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THE CHATTER BOX

 
  
  
  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
  
  
  
 
Messages 1 2 

Blathering about Baseball by canaveralgumby on 15 October 2006 8:40pm
 
The humble opinions of canaveralgumby (AKA “letsgomets” elsewhere on the web).

As of today, Sunday 10/15, there are 3 teams who could go on to become the American champions. I will refrain from saying “World Series” champions because, it’s true, it is not a World Series! But for lack of a better term, I’ll call it “the Series.”

1. THE DETROIT TIGERS
The city of Detroit is a good sports town. Good middle-class blue-collar salt-of-the-earth people. MOTOWN, after all! They have been beleaguered with one of the losingest [American] football teams, the Detroit Lions. There is an infamous 10-story billboard erected in the city which says, “The Detroit Lions – Rebuilding since 1957!”

Their Tigers baseball team has finished its past 12 seasons with losing records. To say that this year’s Manager [i.e. head coach] journeyman all-around nice guy Jim Leyland, and General Manager [the main executive in charge of procuring talent] Dave Dombrowski have done a good job this year is SORT of an understatement.

The Tigers’ catcher, Ivan Rodriguez, is, I dare say, unquestionably the best catcher in baseball in generations. Watching him play his defensive position is like watching Buddy Rich play drums. A thing of beauty. And he can hit. And he’s a really nice guy. He used to play for a team called the Texas Rangers. Ever hear of them? They used to have a co-owner named George W. Bush. Which is probably one of the reasons they used to run themselves into the ground every season, but I digress… Anyway, “Pudge” Rodriguez went from Texas to the Tigers, probably thinking, “I will NEVER EVER get to see post-season play in my whole entire career!” Or, however you say that in Spanish…

(Last Tigers’ Series win – 1984)

2. THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
This team is a Murderers’ Row! (That’s what they called the great Yankee teams of the 1940’s.) This is a wholly intact permanent All-Star Team - has been for about 6 years now. Even amidst THIS team stands out a superstar named Albert Pujols. Multi-postion player, great hitter, great clutch player… Barring any bad injuries, I think someday we’ll be speaking his name in the same breath as DiMaggio and Rose. IMHO. (And he VISIBLY does NOT take steroids!) He’s still YOUNG… Seriously, if you can get his autograph on anything, DO IT.

The Cardinals were in the Series in 2004, in which they lost to the Boston Red Sox, who hadn’t won a Series since 1918. That’s the Red Sox, who, if you believe such things, were laboring under a curse. And if you’re a sports fan you probably believe such things. :^) The world was pretty much rooting against the Cardinals that year. This year’s Cardinals team has pretty much the same roster of players. Wouldn’t it be a helluva thing if they go on to play the Tigers, and the world roots against them AGAIN, and for the “Bad News” Tigers!

canaveralgumby’s personal heartstrings factor: the Cards’ Manager, Tony LaRussa, does a LOT of charity work for animals. He organizes motorcycle runs for the Humane Society. Here is his own charity:
http://www.arf.net/about_arf/mission.html
Oh, not to mention he’s a brilliant baseball manager, the 3rd winningest of all-time in the sport (managed the Oakland Athletics to the Series championship in 1989).

(Last Cardinals’ Series win – 1982)

3. NEW YORK METS
MY TEAM!! And tusconmike’s, and that’s why they should win. But seriously, they had the best record in baseball this year (97-65, tied with one other team, the New York Yankees AKA “those we do not speak of”).

A major factor in the Mets’ success this year is a general lightening up of attitude in the clubhouse, a kind of lack of seriousness if you will. It was this behavior that carried the 2004 Red Sox. In the last 2 days, in their 2 losses to the Cardinals, they have been sitting in the dugout looking downright glum. God willing, someone played some sick practical jokes today and they’ll get back on track tonight.

(Last Mets’ Series win – 1986)

To sum up, all three of these teams really deserve to win. They’ve all gone through decades-long dry spells. (Okay, I’ll admit the New York fans don’t yearn and ache like the others!) But all three would feel right. Which makes it a little painful in a way, because one team will be eliminated and then one will lose the Series.


Such is sports!
 
Re: Blathering about Baseball by tucsonmike on 16 October 2006 6:28am
 
Oh thank you for this Cori. I watched tonights game. I was leery when I found out Oliver Perez was started for the Mets. It was all good.

Willie Randolph (Mets manager) attended my high school. He graduated just before I started. New York Magazine had an excellent article two weeks ago comparing the Mets and the Yankees and how Mets General Manager Omar Minaya is very careful to choose players not just for talent, but for chemistry and can they handle the insanity of playing in New York. When I was there, baseball was at a fever pitch. I listened to the Yankees lose their series in a taxi. For a city still sometimes glum from 9/11, spirits were up with this young exciting Mets team.

I am searching on My Space. I was told two of the Mets have profiles. (A girl where I work I am watching carefully. She is borderline stalking Carlos Beltran who allgedly has one of the sites).

I have never been this excitied about the Mets in my life. They are playing one of the oldest and most famous franchises in history, the St. Louis Cardinals. Before Friday's game, a clip was shown of various academics from Washington University in St. Louis testing the hand/eye coordination, speed of swinging the bat and psychological conditioning of Cardinals star Albert Pujols. He is already being compared with Babe Ruth. Still

LETS GO METS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Re: Blathering about Baseball by kazzzz on 16 October 2006 3:50pm
 
I cannot BELIEVE Patty hasn't posted on this thread yet!
 
Re: Blathering about Baseball by canaveralgumby on 16 October 2006 6:42pm
 
Well, if everyone will indulge me a little further, I must ask tuscon his opinion about something else!

When half a dozen or more home runs are hit in a game, then, what does a home run mean anymore? They're not special anymore. I mean, I'm GLAD the Mets won last night, duh, but last night's score was a football score, not a baseball score!

My all-time favorite player was Carlton Fisk. He used to be in the top 10 HR hitters most seasons, and he'd average 25 to 30 HRs / season. Imagine that today? Reggie Jackson couldn't compete (unless he juiced up).

AFAIK there are five - THREE, SIR! - three factors which have taken the game, which used to be much more of a strategy game, which was much more intense, and made it into a sort of meaningless home run derby.

1. The baseballs are manufactured differently than they used to be. They are lighter. The inner core is more elastic. Major League Baseball used to deny it, but several magazines did comparitive studies, cutting cross sections of old and new baseballs, and it turned out to be true.

2. The bats are manufactured differently. This is not necessarily by design. The very hard woods used for bats were formerly harvested from naturally occurring old growth forest. Now it comes from newer growth tree "farms" which makes the wood slightly softer. Because of this, manufacturers are allowed to treat the bats with different funky chemical treatments which are probably making the bats harder than they used to be.

3. STEROIDS. Having more [unnatural] strength can make a big difference in a hitter's performance. But because pitching is really a matter of physics and subtle control, postioning of fingers and so forth, use of steroids by pitchers wouldn't really give an advantage.

I MISS the good old fashioned pitchers' duel. It was edge-of-your-seat. It was also a SHORTER game! The biggest complaint in recent years has been, "The games go on too long." Well, no s**t, it might take less time to get 3 outs if the ball stayed in the park more, ya think?

The worst mistake MLB could make is trying to change the game to impress football fans, or video gamers. I think we need baseball to be what it is, pastoral and generally low-tech. That's why people have always gone to it.
 
Re: Blathering about Baseball by tucsonmike on 18 October 2006 1:43am
 
Cori, will post some opinions tomorrow. After the game!

LET"S GO METS!!!
 
Re: Blathering about Baseball by tucsonmike on 19 October 2006 6:12am
 
Well here is my promised response. I stayed home tonight and watched Game Six.

When half a dozen or more home runs are hit in a game, then, what does a home run mean anymore? They're not special anymore. I mean, I'm GLAD the Mets won last night, duh, but last night's score was a football score, not a baseball score!
<<Will respond to those points...

AFAIK there are five - THREE, SIR! - LOL!three factors which have taken the game, which used to be much more of a strategy game, which was much more intense, and made it into a sort of meaningless home run derby.
<<Baseball goes through eras. There was all most no such thing as home run hitting until Babe Ruth. The record holder was Frank (Home Run) Baker with 12.
Then came the Babe, the Sultan of Swat. Ty Cobb despised Ruth and tried to have it proven that Ruth was really a black man so he would be banned from the game.
Home runs died out again in the 1960's with higher pitchers mounds. The 1960's were a pitchers era. Younger fans bred on the high scoring sports could not understand the strategy (there you are correct, Cori), the pitchers mounds were lowered etc.
Other changes. Babe Ruth was the first athlete tested by Physics. (Columbia University in 1932). He could swing the bat at 75 M.P.H. His bat weighed 3 lbs. though (48 ounces). Albert Pujols of the 2006 Cardinals was just tested by Washington University's Physics Dept. He swings 36 ounce bat at 86 M.P.H.
I am old enough to have been taught by coaches, the heavier the bat the better. Physics has shown the lighter the bat the better. It is speed, not strength. This is why the 5'7" 135 pound Japanese player with the right swing on the right pitch can hit it forever.


1. The baseballs are manufactured differently than they used to be. They are lighter. The inner core is more elastic. Major League Baseball used to deny it, but several magazines did comparitive studies, cutting cross sections of old and new baseballs, and it turned out to be true.
<<This IS a problem, because it was done to cut costs. Still, at least the balls are replaced more often, so they don't take funky bounces and kill someone (as a pitch did in the 1920 World Series).




2. The bats are manufactured differently. This is not necessarily by design. The very hard woods used for bats were formerly harvested from naturally occurring old growth forest. Now it comes from newer growth tree "farms" which makes the wood slightly softer. Because of this, manufacturers are allowed to treat the bats with different funky chemical treatments which are probably making the bats harder than they used to be.
<<Part of the change is deliberate to have lighter bats. I am trying to imagine aluminum bats in Major League Baseball.

3. STEROIDS. Having more [unnatural] strength can make a big difference in a hitter's performance. But because pitching is really a matter of physics and subtle control, postioning of fingers and so forth, use of steroids by pitchers wouldn't really give an advantage.
<<This needs to be dealt with in ALL sports!

I MISS the good old fashioned pitchers' duel. It was edge-of-your-seat. It was also a SHORTER game! The biggest complaint in recent years has been, "The games go on too long." Well, no s**t, it might take less time to get 3 outs if the ball stayed in the park more, ya think?

The worst mistake MLB could make is trying to change the game to impress football fans, or video gamers. I think we need baseball to be what it is, pastoral and generally low-tech. That's why people have always gone to it.
<<When I go see my minor league team, the Tucson Sidewinders, it is still like that. I like the Hi Tech that has come into baseball, but not the drugs. I used to favor aluminum bats, but no longer. You would need the giant, souless stadiums again.

Yes, tonight was a wild game. Game 7 of the best League Championship Series I can remember.




 
Re: Blathering about Baseball by tucsonmike on 20 October 2006 12:41am
 
Game Seven!! This is it!! I have a friend at work who is a Tigers fan. I have a writer friend who is a Cardinals fan. I have to drive Elaine to a meeting, so I will have the laptop and will be following the game. Elaine has already warned the board of the Tucson Romance Writers Chapter, if they hear me snarling or cheering, they will know why.
Last night Lucy watched me watching the game. Nothing fazes that cat! LOL!
 
Re: Blathering about Baseball by Miss-M on 20 October 2006 12:43am
 
What's baseball?

Just kidding, Mike! ;)

Bring on the Ashes, I say. We're going to reclaim that antique urn from those Pommy bastards! ;)
 
Re: Blathering about Baseball by tucsonmike on 20 October 2006 12:45am
 
LOL!, now Missy no Brit bashing. After all, Mr. P is one. (Mike shaking his finger at Missy).
 
Re: Blathering about Baseball by peripatetically on 20 October 2006 1:05am
 
I've been housecleaning, guys, and Christmas shopping! HAHAHA. I even wrapped a fdew things already!

I really couldn't care less who wins the National League Championship. I just want the Tigers to win in the final series. And since I'm really sick of baseball now, I'd love to see them take it in 4 straight.
 
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