Saturday, October 29, 2011

And it all comes to a close

Well, I was wrong about the World Series. I honestly thought that my comments would jinx the rest of the games. I’m happy to be able to say that I was completely wrong. This was baseball worth watching. And the worst played game was one of the most exciting I’ve ever seen.

Some personal observations:

I honestly thought that Texas would win it after they came back from game 3, the one I like to think of as The Albert Pujols Show. It demonstrated a lot of backbone on their part. In game 6, by the 6th inning, I thought the series was about over. Was I ever wrong! It’s not often that such a sloppily played game (by both sides) can turn out to be this exciting. Even though I’m not a fan of either team in particular, it was almost unbearable to watch. More than once I thought of two punch-drunk fighters staggering around the ring trying to knock the other out. It’s hard to imagine that the Cards managed to come back not once, not twice, but three times in those last 3 innings. As soon as the game ended, I knew I wouldn’t have wanted to be in that Texas clubhouse. Three blown saves in 1 game. That’s really gotta hurt. How many times were they within one strike of winning? Last night must have been even worse.

Up until game 6, we had some of the best defensive baseball I’ve seen in a long time (see last week’s blog for my choice of the best of the best). How many times were players picked off or thrown out by Napoli and Molina? I wonder if it’s a record for one series. Those are always exciting plays.

I wonder if the use of the bullpen by the two managers is the shape of things to come in regular season games? Once it got past the 5th inning, you could count on at least 8 pitching changes to be made before the game was over. That’s a lot of extra advertising time for Fox. Bet they were happy about Washington’s and LaRussa’s bullpen strategies.

In listening to the ESPN radio broadcast last night, Dan Schulman and Orel Hershiser were talking about the length of this series’ games. One thing they brought up was Fox’s insistence on adding 18 extra minutes to the game through between-inning commercials. Huh? I’m sorry but if MLB needs cash that badly, maybe they should hold a bake sale or host a telethon or something and not make us sit around for that much extra time while Fox makes money off their advertisers. The game doesn’t need this. Between relief pitchers warming up, the general slowness of the game and then the 18 minutes, that makes for one draggy game. I found myself drumming my fingers impatiently several times.

As much as I feel very sorry for Texas, there was a feeling of inevitability about this year’s playoffs – actually the last month of the season. Those Cards started playing great ball in September and peaked at just the right time as they rolled over one team after another. Texas wasn’t beaten by much, and if the pitching had been just a tiny amount better, one pitch better even, they would be getting ready for a victory parade through Dallas this week, instead of having to spend the winter tasting their own bitter bile. I wanted better for Ron Washington, one of the great guys in the game by all accounts.

So, on to the off-season and what promises to be a very interesting time of trades and free agent signings. Wonder who will make the upgrade of the year for 2012?

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