Thursday, October 30, 2014

Field of Dreams; 25th anniversary, Greatest Game

The movie came out 25 years ago. I thought I would make the ultimate dream game scenario where I would hand pick my own team and have them play against another team that was equally if not better.

Considering it's October and the baseball season is still fresh on our minds, I figured I would make this dream game scenario would play itself out until it got to a Game 7 which in this case would occur on a Sunday because in my dream scenario each game would be played every day during that week. So pretend it's Sunday, on a chilly 55 degree day, the brisk wind hitting your face as the legends of the game take the field in a final Game 7 of what had already been a miraculous previous 6 games.

I'll start off by introducing My Team.

The stating line up 1 through 9:

RF-Ichiro Suzuki (Quite possibly the greatest leadoff hitter ever. A selfish player in his own right, but when you are the face of Japan for over a generation and you have nearly 4,000 hits in your career both in the MLB and Japan? You can do what ever you want. Oh and he also holds the record for most hits in a season, the most consecutive 200+ hit seasons, and he won countless Gold Gloves.)

SS-Derek Jeter (The best captain in baseball history. He led the Yankees to 5 championships and won 4 in 5 years after a long drought by the greatest franchise in sports. He also kept a clean resume throughout his time in New York which is hard by itself and he was a true testament to the game. He's also a top 3 short stop of all time in my book.)

LF-Ted Williams (He's the greatest contact hitter ever in my book. Oh and the guy served in WWII and if it weren't for his service, which we all root for anyways, he would have probably broken nearly every hits record in Major League Baseball history. A gentlemen in all categories and beast at the plate.)

1B-Jimmie Foxx (Imagine Albert Pujols in his prime but better and for a longer time, Jimmie Foxx epitomizes dominance at the plate for a first basemen. The guy could also play catcher and played it well, but his strong suit was at first base. Basically, if it wasn't for Babe Ruth, this guy would have stolen all the glory for his ability to mash a baseball and his consistency is ridiculous. It also helps when your nickname is "The Beast.")

CF-Willie Mays (Arguably the greatest player ever. Period. If you don't have Willie Mays in your top 3 list of all time players, then you are simply a moron plain and simple. He defined the term greatness when it came to the elegance, happiness, and passion that was brought to the game, the guy was simply fantastic.)

DH-Edgar Martinez (The greatest DH of all time and should be in the hall of fame some day. The guy is in the top 20 all time in on base percentage and did it as a permanent pinch hitter. He also was a clutch hitter, one of the most clutch hitters in the history of the game. He was and always will be my favorite player. Basically, if Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all time, said he was the hardest hitter he ever faced, put his face in Cooperstown.)

2B-Rogers Hornsby (Greatest hitting second basemen ever and it's not even close. For those of you who watch Robinson Cano and think he is the end all be all, imagine Robinson Cano and multiply that by 3. This guy was a freak at the plate and clearly is the best second basemen the game has ever seen.)

C-Ivan Rodriguez (Several Gold Gloves & All appearances and my Idol as a young catcher. "Pudge" as his nickname would be called, was one of those catchers that you looked at and were like, wow he made that look easy, and could do it all. The guy could hit, run a pitching staff, and was clutch when it mattered most. I wouldn't have any other guy run my pitching staff other than this guy.)

3B-Brooks Robinson (The greatest defensive 3rd basemen of all time, he is the staple of what a great defensive 3rd basemen wants to become what it comes to the hot corner. He couldn't hit that well, but his glove is what put him in the hall of fame.)

...and the Starting pitcher:

-Pedro Martinez for this Game 7 (Pedro has an opponents batting average just above .200 in his career which for the era he pitched in is beyond the term bonkers. The guy pitched in the heat of the Steroid Era and would have won more awards if some certain players weren't playing in this era. He also was always on the end of big games that the Red Sox needed back in the early 2000's and I would have no worries if he were pitching in a Game 7 for me)

The other starting pitchers for my team include:

-Nolan Ryan (Most K's ever, threw 100 mph till he was 40 years old, he threw 7 no-hitters and was very durable. This guy was also ridiculously competitive and really defined the term "Texas Heat" when the ball left his hand.)

-Sandy Koufax (Greatest left handed pitcher in the history of the game. His Slider was projected by hitters of his era as the most unhittable pitch they had ever seen and that the trajectory of the pitch was unpredictable the pick up. I've read in books that his slider would come in at 11 but would drop at 4. That's not supposed to happen. Pitches that come in at 11 always as supposed to come in at 5. He was straight nasty, and there was nothing you could do about it.)

-Greg Maddux (The most consistent pitcher of his era. It seemed to be a yearly thing when Greg Maddux would win 15+ games a year, and considering the speed that he threw, his location was unconscious. I've always said, that if you wanted to put paint on a baseball, Greg Maddux would be the Picasso of pitchers.)

-Randy Johnson (The nastiest left handed pitcher the game will ever see, and quite possibly the tallest. When Randy reared back and threw his 102 mph fastball with the sidewinding action that he delivered it, many people would wet their pants. Just ask John Kruk.)

My Bullpen:

-Babe Ruth (Yes, a perfect guy because he can pinch hit and relief pitch. He's also well known by many non baseball enthusiasts and is well known as one of the greatest players to ever play. But, many people forget he pitched before he started hitting homeruns, he could have gone to the hall of fame pitching too.)

-Dennis Eckersley (Can pitch in long relief and save a ball game, a guy who stuck out like a soar thumb and clearly resembled the look of California beach walker)

-Billy Wagner (The greatest left handed closer ever, he has the most saves as a left handed relief pitcher.)

-Trevor Hoffman (The second greatest closer of all time. Possibly the greatest change up anyone has ever seen.)

-Mariano Rivera (The Greatest Closer of all time. A humanitarian and a humble spirit. Also a man of the greatest Cutter the game has ever seen.)

Here's my bench as well which involves 5 players:

LF-Ricky Henderson (Why not have the all-time steals leader come off the bench in a pinch running situation? He was the best at it.)

SS-Honus Wagner (He was the hero back in the dead ball era and could play both sides of the infield if needed)

1B-Albert Pujols (Can play 3B, LF, and 1B obviously. The guy is just a notch below Jimmie Foxx, but a perfect guy if you need somebody off the bench to provide a hit and play good defense. His nickname is "The Machine" for he could hit in the gap as though he were a robot.)

C-Mike Piazza (Not a guy I would prefer on defense, but he is the greatest hitting catcher the game has ever seen.)

3B-Chipper Jones (A switch hitting guy who can also play some LF if needed, one of the greatest 3B's in the history of the game and the greatest switch hitter in the history of baseball)

So that is my team and they will face off against the other team that I have also assembled. As you can tell, all of my players (except for maybe the Catchers) are all "clean" players from Performance Enhancing Drugs. Ivan and Mike may have taken steroids back in the day but outside of those two, everybody else is very clean making this a pretty rooting friendly ball club and a scary team at that. So... you can picture who I would have on the other side then if you know the history of the game and the villains who will be on the other side. Well here is that other squad and their starting lineup. Let me remind you, this team has to have some way of functioning and they have to have some form of peace, so there are some really good guys on this team, they aren't all hard to root for.

Starting lineup for the Other Team 1 through 9:

CF-Ty Cobb (The greatest player of his era but also the most hated. This guy was an ugly bastard and I'm putting that nicely. He was also a menace if you were on the other team because he made your life a living hell for his talent and wit on the baseball field, but man he was a purebred asshole.)

RF-Tony Gwynn (The exact opposite of Ty Cobb, in fact, this was possibly the nicest human being to ever play the game. A kind soul, a man who had unbelievable character and could brighten even the darkest souls spirit. Also, he immolated Ted Williams swing, and he did it well)

1B-Lou Gehrig (Again, another kind hearted soul and a great human being. Also the original Iron Man and he was also one of the most productive players when came to hitting a baseball)

LF-Barry Bonds (The boo birds are already flying. This guy was the face of the Steroids Era as he cheated his way into breaking the all time homerun record and is the only member of the 700 Homerun-500 Stolen base category... but he also used steroids so go figure.. BOOO!!)

3B-Alex Rodriguez (You might as well boo for two straight batters. This player also has used steroids, lied about his use of performance enhancing drugs, and to many is the biggest pansy the sport has ever seen. It doesn't mean that he isn't also one of the most lethal players to ever play the game and in his prime you couldn't stop him)

DH-David Ortiz (Another guy to root for. A family man, a guy who has gone about his business the right way and also up their with Edgar Martinez as possibly the next best DH ever to play the game, he's also got a knack for clutch hits too)

SS-Cal Ripken Jr. (The Iron Man, and also a humble human being for what he provided on and off the field. The guy was not disliked at all, and even though he's most well known for his consecutive games played streak, the guy also had the most power of any short stop in the history of baseball)

C-Johnny Bench (People will debate forever that this is the greatest Catcher in the history of the sport and I would not debate them because they would have a valid argument. This guy was the anchor of the Big Red Machine back in the 70's and at the time the greatest catcher in baseball history. He could anchor down a defense like nobody in his era along with provide the power at the plate that had never been seen in at the catching position during his time)

2B-Craig Biggio (How could you hate Biggio? The guy was loveable and had a great kid persona about him. He also has the all time record in getting hit by the pitcher, and in many statistical categories leads many second basemen, so he's got to play in this game, even if it means batting 9th)

So as you can see the starting lineup is rather bipolar when it comes to the personalities and rooting interest, but you gotta have some nice guys with the scrubby guys. The starting pitcher for Game 7 is also a guy who's easy to boo as well.

Starting pitcher:

-Roger Clemons (A guy who took Performance Enhancing Drugs and still to this day denies ever taking them. He has 7 Cy Young awards and could throw gas with the best of them. He's clearly one of the greatest pitchers of all time, but won't get the recognition due to his use of Steroids.)

What a better matchup then to have Roger Clemons and Pedro Martinez face each other once again. It takes me back to my childhood of watching the two guys dueling it out in the greatest rivalry of the sport (New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox). Everybody who wasn't a Yankees fan hated Clemons, everybody who wasn't a Red Sox fan hated Pedro. That I would pay to see again.

Here are the other Starters on the Other Team:

-Cy Young (How could you not have the guy with the most wins in MLB History and the guy who the best pitcher of the year award is named after? This guy won 511 games, a record that will never be broken, and pitched in the most games ever. He was the best pitcher of the dead ball era and it's not even a debate)

-Walter Johnson (If there was one guy you could pull from the dead ball era to put into the modern era, this would be the guy. Players reported that Walter Johnson's fastball was so fast they claimed they couldn't see it. He has the second most wins in MLB history and the pitches he threw were unlike anybody had ever seen. I still don't think he could pitch in todays era, but man it would have been nice to see.

-Warren Spahn (Now I say that Sandy Koufax is the greatest left hander in history and it's not even close, but people would argue with this guy right here. He has the most wins by any left hander in Major League Baseball history and he played in an era that is respected by many to have potentially carried over to today. So this guy could compete with the best of them and maybe, just maybe, he could have performed equally if not closely to as well as the players of today)

-Christy Mathewson (You want to talk about character, this man had the class that very few men could attain. Another dead ball pitcher but a guy who could help balance out the personalities of the starting rotation. He also was claimed to have thrown really hard but again, the era he played in may not have transferred to today but if it did, good lord he'd be unstoppable)

Many of these starting pitchers may not have been able to get past the team that I made only because of the era that they pitched in. I think they could hang and provide for an interesting series, but on the whole, they probably would get destroyed. That doesn't mean they wouldn't know how to win. You can't just win 400+ games as many of these men have and not be smart. These guys were all smart, and they could muster something together to keep themselves going in todays era.

Even though most of the guys in this starting rotation wouldn't need a bullpen, I have one just incase they needed the extra the relief.

Bullpen of the Other Team:

-John Smoltz (This guy could start and could also close. He has 100+ saves and 100+ wins in his career, he could definitely play a good role in Long Relief)

-Hoyt Wilhelm (This guy pitched in a relief and started every once in a while too. He also was an avid knuckleball thrower and was known to be one of the best)

-Addie Joss (Another typically great ballooned dead ball era pitcher who's stats couldn't be left off a team, guy was known as "The Human Hairpin" and was known for hiding the ball very deceptively before he delivered to the plate. With his career Earned Run Average at the second lowest all time and a Career WHIP at the lowest all time in Major League Baseball history, how could you not bring him out of the bullpen in a setup situation?)

-Arthur Rhodes (One of the best left handed set up men the game has probably seen on a consistent basis. In an era where bullpen guys come and go, Arthur Rhodes kept going. The guy currently holds the record for the most holds (which is a new stat conducted for keeping the lead heading into the 9th allowing the closer to get the save) I anticipate this record to shift places eventually, but for now Arthur holds the holds mark)

-Lee Smith (This guy was known by many as the "best one inning pitcher the game ever saw." This was prior to the emergence of one Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, but Lee Smith was the other guy in this instance and racked up 478 saves throughout his long term career. He's no slouch and bringing him out of the bullpen in a save situation would be a sight to see!)

Now let's get to the bench where the Other Team has another 5 guys to discuss:

UTIL-Pete Rose (Charlie Hustle as he's known for, is a guy who played hard on every play. He has the most hits in Major League Baseball history, but isn't in the hall of fame because he bet on baseball. He pretty much could play anywhere out on the field and if you put him there he would do as good a job as anybody could ask, oh and his bat was pretty lethal too. The definition of a hustle player and the perfect guy off the bench.)

CF-Ken Griffey Jr. (Yes, this guy is coming off the bench. You talk about one of the best players of his era, he could easily have taken Ty Cobb's spot, but I think Ty Cobb would have killed him if he did. Also, considering the statistical advantage Ty Cobb has, I had to put him in over Griffey. Griffey in his prime was like watching Michael Jordan play baseball [except better]. If anybody in the outfield got hurt, Griffey would step in and do just as good, if not a better job. The only reason he isn't starting is because of his risk of injury and because his batting average just isn't up there with the other three outfielders, outside of that, he'd be out there. If this guy didn't get hurt during his career, we would be talking about the greatest player to ever play this game)

LF-Lou Brock (He's the second leading base stealer of all time. Another perfect guy to bring off the bench to steal. With over 900 steals in his career, I'd say it's a pretty good bet he'd do a good job)

OF-Billy Hamilton (No, not the current Billy Hamilton who's in the MLB right now. I'm talking about "Sliding Billy." Another dead ball era great who played before the World Series era and was a 19th century great. Nobody really remembers Billy except for the historians of the game. He was a guy very proud of his ability to steal bases and if he was on base, he's another guy with 900+ stolen bases and if the game got late and this team needed another guy who could fly, lookout for Billy!)

C-Yogi Berra (Why not have a character in Yogi sitting on the bench hanging out and having a good old time? He's definitely not one of the greatest catchers when you breakdown stats and categories of the game at his position but his championships and All-Star game appearances are good enough for consideration. 18 All-Star game appearances, 13 Championships, and on top of that the guy was an alright manager? How could you not have him riding the bench?! Oh and did I forget to mention he's a 3 time American League MVP? Yeah, he's an easy choice.)


So that's the teams, and remember, we are in a Game 7 scenario and I'll recap it all for you up until this Game 7 occurrence.

My Team has home field advantage (not that the field was leaving Iowa, but just to give the last at bats in a series situation). We played a 2-3-2 format (Home-Away-Home) even though we never left the same field. So here are the recaps of each game leading up to Game 7.

Game 1 recap:

Pedro Martinez pitched first vs Cy Young and Cy Young pulled magic out of his hat as he held my team in check for a solid 5 innings. The Other Team scored first in the top of first inning as Pedro gave up a 2 run bomb into the corn field by Barry Bonds, but after the 1st inning Pedro settled down and went the distance pitching 8 magnificent innings. Cy Young had a shutout until he ran into some trouble in the 6th inning giving up a leadoff homerun to Willie Mays, which cut the score to 2-1. Cy Young was pulled for Hoyt Wilhelm. Hoyt's knuckleball kept my team off balance, as they couldn't adjust to the knuckleball pitcher. Lee Smith came into the game in the 9th inning to try to close the door but it was definitely difficult. He got the first two outs in the inning, until he walked Derek Jeter (And then Ricky Henderson came in to pinch run). Ricky stole 2nd on the first pitch, then on the next pitch he stole 3rd, but Lee Smith had Ted Williams at 0-2. Ted hit a ball into the leftfield gap that looked like it would be the game tying double, but Ken Griffey Jr. (a defensive replacement) made a ridiculous catch to end the game. Other Team wins Game 1: 2-1, they lead 1-0 in the series.

Game 2 recap:

I had Nolan Ryan out there for Game 2 and they had Walter Johnson. You talk about a hard throwing matchup. Both these guys skated through the first 3 innings untouched and both had 7 K's heading into the 4th inning. That's when Ty Cobb got angry and mustered up a run in a fashion only Ty Cobb could do. He laid a bunt down the third base line where nobody had a chance to throw him out. He then stole 2nd on the second pitch to Tony Gwynn. The next pitch, Gwynn hit the ball on a hit & run to left field (shocking right?) and Ty Cobb scored easily to make it 1-0 Other Team. Lou Gehrig then hit into a double play, and Nolan Ryan struck out Barry Bonds on 3 straight heaters. Bottom of the 4th, that's when my team opened the flood gates. Ichiro got a single up the middle, Jeter got a base hit the other way, Ted Williams knocked in Ichiro to tie the game at 1-1, then Jimmie Foxx hit a 3 run homerun to make it 4-1 my team. Willie Mays reached base on a double in the gap, then Edgar worked the count and got an RBI base hit to make it 5-1 my team. That was when Walter Johnson got pulled, and in came John Smoltz who retired the rest of the batters in the 4th. Nolan Ryan went all the way until the 8th inning when he ran into some trouble as Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez both went back-to-back home runs off Nolan Ryan to make it 5-3 my team. The next batter, David Ortiz, was then drilled in the back by Nolan Ryan because of those two homeruns. It paid off though because Cal Ripkin hit into an inning ending double play to send the game to the bottom of the 8th. My team didn't respond with any runs, but that's ok because Rivera was warming up in the Bullpen. Mariano retired the 9th inning in order and my team won 5-3 to tie the series up at 1-1.

Game 3 recap:

This game my team was on the road and would be for the following two games until Game 6. I had Sandy Koufax out on the hill while the Other Team had Warren Spahn. The great debate of the greatest left handed pitcher would come forth in this one! Koufax retired the first 17 batters he faced and Warren Spahn retired the first 15 he faced. Both these teams clearly had a difficult time facing the lefties. But my team got on the board first as Rodgers Hornsby broke the seal with a leadoff double into the gap. Ivan Rodriguez sacrificed him over the 3rd base, Brooks Robinson popped out, and up came Ichiro. Ichiro did what he always does and lined a base hit up the middle to give my team a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th and with the way Koufax was pitching, that was a scary thought. Koufax gave up his first hit to Craig Biggio of all people, then struck out Cobb looking on a nasty hook. Koufax retired the next 6 batters (2 innings) and headed into the bottom of the 9th where Mariano Rivera would pitch to save the game. Rivera got the first two hitters out but again, here comes Ty Cobb. Cobb figures he can't hit off Rivera so he lays a perfect running bunt down and gets to first easily. Billy Hamilton pinch runs for Cobb and he is absolutely livid that he's pulled from the game. So mad that he threatens to kill his own base coach. Fortunately, Tony Gwynn and Yogi Berra come out to restrain Cobb and get him out of the ballgame. You get these kinds of tirades with Cobb from time to time, but I don't blame him for getting upset because he want's to stay in and help the team win. Tony Gwynn finds a way to get a 2 strike base hit off Rivera and Billy Hamilton was running on the pitch. He decides to take the turn at 3rd and head for home, but Ichiro throws out Billy Hamilton at the plate and my team wins 1-0 and leads the series heading into game 4, 2-1.

Game 4 recap:

Greg Maddux was pitching for my team and Christy Mathewson was pitching for the Other Team. This game got ugly quickly. In the first inning, My team scored 8 runs and batted around twice and Matthewson was pulled after the first bat around with Cy Young. Cy then gave up another 4 runs as we batted around again. Cy was then pulled and in came Addie Joss and he shut the door on the rest of the inning. We were up 8-0 with Greg Maddux on the mound. Too easy. Well, that's what I thought. They put together a 5 run inning and cut the score to 8-5. Greg Maddux stayed in the ballgame but his pitch count was already in the 40's. The games rolled along to the 5th inning and this was when Greg Maddux's night hit the wall. He gave up a 3 run bomb to Barry Bonds and the score became tied at 8-8 in the bottom of the 5th inning. Maddux was pulled for Babe Ruth, who was then placed in the DH position as well (so he could hit and pitch). Ruth shut down the rest of the 5th, and he came up two innings later in the top of the 7th and broke the tie with a 2-run homerun to make it 10-8 my team. In the bottom of the 7th, Ruth gave up a pinch-hit homerun to Ken Griffey Jr. who again took over for Cobb, this time there was no altercation. The score was now 10-9 and Ruth was then put into right field, pulling Ichiro from the game, and put Bobby Wagner in to face the left handed portion of the lineup for the Other Team. He shut them down and stayed in for the 8th and this time handed the ball off to Trevor Hoffman in the 9th. I was confused too, but considering they almost scored on Rivera last game, might as well change it up. Bad decision from the get go. Barry Bonds hits a game tying homerun to make it 10-10 and the game would head to extra innings. Knowing that Other team needed this game to keep pace, they put in Roger Clemons (who was scheduled to pitch Game 5) so that he could keep this game going as long as he could. My team put in Pedro Martinez to do the same. Knowing that Pedro was working on 3 days rest, I figured he would do ok. Both teams were held scoreless for the next 8 innings. Pedro and Clemons dueled like it was the early 2000's again and it was a classic. Until the bottom of the 19th, where the Other Team had Alex Rodriguez up at the plate. A-Rod hit the game winning HR to win it for the other team 11-10 in 19 innings. Talk about a game. This one lasted about 8 hours but every minute of it was amazing. The Series was now tied up at 2-2 heading into a big time Game 5.

Game 5 recap:

Well knowing that Roger Clemons couldn't go, Cy Young could go, but he had pitched the previous day and struggled mightily, the Other Team only had One Choice, they had to go with Warren Spahn once again. My team turned to Randy Johnson, and boy was he ready to burn. Randy pitched 8 magnificent innings and Warren Spahn barely got out of the 4th inning. Spahn came back out for the 5th inning and instantly it felt like he had given up 3 runs. He hit's Jimmie Foxx in the leg on the first pitch, Willie Mays get's a rare infield base hit, then on the first pitch Edgar Martinez see's he hits it to dead center field over everything. It's 3-0 my team just like that. The Other Team puts in Hoyt Wilhelm and he holds off my team until the 9th inning where he is pulled for Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes pitched in the 9th and gave up another run as Derek Jeter hit an opposite field homerun to make it 4-0 my team to really put the game out of reach as Mariano Rivera shut the door in the 9th (as we learned to never put Trevor Hoffman in again) and we took win 4-0 to take the series lead 3-2 with home field advantage the final two games.

Game 6 recap:

Well this game Nolan Ryan wanted to start because he wanted to beat them sunsabitches by himself and nobody was going to stop him. The Other Team threw Cy Young out there to see what they could do and if they were to run into trouble, they would use everybody they could to try and get a win. Well this was one of the most unexpected games you could think of. Nolan Ryan gave up 6 runs in the first 5 innings and was pulled once his 5th inning of work was complete. He was pissed off, but on the other side, Cy Young was making the award named after him worthy of it's name. He had retired 15 of his first 19 batters faced and was on a complete role. It also helped that he had a 6 run lead heading into the 6th inning. But that's where he ran into some trouble. Cy Young gave up a 3 run homerun to Jimmie Foxx and the score was cut to 6-3 heading into the 7th. Dennis Eckersley came on for Nolan Ryan in the 6th and he performed masterfully until he was pulled for Babe Ruth in the 8th. Babe Ruth pinch hit for Edgar in the bottom of the 8th inning so that he could stay in the game and pitch extra innings if they needed him to go. His bat was very worth too as it gave my team a chance to do more serious damage. In the 8th, Babe Ruth came up big. He hit a game tying 3 run homerun to make it 6-6 heading into the top of the 9th. Babe Ruth stayed in to pitch, problem was he gave up the lead. David Ortiz does it again. He hit's a solo shot down the right field line and gives the Other Team the lead 7-6 and Lee Smith came into the ball game to close the door in the bottom of the 9th, tying the series 3-3, heading into what we will now breakdown as Game 7 of this amazing series of the Field of Dreams Greatest Game!

Game 7:

To remind you, Pedro Martinez was starting for my team, Roger Clemons was starting for the other team. Considering how well both pitched in that extra inning affair earlier in the series, they needed to face one another again. It was only fitting.

So here we go.

Top of the 1st inning:

Pedro struck out the side in a statement like fashion striking out 3 of the greatest contact hitters to ever play the game in Ty Cobb, Tony Gwynn, and Lou Gehrig. You knew Pedro was locked in when he left the mound in the solemn fashion like he did walking stoically off the mound.

Bottom 1st:

Clemons came out firing and shut down the first two batters in Ichiro and Jeter, but then came up batter Ted Williams. Ted worked the count to 2-2, in a 6 pitch at-bat and ripped a two out single up the middle. Then stepped in Jimmie Foxx who also worked the count to 3-2 and hit a line drive into the gap for a double, Ted came around 3rd but was gunned down by Barry Bonds in left field to keep the game scoreless heading into the next inning.

Top 2nd

Bonds led off the inning with a walk and promptly stole 2nd on the second pitch of the Alex Rodriguez at-bat. A-Rod then struck out on the third pitch to make it one out in the inning. I could hear the cheers of joy in my mind when A-Rod struck out... But then stepped in David Ortiz. The instant gratification of seeing such a giant and aura of his stature step into the batters box knowing he might break the game open for the first run, instead he popped out to Ichiro in right field to make it two outs in the inning. Then Cal Ripken came up and he grounded out to end the top half of inning.

Bottom 2nd:

Willie May dropped down a surprising bunt on Clemons and got to first easily as nobody had a chance to field it. Mays then stole 2nd base on the third pitch by Clemons in the Edgar Martinez atbat and Bench couldn't get the throw off in time. Edgar then hit the ball to the right side on the next pitch and Willie Mays moved over to 3rd base with 1 out. Rogers Hornsby stepped to the plate and all he needed to do was shoot a fly ball somewhere to give his team a 1-0 lead. He hit a fly ball, it just wasn't deep enough, as Willie couldn't tag up to score on the shallow fly. The next batter Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez then struck out to end the inning.

Top 3rd

Johnny Bench led off the inning with a weak grounder to 1st base where the first out was quickly made. Craig Biggio then struck out on three pitches and in stepped Ty Cobb. Cobb showed bunt, pulling in Brooks Robinson at third base, then pulled the bat back and slapped the ball right at Brooks where the ball hit him right in the face. Cobb ran down to the 1st and was laughing and muttering awful things about Brooks when he got to the base. Timeout was called, and Brooks had to leave the game in came Albert Pujols who hadn't played 3rd in a long time, but he could still provide a gold glove caliber glove. Tony Gwynn stepped in and hit a shot right to where Albert was shifted on the infield, and Albert made a fine throw across the diamond to end the top half of the 3rd inning still scoreless. Pedro was absolutely in the zone.

Bottom 3rd

Pujols led off the inning as he took Brooks Robinson's place in the batting order. He swung on the first pitch, and you could hear the different crack of the bat that comes off Albert's bat. It was a moon shot to leftcenterfield to make the score 1-0 my team. Ichiro then smacked a single into right field, but Derek Jeter hit into a double play to put two outs on the board very quickly. Then, miraculously, Ted Williams struck out on a Roger Clemons splitter ending the inning.

Top 4th

This is where Pedro ran into some trouble. Lou Gehrig led off the inning with a double into the left field gap, then Barry Bonds followed suit with the exact same thing tying the game at 1-1. Alex Rodriguez then came up and launched a homerun to left field making it 3-1 Other team with no outs in the inning. The pitching coach went out to the mound to have a quick talk with Pedro to calm him down, and it was what the doctor ordered. Pedro shut down the rest of the lineup.

Bottom 4th

Clemons started to find his grove in this inning. He shut down Foxx, Mays, and Martinez in a very orderly fashion to head to the 5th inning with a 3-1 lead and this was the Roger Clemons we all grew up watching as his stuff looked un-hitable.

Top 5th

Pedro then hit Craig Biggio with a pitch un-intentionally... but then drilled Cobb in the back intentionally. Cobb threatened to kill Pedro if he ever did it again, but Pedro didn't care to acknowledge him. Brooks Robinson gave a thumbs up as if to say thank you. That motion really inspired the rest of the team on the defensive side of the ball. Tony Gwynn came up with two runners on and no outs and pulled a ball down the right field line and Ichiro fielded it cleanly and threw out Cobb at third base. Biggio scored to make it 4-1, but this is where the benches cleared. When Pujols tagged Cobb, Pujols pushed Cobbs leg that was aimed at his face and Cobb called "Bush League" and jumped up like a mad man and started swinging. Everybody from both benches came running out on the field to get into the scrum and Pedro was the one who eventually tackled Cobb for good. Cobb left the game and Ken Griffey Jr. took his spot. Tony Gwynn was on 2nd base after the brawl and the score stayed at 4-1 with nobody out. Lou Gehrig popped up to center field, and Barry Bonds drew an intentional walk (not shocking), A-Rod then hit into an inning ending double play which kept the score at 4-1 Other team.

Bottom 5th

It seemed like the more runs the other team scored, the better Clemons got. This time, he struck out the side by shutting down Hornsby, Pudge, and Pujols making it 7 consecutive batters retired.

Top 6th

David Ortiz worked Pedro to a 3-2 count then hit a double into the right field gap. Billy Wagner started warming up in the bullpen, as Cal Ripken stepped up to the plate. Ripken moved Ortiz over the third base on a groundout to the right side, Bench struck out, and the inning was left up to Biggio. Biggio then hit a ball right back up the middle to make it 5-1 Other team and Pedro was pulled from the game as Wagner came in to face the heavy lefty lineup of the Other team. He struck out Ken Griffey Jr on three straight pitches to end the top of the inning.

Bottom 6th

Yogi Berra came in to catch for Johnny Bench as he was struggling at the plate all game and to allow for defensive replacement to occur. Lou Brock also came into the game in left field to cover defensively for Barry Bonds. Clemons was still rolling and retired the next two batters making it 9 in a row which was when he faced Ted Williams again. Ted Williams was facing another 2 strike count when he decided to lay down a random bunt that nobody was expecting and he reached base safely ending the batters retired streak by Clemons. That was when Jimmie Foxx stepped in an hit a first pitch fastball for a double into the right field gap and Ted Williams went flying around 3rd base to make it a 5-2 ballgame with two outs in the inning. Willie Mays then came up and hit 2-2 fastball into the cornfield to make it a 5-4 ballgame. Then came up Edgar Martinez. At this point is when Arthur Rhodes started warming up in the bullpen, but it didn't matter because Clemons shut down Edgar Martinez on a ground out for the third out in the inning.

Top 7th

Billy Wagner stayed in the game, but he gave up a hit to Tony Gwynn to lead off the inning. Luckily, Lou Gehrig hit into a double play to make it a quick two outs, then came up Lou Brock. A guy known for his speed he laid down a bunt and Pujols had no chance. Then Alex Rodriguez worked the count and Brock eventually got to third on a couple wild pitches by Billy Wagner. This was when you felt like everything was going wrong, then it was solidified by another homerun by A-Rod making it 7-4 Other team. Wagner stayed in to face Ortiz who he would strike out, but the damage had been done and Dennis Eckersley started warming up in the bullpen during the 7th inning stretch and the next half inning.

Bottom 7th

Rogers Hornsby was pinch hit for by Honus Wagner, he was the only guy I could think of who could seriously start a rally against a guy like Clemons and he delivered with a base hit up the middle to start off the 7th. Arthur Rhodes was still warming up but there was still no motion to the bullpen to go get him yet. Then Pudge hit another single and that was when Rhodes came into the ballgame. Albert Pujols on the first pitch hit's a game tying 3 run homerun to make it 7-7 in the bottom of the 7th. Wow, coincidence eh? There was nobody out. Then the next three batters (Ichiro, Jeter, Ted Williams) grounded out to end the inning.

Top 8th

Dennis Eckersley came into the game and he shut down all three hitters he faced in Cal Ripken, Yogi Berra, and Craig Biggio. It really doesn't get any simpler than that.

Bottom 8th

Arthur Rhodes did his job and shut down the power portion of the lineup for my team as Jimmie Foxx, Willie Mays and Edgar Martinez all went down in order as they all flew out to make it a 1-2-3 inning.

Top 9th

This is where Dennis ran into some trouble. He gave up a 2-1 fastball to Ken Griffey Jr. down the center of the plate and hit a blast as far as anybody could hit a pitch with his sweet stroke of his to make it 8-7 Other team. I wasn't even mad, his swing just made everything feel so much better even though it hurt so much. Tony Gwynn then got on base, Lou Gehrig got a base hit to put runners on 1st and 2nd with no body out. And then came Lou Brock once again. The guy hit a triple into the gap to score Gwynn and Gehrig to make it 10-7 Other team and I had to bring in Mariano Rivera to help close the inning out. Rivera shut down A-Rod, Ortiz, and Ripken as Lee Smith came in to pitch to close out Game 7 of this Greatest Game Field of Dreams 25th Anniversary edition.

Bottom 9th

10-7 game, save situation for Lee Smith, he just needs three outs and the game it over and the other team can walk off into the sunset as champions of the baseball universe. Well it was going to have to start with Honus Wagner once again. I also forgot to mention that Pete Rose also came in to play 1st base for Lou Gehrig for defensive purposes as well. Well Honus led off with a bunt single and started the rally going for my team. Mike Piazza then came in to pinch hit for Ivan Rodriguez, and he did it again. Piazza hit a two run blast to dead center field to make it a 10-9 ball game with no outs in the inning off of Lee Smith. Then came up Pujols, who struck out swinging. Ichiro bunted to get on base and Rickey Henderson pinch ran to give My team a chance to score the tying run. Derek Jeter was up next and he worked the count which allowed Rickey Henderson to steal both 2nd and 3rd. Derek worked the count to 3-2 and hit the ball up the middle to tie the score at 10-10. Next up was Ted Williams, and what better guy to come up to the plate. He didn't get a base hit, but he moved Derek into scoring position as he hit a weak grounder to 3rd base. 2 outs bottom of the 9th, Jeter on 2nd and Jimmie Foxx came up to the plate. On the first pitch Foxx hit the ball into the left field gap. Jeter sprinted around 3rd, scored easily, and won the game for my team 11-10.

It was an incredible moment as Jeter ran around 3rd with his fist up and Jimmie Foxx ran out of the batters box with both arms lifted in the a in triumph. Lee Smith instantly dropped his head and walked off the mound. This game, it reminds of all that was good and what could be again. 25 years later, the greatest movie in baseball lore, still is today, and hopefully you enjoyed my read for the greatest baseball game ever played. Have a wonderful winter, the next baseball season is right around the corner. It'll be here before you know it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Janitor Bumgarner Cleans Up A Dynasty

This wasn't the most memorable game in World Series history, but it will definitely be remembered for one thing that nobody will soon forget. The greatest pitching performance in the history of the game.

You don't need to know anything other than how you saw Madison Bumgarner pitch those final 5 innings. You would have had no clue that he pitched 2 days prior and would probably wonder why he didn't start. In fact, I think 20 years from now people will forget that he didn't start, and when we look at the box score, we'll be confused in seeing the actual starter in Tim Hudson only pitch 1.1 innings. But the Royals put it to the Giants after the Giants took an early 2-0 lead after the top of the 2nd inning.

The bottom of the 2nd inning was when the Royals put together an inning to match the Giants tying the score at 2-2 heading into the 3rd inning where their late relief pitcher in Jeremy Affeldt took the reigns on he mound and he held them until the 5th when Bumgarner moped up the Giants third championship pitching the final 5 innings and only giving up 2 hits in the process.

Typing that out felt legendary, I couldn't imagine pitching it as Bumgarner did. He's clearly the greatest World Series pitcher to ever play the game and the scary part is he is 25 and might only add to that resume the next 10-15 years.

This was a Game 7 that will be remembered based upon the cumulative performance of the entire October by one Madison Bumgarner. He defined this month and he will be the face of the 2014 MLB Postseason. There's nobody else that needs to grace the face of how this playoff played itself out. He wasn't just the MVP of the World Series, he's the MVP of all of October.

I had a blast writing blogs every night to break down this masterful major league postseason and I have a special treat for all of you to read tomorrow afternoon. It's been a pleasure and I'll get back to writing weekly blogs starting the first Monday of November.

See you next week!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Settling in for Game 7; Royals Blow the Doors off Game 6

This game, by itself, is not worth talking about. The Royals laid a 7 piece on the Giants and 5 of the, came off of Yusmeiro Petit. That was when you knew the game was over and Game 7 was in the cards for 2014.

The one sparkling light from this game came for Yordano Ventura. The guy only gave up 3 hits in 7 innings pitched on exactly 100 pitches. You talk about the outing of a lifetime for a 23 year old, unbelievable stuff.

Outside of that this was one of those games that nobody will remember in the lore of postseason history with the final score of 10-0, but the setting it opened up for Wednesday night is only what movies could project in an on sight visual for the Kansas City faithful. Nobody in their right minds had Kansas City playing Game 7 of the World Series come late winter of 2014, and tomorrow that crazy idea will become a reality.

Tomorrow night is where the epicenter of sports takes place and where the intensity ratchets up to a level that can cause fans to literally fall into a coma if their team falters one ounce away from expectation. And with both of these teams seasons the way they have unfolded, don't expect a cleanly played baseball game, expect a layout of many peaks and valleys, where as the expectation won't be the outcome no matter what we project or how we think.

Game 7's are the ultimate Wildcard. They could be the greatest classic we've ever seen, they could be a shoot out of the unforgiving, or they could be one giant blockbuster flop. Either way, this game tomorrow night requires no need for introduction, Game 7 of the World Series is the greatest day sports can provide, and those of you who think other wise, I don't know what planet you are from.

Just shutout the noise, shutout the crazy fast lifestyle we lay before us everyday, and enjoy the final day of baseball in 2014 on Wednesday.

Monday, October 27, 2014

2014-15 NBA Preseason Predictions

Ahhhhhh yes. We dive into this fresh new NBA season with my team (San Antonio Spurs) as the defending NBA Champions for a 5th time in NBA History. Ring Night is tomorrow night, and Tim Duncan will get to see his 5th banner go up and become honored as he'll be one of the few players in this league to ever win 5 rings and one of two this entire era (Kobe Bryant being the other).

Do I think the Spurs are done? How could I? They are coming back with the same team from a year ago and if they delve the minutes out like they did all of last regular season, you can guarantee to see this team make another deep postseason run. How does the rest of the Western Conference look? Oddly enough I think the Western Conference got weaker. Not to say that the East is now the class of the NBA, but can we be honest for a minute, the Easter Conference has legitimately 5 teams that could make the NBA finals this year. The Western Conference has a lot of solid teams that can win 50+ games this season, but are many of them ready for a deep postseason run? I only see maybe 3, definitely 2 teams competing for a title shot this season in the newly sequestered NBA formation. And when I say sequestered, I'm talking where the players have shifted towards, especially in the Eastern Conference.

Don't get me wrong, I think the west is still a strong conference, the strange part is all the best players are in the Eastern Conference. LeBron, Rose, Noah, Love, Wade, Wall, Melo, Rondo, and George (who is hurt all year) are all players that could make other teams revolve an entire team around in the Western Conference. I'm not saying that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook aren't apart of that cream of the crop because they are, but they truly are the select few in the Western Conference. Steph Curry, James Harden, and Damien Lillard are really the only ones that I can think of where you could potentially build an elite squad around. Now you're wondering how come I left Lob City (Blake Griffin & Chris Paul) out of the equation. Well, I think they are legit too, but the issue is Blake will never be good by himself and Chris Paul is starting to hit that age where I question if you should build around him anymore. It's the same thing for Duncan, Dirk, and Kobe. They are all superstars but you can't build around them today. 10 years ago, you better believe it, but today it would be a travesty.

Basketball is such a great sport to research especially when it comes to the NBA because there are not that many players to conduct how a team may perform in an entire 82 game season. The only issue is deciding how healthy, what kind of stretches will teams have, how will teams respond heading out of the All-Star break or even what will happen during the postseason 6 months from now can make it all so difficult to project. But that's what makes it fun and I'm here to give you a blurb on each team and to give you an idea of how each team will do this season, and who will make the big dance come April.

Eastern Conference:

Atlantic Division:

This is an odd division this year because I honestly could see it going so many different ways. The Nets improved at head coach with Lionel Hollins but lost an aging Paul Pierce who at points became the soul purpose of their late surge and playoff success last season. If you take away the early struggles of the Nets last season, they were actually the best team after the All-Star break in 2014. That doesn't take away from them still being the oldest team in the league, but let's not kid ourselves in saying this team is young. The Raptors have the same squad coming back this season with Lowry & DeRozan manning the back court. They still have an issue of size as they won't have anybody to help them out down low on the blocks, but if they can get into a battle at the guard position, they should be able to win more than most. Boston is a team that has a full year under their belt with new coach Brad Stevens and he should help them improve immensely this season, not saying they are a playoff team but they could make some noise in that division and spoil chances for other clubs by making a new name for themselves this season. The Knicks have gotten worse since last season and if they make the postseason I'll be shocked. Carmelo Anthony should be fine, but how will they operate with Felton and Chandler now in Dallas? Only time will tell with them. The 76ers have a long way to go to be relevant again and unless they can muster up some back court magic to go along with Micheal Carter Williams and the two young guys up front in Noel and Embid, then they won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

*Nets 47-35
*Raptors 46-36
Celtics 38-44
Knicks 35-47
76ers 26-56

Central Division:

This may be the best conference in basketball by the end of the season. They now have the best player in basketball in LeBron James and two of the best teams in all of basketball duking it out for potentially the top spot. This division should take a large flip considering the injury to Paul George for the Indiana Pacers and the trade the Lance Stephenson to Charlotte, but it doesn't take away from the power that is in this conference. The Bulls are clearly the class of this division unless the Cavaliers have something to say about it. The Bulls have one of the best starting 5's in basketball while their bench is also pretty sturdy and should make a large push at a title run this spring. We all know what the Cavaliers have done with their roster in acquiring a new big 3 in Irving, Love, and James but only will time on the court will tell if they mesh together and if that bench will provide the spark that they need to carry them into a 50 win team this season. I think the Pistons have a dark horse chance this season to creep up on some teams especially with how talented their front court is and with new coach Stan Van Gundy, I could see this team making a playoff push this upcoming season as well, they will just need some serious production from their back court this season to make waves throughout the Eastern Conference. The Pacers would be fine if they were completely healthy. I just don't see how they get back to the postseason knowing that their superstar is gone for the year, but that doesn't mean they aren't a playoff contender. The Bucks might just be the worst team in the league this year, but Jabari Parker for all we know could win rookie of the year and fool us all leading Milwaukee to a solid season, but in this division? Good luck with that.

*Bulls 55-27
*Cavaliers 53-29
*Pistons 42-40
Pacers 39-43
Bucks 20-62

Southeast Division:

Well this division looks like the most balanced division I've seen since 2009 before LeBron James made his first decision. I forget what the landscape of this division looked like before then but all I know is that their isn't a clear cut favorite to win this season. There is one team that looks relatively stacked and could make a push at the Conference Finals and that is the Washington Wizards. This team has the best back court in basketball in John Wall and Bradley Beal. Yes, Beal is out for a while early on in the season but once he's back these two will light it up and make Gortat and Nene look awesome. Losing Ariza may not look so bad considering how good Wall and Beal are, but if this team can improve as a squad this season, they could see themselves peaking into some serious May basketball in 2015. The Heat have clearly dropped off, but they are no slouches. Yes, they lost LeBron but they still have a solid Wade and Bosh, and now with new additions in McRoberts and Deng, they'll still be  playoff contending team with their experience. The Hornets are a huge wildcard to me because they could easily be a 50 win team this season or they could miss the playoffs entirely. They have the talent to compete but I just wonder if they have been making the right steps to stay relative this past off-season? They have the pieces to make a run in April but can they get over the hump of mediocrity and land themselves outside of the bottom 4 in the Eastern Conference? I don't see it yet, but they could always prove me wrong. The Atlanta Hawks overachieved last year and I don't see them getting back to the postseason. Again, with this division anything is possible and they could get back, but the likelihood of it happening is very slim considering the upgrades in throughout the East. The Magic need to stay healthy and pray they get some good players in the draft next season, outside of a that, 30 wins is their goal this season.

*Wizards 50-32
*Heat 45-37
*Hornets 40-42
Hawks 37-45
Magic 29-53

Eastern Conference Seed's
1. Chicago Bulls 55-27
2. Cleveland Cavaliers 53-29
3. Washington Wizards 50-32
4. Brooklyn Nets 47-35
5. Toronto Raptors 46-36
6. Miami Heat 45-37
7. Detroit Pistons 42-40
8. Charlotte Hornets 40-42

Western Conference:

Pacific Division:

First off, this division is very top heavy. There are only two teams I could see winning 50+ games this year and potentially 3 playoff teams, but considering the movement within the division, I don't see anybody winning 50 games. I see a 60 win team and a couple teams fighting for a playoff spot. The Clippers are the most entertaining team in the league for this upcoming season and they will be the lone 60 win team especially with another full year under the belt of Doc Rivers and improving that bench to make them one of the deepest teams in the NBA. Now with Steve Ballmer at the helm and making an effort to improve this Clipper franchise, I see them improving for years to come and it starts in year one. The Warriors worry me because last year they took a huge step back from the expectations I had for them. They also let go of one of the best coaches in the NBA in Mark Jackson and added Steve Kerr who I don't know if I can trust. I think they will be scrapping to get the wins they need to be in the upper portion of the western conference teams, but I just don't see it happening and I see them hanging around to make a push. The Suns are one of those teams so close to being in the postseason they can touch it. They were very close last season and this season I don't see it being much different. In fact, I could see Phoenix jumping the Warriors this season if the circumstances play out right and allow for them to get into the postseason, but it's truly a coin toss. The other two California teams in the Kings and Lakers, they just aren't good enough. Both teams have one legitimate superstar and that's about all that is worth watching because the rest of their teams just are not worth the price of admission.

*Clippers 60-22
*Warriors 49-33
Suns 44-38
Kings 39-43
Lakers 35-47

Northwest Division:

Considering the early injury to Kevin Durant, this division might be open early for the taking, but once Durant gets back, it'll be a battle till the end of the season. This division has a squad in Portland that has improved on it's bench and with another year of maturation under the belt of Damien Lillard, the Blazers could be the class of this division. The Thunder have had their team slowly stripped over the past couple of years but the main pieces stay intact to keep them competitive for a top spot in the Western Conference. I think this year hinges on the play of Russell Westbrook more than any other year because of the lack of bench depth that the Oklahoma City Thunder possess, considering the depth that the Blazers have added with Chris Kaman and and Steve Blake, they might have some championship swagger that could lead them over the top in that division and they could finally knock off the Thunder if Westbrook has to carry the load early on. Don't sleep on the Nuggets either, they are my serious dark horse for this entire NBA season. This is the one team I could see going either boom or bust with Faried as now a legitimate superstar and their goal should be to shoot for 50 wins and the could very well do it. The other two teams are not worth the time and effort to talk about. Utah will win 30 but that's the ultimate goal, and the Timberwolves are the most obvious choice at rebuilding and if they win 30 games in would be the best they could do.


*Trailblazers 54-28
*Thunder 52-30
*Nuggets 48-34
Jazz 31-51
Timberwolves 30-52

Southwest Division:

Only the most glorious division in the Western Conference and the best state of basketball in all of the NBA; Texas. The Spurs are no guarantee to win this division, but for now with who they are bringing back and the formula they use to win games, you have to put them at the top especially as Leonard is only improving. Yes the other guys are getting older, but Popovich will find a way to alter their minutes to make sure the team is rested for another postseason run. The Rockets may have something to say about that as they added Ariza in the off-season to bolster their roster making them a legit contender in the Western Conference. If Dwight Howard can get back to any kind of Orlando form that he was in 3-4 years ago, this team could make a title run. The Dallas Mavericks are really old, but they now have a team that could contend for a top 5 spot in the West. Last year, they were lucky they made the postseason, but they proved that they can compete with anybody pushing the Spurs to 7 games in the first round. They also acquired Chandler Parsons from Houston giving them another option on the offensive side of the ball where they could use one more person when Dirk isn't going bananas. The Grizzlies didn't improve this off-season, and yes they have a very balanced team but they are a team I worry about when it comes to age and their bench. I feel that they will look good early and fade by the time the All-Star break comes. The Pelicans are another team I really like this season improving drastically. They could be considered my third dark horse team this year and could really sneak up on some teams and even potentially have a winning record depending upon what happens in the division. They have a scary lineup and with Anthony Davis looking meaner this year then ever before, don't be alarmed if New Orleans rings some bells this season and gets to the 40 win mark. But, this division is so rough that 40 wins might be a bit of a stretch, but it is definitely a goal they can shoot for and eventually will get someday.


*Spurs 58-24
*Rockets 55-27
*Mavericks 51-31
Grizzlies 45-37
Pelicans 40-42

Western Conference Seed's
1. Los Angeles Clippers 60-22
2. San Antonio Spurs 58-24
3. Houston Rockets 55-27
4. Portland Trialblazers 54-28
5. Oklahoma City Thunder 52-30
6. Dallas Mavericks 51-31
7. Golden State Warriors 49-33
8. Denver Nuggets 48-34

2015 NBA Playoff Predictions

Since this will all begin in April I don't anticipate to be accurate and I won't get into details about who wins. Plus, I'm kind of irritated because some other major sports magazine picked the exact same outcome as me, so I'll just give you my predictions of what happens in the postseason and run away into the night!

1st Round Predictions

1 LA Clippers over 8 Denver 4-1
5 Oklahoma City over 4 Portland 4-3
3 Houston over 6 Dallas 4-3
2 San Antonio over 7 Golden State 4-2

1 Chicago over 8 Charlotte 4-2
5 Toronto over 4 Brooklyn 4-3
3 Washington over 6 Miami 4-3
2 Cleveland over 7 Detroit 4-0

Semifinal Predictions

1 LA Clippers over 5 Oklahoma City 4-2
2 San Antonio over 3 Houston 4-2

1 Chicago over 5 Toronto 4-1
2 Cleveland over 3 Washington 4-3

Conference Finals Predictions

Western Conference Finals: 2 San Antonio over 1 LA Clippers 4-1
Eastern Conference Finals: 1 Chicago over 2 Cleveland 4-3

2015 NBA FINALS prediction

San Antonio Spurs over Chicago Bulls in 7 games (4-3)

MVP: Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan retires as an MVP of the NBA Finals and back-to-back champion, along with tying Micheal Jordan in championships (6) while beating the Bulls in the process.

Story book ending for the greatest Power Forward to ever play the game.

Enjoy the 2014-15 NBA Season Everybody!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Heeerrree's Madison! Giants take 3-2 Lead to KC.

I'm not going to breakdown the game because all you need to know is how incredible Madison Bumgarner is. He could literally host his own nightly show with how magnificent he is on the mound, I just think his ratings would be low because of how drool he is as a human being. But, his ability on the mound, let's put him up their with the greats right now.

The Giants win game 5, 5-0 as they head back to Kansas City with a 3-2 series lead. Brandon Crawford squirted across 3 runs, and Juan Perez hit the game clinching two run triple in the 8th that was an inch away from being a three run blast off a guy in Wade Davis who hadn't given up an extra base hit since August. As baseball ended in San Francisco for 2014, the Giants walk into the Kansas City ready to clinch a 3rd world title in 5 years.

But the only story that needs to be discussed is how incredible Madison Bumgarner is.

The guy has only given up one run in his World Series career and his earned run average is now below .30. This guy has 4 World Series starts in his career and nobody can seem to figure him out. If anybody is interested, listen in on my October 25th 2014 podcast about how outstanding Madison Bumgarner is and how I compare him to Tom Brady, yes, this guy is on the cusp of being like a Tom Brady in the world of baseball when it comes to the Starting Pitching position.

I think if he can start establishing himself in the regular season here over the rest of his career, you'll see this guy in Cooperstown before you know it.

Giants take the World Series back to Kansas City as Madison Bumgarner gets a complete game shutout in Game 5 of the World Series. Moon Shine Stupid. Take a freaking bow.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Destructo De Giants; Best of 3.

This became a must win situation for the San Francisco Giants, because if they went down 3-1 with two games left to play in Kansas City, you may as well have written them off Sunday Night. Not after this destruction of a Game 4.

Ryan Vogelsong, a guy that looks eerily like Shoeless Joe Jackson of the 1989 film of Field of Dreams, had a rough start as he gave up 4 runs in the third inning as the Giants trailed early 4-1 with two outs in the top of the 3rd inning. Shoeless Joe, I mean Vogelsong, was then pulled and Buster Posey helped get the Giants back into the game by getting a 2 out RBI single off of Jason Vargas to make it 4-2 Royals heading into the 4th inning.

Yusmeiro Petit came in for the 4th inning and quite honestly, he literally shut the Royals hopes off as much as you could both with his magnificent arm and also added an off-balance single to record the first hit by a pitcher in the World Series in 21 years. the Giants didn't score in the 4th, but the moment was significant nonetheless. But, when Petit was pitching, it sure felt like the Giants had more than a chance to come back, and boy they did.

Those Gritty Gutty Giants put together another run in the bottom of the 5th as they inched ever so closer with a Hunter Pence RBI single to make it 4-3 Royals, then eventually Pence scored on a sacrifice fly on an amazing catch by Dyson in centerfield heading into the top of the 6th, where this game looked like it was going to be an instant classic ready to ensue. Boy were we all wrong.

The next two innings (6th & 7th) the Giants put up 7 runs to pull away from the Royals and ultimately win 11-4, tying up the 2014 World Series at 2 games a piece and now with MadBum pitching in Game 5, the Giants look to take this thing back to KC with a lead. Remember, I picked the Giants in 6, THEY CAN'T STOP... BELIEVING!

Boy, the excitement & nervousness will be at an all-time high for San Francisco tomorrow night for Game 5 of the World Series.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Royals break the tie; 2-1 KC

In a game that had much more entertainment then the prior two games of this series, the Giants fans could have told you to think better.

Game 3 of the World Series was a game of starters full of question marks. Jeremy Guthrie who historically is known to be an average pitcher had his start riding on the hopes of the Kansas City Royals getting a 2-1 series lead, while the Giants had a pitcher who had never made it this point in his lengthy career; Tim Hudson. The questions were more riding on how were they going to react and in what nature would they be able to contribute in such a big series that neither pitcher had ever witnessed. Well hey did a pretty good job.

Tim Hudson got into a bit of a jam on the 1st inning giving up a lead off double that eventually came around to score to give Kansas City a 1-0 lead. Other than that the game moved rather quickly, and scooted to the 6th where the Royals jumped to a 3-0 lead, where a victory seemed certain considering the greatness of HDH. But, the Giants found a way to pull the game back in.

The bottom of the 6th the Giants found a way to bring back those two runs they gave to make it 3-2 going into the 7th inning. Unfortunately, that was all that the Giants could muster as the Royals shut it down the rest of game winning in the city where Lorde isn't allowed to be played. The Royals took a 2-1 series lead to make game 4 a virtual must win for the Giants on Saturday night!

I'll see you after tomorrow night!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Royals Strike Back

Game 2 of the World Series wasn't viewed by myself until the 4th inning. I was involved in some family fun time and that became more important than the Fall Classic, but it's ok because when I turned the game on it was 2-2 at the beginning of the bottom of the 4th.

Peavy was pitching great and Ventura had a high pitch count, but he was holding his own. Honestly, the action was once again rather mundane except for the bottom of the 6th where the Royals posted a 5 spot as Billy Butler started off with an RBI single to make it 3-2 Royals.

Salvador Perez decided to add on with a huge 2 RBI double to make it 5-2 Royals, and Hunter Strickland then gave up a 2 run homerun to ultimately make it 7-2 and a benches clearing incident where Strickland started barking at Perez when he walked across home plate after Strickland said something. Strickland was pulled, but it was more of the Royals night than it was the Giants faltering.

The score stayed the same as the Royals won 7-2 and tied the series up at 1-1 heading to San Francisco. They will play 3 games in San Francisco starting Friday night.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

MadBum & the Royal Killers

Wow, what a mess if you are a fan of the Royals huh? Nothing like a party crasher such as sticking it to the gut of a team that hasn't seen glory in 29 years and boy was Madison Bumgarner's performance quite the party pooper.

This was Game 1 of the World Series in 2014, and it was over early. There's no need to get into details other then the fact that the Giants played their brand of baseball and they played it so well, they might as well trademark it after the first inning of this ball game.

Top of the first. A 32 pitch inning by the ace of the Royals in James Shields and a solid, grind out, 3 spot by the Giants to make it a 3-0 game before their ace, Madison Bumgarner's even touched the ball. Hunter Pence hit the decisive blow in the top of the first hitting a two run homer to make it 3-0 Giants.

Do you want me to break down the rest of this game? No I won't. MadBum: 7 innings pitched, 1 run allowed (late in the 7th on a Salvador Perez HR) and a whole bunch of K's. This game was the definition of a shell shock for a KC team riding on all momentum coming into this one and that all ended tonight as the Giants win 7-1 taking a 1-0 series lead in the World Series.

You could have turned the game off after Game 1 of the World Series when the Giants went off in the 1st inning. I do have some beef though. How come so many people picked the Royals, also, why was it so unanimous on FOX? It was just a Kansas City love fest at the beginning of the broadcast saying that the Royals would ultimately take it because of the momentum they had been riding coming in. After this game, there's no more momentum, and I'm excited to hear what the pre game crew has to say after this debacle by KC tonight, and hopefully they can show a 2 time championship ball club some freakin love. See you tomorrow night.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Every Even Year

The Giants have won the Pennant!

What another crazy, emphatic game, the Giants won the NLCS on another crazy ending to another outstanding ballgame as the NLCS comes to a close. A game where the two aces went to duel in Madison Bumgarner, the eventual NLCS MVP, and Adam Wainwright, who hasn't been himself all series.

An interesting factoid, Travis Ishikawa, actually made a miss-read on a fly ball earlier in the game that gave the Cardinals a run to make it 1-0 in the top of the 3rd. No need to Panik though, as Joe Panik hit a 2 out two run HR to make it 2-1 Giants in the next half inning. The Cardinals were fed up with this Giants magic, as they answered right back in the top of the 4th with a lead off HR by Matt Adams to tie the game back up at 2-2. Then with 2 outs in the same inning, Tony Cruz hits a solo HR to give the Cardinals the lead again at 3-2.

The game would scoot all the way to the 8th inning where the Giants only had 6 outs before making a flight back to Missouri to continue a series against the Cardinals. But Mike Morse wanted to go to a different airport instead as he hit a pinch hit solo HR to tie the game back up at 3-3 in the bottom of the 8th inning. Magic had struck again!

But the real magic came in the bottom of the 9th, when Travis Ishikawa, who nearly quit the game of baseball hit a blast into the night that sent the Giants to their 3rd World Series in 5 years (2010, 2012, & 2014). The Gaints won 6-3 and ultimately won the NLCS 4-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals.

What looked like it would be an instant classic of a series after the Game 2 miracle in what Kolten Wong did, became a series that Travis Ishikawa decided to seal the deal for the San Francisco Giants as they will start to make their trip to Missouri, but instead of playing St. Louis, it'll be the Kansas City Royals.

Game 1 of the World Series will be on Tuesday October 21st. San Francisco @ Kansas City Royals. Should be a magical outcome no matter who wins!

See you on Monday for my World Series Prediction Blog!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

ALCS Royal sweep; Giants not far behind

On the same night the Kansas City Royals won the ALCS in a non interesting fashion in a 2-1 ball game, ultimately sweeping the Baltimore Orioles 4-0 to head to the World Series where Lorenzo Cain won the ALCS MVP, the San Francisco Giants walk into Thursday with a 3-1 lead in the NLCS after an interesting Game 4 in San Francisco.

The Kansas City Royals, before I move on, have won 8 straight games in this postseason and are undefeated heading into the World Series. This is the first time in postseason history any team has ever won 8 straight games. Truly, again, proving that it is Royaltober in the land of postseason baseball.

But in San Francisco, the Cardinals got off to a quick start knocking Ryan Voglesong out of the game relatively early. The Cardinals took an early 4-1 lead heading into the bottom half of the 3rd inning. But once Voglesong left the game, the Giants awoke again. The 2 out magic struck in the bottom of the 3rd where the giants put together two more runs making it 4-3 Cardinals heading into the 4th.

The game scooted along, but we ask you to define the term scoot as this game took 4 hours to complete, and trust me, if you watched Game 4, there was quite a bit of action that I am leaving out, this was quite the game tonight in the world of baseball. The game scooted to the bottom of the 6th where the Giants ultimately stuck it to the Cardinals ultimately putting the must-win-card in the Cardinals heading into Thursday night!

The Giants scored 3 runs in the 6th inning in only another Giant fashion by scrapping out the runs using every out available to them and Buster Posey even put the cherry on top as he got another 2 out RBI single to ultimately make the score 6-4 and hand the Giants their 3rd win in the NLCS as they now take a commanding 3-1 lead heading into Thursday night.

I promise, more analysis tomorrow night, but lets just say it was another magical night in the world of baseball!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NLCS Game 3 Classic & Dreaming of Sweep ALCS fashion!

Randy CHOKE!

That's how we can describe Game 3 of the NLCS from earlier today as this came down to another extra innings affair for the last 4 NL champions.

On the whole, both of these games were close, but they didn't really have that much going on in them as they may have appeared.

NLCS Game 3 came to be another classic in the form of an error. John Lackey and Tim Hudson were on the mound ready to battle and unfortunately John Lackey showed up late to the duel.

On a windy day in San Francisco, the ball was flying rather pedestrian when it got deep on the outfielders causing Grichuk to misplay a 3 run double by Travis Ishikawa for the Giants making it 4-0 giants in the first inning, right after a Hunter Pence double to open up the scoring to make it 1-0 Giants. All the runs scored in the first inning were all after the first 2 outs were made in the inning, the gritty gutty Giants found a way to stick it to the Cardinals with an early 4-0 lead and looking like they would cruise to a win in Game 3.

Well, hold on. Yes, Tim Hudson pitched great but slowly let the Cardinals chip away at the lead at they cut the deficit in half on a 2 out, 2 run triple by Kolten Wong (which was again another misplay in the outfield this time by Hunter Pence because of the hectic wind) to cut the lead to 4-2 at the beginning of the 4th inning.

A couple innings scooted by until Tim gave up another 2 out, RBI base hit as Johnny Peralta drove in a run during the 6th inning to make it a 4-3 Giants lead. Then came the 7th, where Tim Hudson was starting to show his fatigue as he gave up a hanging breaking ball to Randal Grichuk who blasted one off the foul pole to tie the ball game at 4-4 in the top of the 7th. Hudson didn't throw a pitch the rest of the night and the game then scooted along to extras where Journey played again as it should in San Francisco.

Top of the 10th inning Pablo Sandoval makes a game saving play to keep the scored tied as he kept hard hit ball from gliding down the left field line and he threw an absolute pebble to the first basemen across the diamond to send the game to the bottom of the 10th with still a 4-4 score.

Then came in reliever Randy Choate. A side winding left handed arm that could find a way to eat up some innings unfortunately couldn't quite eat enough. On a bunt by Gregor Blanco, Randy Choate fielded the ball and threw it down the 1st base line. With a man on 2nd heading to 3rd on the sacrifice bunt, the game ended itself. Giants won on this classic Game 3, 5-4 and they now have a 2-1 series lead.

In the ALCS for Game 3, a game that should have been played on Monday but was rained out. The Royals took care of business to take a 3-0 series lead by winning 2-1. The Orioles took an early 1-0 lead, but then the Royals came back by chipping away and scoring a couple non-dramatic runs to make it a 2-1 win. This was a quick 3 hour ballgame with really no major highlights outside of the huge foul ball catch by Mike Moustakas in the 8th inning. Outside of that, it was just the Royals winning their 7th postseason game and potentially could be heading to the World Series after tomorrow night!

I'll see you then!

Sunday, October 12, 2014


This game doesn't need an intro. It was just that incredible. Not the greatest baseball game ever played, but it could be up there with one of the more memorable ones in the history of the game.

Game 2 of the National League Championship Series in 2014 will be remembered for it's ups and downs, it's defiance to end the way we thought it would and how a team in St. Louis who barely hit over 100 homeruns this season hit 4 in one game. We won't remember anything else except for the fact that one man by the name of Kolton Wong, who already had a heroic moment in the NLDS did it again on this Sunday night in October.

On a day filled with promising NFL games and an October sky ready for another baseball blossom, the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants faced off in what could be determined as a must win for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Giants were up 1-0 heading into this game and if the Cardinals gave in to another defeat, then the Giants would head back home with a 2-0 series lead, something few teams have ever come back from.

It looked good as Lance Lynn did his job through the first 5 innings and was handed a lead heading into the second half of the ballgame. In the 3rd inning, Matt Carpenter hit a solo shot to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead and something to build off of as the night progressed. They did so by taking on a bases loaded single by Grichuk to then give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead heading into the 5th.

The Giants threw out their elder ace in Jake Peavy, a guy who was known for his fiery passion out on the mound and he was then handed a couple runs after the Cardinals tacked a couple on him. Pinch Hitter Arias hit into a ground out bringing in a run in the top of the 5th to cut to score to 2-1 Cardinals, then in the 6th Hunter Pence hit one of the more clutch base hits I've seen in a long time. A 2 strike, 2 out single with a man on third to tie the ballgame up at 2-2 heading into the bottom half of the inning.

This is where it got tough for the Cardinals, as Yadier Molina, their captain and anchor of the defense pulled an oblique muscle after hitting into a double play where he couldn't even run out of the box had to be assisted off the field and could not return for the rest of the game. Remember, this was a must win for the Cardinals, and their MVP & Leader was gone for the rest of it with a 2-2 tie heading into the 7th inning.

In the top of the 7th, the Giants then took the lead on a Gregor Blanco RBI single to give the Giants a 3-2 lead without Yadier Molina, seeming to be a devastating blow to the Cardinals as the crowd drew quiet once again.

But that's when the magic came back for the Red Birds and Oscar Taveras hit a solo blast to tie the game back up in the bottom of the 7th making it a 3-3 game heading into the 8th inning. The Cardinals bullpen held it together as Neshek put together a 1-2-3 inning, and Matt Adams came up and cranked a high fastball into the right field seats making it 4-3 Cardinals heading into the 9th inning where it seemed like a 1-1 series tie going back to San Francisco was only 3 outs away.

That's where the Giants did what the Giants usually do, they got gritty, and grinded away at the inning. Two back to back singles to lead off the 9th for the Giants and Matt Duffy came on to pinch run on second base after the second hit in the inning. The next thing you know, there's a wild ball four in the dirt and you see Matt Duffy flying around third base and he scores on an incredible base running read as he went from second to home on a Wild Pitch by Rosenthal tying the game at 4-4. The Giants...Just...Won't...Go...Away. They get the bases loaded with two outs in the inning and they somehow manage to come away empty handed at taking the lead, but they still tied it giving themselves a chance to push the game to another extra innings marathon.

2 pitches into the bottom of the 9th. Kolton Wong sent the NLCS to San Francisco with a 1-1 series tie hitting the Cardinals 4th homerun of the night into the right field seats winning the game for the Cardinals 5-4.

An instant classic. A game where if you watched it and you weren't a fan of either team (Like myself) you truly were on the edge of your seat. The drama, the intensity, the passion, and the significance of the win for a team that desperately needed it; they got it done. Wow, what a ball game. Seriously, if you can, go watch the highlights, it was a spectacular ballgame!

I'll see you tomorrow for Game 3 of the ALCS!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Double Dip Saturday League Championship Edition

Well outside of a bunch of college football going the way towards the state of Mississippi, we had quite a night on the diamond. We had one really long drawn out ballgame, to a quick slick game with another gem by MadBum.

Let me start off by saying this Royals ball club has some serious spark to them and they haven't lost a game all of October heading into Game 2 of the ALCS. Well, they kept that trend going after tonight.

This was a long, and I mean really long, 4 1/2 ballgame that felt like an 8 hour ballgame. This game felt longer than the 18 inning game from last Saturday and this went only 9 innings. Just don't tell that to Bud Norris and Yordano Ventura who pitched good enough on a night where both offenses came to mash. Yes, if you consider mashing scoring 4+ runs, that's what the MLB has turned into this decade where we are truly now in a new dead ball era.

Royals started off the ball game with a bloop 2 RBI double by Eric Hosmer to give the young 23 Ventura a 2-0 nothing lead early in Camden Yards. He would need it considering the Orioles responded in the 2nd inning with a bases loaded sacrifice fly to make it 2-1 Royals and fortunately no more than that heading into the 3rd inning. The Royals responded scratching across another run with a 2 out RBI double by Billy Butler to hand back a 2 run lead for Ventura at 3-1 Kansas City heading into the bottom of the 3rd. Well, the Orioles decided to make it a brand new ballgame with literally a bloop by De Aza and a blast by Adam Jones making it 3-3 at the end of 3.

Royals again respond in the top of the 4th inning getting another 2 out run in Mike Moustakas hitting a solo homerun with 2 strikes making it 4-3 Royals. Baltimore again responded as the game trudged to the 5th inning and the Orioles tied it back up at 4-4 with a Nelson Cruz RBI Fielders Choice.

This is where Lorenzo Cain stole the show. He made one of the most spectacular grabs with his outstanding strides heading towards a ball in the gap that saved an extra base hit for the Orioles. There was no major significance towards the play other then that it was that incredible. The sad part was when in the same inning, Yordano Ventura was pulled shortly after because of tightness in his right arm. That's never a good sign as a pitcher. Hopefully he'll be ok and won't have to miss much time.

The game trudged again from the bottom of the 6th when Lorenzo Cain made that amazing catch to the top of the 9th and that's where the Royals put their foot down once again. The Royals put together a two run inning to seal the deal for the Royals grabbing a 2-0 series lead in the ALCS winning 6-4 in Baltimore. They head back to Kansas City and play Monday afternoon where they could ultimately end the series and head to the World Series!

The other game on Saturday, the one that was highly anticipated because it was on FOX with Joe Buck and the gang, became a quick game to forget as a Cardinals fan.

This was a rather pedestrian 3 1/2 hour game with very little action as Madison Bumgarner lulled me to sleep as he absolutely shut down the Cardinals. Adam Wainwright wasn't himself on this day but he also wasn't awful. MadBum was just that spectacular once again!

The Giants did what they seem to usually do in the postseason which is put together some runs, and steal a win. That's exactly how this game went.

The 2nd inning is where all the action took place as the Giants loaded the bases rather quickly and grabbed 2 runs to take a 2-0 lead heading into the 3rd inning, where they again grabbed one more run on a Brandon Belt Sacrifice Fly to knock in Buster Posey giving the Giants a 3-0 lead early. That was all they would need, because that's all Madison Bumgarner seemed to care about as he went into the 8th inning with a shutout, handed it off to the bullpen in the 9th, and walked away with another historically silly performance in the postseason. The Giants have a 1-0 series lead in the NLCS and it feels as though they robbed a bank because that's what it looked like in that game and it looked rather quick too.

The NLCS will continue tomorrow, I'll be looking forward to hopefully a more entertaining game than tonight.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blues Raining in Baltimore; Game 1 ALCS

It wasn't just the rain that showed up late in Baltimore as the Kansas City Royals brought their drama act to town. The Royals proved why they won't be stopped and why their hot bats will not cool off anytime soon.

In Game 1 of the ALCS, James Shields and Chris Tillman were the starters and both were clearly the aces of their squads heading into this matchup. The funny thing is, somebody forgot to tell the Royals offense to play their part.

The Orioles threatened early in the ballgame. In the second inning they had the bases loaded and could not cash in. Granted, there were two outs when the Orioles finally loaded the bases, but still, it's the ALCS and runs come at a premium this time of year. The worst part, when the Orioles didn't cash in during the bottom of the 2nd, the Royals struck in the next half inning from an unlikely source. Alcides Escobar hits a solo blast in the 3rd inning to give the Royals an early 1-0 lead in Baltimore. An already glancing blow considering the previous inning, but no, the Royals weren't done. How about adding an extra 3 runs when Alex Gordan hits a bases loaded, bases clearing broken bat bloop triple down the right field line. The Royals were then up 4-0. Some serious work needed to be done to get back into this one if you were an Orioles fan.

Well they started the ground work with an Adam Jones RBI single in the next half inning to make it 4-1 Kansas City. The Royals added another run in the top of the 5th with a Billy Butler sacrifice fly to make it 5-1 Royals. But, that is when the Orioles started getting to work. Next half inning, Nelson Cruz hits an RBI double to make it 5-2 Kansas City. Then Ryan Flaherty with 2 outs, hits a 2 run RBI single to make it 5-4 Kansas City in the bottom of the 5th. Suddenly, we have ourselves a ballgame.

The next inning, the Orioles spark some magic with a De Aza soft infield popup that lands in front of Alcides Escobar (Who in fact caused there to be men on second and third with an errand throw) which allows the tying run to score making it 5-5 heading into the 7th.

Nobody scores until they get close in the top of the 9th for the Royals. Bases loaded, nobody out, looking like the Royals were going to spread the gap rather quickly with what they had. Ball hit to Pearce, throws to home, out at the plate. 1 man out. The next man up hits into a inning ending double play. Unfortunately the Orioles don't score in the 9th, so we head to the tenth where the rain starts to fall.

Alex Gordan hits a solo shot in the beginning of the 10th to make it 6-5 Royals. Then a man gets on and Mike Moustakas hit's a 2 run bomb to center field and gives the Royals the final blow they needed to win Game 1 of the ALCS. They led 8-5 heading into the bottom of the 10th, where Delmon Young had an RBI single to make it 8-6, but the Orioles couldn't do anymore as the Royals win in a 4 1/2 hour ballgame and take a 1-0 series lead in the best of 7 ALCS.

There's a double header tomorrow, I'll be watching both games as I weave through the college football schedule on a busy Saturday sports afternoon!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

NLCS Set; Baseball's Final Four Set

Another night of dramatic scenery late and it couldn't have been more set for a team in St. Louis.

The Dodgers and Cardinals once again put together a dramatic finish that will go down in October lore once again with the eventual Cy Young winner and should-be MVP in Clayton Kershaw in the National League. All he had to do was be himself and it would have been another amazing night in St. Louis and a Game 5 would have been waiting in Los Angeles on Thursday night. Instead the Red Birds stole the show.

First of all, the umpires in this series and both the National League Divisional Series were absolute garbage. I can't remember the last time I saw this bad of umpire in the playoffs. The strike zones were inconsistent, the reviews were flaky and the check swing appeals were lack luster at best. Technicalities were missed on multiple occasions and numerous times I had to tweet the hash-tag SMH on my iPhone to numerous online chat goers. At the same time, it made for dramatic television and proves why baseball lives on and why the human element is much more fascinating than the perfection of the right call.

But let's pick it up in the 6th inning in St. Louis. The Dodgers struck first with two runs in the 6th inning to make it 2-0 giving Clayton Kershaw a lead heading late into the ball game. But that proved to be another relapse in the 7th inning when the Cardinals struck again with a 3 run homerun by Matt Adams making it 3-2 Cardinals. The Cardinals would ultimately win the game as they shut down the Dodgers in the final 6 outs and got themselves back to another NLCS.

Out in California there was a Gio Gonzalez sighting as he was out to attempt to save the Nationals from extinction for the rest of the 2014 season. But, the Giants had other ideas. The Giants scored 2 early runs in the 2nd inning to grab an early 2-0 forcing the Nationals to pick up their game. Well, Bryce Harper wasn't going to go down without a fight. Top of the 5th, RBI Double to cut the lead to 2-1 Giants, and a solo blast into the water to tie the score at 2-2 in the top of the 7th. He also cursed up a storm that bleeped out the sound on live air for about 5 seconds. Talk about intensity, Bryce Harper brought to pine to the park on Tuesday.

The Giants though, they had reservations as they beat around the Nationals in the 7th, and the Nationals were truly lucky they only gave up one run and that it was on a wild pitch. The Nationals also had an Intentional Walk goof as they threw the ball over the catchers head in an attempt to walk Pablo Sandoval to re-load the bases, Buster Posey (who again was the prime example of the no blocking the plate law that came into effect the past couple seasons) had a pitcher block the plate and tag him out. The Umpires ruled the pitcher didn't block the plate and Posey was out and the Giants ultimately came out of the 7th with only 1 run which is truly incredible.

The Giants got the next 6 outs and won 3-2 over the Nationals winning their NLDS 3-1 meeting up with the Cardinals and another year where it will either be the Giants or Cardinals representing the National League in the World Series. This will be the 5th straight year that either the Cardinals or Giants will be representing the National League.

There is also 2 days of no baseball, which means there will be 2 days of no blogs to write. I will more than likely write a blog on Thursday morning to predict what will happen in the NLCS & ALCS to give you an idea of what to expect. It should be an awesome Final Four in the world of Baseball!

Monday, October 6, 2014

NLDS Survival

There will be two game 4's tomorrow as both NLDS's were extended today.

The Nationals had Doug Fister on the mound to attempt to save their season as they were facing a 2-0 deficit in the series against the San Francisco Giants. AT&T park was the place of game 3, and Madison Bumgarner was the pitcher going for the Giants. This looked like it was going to be another sweep in the world of October baseball for 2014. That was far from the case.

From the beginning, Bumgarner couldn't find the consistency of the strikezone and he seemed frustrated especially in the 1st inning. Eventually he settled down though and Fister looked just as good matching up with him eye to eye until the 7th inning when finally the Nationals broke out the bats and Madison made a game costing error that would dictate what would happen next in the series. Wilson Ramos laid down a sacrifice bunt in the top of the 7th and Ian Desmond was heading for 3rd as Bumgarner decided to throw to third to get the force. He threw wildly and both Desmond and Harper, who was on first, came into score to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead. Wilson Ramos went to 2nd on the error and Asdrubal Cabrera eventually knocked him in to make it 3-0 Nationals heading into the 7th inning stretch.

A shocker considering how well Bumgarner had played in his previous appearance in Pittsburgh. The came would cruise to the 9th where the door was finally slammed on the Giants as Bryce Harper hit a solo smash to make it 4-0 Nationals. The Giants made a 9th inning rally scoring 1 run in the process, but the lead was just too much as the Nationals ultimately won 4-1 cutting the series to 2-1 with San Francisco leading. Both teams play tomorrow at 6 pm pacific time (9 pm eastern) on Fox Sports 1.

The other game was similar in that there was little action but there was definitely more drama. The Los Angeles Dodgers headed to St. Louis to play the Cardinals where the NLDS had been knotted up at 1 win a piece and Ryu was pitching for the Dodgers for the first time in nearly a month where as Lackey was ready to get the party started for the Cardinals. It definitely was a nerves party, but, it was another fantastic finish.

The action started in the Bottom of the 3rd inning where Matt Carpenter (that guy again) hit a solo shot to make it 1-0 Cardinals. The game would cruise until the 6th inning when the Dodgers answered with a Puig triple (to end his 7 strikeout streak) and a Hanley Ramirez base hit to tie the score up at 1-1.

The game would again slowly move into the 7th where the magic happened for the Cardinals once again. Yadier Molina started off the inning with a leadoff double, and then came up Kolten Wong. A young man who's 24th birthday is in 4 days and is from the beautiful islands of Hawaii hits a 2 run homerun to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead ultimately sealing the victory for the Cardinals. The Cardinals now lead the series 2-1 and they play tomorrow afternoon at 2 pm pacific (5 pm pacific) on Fox Sports 1.

We'll see tomorrow if Game 5's will be afoot or if the NLCS will be determined after nights end. But for now, another October night is in the books.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Swept into the ALCS

On a day that saw two potential sweeps, they both came through and answered the door. One team did it on one swing of the bat, the other did it on multiples swings. We'll be seeing two teams battling for an AL Pennant for the first time since the mid 80's and it truly has been a long time coming. Let's break down how they did it on this lovely Sunday shall we?

The Tigers went back home looking to get back into the series as they started David Price who is known to be a game saver as he did his job the entire night. The only problem? His competitor Bud Norris of the Orioles matched him step for step if not a step better.

Everything was going rather smoothly until Nelson Cruz came up in the top of the 6th where unfortunately Alex Avila (Catcher for the Tigers) had to be pulled for a foul ball caroming of his mask which shook him up enough to have him leave the ballgame. This is where the feathers were ruffled for the Tigers, and they let Adam Jones get on base with a single, and Nelson Cruz hit's an up and out fastball to the shortest part of the outfield wall in fair territory down the right field line for a home run giving the Orioles a 2-0 lead and putting Nelson Cruz 9th on the all time postseason homerun list. This pretty much did the Tigers in as they had zero offense the rest of the game.

The Tigers answered in the 9th with a rally to put one run on the board but no more as the Orioles win 2-1, and sweep the Tigers in the best of 5 ALDS 3-0. First time the Orioles have been to the ALCS since 1997 when they faced the eventual world champions in the New York Yankees. I will admit, there were a couple seriously questionable calls that the umpires made regarding the Tigers behalf at certain points in this game. The 2nd inning is a pretty good place to start as Andrew Romine hit a ground out that would have ended the inning but the play was so close that a review came up and the review showed that he was safe. This cost the Tigers a 1-0 lead and a chance to inch their way that much closer to getting back into the series. There was another blown call in the 3rd inning where Kelly was at 2nd base and the shortstop grabbed a ground ball, threw it over to the second basemen (Schoop) who was covering the bag, blocked Kelly from sliding back in, dropped the ball, and while the ball was loose holding Kelly off the bag, Schoop eventually tag him out and the umps called the runner out. It was a terrible call and the whole world saw it and nothing could be done by review. Those two outs could have given the Tigers a better shot at making this a 2-1 series instead of a 3-0 sweep, but we are here now with the Orioles in the ALCS for the first time since 1983.

We go a little further south now as the Angels were taking on the Royals in Kansas City and the Angels were trying to keep themselves alive and it looked highly likely after the top of the first. Mike Trout broke out of his 0-8 slump and hit a solo shot to left field giving the Angels an early 1-0 lead to start the ball game. The Royals had other plans.

They came out in the next half inning, had the bases loaded with two outs, and Alex Gordan hit a bases clearing 3 run triple to give the Royals a 3-1 lead after the first inning. What also helped the Royals cause is they managed to get C.J. Wilson (The Angels starting pitcher) pulled after Alex Gordan hit the triple. This was when the Angels bullpen became used as a battering ram the rest of the game instead of being used as a weapon.

In the bottom of the 3rd, Eric Hosmer hit a 2 run homerun to make it 5-1 Kansas City. Then the ultimate dagger in the hearts of Angels fans was when Billy Butler got aboard via walk and then stole 2nd base, which was his first steal since July of 2012. That's when you knew the Angels were out of it mentally.

Albert Pujols hit a solo shot in the top of the 4th to cut it to 5-2, but the Royals again responded in the bottom of the 4th when the Angels couldn't add anymore when threatening in the top of the 4th. Mike Moustakas hit another crank shot to respond to Albert's solo blast making it 6-2, then Escobar tagged up from 3rd on a Lorenzo Cain fly ball to make it 7-2 Kansas City. Cain also provided in the next half inning (Top 5th) two of the most energizing catches Kansas City has ever seen.

The writing was on the wall at this point, Nori Aoki added and RBI Single in the bottom of the 6th making it 8-2 Royals, and the Angels picked up another run in the 7th to make it 8-3 Royals which would ultimately be the final score as the Royals are now heading to Baltimore for Game 1 of the ALCS on Friday October 10th to battle for the American League Pennant.

Two sweeps. On a Sunday ready to see a continuance, two teams seasons ended and a long awaited Pennant chase by two franchises who havn't been their in a long time will get to dust off their playoff swagger for yet another opportunity to get back to the World Series. It all starts on Friday the 10th!

I'll see you tomorrow!