Any idea what player led the National League in HRs and RBIs this season but failed to make the NL’s All Star roster???
Hard to believe such a player would slip through the cracks isn’t it. (I’m blaming hanging chads)
In fact, it’s been 60 years since such a slugger was left off the All Star roster, that man being the Reds’ Hank Sauer.
But, despite using this trivia as another example of why MLB’s current system for determining home field advantage for the World Series is a joke, I’d rather focus on abandoned NL All Star Ryan Howard and his world champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Thinking back on this post season it occurred to me that the entire Phillies team was under appreciated this year the same way Howard was at the All Star break.
Honestly, between naming the Cubs World Series champs in September and drooling over Manny’s arrival in L.A. when was there time to think about the Phils as the best club the NL had to offer?
Moreover, baseball fans, including myself, seemed to concentrate more on Brett Myers demotion to Triple-A than a blossoming Cole Hamels, paid more attention to J-Roll’s early season plate struggles than his NL leading .988 fielding percentage, focused more on Brad Lidge’s past than his phenomenal 41-for-41 save percentage and more on Charlie Manuel’s southern twang than his (.543) career winning percentage.
From a personal standpoint, it’s disappointing that I failed to pick up on just how good the Phils bullpen was this regular season.
Seriously, it’s one thing to overlook Howard’s league leading HRs and RBIs in late June, but another not to catch a Philly pen that finished the season ranked 1st in ERA and winning percentage (.589), 2nd in Wins (33) and Saves (47) and allowed the 3rd fewest home runs in the NL – 2nd fewest in the majors (Toronto). That’s a big “my-bad” on my part.
Of course, now that the Phillies have been crowned champions it much easier to see why they reached the summit.
As for Howard being left off the NL’s roster, that’s another story.
Bud Selig’s decision to suspend Game 5 of the World Series worked out brilliantly.
The final three innings of play – resuming 46 hours after the game began – matched the excitement baseball fans yearn to see during the post season.
And even better, most fans actually had the opportunity to see the game’s final pitch on live television, an event that’s rare for a typical World Series game.
Of course, if I’m the commish (of the more taste league?) I would’ve called Game 5 before the fifth inning and rescheduled the contest in its entirety for this evening.
But, it appears Selig’s decision to suspend the game was the right choice, and if nothing else ol’ Bud lucked out with his call to resume Game 5 from the sixth inning on.
As a result of the suspension, baseball fans were treated to a timely and dramatic finish to a World Series game, imagine that…a world series game enjoyed by sons & daughters with mom & dad, and all before 1am too!
Unfortunately, Selig and company find such a scenario bad for baseball.
Apparently, television rating are best for baseball when the East coast is sleeping, at least, that’s what ad revenue dollars tell them.
It’s sickening really, baseball basically implements video replay into the game overnight, but finishing post season games before mid-night and before Thanksgiving is out of the question?
I don’t but it.
Yes, the television ad revenue is crucial for baseball, but we’re the ones moving the turnstiles, we’re the ones purchasing season tickets and we’re the ones who deserve a chance to enjoy the World Series the night of and not the morning after.
Bud and the club owners says it’s important for baseball to appeal to America’s youth, but they sure don’t act like it.
Chances are this situation stay status quo until baseball’s fans put a stop to setting record attendance during the regular season.
Then perhaps, baseball will be forced to move its post season games into a more reasonable time slot, one where America’s youth and the rest of us might actually find it before bed time.
There’s no better drama on television than AMC’s Mad Men.
It’s right on par with the Spranos, perhaps even better.
And Mad Men was the perfect escape to a rather boring Game 4 of the World Series, a 10-2 drubbing by the Phillies.
So, what’s the chance Tampa Bay rallies for a Game 6 with Cole Hamels – (4-0) 1.55 post season ERA – on the mound for the Phils tomorrow?
Let’s just say not likely.
And so, this isn’t exactly the series I was pulling for in this Fall Classic.
Sure, there has been some drama, last night’s walkoff dribbler, Utley and Howard’s back-to-back jacks, Joe Blanton’s bomb and an occasional flare from the Rays too, but this series is now largely in favor of Philadelphia.
The Phillies are already talking about its victory parade through downtown Philly, their confidence sky high with a 3-1 series lead.
And why not, Pena and Longoria are still hitless for Tampa Bay, the Rays are playing spotty defense and the once sleeping giant Ryan Howard is wide awake at the plate.
Oh, and did I mention Cole Hamels is throwing tomorrow?
Sorry Tampa Bay, you’ve been a wonderful Cinderella, but the shoe doesn’t fit.
Why big league managers side with pitching experience vs. pitching talent come the post season is beyond me.
Look what David Price, a September call up with a mere five innings of MLB experience, did against Boston in game seven.
The super-talented lefty begins by striking out the hot-hitting J.D. Drew on four pitches before closing the deal in the bottom of the ninth helping send the Rays to the World Series.
Price’s outing reminds me of Joe Torre’s decision in 2005 to add 39-year-old Al Leiter to his playoff roster because the crafty left-hander had “experience,” never mind his regular season record of (7-12) with a 6.13 ERA.
Leiter pitched in four playoff games during 2005 posting an “experienced’ 7.34 ERA – now, that’s some kind of experience.
But, not even the great Torre is alone in his thinking; take Sweet Lou for example this October.
Piniella added the washed-up Bob Howry to his staff noting the right-hander’s decade worth of MLB experience.
And why not add Howry, he only finished his worst season in the bigs in 2008 (5.35 ERA).
Unfortunately, the Cubs played so poorly Howry never had the chance to further prove my point.
Meanwhile, during the same year of Torre’s blunder, 24-year-old rookie Bobby Jenks anchored the White Sox’s pen bringing the trophy to Chicago’s south side.
Three years earlier the Angels’ Francisco Rodriguez, a September call up like Price, dominated in the playoffs as well, winning five games in relief for the eventual World Champion Halos.
The following season ‘Trader Jack’ McKeon rode 21-year-old rookie Dontrelle Willis’ (3-0) post season all the way to the promise land.
So, when it’s a decision between experience and talent, I’ll take the later.