cat – it’s the carrier or the needle, what’s it gonna be, and he jumps on down and struts in all the while miauowing in loud cat swear words. Mama sez – damm child, he reminds me of SOMEone, can’t think of who. And we get to cousin’s place and naturally, he’s out and when we call him, he’s forgot – been out celebrating and is at his woman’s place and Mama and I both have to go to work and I certainly can’t take him to MY house, so Mama growls and takes him back to her house.

So we go back to her house and she’s gonna leave the cat, carrier, food, water and litter box in the laundry room, when in walks my Daddy, who sez – damm woman, what is that thing – looks like a *)%#%! cat!!! I never seena cat looks like that before -what’s that noise he makin, don’t he shut up? His name is Louis, sez my Mama, and I’m takin him off to Anthony’s after work. Daddy opens up the carrier, take a better look at the cat and out he comes and he jumps up on the washer, looks at Daddy, sez something like Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrwwwwwwww, miarrrrrrrrrowwwwww and Mama tells him, don’t be lettin him out to tear up the furniture, spray everywheres.

So off we go, we both gonna be late. So Daddy calls me at lunch, tells me that Louis is sittin on the couch with him, watching John Wayne (Daddy LUUUUVVVVS John Wayne) playin Hondo.

And he was watching baseball with Mama – he sits on the top of the couch, and comments on all the plays and hisses when Nelson Cruz can’t judge fly balls and just like the Cards, he was one strike away from elimination. Twice, too.

One of these days, Louis is gonna be goin off to his new home and new owners, sez Daddy, scratching Louis under the chin. Louis has had his shots, but he ain’t got fixed yet – you know how men are about fixin their male animals. Oh – sorry, Daddy sez – he’s NOT my cat.

I understand. I don’t like cats neither….

10/26/11: WS Game 6 Postponed Due To Bullpen Phones Not Working In The Rain

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Just kidding…

And I had tonight all planned out, too – Husband was so POSITIVE that the Rangers would make little leaguers out of the Cads tonight – I mean CaRds that he promised to deal with kidz/Dogz so I could go to Mama’s and watch the Last Game Of 2011.

But the school nurse called me at 11 telling me that #2 Son had a temp of 103 – kind of didn’t surprise me much because he didn’t throw his usual customary fuss about going to bed last night and he wasn’t real too particular hungry this morning, which isn’t like him. So by the time I got there, convinced them to get me #1 Son as well – you know twins, they share everything but blame – got them to the clinic, got the medicine for their strept throats, Mama had called me to say that the game was called due to possible rain. So it was good timing and yes I know that #3 Son is most likely to get the strept too, but I’m already prepared.

So actually, it is a good bit of luck for me, not just TLR, who has an extra day to find the brains he misplaced a couple days ago.

As for the Cards, Berkman is hitting, but hitting singles and he struck out to end Game 5 with 2 on (shades of Carlos The Jackal for the Mets in 06 – or was it 07 – who cares?). Uncle Albert did exactly nothing with his bat to help the team win in any game except for #4. AND he supposedly called that bizarre botched hitnrun. AND screwed up his fielding, partly causing the Game 3 loss. Not like Uncle at ALL. Only Cardinal player who has been acting like a WS caliber player is Chris Carpenter – and for a few games, David Freese.

Have I forgotten to include that the supposedly ace Saint Looey bullpen has looked bad? Or that Matt Holliday has been awful?

And TLR? The old goat is sounding senile. Really. As much as I dislike that guy, he’s had 2 games in which I swear he was flat out crazy. The bullpen phone thingy – sort of reminds me of the infamous Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” – is almost too stupid to be believed. THREE stupid ass sac bunts, all those leftyelfty rightyrighty thingys finally caught up to him..

The media hasn’t stopped laughing and for once, I agree with him. My favorite, courtesy of Joe Posnanski:

Here’s what we know happened. In the eighth inning, with the score tied, Tony La Russa picked up the phone and asked for Marc Rzepczynski to begin warming up. But here’s where it gets tricky. That’s all bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist heard. But La Russa would say afterward that what he actually SAID was that to get Rzepczynski AND Jason Motte working… he then noticed that only Rzepczynski was warming up. He then picked up the phone and called Lilliquist again to get Motte working. Fortunately, we have a recording of that conversation:

- La Russa: “Hey, I told you to warm up Motte.”
-Lilliquist: “You want me to buy you a yacht?”
- La Russa: “Yes, that’s right, warm up Motte.”
- Lilliquist: “Where am I going to come up with that kind of money?”
- La Russa: “I don’t think it’s funny at all. Warm up Motte.”
- Lilliquist: “You see a swam of dots?”
- La Russa: “Yes.”
- Lilliquist: “Guess what?”
- La Russa: “Hey, man, there’s a game going on here. Just do it, all right? We’ve got a game to win.
- Lilliquist (to Lance Lynn): “Hey, start warming up.”

However, TLR and his shenanigans outdrew NFL football on BOTH Sunday and Monday!!!! So THERE all yew media sportspersons always stating that football is so much more popular than baseball!!!!!!

I know I’m supposed to be rooting for the Rangers, but I just can’t – I just can NOT root for any DH containing team (which is NOT the same as rooting FOR any TLR containing team, mind), BUT I sure am rooting for Mike Napoli. The underdog.

I’ve been hearing about Napoli for a good several years from internet friends who root for the Angels – LOTS of screaming and yelling about how good he is and how the manager doesn’t like him for some reason and prefers to play a guy who hits like a NL pitcher. He should have been the full time starting catcher, yet only caught maybe 40% of the games – had a great bat, but Scoscia, a former catcher who was good defensively AND offensively, for some reason, didn’t like his defense. So he gets traded straight up for Vernon Wells, a grossly overpaid outfielder who, to be nice about it, was one of the worst hitters in the DH league this year. (Now, I most certainly DO remember all the screaming about how the Blue Jays HAD to sign their homegrown star to a mega contract in, like 08, and they did and he promptly proved it to be a stupid signing, but all non-Yankee/RedSox/Phils teams are now under pressure to sign their homegrown FA ready megastars to huge contracts – see Joe Mauer – which usually prove to be a BAD idea. Makes me wonder what is going to happen with Uncle, but I digress…)

Anyway, the minute the Blue Jays get Napoli, they trade him to Texas for a middle reliever, so THEY didn’t think real too much of him neither. Not sure why – he’s a CATCHER – he came up in 06 and had OPS+ of 110, 107, 147, 120, 115. Once more, he’s a CATCHER. He wasn’t Brian McCann with either bat or glove, but he was only slightly below league average in fielding and apparently, there weren’t pitchers who didn’t want to throw to him. The manager just didn’t like him. Odd thing s that the guy the manager DID like, Jeff Mathis, hits like Wandy and isn’t a better defensive catcher. Maybe it’s because Napoli was a 17th rounder in 2000 and Mathis was a first rounder in 01. Stuff like this doesn’t surprise me.

Anyway, Scoscia, after FINALLY getting some serious shtt for trading him away (cmon, you don’t REALLY think it was Reagins’ idea, do you?) had to defend himself and he’s saying stuf like how catching dint come natcherill to Napoli, or some such garbage. Yes, Napoli had a career year, but it wasn’t like he wasn’t miles better than Mathis every other year.

Makes me wonder if Chris Wallace (17th round, 09) tears it up in AAA with bat and glove next year, if he’ll get any sort of chance against Jason cASTRO, first rounder, beloved of Ed Wade, who can’t hit ML pitching.

And speaking of Astros, still no final word on whether us fans have any chance of keeping our team – hope is getting fainter by the minute. And Bud Selig couldn’t care less if no one goes to the ballpark, it doesn’t matter to him or any other owner. They make money and LOTS of it anyway because of revenue sharing and MLBAM. Fans are not important.

sigh

So anyway, here’s hoping that Lance tears the over offn theball tomorrow night, the Cards win and force a Game 7. Just to have 1 more game, you know. Then I hope the last game goes 25 innings and we’ve got pitchers playing center field.

Just for fun….

Here’s To Hoping Lance Berkman FINALLY Wins His WS Ring

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Well, I have to have SOMEthing to be excited about this WS. Much as I hate rooting for TLR, I love rooting for Lance , who has a lifetime postseason series line of .300/.401/.525/.926 over 45 games and 192 PA. Wasn’t HIM who cost the Astros the WS (Phil Garner I’m lookin atchu) and I’m certainly not rooting for some DH containing team no matter WHO is on it. Don’t ask me what I’d do if it was C*bs vs Yankees/Red Sox.

Interesting how the media can NOT shut up about the Red Sox September collapse of 10 games – screaming about them fried chicken eatin beer drinkin players and how it’s all their fault – them and the manager and hs painkillers!!!

But I haven’t heard a sound about the Braves 10 game September Collapse, allowing the Cardinals to sneak in as the Wild Card. They beat the Phils and their unbeatable ace pitchers, Halliday, Hamels, Lee. They beat the Brewers who beat them all year. And what an astonishing ending to a great year, too. A bad astonishing, not a good astonishing. One thing I’ve never understood about most managers – the postseason is not the regular season. You just MIGHT could have to manage differently than you did during the year because there is no next month – and you screwup, might could not be no next week, neither.

For example, Ron Roenicke, the Brewers manager, insisted on keeping Shaun Marcum as his #2 starter in the LDS and the LCS even though it was obvious to fans (and, so I hear tell) teammates. He threw 7 innings of 1 hit shutout ball against the Astros (well, naturally) in the beginning of September, then lost his changeup and got hammered the rest of the month. Roenicke COULD have decided to give Marcum the LDS off and start Chris Narveson or Marco Estrada, but nooooo. Marcum was pounded into dust by the Diamondbacks, then the Cards in the first start of the LCS. Why throw him out there again?

And the Brewers committing 4 errrors in Game 5 and OBVIOUSLY packing it in and waiting until Game 6 at home? Man, that is a defeatist attitude if I ever saw one. Especially because they KNEW that Marcum was going to be starting as Greinke, undefeated this year at Miller Park, can’t handle pitching a day early ora day late.

This postseason has been really notable for starters getting pulled waaaayy before their usual 5 innings, if they weren’t Mr. Ace Person out there. The bullpens have really handled most of the pitching. LOOGY Rzepcinsky made Da Prince look awful and ROOGY Octavio Dotel (Ex-Stro) did the same with Ryan Braun. Wonder if TLR will pull the same stunt with the AL team’s power leftys and rightys. Wonder if CJ Wilson will stop pitching batting practice. Wonder if this is gonna be knows as The Series Of The Bullpens.

Wonder where Da Prince will end up. I keep hearing bout the C*bs, but I hear he wants 25 mill a year for 7 years and I also keep hearing that the Ricketts are kind of short of ready cash. If Kendry Morales is finished because of that foot he broke 2 years ago which never healed well enough to let him play baseball at a ML level, Arte Moreno just might could fork out the dough. GM Mike Scoscia looks pretty foolish for throwing Mike Napoli out and keeping a guy who makes JR Towles look like a batting champ. So much for Napoli can’t play defense – by the way.

With Crane agreeing to move to the AL if he is approved, the possiblilty of him being approved, money or no money, is increasing. Bud Selig is determined to destroy the Leagues and really this is almost the last step he needs. We’ll see in about 3 weeks. If he does, it gives me a year to wind down this blog and pick a new team to root for.

Lance Berkman Wins 2011 NL Comeback Player Of The Year

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Lance had his highest OPS+ ever at age 35. Not his best runs created year or best WAR, agree with that, but still, to come back from all those leg problems and play in RF!!! all year without making a total ass of himself like Biggio did in LF in 03.

Pretty awesome.

I would really love it if Lance got a Ring – but it sure nuff is hard rooting for anything TLR related to win. He’s hitting very well in the LCS – not surprised, he’s a very VERY good postseason player even though nobody seems to know it.

And speaking of win – I know that Peter Gammons said that Crane is going to be approved and is going to destroy the team by moving it to the AL over serious fan disapproval – what fans are left, that is. I remind you that as an owner, you don’t need to spend much of anything – let alone win – to make money offn Yankee/Red Sox welfare. See Jeffrey Loria/Pirates owners. I guess they figure that the few people who hate the DH will show up, businesses will keep buying those tax deduction tickets even if no one goes to the actual, you know, games, and Pam will keep bringing in all those groups of kids that can’t tell a baseball from a soccer ball and they’ll all buy plenty of stuff.

shrug

They go to the AL, this here fan is immediately and permanently gone. But it won’t be next year because the schedule is already done. And the CBA hasn’t been signed yet, so any move may be significantly later than next year.

Other than this, no news.

I see that CJ Wilson has been seriously stinking up the postseason this year. Wonder if this is going to loer the value of his FA contract, especially to the Yanks/Red Sox who think it is their Manifest Destiny to be in the playoffs every single stinking year…

10/10/11: It Was 50 Years Ago Today – Colt 45s Begin

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times talks all about The Good Ol Days. Check it out.

Double dip of playoff games today!!!!!

10/9/11: Win/Win; Over 1 Hour Of Rain + Rangers Outpitch Tigers

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

I can’t hardly remember the last time we had so much as a few drops of rain here – seems like years ago. So I guess I had heard something or other about posssibly rain/flooding and it passed over my head, like anything resembling a rain cloud had done for the past year.

So it was Wash Your Dogss Real Good Day – Dogss don’t appreciate the wonderfulness of getting rid of Dog stink, but I do and I had em washed and dry and their fur all nice and clean and soft, just like they hate it to be. And I let them out in the backyard to do their bidness for a while.

Then I heard this funny sound, which continued for like 10 minutes – sounded familiar, like I’d heard it before, then suddenly I realized that it was RAIN on the roof. And yeah, you guessed it – wet Dogss and wet Dog smell again.

Us Texans are experiencing absolutely TERRIBLE drought – and yeah, while the northeast is practically drowning, so rain was MORE than welcome. And there was over an hours’ worth of downpour in Arlington. But unfortunately not near enough for there – and here we got a lot less than that.

As for the game, no Ex-stros played, and neither Verlander nor Wilson was pitching ace baseball when the game was interrupted in the 5th and I didn’t make it back until Feliz got the 1,2,3 out in the 9th.

And who ever thought I’d be happier to see ANY rain than to talk about baseball????

10/7/11: Berkman And Wolf Go To The NLCS: Pence And Blum Go Home

Friday, October 7th, 2011

What absolutely AWESOME game 5s for the NL!!! And no interference from the pretend baseball league today neither!!! I thought it was very interesting that BEFORE the games started today, that MLB had a pic of Ryan Braun vs Uncle – who were NOT opposing each other today – to represent the NL.

And indeed, the Brewers game was a real nailbiter. Yovanni Gallardo most certainly did NOT look like any sort of ace, but somehow, he managed to get through 6 innings giving up only 1 run, even though he had reached 68 pitches by the end of the 3rd. He was NOT exactly helped by the HP ump, Jeff Kellogg, who has a strike zone the size of his clenched fist – he called strike 3 to Justin Upton Ball 3, although it was absolutely unquestionably in the strike zone – and naturally, Upton hit the next one out. Naturally, Yuni Betancourt – who is Neifi Perez, only fatter and without the glove, drove in the go ahead run in the 6th after grounding out with 2 on 2 out int he 4th.

K-Rod looked terrible in the 8th – walk, K, single, K, walk, groundout – took him 26 pitches and it felt like 46. But he managed to get that hold.

Axford blew the save – gave up a leadoff double, a single and a run on a squeeze – although I must say that on that thre play, he and the infield defense looked like the 3 stooges. But he got a nice 1,2,3 10th and the Diamondbacks closer, JJ Putz, who got a 1,2,3 9th, gave up a double to pinch hitter Carlos Gomez, who SHOULD have been able to take 3rd on a WP, but scored anyway when Nyjer Morgan, AKA Tony Plush, singled up the middle for the walkoff.

He was All Excited for the post game show, said HECK YEAH!!! (well, not exactly “heck” but close enough for this here G-rated blog) a couple of times, said – gotta tip your cap to the Dbax, then said – I just gotta go!!! And this was all live, too and TBS didn’t really have time to, uh, bleep/censor. It was Morgan’s game – he doubled and scored the first run in the 4th. Even though Ryan Braun unquestionably had a great series. Da Prince, by the way, did not.

But you know, it was a short series and when a team only has to have 3 SP instead of 4, anything can happen.

See Cards – Phils. Halliday vs Carpenter – lots of hype and the game lived up to it. Halliday had a roughish first inning – gave up a leadoff triple to the gap to Furcal, then an RBI double to Schumaker. Uncle hit a grounder to second and Schu was thrown out easily at third – BAD baserunning. Berkman reached on catchers’ interference on what would have been a swinging strikeout – Berkman looked really sorry against Halliday all night (then again, pretty much so did everyone else) but Halliday got the next 2 outs without another run scoring. 33 pitches.

And unfortunately for the Phils, that was all the Cards needed because Carpenter was even better – 3 hits, no walk, 3 K shutout. Pence hit 4 weakass groundouts. Ryan Howard’s series reminded me of Barry Lamar in the postseason prior to 2002.

For the entire series, Pence hit .211 and Berkman hit .167 – not real too much to strut about.

So it’s 2 teams from the NL Central in the finals and didn’t none of the “experts” think THAT. Pretty much everyone expected a repeat of the 09 series between the biggest AL mopney team and the biggest NL money team and they both went byby in the first round. NO East Coast teams made it past the first round!!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!

Me, I’m rooting for the Brewers and hoping for a Brewers/Rangers WS but I keep thinking about that Red Siamese cat – wondering if it is an omen meaning Cards vs Tigres repeat of the 06 series.

Nah – that’s silly. There’s no superstition in baseball. Just the hard, cold stats, right?

Texas is the only team without an ex-stro, so I guess I’ll have to back the Tigers.

Ex-Stro Jose Valverde Kicks Yankees Out Of 2011 Playoffs

Friday, October 7th, 2011

As usual last night, I was ridiculously busy with kidz -

life tip: anyone who thinks that babies and toddlers take lots of time ain’t seen NOTHIN compared to when kids start school. I mean, needing time and attention and, uh, persuasion (ahem) to do stuff like everything they don’t WANNA do. Which is a lot more than not just wanting to take a nap or eat anything without gravy on it. This is not including the time it takes to take them places and get em back, neither.

Where was I? Oh yeah.

So last night was ALDS Game 5 of Tigers vs Yecchies. Because of the rainout on Game 1, neither team could use its ace to starat. Sort of like what happened to (only) the Astros in 2005 because Brad Lidge, unlike Valverde, wasn’t NAILS in NLCS Game 5. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Both teams threw very VERY good pitchers out there – Doug Fister (what a, um, difficult – ahem – name for a boy to have, hunh? My young teenage cousins – males, of course – get all Beavis/Butthead over the name – huh huh huh) vs Ivan Nova. Media was all Up Set about it because they wanted to hand in their already written stories about Verlander vs Sabathia Round 2 and they had to “settle” for having to talk about 2 young pitchers who aren’t STAHS!!! or paid much.

I absolutely hate it when the Yankees win. By the way - I know there are real Yankees fans, meaning the folks who grew up in NYC/NY/NJ whose family had been fans, or the kids were fans since they grew up watching the team. You rooted for the Yanks in like 89/90/91 when they were basically the Astros 89/90/91 with a richer, crazier owner, you are the real thing. I respect that – I do. And those folks are not who I talk about when I talk about hating Yankees fans/Yankees Organization in general. Yankees Entourage “fans” to me are kind of like the party girls/groupies who go to where the rich people hang to try to, uh, party (ahem) with the STAHS!!! – including guys they couldn’t differentiate from dried paint if they weren’t rich/famous. But they want a piece (hahahaha) of that pie (and yes, males are just as guilty of, uh, sucking up – ahem – to money/fame people).

Anyway, I turned on the game (while trying to get kidz to do stuff like homework and pick up their stuff ) it’s at the New Hideous – If You Ask How Much Tickets Cost To See Like A Royals Game, You Are Poor Trash – Stadium. Little Boys – well, actually, not exactly little no mo, suddenly remember that they are HUGE baseball fans and really REALLY wanna watch with Mami. Seriously, these are kids who would watch golf, or soccer, or paint dry if it got them out of having to submit to massive Gitmo-type torture perpetrated by their Mean Mami consisting of making them get their clothes out of the drier and put them away where they belong (drawers/closets – not floor, bed, counters, table, etc) than finishing homework.

Number 2 son announces – hey, no Suck-Stros, hahaha. Number 1 son says – hey, the Yankees, yeah!!! I hit the off button, looked at kids with THAT Look, told them, the other team is the Detroit Tigers and any person in this house not rooting for the Tigers can just go right NOW and do homework. Yankees are better, announces Number One Son, as he sulks his way back to the homework table (where I can keep an eye on kids and watch the game without missing a beat); Number 2 Son isn’t quick to be so mouthy – says, are there any Astros? Yeah, I told him – Jose Valverde, the closer with the gut who did all that dancing and fist shoving on the mound if he closed the game out. Number 2 son picks up the cue, pretends he remembers. ANYthing is better than spelling lists and vocabulary tests.

Meanwhile, the game – Ivan Nova, who is actually a product of the Yankees farm system who wasn’t given/thrown away because he had ANY difficulty in any game EVER (see, for example, Ian Kennedy) and a rookie who had an outstanding year, given the team he pitches for and the enormous burden of expectation of perfection, is pitching. He gets (ex-Yankee) Austin Jackson swinging on 4 pitches, then 31 year old utility guy Don Kelly (never heard of him before, but then again, I seldom watch DH-tainted pretending to be Real Baseball type games) takes an impossible strike, then hammers the next one, a hanging curve, over the RF wall. Hardly a moon shot, but hey, it’s a good sign all right. Very next pitch is a nice high FB and Delmon Young (more on him in a sec) hammers it to the upper deck in left.

7 pitches, 2-0 Tigers.

WOW, says #2 son. Number 1 son has already run over from his homework (any excuse will do, I told you) and number 3 son even comes over to check it out. Is he an Astro asks #3.

Nope, I told him. He was a big shot and he KNEW it – first guy picked the year you were born (03). He was 18, thought his excrement had no odor (translation for G-rating) and had additude all though the minors, and was kept there an extra year so as he might could learn to not act like a complete, uh, jerk. He came up when you were 3, hit pretty well, and the next year, in spite of not hitting or fielding well for a left fielder (91 OPS+) was second in the ROY voting. But he was 21, acting like 13, wasn’t a real too particular good fielder and he mouthed off too much to coaches trying to help him, so his whining ass got traded to Minnesota for a decent pitcher, Matt Garza. Minnesota had plenty of pitchers, they thought – although it really is true that you can’t really never have too much pitching, and they wanted an outfield bat. But Delmon was not even average for his first 2 years, then had his first good year hitting last year. And when he didn’t do well this year, and his team didn’t do well because their 2 best hitters were out sick almost all year, he got traded to Detroit for a couple of minor leaguers. Sort of a kick in the pants, you feelin me here?

Like Hunter Pence to the Phillies, only Hunter was a GOOD ballplayer and Delmon was not (the kids liked Hunter, and like most Astros fans, were ANGRY when Pence and Bourn were given away – I mean traded).

Anyway, Delmon did OK after the trade, so maybe he had grown up enough to understand that this was his Last Chance to behave.

Said calmly, not pointedly – just kind of offhand so as they could pretend they didn’t really hear even though they sure nuff did

After the inning was over, I shut the TV off – told the kidz they HAD to do homework first, Which was true, but a whole lot of me was afraid that Fister would go all Brett Myers in his half of the inning. I mean, with the baseball (hahaha). Yes, I love puns.

Went back to sneak a peek at the top of the 3rd, saw the score was still 2-0 and was really surprised to see Phil Hughes pitching. Checked out Gameday quickly, and Nova gave up a double, a groundout to second, a groundout to third and a 3-2 K – 10 pitches. I figured he must have been hurt, although the announcers didn’t say (and I try to keep the mute on as much as possible because I’ve been too spoiled by Brownie and JD to descend to the level of what passes for network announcers) but I considered it a very good omen. Not that I want someone to be injured, but that maybe guys who weren’t relievers would not do well relieving. No Scott Proctering though.

Fister lasted through 5 – had runners on in every inning but the second, included bases loaded 1 out in the 4th – but got the next 2 outs to strand em all. Gave up only a solo homer to Cano, now the best hitter on the Yankees, Jeter Worshippers notwithstanding.

Phil Hughes pitched 2 innings, then “ace” CC Sabathia came in to pitch the 5th with the score 2-1. He gave up a double to Jackson, the leadoff guy, got 2 swinging Ks, then, to my utter shock, he was told to IBB Miguel Cabrera to pitch to Victor Martinez. I mean, it was like watching Millsie-poo. WHY??? WHY!!!!! would your ace – your ACE, who is not tired, be instructed to intentionally walk a batter in his FIRST inning of work with 2 outs, man on second??? Cabrera is a great hitter, but Martinez isn’t exactly Mendoza. It’s one thing to IBB Cabrera to face a really tough lefty hitter, but another good righty? Your ACE??? Could it be deciding based on small sample size matchups of 5 fer 26 vs 9 fer 16? I think that throwing pitches out of the strike zone on purpose when the pitcher is going to be facing a GOOD hitter isn’t the smartest, and sure enough, Victor Martinez hits a single to center, scoring the run – Jackson was almost to third before the ball landed and no one could have thrown him out. Los Tigres 3 – 1.

Turned the TV off, made the kids go to bed – skool tomorrow, bus comes early, and it’s not the Astros.

Don Kelly, you know, the nobody utility guy who hit the first homer int he 1st, was switched to right, and in the 8th, he caught His Jeteriness’ long fly ball to the warning track. “Captain Clutch” and His Intangibles didn’t show up tonight – in fact, the Greatest Yankee EVAH!!!, well, except for The Great Mariano and His 600 saves- and yes, I am certainly including Ruth, Gehrig and Mantle who played Back Then when nobody realized that closer are far more important to the team that any guy who plays every day, had a .572 OPS for the 5 game series, 5 singles, 1 walk, a double, 2 RBIs – both in Game 4 with the 10-1 score, 1 stolen base and a grand total of 6 runs scored.

Anyway, Valverde comes in to close out the 3-2 game in the 9th as Husband and I sit to rootrootroot for the Ex-Stro and he mows down the heart of the Yankee lineup – Granderson, Cano and Alex Rodriguez, who hasn’t played a full year’s game since 07, and it’s 6 more years of 32 mill a year, too. And I keep yelling about the Clank deal…

So the Two Pimped Teams (yeah, I know the RedSux got eliminated on the last day of the season) are already out of it and all the network guys are screaming in agony. You spend all your airtime pimping pretty much only The Two Teams That Matter and after they are gone, mainstream fans are like – well, if the other series go to gave 7, we’ll tune in, maybe, to watch the Game 7 between the iforgetwhos. I mean, I know youse Network guys mention some other teams now and then so there must be some others and guess they hafta play SOMEone.

So Husband looks at me – says – you look like the cat who got into the cream (more on that later) and you know that Detroit got a BIG payroll, too. I said – yeah, but they play in like the 3rd most economically depressed city in the country – you talk about a bad market, and their owner spends money and puts a good team on the field. And somehow, they pack the place. So you gotta tip your cap.

I know all yall gonna ask if I’m gonna root for the Nolan Ryans vs the Tigers and I’m gonna tell you that I don’t care, really. Me, I’m pulling for the NL team and deciding which one (before tonight’s game) is tough. I would dearly love to see Lance get a Ring, but that means rooting for Uncle and TLR (shudder). I would dearly love to see Pence and Oswalt get a Ring – yeah, Roy is just about done for, but still, after all those years of ace-hood here, I’d still like it – in spite of having to root for The Big Money Team NL version. I’m kind of torn about the Brewers – I LUUUUVVVV Da Prince when he’s not facing us, but then again, I’d rather they or the Dbax move to the AL instead of us, and if one of em win a WS, gonna be tougher to have any leg to stand on, especially as the Astros now look like Pirates after 92 version 2.0…

The cat. Gotta tell all yall bout that (especially remembering Phat Stuff Dog and his incredible effect on the Astros run to the finish line 6 weeks before the end of the 04 season…)

I don’t like cats, never did, but my not like was seriously re-enforced bout the time I was 10 and was over at a friend’s and their cat jumped out from under a table as I was walking by and bit me on the ankle. I screamed so loud you coulda heard me in Pasadena and of course, I had to take icky medicine and get a shot. Since then, I get shut of cats. But the day before yesterday, I was sitting outside at a table with a couple of gf and suddenly, like out of nowhere, this cat materialized out of thin air (it’s what they do) and jumped up on the table.

He was a biggish tom, looked like a Siamese, only instead of light brown fur with dark brown ears and tail, I swear to God he had red, yes, red edges to his ears and tail (must have had some ancestor who is a ginger cat or something). We’d finished eating, so there wasn’t much of anything left except a few scraps of bread and fries, and in spite of the fact that he’s pretty scrawny, no collar or tag, he ignored the food, picked his way across the table, sat down in front of me and started with all this miaowing, caterwauling. I never heard a cat make so much noise, but I guess it’s the Siamese Cat way of life.

He’s sitting right in front of me, staring at me, and for some reason, instead of, I don’t know, just getting up before I got jumped on or scratched or whatever, I said, right to him, and don’t ask me why I was talking to a cat like he’s a Dog, because I don’t know why - I said, “I don’t like cats so GO AWAY!!!!”. But he didn’t move, just started up with a few miaows. So I glared at the cat and said – like, what, are you a Yankees fan or something? And he gave me one of those cat hisses showing his teeth, got up, jumped down and stalked away. It was to laugh.

So I took that as a good sign for the Tigers, you know what I’m sayin.

And in case you’re curious bout what happened to that cat, well, after we got up to go, I noticed him over with one of my gf at her car, him all rubbing up against her ankles, and all caterwaulin – never shut up for a second, and yeah, the little loudmouth SOB got hisself picked up and taken home.

Guess El Tigre knows how to play…

Jordan Schafer In Trouble With The Law For Mary J Wanna-Blunt

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

A couple of years back, I wrote an entry about an Astros minor league prospect who tested positive for steroids and asked – how STUPID can you possibly get???!!! Got a lot of comments/emails – in fact, more comments/emails than I have received on any other entry including World Series writeups – many from personal friends of the guy, saying he’s a good guy (OK, I’m leaving out the personal attacks and the Bad words) and he made a mistake. So this time, I’m not going to say that Schafer is a maroon (as Bugs Bunny would say) – or even an imbezzel.

But he’s 25, not a teenager. He’s already had drug trouble with MLB (for HGH, which is banned,  because it might could make the boys look purtier…) and he sure nuff didn’t need no mo problems. I can even understand the minor leaguer and roids – the guy had a low batting average, maybe injuries, was getting older, time passing by, he’s desperate, hopes he finds just a little SOMEthing to hang on. Hopes the stuff will be gone from his system when the tester comes around. I understand that. Really, I do – it’s just not true that shooting up turns you from a scrub minor leaguer into a major league All-Star, even if the media and lots of fans think it is.

But Schafer?

He gots NO excuse.

You heard the story - he is out driving in Florida after midnight – an expensive car with expired Mississippi plates. He has the windows rolled down and is smoking an illegal substance while driving. Cops bust him for 25.9 grams of marijuana, which is a felony (in Florida), with 5 years hard time and you lose your car (under the “car committed a crime by having illegal drugs in it so the cops get it” law.) Wonder how many prisoners in Florida are doing 5 years hard time for possession of 2 marijuana cigarettes. And they wonder why prisons are overcrowded and the kind of criminals who do things like rape and kill get early releases.

But I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah -

If you’re gonna drive a car with expired plates, don’t commit a felony while doing that. And even if you didn’t think it’s a felony, you KNOW it’s against the law, the cops see an out of state car, they look for stuff.

sigh

Who knows WHAT the Florida courts are going to do – the boy is lucky he’s got some money and he’s White and an athlete. But truth is he’s too old to be THAT stupid – there’s just no excuse.

If he’s inside when Spring Training starts, or he’s convicted of a felony, he won’t be with the team. But that’s OK. We’ll have JD Martinez in LF, and have Shuck, Bogusevic and Bourgeois platoon CF and RF and we’ll also be sure to re-sign the remnants of Jason Michaels for that juicy Veteran Winning Goodness he’s provided for the last 3 years.

And, sad news – a local boy from Conroe, Dustin Kellogg, age 18, picked by the Astros in the 34th round this year, died when he drove head on into a semi. I really REALLY hope alcohol was not involved – a lot easier for your parents/friends/family if you fell asleep at the wheel than if you got drunk and killed your self…

10/1/11: Base Ball Bliss – 4 Playoff Games In ONE Day!!!!

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

I would say that it doesn’t get any better than this, but actually it could – the Astros used to be one of these teams.

sigh

I guess I am gonna root for the Brew Crew, although I could certainly handle it if the Dbax won. Man it hurt to look at Miller Park packed with screaming fans, starving for a pennant, starving for a WS they’ve never had. I remember it like it was yesterday – I mean, being one of those screaming fans in the seats, sure that this is the year we’d Go All The Way!!! Winning the pennant in spite of Lidge, losing the WS because of him – mostly.

Gonna be a long LONG time before that comes back to Houston – if it EVER does because this IS baseball and youneverknow. Look at KC, look at Pittsburgh…

Enough grousing – on to happy thoughts…

Best baseball day I can remember, besides Astros winning the WC on the last day of 04 or even beating the Braves for the first time in 05 and FINALLY beating the Cards, winning the pennant, is one summer day when I was a kid, I think in ’91, when for some reason, there were 3, or is it 4, baseball games on TV at the SAME time!!! Of course, this was Back In The Good Ol Days when ESPN and TBS and WGN and Fox all used to broadcast day baseball games. I remember sitting happily in front of the TV, holding that remote like a MAN, clicking from one game to the other. Braves, Astros, White Sox, someone else – was it the Athletics? What’s the difference – it was teh awesomeness.

Funny, I don’t remember who or what 11 year old grrrls were supposed to be into that summer – maybe Michael Jackson. But I sure nuff did keep my Dangerous obsession with baseball In The Closet…

So much easier when you are 11 to have the time to sit, entranced, watching baseball for hours. MUCH more difficult once you are a busy Mami.

The afternoon started off with the smallest market teams, natcherilly. So I got to watch Texan Yovanni Gallardo simply shut the Dbax DOWN. I understood – he’d done that so many times to us, too. Ian Kennedy had give up a couple of runs, and I guess he was tiring in the 7th – gave up a double to Ryan Braun (who is in a tight race with Matt Kemp for this year’s MVP and yeah, Kemp will probably lose because his team sucked and therefore, how could he have been “valuable”) and then, to my GREAT surprise, he pitched to Da Prince with first open. I thought right then – oh man, here it comes and sure nuff, he threw one down and in juuuuuust where Da Prince likes em and out it went.

Wonder where he’s gonna end up – probably in a C*bs uni if Uncle stays in Saint Looie. Yanks and RedSox already gots long term expensive solutions – and let’s be real, Uncle ain’t playin no 3rd base/LF full time. Anyway, I guess he could end up with the Nats, which would be INteresting. Giants now SAY they ain’t payin, seeing as how they are already out like 50 mill for the almost useless trio of Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand and Aubrey Huff; Angels are Mariners version 2 for signing extremely expensive FA who are flops – see Vernon Wells, and yeah, I know he was obtained in a trade for Mike Napoil, don’t ask me why in the name of the Good Church of Baseball that Scoscia, who really runs things there, prefers Jeff Mathis, who makes JR Towles look like Babe Ruth. Where was I? Oh yeah – they may or may not be expecting Kendrys Morales to return, so youneverknow, maybe Uncle or Da Prince will end up there.

The Dodgers? They have to find money SOMEwhere to sign Matt Kemp.

Anyway, speaking of Saint Looie, Lance put them ahead in the first with a 3 run homer off a FB that Roy Halliday threw down the middle. But after the Phils had seen Lohse twice through the lineup, they hit him – a 3 run homer and a 2 run homer and that was the end of the Cards. I see that they left Kyle McClellan off the roster. I was more than a little surprised, but maybe that’s because he kicked Astros butt this year and I might could not be real too unbiased about him.

The Cards this year have Uncle, Lance, Holliday – plus Yadi and Freese (when he’s not hurt) plus Chris Carpenter and a couple of good relievers – and let’s say I would be stunned – to put it mildly, if they survive this round. But then again, I was stunned that the 116 win Mariners didn’t survive the first round. It’s baseball and youneverknow.

So now, I’m watching the Rays trying to come back against the Rangers – they are in Arlington, the Hitter Heaven and baseballs B flyin. But actually, the Rangers are winning mostly because Big Game James Shields gave up 5 runs in the 4th, after shutting em down for the first 3 – HBP, single, single (both shallow grounders) another HBP, 2 run single, run scored on a passed ball swinging K and RBI groundout. 5 runs on like almost NOTHING. And then there was pitching change after pitching change – and in spite of Evan Longoria’s 3 run homer to center, it took the Rangers 3 hours and 33 minutes to finally end the thing. I HATE these long AL games with pitching changes every other batter and

reminds me of Millsie-poo.

Tigers are busy losing the rest of the rain delay game – or maybe it’s even Game 2 and they’ll make up Game 1 some other time, who cares.

Thing is – roofs are great. Too bad ours wasn’t retractable back in 05 – the *(%T*#%@! Bud Selig…