king bud and his merry monopoly

it’s almost that time of the year again, where MLB returns to beautiful grassy fields all over this great nation. for those who are privileged enough to live close to a good major league team, congratulations. you can watch your team live in person and on local tv. as for the rest of us, well, we aren’t so lucky. we are subject to the whims of bud lite and DirecTV, who will have the exclusive rights to out-of-market games in their Extra Innings package, if cable and other satellite providers don’t show MLB the money (and soon). how generous of MLB to permit competing offers they have no intention of taking. this has got to be a joke, right? the feds jump all over microsoft for being anti-competitive, and yet they will not take on this obvious attempted monopoly.

i think this is the first time i will give john kerry credit for anything. he is actually going to hold a hearing on this. i think that i will agree with the other liberal senator from massachusetts — more access to good baseball games is good for america. if he can produce any positive result from this hearing, good for him…but i’m not optimistic. baseball does what it wants to do, and there’s not much congress can do about it.

i can’t tell you how much i wish baseball commish bud selig would decide to retire soon. i think it’s almost as much as the democrats want to see the quick end to the bush administration.

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well done st. louis cardinals.  you proved everybody wrong, including me. i still wish the NLCS had gone differently, but the cardinals are worthy world series champs, because they made the plays and got the timely hits to get the job done. congratulations to them and to their fans.  they played a great series, and completely deserved to win it.

the tigers had a great season, and they are a team to look out for next year.  i hope they can rebound from this and have another successful year in ’07.  same goes for my mets.  there’s always next year…well, unless you’re a cubs fan.

tags: world series, detroit tigers, st louis cardinals

so close

i should be used to crushing disappointment by now. after all, i AM a recovering cleveland browns, indians, and cavaliers fan. i also, along with many other ohio sports fans, had to deal with the tragic john cooper era at ohio state, when losses to that team up north and in bowl games was pretty common. it was a time where former ohio state prez e. gordon gee actually called a tie with michigan one of the greatest wins in their history, or something equally stupid. i survived john elway’s infamous drive against the browns, jose mesa giving up game 7 for the tribe, and michael jordan applying the dagger to the cavaliers with “the shot”. it’s always something or someone keeping those teams from getting to the big game. that’s too many heartbreaking losses for a sports fan to take.

then the mets somehow make it to game 7, in spite of having only one consistently good pitcher in their whole playoff rotation. who really expected weaver and suppan to be as great as they were in the NLCS? i sure didn’t. you could make the argument that it was actually cards pitching coach dave duncan who was the real MVP of this series. there was absolutely no reason to believe that there would be a game 7. the cardinals had the edge in nearly every pitching matchup, but a funny thing happened on the way to the world series. john maine and oliver perez showed up in a big way in games 6 and 7, and gave the mets an excellent chance to end their six-year world series drought.

the expectations changed once the mets won game 6. we actually started believing that the mets could still win this NLCS. game 7 finally started. we looked at the way oliver perez was pitching and knew we had a chance. then endy chavez makes that outstanding catch to rob rolen of a home run. that was the turning point right there. it had to be. sure enough, the mets get runners on in the 8th. scoring position. no hits. yadier molina hits the home run for cardinals. yikes. ok. there’s still the 9th inning. the mets have runners on in the 9th. enough to win the game. but the big hit never comes. game over. that’s it. the mets are out and the cardinals are in.

i can’t believe that the ride is over for the mets. they had such a great year this year. i am so happy that they got as far as they did with only one solid pitcher in the rotation. it’s a credit to minaya, randolph, and the whole team that they didn’t make excuses and played hard with the guys who WERE healthy enough to participate in the series. if we can come away from this NLCS with two new quality starters for the starting rotation next year(in addition to a mostly healthy pedro and glavine), that’s even better.

this will take a while to get over. at some point, i will acknowledge how well the cardinals played in this series, and give them proper credit for their victory over the mets. i’m not there yet, because i’m still thinking about all the mets’ missed opportunities in this series. so please, cards fans, give me a little time here. the wound is still fresh.

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pray for rain

it is possible that rain might postpone the mets / cards scheduled throwdown yet again. i’m sure that both bullpen-stretched baseball teams would appreciate a little divine intervention in this championship series. maybe it will be enough time for jeff weaver to forget that he pitched well in game one, and just maybe he will revert to previous form. that would be a good thing for the mets. i guess they found that missing offense in game 4 (or they finally ran into a bad pitcher). either way, they got the job done sunday night, and they are now back to even with the cardinals.

oliver perez wasn’t superb, but like darren oliver, he gave the mets a chance to win the game without taxing the bullpen too much. if monday’s game goes off as scheduled, glavine will be pitching on short rest. the results aren’t generally that good for glavine when he does this, so we will need all hands on deck monday night in case glavine struggles. it’s about time that the offense showed up. it would be nice if we could see something similar from this offense in the rest of the games, or it’s going to be an uphill battle getting to the world series.

there are other distracting things currently happening in our great country. apparently there’s some sort of election taking place in a few weeks. democrats could implode. republicans could get their just desserts. the level of partisan rancor we are seeing is only another example of random ugliness in the universe, and i’m tired of paying attention to it at this present moment. right now, all that i feel like caring about is that the mets are playing the tigers on saturday night.

like i said…pray for rain. while you’re at it, pray for all those politicians too. they need it.

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it just doesn’t matter

the results of the NLCS won’t change the result of the world series. that’s because the tigers are going to win the world series. you heard it here first. ok…maybe this isn’t your first source of sports predictions, but the tigers are still going to win, whether i pick them or not. everything is going their way, and i don’t see how the mets or cardinals have the pitching to compete with the tigers.

the NLCS is still in doubt, and it shouldn’t be. the mets won game one behind glavine with excellent defense and just enough offense to win. then mets fans suffered through game two, where the mets squandered an opportunity for their second win in this series. john maine wasn’t great, but he pitched deep enough into the game that the mets had a great chance to pick up another victory with a couple good innings from the bullpen. i was worried about the bullpen coming off of the NLDS, and with good reason. they could have won game 2, but they didn’t.

so it was up to steve trachsel to pitch a big game for the mets in game three. that’s never a sure thing. on his best day, trachsel still gives up 4 runs a game. there’s something wrong with trachsel and i’m not just talking about his physical injury when he got plunked by the baseball. there’s something else distracting him, and i don’t know what that is. he looked even more lost out there than he usually does. maybe after the playoffs, we will find out what was bothering trachsel.

meanwhile, jeff suppan comes out and pitches an outstanding game for the cardinals. who predicted THAT would happen? i mean, it’s jeff FREAKIN’ suppan. of course many pitchers pitch better at home, but that much better? wow. this was not the best time for the mets’ offense to disappear. they had a few missed opportunities in this game as well. if the mets somehow get past the cardinals, they have glavine and especially darren oliver to thank for it. darren oliver saved the bullpen tonight, and that’s not a small accomplishment going into game 4 with the unproven oliver perez taking the ball for the mets. i can’t predict the ending, but i can predict that there will be a few more runs scored off each team’s bullpen before the final out is recorded in this series.

the mets are depressing me. i think i need a hug. maybe not.

in the world of college football, it looks like the ohio state – michigan game could be for all the marbles. anyone got an extra ticket they are willing to part with? 🙂

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start spreadin’ the news

no more sinatra. the yankees have left the playoffs. the mets are moving on, and the yankees are just going home to await their punishment by the boss. sometimes everything just works out for the fans of non-yankee baseball teams. it’s about time that happened. i guess that we should give the tigers a great deal of credit for not listening to all the predictions and playing their game. it’s really awesome to see the tigers with some newfound playoff success after struggling for such a long time. it’s good for baseball when the tigers are a competitive team and when new teams enter the playoff picture. congratulations to the a’s as well. i don’t care who wins in the AL. either team would be fine with me. i like them both.

the mets survive and advance…because after all, that is the name of the game in a short series. the dodgers played them tough, even though the final results may not reflect that. i’m so happy for the mets, who played a great series, and totally deserved to sweep the series from the dodgers. i expected more from the dodgers, especially with their pitching. the bullpen was a little shaky for the mets, so they might want to work on that next round. it’s hard to predict how the padres / cards series will play out. i guess we will find out in a couple days. i won’t choose a favorite here either, but i think the mets could beat either team. 😛 GO METS! YAY! (not that i’m biased or anything)

anyone else totally dig those tommy lasorda baseball postseason promos?
oh yeah…and the buckeyes keep rolling…this week stomping on poor bowling green. bring on those wolverines.

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dear red sox fans

GET OVER IT. you know what i’m talking about. forget about the fact that you all had a legendary world series drought with no rain in sight before johnny damon came along. forget about the fact that your ownership spent its off-season looking for the GM it already had. ignore the possibility that the blame belongs to john henry and company for damon leaving. now, do i think damon’s worth what the yankees are paying him? yes and no. yes, because the red sox don’t have him. no, because the yankees overpay pretty much everybody they employ (especially those bullpen guys coming before rivera).

you got your world series. be happy with it…and wish that losing damon was the worst problem your team will face this year. i love you guys. but please get some perspective. doug mirabelli shouldn’t get more cheers than johnny damon. i get the evil empire thing. i hate the yankees myself, but it wouldn’t kill ya to thank a guy who helped your organization win the WS for the first time in many many years. i’m just sayin’.

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i don’t know whether barry bonds took steroids. the evidence seems to be mounting against him right now. the fact that he’s being investigated for possible perjury charges by the feds sure doesn’t help his attempts to deny it to the average baseball fan. i am not a barry bonds fan. actually, until a few years ago, i wasn’t even paying much attention to the guy. i have nothing personal against barry bonds, unlike many in the media.  i can see how the competitive nature of the baseball business might contribute to a desire to gain an unfair advantage over other players, such as the one steroids would provide.

all that makes sense. i just think that baseball records should be attained honestly. in my opinion, a player who takes steroids is cheating the game. for this reason, if barry bonds took steroids, or if any other player took them, we can’t see their eye-popping numbers in the same way. a player like that deserves to be yelled at by the fans, although it would be nice if they left the four-letter expletives for the privacy of their own homes.

baseball will investigate steroid use, and bud lite may or may not find anything. the feds may actually provide some clue into the extra-curricular activities of barry bonds. i’m not that optimistic that the fans will ever know the extent of steroid use in baseball. while i believe that barry bonds is far from innocent here…he’s already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. if we are all wrong in our suspicions, then we owe bonds an apology. but what if we are not?

baseball fans still need to show a little restraint here. some fans are taking their opposition to bonds to an extreme level. fans are now throwing syringes and related items on to the field. bonds apparently is getting racially-tinged hate mail as well. fans throwing anything on the field should be thrown out of the park for such idiocy, and there is no excuse for hate mail of the kind bonds claims that he’s getting. fan behavior in all sports, including baseball, has rapidly deteriorated.

sometimes the fans just need to check themselves. we watch baseball because we love it. if a baseball fan is so obsessed with barry bonds that he/she needs to write such hate mail or throw stuff onto the baseball field, that person needs to step back and re-evaluate their priorities. this kind of behavior ruins the game for the rest of us. it’s wrong and we shouldn’t make excuses for it.

in case it needs to be said…

chris berman is annoying. that’s something we should all agree on. if your favorite team is on tv, and chris berman’s doing that game…do yourself a favor and turn off the sound. if you are fortunate enough to have an XM radio, you can listen to the game there while watching the moving pictures on ESPN. technology is a great thing.

just a public service announcement to fellow sufferers and baseball fans. no need to thank me. oh yeah…and GO METS! 🙂