I never got to truly appreciate the A's run in the late 80's and early 90's because really as a kid how can you appreciate or understand the major accomplishments of your favorite sports team? I was spoiled rotten by the A's and 49ers to point that I pretty much expected my teams to always be in the hunt for championships. I was 12 years old when the A's beat the Red Sox 3-1 in Game 4 of the 1990 ALCS to sweep that series and win their third straight A.L. pennant. That game of course is best known for the premature, and hilarious to me, ejection of Roger Clemens in the 2nd inning. The A's winning was expected and their postgame celebration was fairly subuded. The A's that year would be swept by the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series, a result that was even more shocking that their loss the Dodgers two years earlier. Little did we know it would be 16 years and five postseason failure later that the A's would win another playoff series.
1992 was the end of that dynasty and I unfortunately witnessed the nail in the coffin live in person, courtesy of the bat of Roberto Alomar. I attended Game 4 of that year's ALCS, the first A's playoff game I ever had a chance to go to. Well okay that isn't entirely true as I was at Game 3 of the World Series on October 17, 1989 but...that's another story. In that game in 1992 with Blue Jays leading the series 2 games to 1 the A's jumped Jack Morris with a five run third inning. They led 6-1 going into the 8th inning and the game was in the bag and the A's were back in the series. But Tony LaRussa pressed his luck a bit with an aging Bob Welch and left him in to start the 8th who was promptly met with an Alomar double. LaRussa hooked him for Jeff Parrett who had been very reliable during the regular season but became very unreliable here. He gave up back-to-back singles to Joe Carter and Dave Winfield to make the game 6-2. No matter, the A's had Dennis Eckersley and LaRussa would now rely on him to get a two inning save. But Eck would then give up rbi singles to John Oledrud and Candy Maldanado to make it 6-4. But it still seemed fairly secure but that ended quickly in the 9th. Eckersley just didn't have it that day as he gave up a lead off single to Devon White and then...Alomar hits one of the biggest LCS homeruns in history. I still remember those annoying Blue Jays wives sitting in one section waving around their blue "J's" as Alomar circled the bases. What did I do, along with my brother? We left. Ya too young and stupid to realize how lame it is to leave a tie game in the ALCS in the 9th inning but that's what we did. I would miss Mark McGwire bunt, yes BUNT, in the 9th inning and then a horrible baserunning miscue by A's fans cult hero Eric Fox that would send the game to extra innings. I would then miss the Blue Jays eventually win on that most exciting of baseball plays, the sacrafice fly, in the 11th. So really I didn't end up regretting our decision to leave early.
But thanks to Eric Chavez and Marco Scutaro I'll be going to another ALCS game, either Game 1 against Detroit or Game 3 against New York. I want to say how happy I am that Eric Chavez played a big role in today's win. The guy has been nothing but a scapegoat for irrational A's fans since fan favorite Miguel Tejada left. Sure he hasn't lived up to the hype and promise he showed just a few years ago but the guy deserved to finally shine in the spotlight.
For those who don't remember here were my 2004 and 2005 player rankings I posted on the forums.
These rankings are purely based on what the player did this past season. Past performance and potential future value are not taken into account. For hitters I take into account five statiscal compotents: OPS, Value Over Replacment Player (VORP), Equivalent Average (EQA), Runs Created, and Win Shares.
Now with the regular position lists I take the top 30 players at each position in games started which means not necessarily every team will have a player on the list. But I decided to get DH's out of the way because it's the shortest list and if you looked at my A.L. MVP ballot you already see the Top 3. In 2004 I did a normal DH list but last year with a complete lack of everyday DH's outside Oritz and Hafner I did combo list of DH's and players who played a lot but didn't fit into of the position lists. But this year we had at least a few more everyday DH's and there actually wasn't that many players this year who played a lot but didn't fit into the other lists. In fact the only player that had more than 500 plate appearances but wasn't in the Top 30 in games started at any position was Jay Payton who played 40+ games at every outfield position so I'm going to throw him in the leftfielders list.
So now onto the DH list which again isn't very interesting and once you get past the Big 5 there is a big drop off with a lot part-time/injured players and a couple of guys who were released. I took only the Top 14 in games started at DH. Jason Giambi played a few more games at DH than first base so that's why he's on it. Also for each position I'll list who I had as the Top 3 in 2004 and 2005 before the 2006 rankings.
2004 Top 3 DH's
1. Travis Hafner
2. David Ortiz
3. Erubiel Durazo
2005 Top 3 DH's
1. David Ortiz
2. Travis Hafner
3. Mike Sweeney
2006 Designated Hitter Rankings
1. David Ortiz, Red Sox
2. Travis Hafner, Indians
3. Jim Thome, White Sox
4. Jason Giambi, Yankees
5. Frank Thomas, A's
6. Jay Gibbons, Orioles
7. Jonny Gomes, Devil Rays
8. Tim Salmon, Angels
9. Mike Sweeney, Royals
10. Matt Stairs, Royals/Rangers/Tigers
11. Phil Nevin, Rangers/Cubs/Twins
12. Javy Lopez, Orioles/Red Sox
13. Carl Everett, Mariners
14. Rondell White, Twins
I think White produced more for the Twins today than he did for the entire season.
For my 100th entry I originally planned on doing a comprehensive list of the 100 Greatest Oakland A's players of all-time and wouldn't just be simply be a career list of Win Shares as that wouldn't really work. I never got Bored enough to start working on it though so maybe sometime in the offseason I'll get around to it. But I guess doing my awards for the 2006 season works as an 100th entry since I've been tracking the MVP award most of the year and I'm sure the three of you are on the edge of your seat as to what my final ballot looks like.
Before I get to the awards this week I'll start working on the Bored's 2006 MLB Player Rankings this week that will be BLOG EXCLUSIVE~ this year. You know the last two years how I posted them on the board to tell. No? Oh well, I'm still doing them.
Starting with the N.L. and no I won't be doing Manager of the Year which I've explained before why I don't care about the award. Instead of my normal, pointless talking before I post my "ballot" this time I'll post my picks for each award and then briefly explain my picks.
N.L. Cy Young
3. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
144 ERA+, 4.28 K/BB, 1.07 WHIP, 67.2 VORP, 19 Win Shares
2. Roy Oswalt, Astros
150 ERA+, 4.37 K/BB, 1.17 WHIP, 71.8 VORP, 21 Win Shares
153 ERA+, 3.56 K/BB, 1.13 WHIP, 68.6 VORP, 22 Win Shares
This was a really tight race but I felt Webb was just a cut above the rest over the course of the season. There isn't a bad choice here but it does appear Webb will end up winning the writer award. I gave Bronson Arroyo and Carlos Zambrano consideration for the 3rd spot as well. And no Trevor Hoffman should not win it as some lifetime achievement award just because no won in the N.L. won more than 16 games.
N.L. Rookie of the Year
3. Dan Uggla, Marlins
.282/.339/.480, 104 RC, .281 EQA, 40.0 VORP, 22 Win Shares
2. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
.287/.351/.471, 107 RC, .283 EQA, 27.9 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.292/.353/.480, 108 RC, .290 EQA, 55.9 VORP, 25 Win Shares
About a month ago this was probably Uggla's award to lose and well, he lost it. Uggla completely faded at the end of the season while Ramirez only seemed to get stronger. I really hope the media took notice as it seemed like the award was being conceded to Uggla. You can look at Ramirez's basic numbers and know that he clearly had the better year.
N.L. Most Valuable Player
10. Garrett Atkins, Rockies
.329/.409/.556, 119 RC, .310 EQA, 61.5 VORP, 26 Win Shares
9. Alfonso Soriano, Nationals
.277/.351/.560, 121 RC, .300 EQA, 49.2 VORP, 30 Win Shares
8. Chase Utley, Phillies
.309/.379/.527, 122 RC, .298 EQA, 65.0 VORP, 28 Win Shares
7. Jose Reyes, Mets
.300/.354/.487, 124 RC, .289 EQA, 57.7 VORP, 29 Win Shares
6. David Wright, Mets
.311/.381/.531, 123 RC, .307 EQA, 53.3 VORP, 32 Win Shares
5. Lance Berkman, Astros
.315/.420/.621, 141 RC, .331 EQA, 71.2 VORP, 34 Win Shares
4. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
.339/.431/.568, 141 RC, .333 EQA, 79.1 VORP, 34 Win Shares
3. Ryan Howard, Phillies
.313/.425/.659, 137 RC, .337 EQA, 81.3 VORP, 31 Win Shares
2. Carlos Beltran, Mets
.275/.388/.594, 125 RC, .320 EQA, 67.6 VORP, 38 Win Shares
.331/.431/.671, 150 RC, .346 EQA, 86.6 VORP, 39 Win Shares
About a month ago I had Pujols and Beltran neck and neck but Pujols pulls away in September. After knocking the hype surrounding his chase for the "non-steroid" homerun record I give Howard the #3 slot and he wouldn't be as bad a pick as the potential A.L. winner could end up being. But it does seem the last week Pujols had regained favor in the media as the choice.
A.L. Cy Young
3. C.C. Sabathia, Indians
138 ERA+, 3.91 K/BB, 1.17 WHIP, 46.0 VORP, 14 Win Shares
2. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
147 ERA+, 3.88 K/BB, 1.10 WHIP, 68.2 VORP, 21 Win Shares
164 ERA+, 5.21 K/BB, 1.00 WHIP, 79.7 VORP, 25 Win Shares
The toughest ballot decision out there is by far 3rd place in the A.L. Cy Young race. Santana will win the award unanimously and Halladay should be the unanimous #2. I went with Sabathia due to his strong peripherals although VORP and Win Shares didn't particularly like him this year. By the time I get around to starting pitchers on my player rankings C.C. might not be ranked #3 among A.L. starters but I wanted to get this done tonight so I gave him the nod over Chien-ming Wang and John Lackey. You could even make strong arguments for injured rookies Liriano and Papelbon. Speaking of which...
A.L. Rookie of the Year
3. Justin Verlander, Tigers
122 ERA+, 2.07 K/BB, 1.33 WHIP, 47.0 VORP, 15 Win Shares
2. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
505 ERA+, 5.77 K/BB, 0.78 WHIP, 38.6 VORP, 18 Win Shares
211 ERA+, 4.50 K/BB, 1.00 WHIP, 51.1 VORP, 16 Win Shares
Yes they both got hurt by the dominance of these two is too much to overlook and you could make arguments for both. I went with Verlander for 3rd giving him credit for being solid over the full season instead of another dominant pitcher with a small sample in Jered Weaver.
A.L. Most Valuable Player
10. Carlos Guillen, Tigers
.320/.400/.519, 106 RC, .310 EQA, 67.0 VORP, 26 Win Shares
9. Justin Morenau, Twins
.321/.375/.559, 120 RC, .308 EQA, 51.8 VORP, 27 Win Shares
8. Jim Thome, White Sox
.288/.416/.598, 123 RC, .328 EQA, 63.2 VORP, 26 Win Shares
7. Jermaine Dye, White Sox
.315/.385/.622, 119 RC, .320 EQA, 65.4 VORP, 26 Win Shares
6. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
.321/.439/.619, 111 RC, .342 EQA, 65.3 VORP, 29 Win Shares
5. Travis Hafner, Indians
.308/.439/.659, 124 RC, .355 EQA, 80.4 VORP, 25 Win Shares
4. Johan Santana, Twins
3. David Oritz, Red Sox
.287/.413/.636, 126 RC, .334 EQA, 75.8 VORP, 29 Win Shares
2. Joe Mauer, Twins
.347/.429/.507, 104 RC, .321 EQA, 66.6 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.344/.417/.483, 138 RC, .316 EQA, 79.2 VORP, 33 Win Shares
If you told me in my first MVP Watch that I'd be picking Jeter at the end of the year as my choice for MVP, and not even have a second thought about it, I would have laughed. I hate the media's infatuation with Jeter as much as anyone but the guy was king sized this year. Of course the media has now become infatuated with Justin Morneau for some ungodly reason. I don't see how anyone can look at the Twins and come away thinking Morneau is the MVP of that team. Anyone arguing Morneau for MVP of the league is out of their mind. Unrelated I should note that I slammed the David Oritz support when the media was ready to give him the award in early August but now with the Red Sox fade and his playing for himself comments he killed his chances. Now though I kinda like the guy and his tear down the stretch, meaningless or not, gives him the 3rd spot. He'd be a hell of a lot better choice than Morneau.
What if a day of college football passed without anything interesting happening? Would it make a sound?
Game of the Day: Illinois 23, Michigan State 20. Woof. Texas Tech/Texas A&M was probably better I'm guessing but I only saw the end of that game when ABC put us on the west coast finally out of our misery by pulling Oregon's live rape of ASU's defense. My local Comcast Sportsnet picks up the 4th tier Big Ten game that gets thrown on ESPN+ and these games usually end up being more entertaining that the games ESPN puts on in their early timeslots on the main channels. This game made me sad because it means there's one more BCS team that you can't argue that they might be on the level of Stanford. Hey way to defend the middle of the field after the game Spartans, you think that would have worked during the game? We're all gonna miss John L Smith's rantings after he's gone. It might be tommorrow.
WTF Score of the Day: See above.
Other Games that I Make Lame Jokes and Little Analysis About
Arkansas State 31, Florida International 6. So if Arkansas State loses by 46 to SMU and the FIU loses by 25 to Arkansas State the next week, does that mean FIU gets relegateted to high school?
Virginia 37, Duke 0. Thank you Blue Devils. You're my last hope to eclipse the futility of Stanford.
SMU 33, Tulane 28. This was Tulane's first home game since Hurricane Katrina and obviously only the Saints . Hey SMU now has a winning record. Are they paying their players again?
Georgia 14, Mississippi 9. You know I can appreciate good defensive football and realize that is what the SEC is about but this was like watching flies fuck.
Colorado State 35, Fresno State 23. Something to keep on eye with Oregon's move up the polls is their close call against Fresno is suddenly looking pretty bad right now.
Wisconsin 52, Indiana 17. Let's see Northwestern's coach dies and the Wildcats get crushed by a I-AA team and Indiana's coach returns from brain cancer and they play like this. I feel bad Kansas' fans after Mark Mangino finally has a heart attack.
Whack Pac Wrap Up
Oregon 48, Arizona State 13. Damn that Rudy Carpenter voodoo doll that Sam Keller has is working pretty well.
California 41, Oregon State 13. People are so excited about Cal in the Bay Area that this game wasn't even televised locally. One of the few times the complete indifference to college sports here benefits me.
USC 28, Washington State 22. OMG USC SHOULD BE SPELLED SUC. One thing about the Trojans though is they do need to start featuring Emmanuel Moody more. He's clearly better than Chauncey Washington.
Washington 21, Arizona 10. Watching Ty Willingham begin to resurrect the Huskies program isn't making me feel better.
UCLA 31, Stanford 0. For the first time this year the Cardinal defense forced a team to punt. More progress! Please kill me.
After the 2001, 2002, 2003 ALDS and a choke the last week of the season in 2004 I'm a little weary whenever the A's make things more interesting than it neeeds to be as I showed last night. But tonight they made it easy. Angels lose before the A's game ends and the A's crush the Mariners 12-3 for division title #14. Congratulations to Jason Kendall and Mark Kotsay on their first trip to the postseason.
For work and family reasons I can't make it to the ALDS but I am going to purchase ALCS tickets just in case. Hey they got to get out the division series eventually, right?
Well I'm going to use the blog for venting my frustrations about the A's right now rather than subject the TWiB thread to it. Hey fine give the Angels credit for not laying down this weekend after an emotional 12 inning game on Friday. BUT YOU DO NOT BLOW A SIX RUN LEAD TO THE FUCKING MARINERS YOU CHOKING DOGS!!!!! Fuck, all I wanted you assholes to do is not make those last four games count and you are really fucking close to fucking this all up. Don't think for a second the Angels can't sweep you in four in Anaheim if you don't take care of your fucking shit right now in Seattle. Win these next two god dammit because you ain't getting any help from the Rangers.
See the worst thing about this is that the longer this goes on the longer Ken Macha continues to run this team into the ground. He's on pretty much a no day off policy for this month until they clinch and there are some guys, including Frank Thomas, who are really dragging out there right now and could use some rest before the playoffs. After tonight that feeling that this was all over on Friday is gone. This is still a race and I'm hating every second of it.
Ya, ya I'd hate to be Cardinals fan right now more and this post could look silly 24 hours from now but fuck it this loss tonight was unacceptable.
Game of the Day: Notre Dame 40, Michigan State 37. It was almost like the Spartans decided they'd have a game that would mirror the way they usually play every season. Hot start, then a lousy finish. Being that this was on ESPN on ABC on ESPN2 on Disney this is now "one of the ages" or something. Of course if this game had been played in South Bend and thus been televised on NBC, ESPN probably wouldn't care that much. ESPN did nail it though in what this game meant as Notre Dame just earned $14 million last night with this win, though they seemed to celebrate the fact more than look down on it. The Irish simply don't have another challenging game the rest of the year until they travel to Los Angeles and even they get humiliated in that game they will still be guarenteed a BCS bowl. Like I said last week they will play themselves back into the national title picture whether you like or not.
WTF Score of the Day: Georgia 14, Colorado 13. There was no jaw dropping upset yesterday (sorry Ball State, you're barely I-A as it is) and this was as close as we were going to get. The Bulldogs were the Top 10 that was a mystery to people coming into this week. The mystery is over, they aren't a Top 10 team.
Other Games that I Make Little Analysis and Lame Jokes About
Arkansas 24, Alabama 23. You know people have been lynched in Alabama for a lot less than what kicker Leigh Tiffin did yesterday. Time to transfer to Florida State, kid. I'm guessing the good feelings Tide fans had for Mike Shula last year will dissapear in a hurry this year.
SMU 55, Arkansas State 9. Isn't there something in the NCAA rules that if you lose by more than 40 to SMU you are demoted to Division II the next day? I mean god damn, it's fucking SMU! Let's not forgot Arkansas State is the defending Sun Belt champions. I think a 46 year old Eric Dickerson could run circles around a Sun Belt defense.
Maryland 14, Florida International 10. Maybe it's time Ralph Friedgen started putting weight back on as the Terps were much better a 100 pounds ago.
Ohio State 28, Penn State 6. I was watching the A's game so I missed most of this one and I unfortunately missed sideline reporting about Joe Paterno almost shitting his pants during the game.
Houston 34, Oklahoma State 25. I only mention this game because Vern reads the blog and I won my match-up against him in my pick 'em contest yesterday because of this game. Kevin Kolb is yo daddy Vern!
Whack Pac Wrap Up
California 49, Arizona State 21. God damnit.
Washington 29, UCLA 19. Newsflash, the Huskies don't suck this year. Isaiah Stanback is becoming quite the competent quarterback.
USC 20, Arizona 3. Zzzzzz. Good lord was that boring. That Emmanuel Moody though is pretty damn good.
Oregon State 38, Idaho 0. If you're still wondering how Michigan State coul blow that game last night then remember that they acutally made Idaho look halfway decent in their opener.
Washington State 36, Stanford 10. Hey the Cardinal defense allowed 238 rushing yards, their best showing of the year. Progress! I wanna cry.
With all the MVP talk for the potential "non-steroid" single season homerun record holder Ryan Howard, even though he wouldn't really deserve it, I figured it'd be good to redo for the year of the homerun chase, 1998. Mark McGwire would beat out Sammy Sosa for the homerun record that year but it was Sosa who that took home the MVP in a landslide.
Sosa won the MVP over McGwire for one simple reason, the Cubs won the Wild Card and the Cubs making the playoffs is always a big deal. The Cardinals weren't a bad team but at 83 wins were never in the hunt for a postseason birth thus McGwire was never given much of a chance for the award despite his 70 homeruns. Sosa took 30 of the 32 first place votes and not surprisingly the only two first place votes for McGwire were from the St. Louis writers. Although their homerun totals were close when it came to OBP and SLG, it wasn't much of a contest. McGwire's slugging was 105 points higher (.742 to .637) and his on base was 93 points higher (.470 to .377). Now one who argues the case for a player on a playoff team against a player on a non-playoff team is often that the player on the playoff team had more pressure on him to come up with more hits in key situations. Even though McGwire wasn't in a pennant chase he faced more pressure all year than any player in baseball in 1998, even more than Sosa.
Obviously there was no one else who was given any consideration for MVP. Moises Alou was the consensus 3rd place choice while Greg Vaughn, Craig Biggio, Andres Galarraga, and Trevor Hoffman were the only other players to receive over 100 voting points. Despite having his usual great year Barry Bonds only finished 8th.
1) Sammy Sosa 2) Mark McGwire 3) Moises Alou 4) Greg Vaughn 5) Craig Biggio 6) Andres Galarraga 7) Trevor Hoffman 8) Barry Bonds 9t) Chipper Jones 9t) Jeff Kent 11) Vinny Castilla 12) John Olerud 13) Valdimir Guerrero 14) Mike Piazza 15) Tony Gwynn 16) Kevin Brown 17) Larry Walker 18) Rod Beck 19) Jeromy Burnitz 20) Scott Rolen 21t) Dante Bichette 21t) Tom Glavine 21t) Randy Johnson 24t) Javy Lopez 24t) Mickey Morandini
.324/.371/.589, 135 RC, 152 OPS+, .311 EQA, 59.1 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.272/.363/.597, 123 RC, 158 OPS+, .317 EQA, 61.4 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.313/.404/.547, 134 RC, 146 OPS+, .317 EQA, 69.1 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.312/.399/.582, 135 RC, 157 OPS+, .325 EQA, 69.2 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.328/.390/.570, 127 RC, 152 OPS+, .321 EQA, 73.9 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.308/.377/.647, 157 RC, 160 OPS+, .320 EQA, 68.3 VORP, 35 Win Shares
.354/.447/.551, 138 RC, 163 OPS+, .340 EQA, 70.4 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.325/.403/.503, 125 RC, 139 OPS+, .315 EQA, 80.5 VORP, 35 Win Shares
.303/.438/.609, 146 RC, 177 OPS+, .344 EQA, 83.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.299/.470/.752, 179 RC, 217 OPS+, .379 EQA, 104.3 VORP, 41 Win Shares
The Moises Alou card makes me giggle.
See if someone had just told Barry back in 1998 that he had a better year than Sammy maybe he wouldn't have taken steroids. But as for the result, McGwire should have won in a landslie as he completely blows away the competition. Too bad now he's apparantly worse than Hitler for deceiving the nation or something.
Game of the Day: Oregon 34, Oklahoma 33. YEAAAAAAAAH! DOING IT FOR THE CONFERENCE!!!
Anyways this was interesting as between the first two Oregon possessions and their last two possessions, the Sooners dominated this game by the score of 33-10. The talk of Dennis Dixon looking like Vince Young is funny just because it shows the media's lack of imagination. Hey look he's black and wear's #10...next Vince Young! This was definently the wildest finish of the year so far and as much as the refs screwed the Sooners on this their defense had a role in blowing this in the end. Good defenses don't blow a 13 point lead with under three minutes left in the game. In the end I think it's still tough to gague how good either one of these teams are.
The WTF Score of the Day: Southern Illinois 35, Indiana 28. Okay I'm stretching it here as beating the Hoosiers isn't really an accomplishment.
The "I always preferred the Bounty Bowl" Game of the Day: Clemson 27, Florida State 20. This was a wild game that was overlooked due to Clemson's loss to Boston College last week. It featured FSU blocking an extra point and returning it for two points and then blocking a field goal and returning it for a touchdown. This game is also another sign that FSU just isn't the program they once were as it used to be impossible for ACC teams to leave Doak Campell with a win.
The "What do you mean Brady Quinn isn't Jesus Christ?" Game of the Day: Michigan 47, Notre Dame 21. Not that my Pick 'Em contest is a proper gague of what the country thought of Michigan's chances but only one person out of 40 picked them to win. Quinn's Hesiman chances are gone but those stomping on the Irish's grave shouldn't get too excited just yet. If you look at their schedule they could still very well end up being 10-1 going into Southern Cal which means they'll be back in the national title picture come the end of November.
"New Orelans doesn't care about black coaches" Game of the Day: Tulane 32, Mississippi State 29. Hey I agree it took way too long for a black head coach to be hired in the SEC but the Sylvester Croom era needs to come to an end. Before a 22 point 4th quarter just make this a game, the Bulldogs had scored a total of seven points through the first 11 quarters of the season.
Whack Pac Wrap Up
Washington State 17, Baylor 15. Did a Wazzu/Baylor match-up really have enough demand to play it in Seattle? Anyways the Cougars may have a shot at a bowl game this year.
California 42, Portland State 16. Ooooo I'm so impressed.
Washington 21, Fresno State 20. Now here was an under the radar upset that received zero notice yesterday. Huskies blocked a Fresno extra point to tie the game with under five minutes to go.
Arizona State 21, Colorado 3. Gee you think they are having problems learning Dan Hawkins system in Boulder?
USC 28, Nebraska 10. This was a weird game because either people are getting on USC for not scoring more or for Nebraska for not making it closer. Really for me this game went about as expected beyond the Huskers suddenly deciding not to throw the ball.
Arizona 28, Stephen F Austin 10. Well if anything for the Wildcats the win over BYU is looking pretty good now as the Cougars crushed a decent Tulsa team in week 2 and then this week took BC to overtime on the road.
Navy 37, Stanford 9. They lost Mark Bradford for the season last week and now Evan Moore is hurt again. This is by far the worst BCS team not named Duke. Did I mention I hate football?
This is likely going to be my final look at the MVP race since there is now only two and a half weeks left. Last time I nearly bumped Albert Pujols from the top spot for the first time this season in favor of Carlos Beltran but this time around Pujols' has a firm grip back on the #1 spot. Of course in the media it's a two man race that doesn't include Beltran and almost a once man race with Ryan Howard. I mocked Howard last time but he's almost making a believer out of me as he makes a big jump (now finally the Most Valuable Phillie) but in my view he's still far behind Pujols and Beltran. For those who insist that Howard is the MVP ask these three questions:
Is he the best hitter in the league?
Is he the best all around player in the league?
Is he the best player on the best team in the league?
The answer to all three of those questions is no. He's had an amazing year and he might break the "non-steroid" homerun record (which kkk pretty much echoed my thoughts on that bullshit last week) but he's not the MVP.
10. Garrett Atkins, Rockies
.326/.401/.551, 111 RC, .303 EQA, 51.8 VORP, 24 Win Shares
9. Jose Reyes, Mets
.297/.349/.496, 112 RC, .284 EQA, 52.6 VORP, 27 Win Shares
8. Nick Johnson, Nationals
.297/.434/.532, 109 RC, .323 EQA, 53.8 VORP, 27 Win Shares
7. David Wright, Mets
.311/.384/.538, 114 RC, .303 EQA, 49.6 VORP, 30 Win Shares
6. Alfonso Soriano, Nationals
.290/.361/.590, 122 RC, .303 EQA, 54.7 VORP, 31 Win Shares
5. Lance Berkman, Astros
.306/.411/.606, 123 RC, .322 EQA, 57.8 VORP, 30 Win Shares
4. Ryan Howard, Phillies
.316/.413/.682, 118 RC, .332 EQA, 74.1 VORP, 28 Win Shares
3. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
.339/.430/.582, 132 RC, .330 EQA, 74.7 VORP, 33 Win Shares
2. Carlos Beltran, Mets
.283/.388/.617, 119 RC, .318 EQA, 67.3 VORP, 37 Win Shares
1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
.323/.426/.677, 131 RC, .342 EQA, 75.5 VORP, 35 Win Shares
Now the A.L. has been a wide open race all year...until now. It's not over yet but Baseball Jesus has now emerged as the clear choice for A.L. MVP. Travis Hafner already had no chance at the writer award and now he has no chance either now on my ballot due to his season ending broken hand. He's at #2 currently but obviously he'll fall lower than that. Now Johan Santana is starting to enter the MVP dicussion in some circles and I think he's making himself a legit case as well. But I think it's going to be tough for him or teammate Joe Mauer to catch Jeter. As the Red Sox have faded, so has Manny Ramirez. I almost gave him the top spot last time but now he barely stays in the Top 5. Jermaine Dye seems to be Jeter's main competition in the media but I doubt he can win if the White Sox don't make the playoffs.
10. Grady Sizemore, Indians
.293/.377/.535, 112 RC, .309 EQA, 65.5 VORP, 22 Win Shares
9. Justin Morneau, Twins
.324/.379/.583, 110 RC, .313 EQA, 51.7 VORP, 25 Win Shares
8. Jim Thome, White Sox
.291/.414/.604, 111 RC, .329 EQA, 57.5 VORP, 23 Win Shares
7. David Ortiz, Red Sox
.285/.401/.628, 111 RC, .327 EQA, 63.4 VORP, 24 Win Shares
6. Jermaine Dye, White Sox
.322/.388/.637, 110 RC, .325 EQA, 63.5 VORP, 24 Win Shares
5. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
.318/.436/.612, 109 RC, .338 EQA, 60.7 VORP, 26 Win Shares
4. Joe Mauer, Twins
.348/.433/.505, 97 RC, .321 EQA, 61.1 VORP, 28 Win Shares
3. Johan Santana, Twins
166 ERA+, 5.35 K/BB, 0.98 WHIP, 74.8 VORP, 24 Win Shares
2. Travis Hafner, Indians
.308/.439/.659, 124 RC, .353 EQA, 80.0 VORP, 24 Win Shares
1. Derek Jeter, Yankees
.346/.423/.492, 125 RC, .321 EQA, 75.0 VORP, 30 Win Shares
Let's just get yesterday's depressing day out of the way.
Game of the Day: Akron 20, N.C. State 17. By far the most fun I've had watching a game thru two weeks in what's been a dull start to the college football season. ESPN actually made a good decision for once by dumping Rutgers skull fucking of Illinois and switching to the ESPNU telecast of this game for the 4th quarter. The Zips appeared on the ropes after N.C. State took a 10-7 lead and blocked a punt deep in Akron territory. Coach Steroid made a dubious call to go for it on 4th down inside the five instead of kicking the field goal and the Zips stuffed them. Akron had only -2 yards on offense in the second half to this point but proceded to go 96 yards on six plays for the go ahead touchdown. State then marched back down and scored a touchdown on a 4th down to take a 17-14 lead with under two minutes to go. Then it what should have provided more controversy than it did the referees flagged State for excessive celebration. The most pathetic thing is sports right now is college referees after a player scores a touchdown. You see them run over immediately to any player and try get in their face to go back to the sideline even if all the player is doing is hugging a teammate. State had just scored a potential winning touchdown in the 4th quarter and they aren't supposed to celebrate? If you aren't taunting the other team no flag should ever be thrown. In any event Akron got decent field position on the kickoff and marched down for the winning score which we all know was on a 4th down with three seconds left. You had to agree with the call because quarterback Luke Getsy made a mistake when he scrabbled and had the touchdown by fell to soon to the ground to avoid the hit and came up inches short of the goal line. Settling for three would have deflated the team's momentum for overtime.
The WTF Score of the Day: New Hampshire 34, Northwestern 17. Northwestern coach Randy Walker must wish he was dead after this performance. Oh wait...
The "No mah son ain't the problem" Game of the Day: Florida State 24, Troy 17. A school with the talent resources that FSU has should never only have 10 points against a Sun Belt team after thee quarters. This game is also a perfect example of why motivation does play an important role in college sports as I doubt the Seminols gave even a second thought about this game possibly being competitive.
The Too Bad it Wasn't on T.V. Game of the Day: Iowa State 16, UNLV 10. Apparantly the Rebels stayed on the field for about 15 minutes after the game stomping on the Cyclones logo after the game as the refs didn't review an incomplete pass in the endzone on the last play of the game that would have given the Rebels the win if overturned. Oh ya and Cyclones don't make any plans for Kansas City in December.
The "Fuck You Cosby" Game of the Day: Louisville 62, Temple 0. That line is stolen from Deadspin and it was funny enough that I had to post it here. A Louisville fan had posted on their that back in the 80's Bill Cosby had mocked the Louisville football program on the Tonight Show after a blowout loss to Temple.
Whack Pac Wrap Up
Boise State 42, Oregon State 14. It's scary to think that the Beavers may only be the 3rd or 4th worst team in the Pac-10 and they get humiliated like this.
Oklahoma 37, Washington 20. I suppose it's nice the Huskies played them tough for a half but considering how bad the Sooners looked against a mediocre UAB team last week, I wouldn't take any moral victories from a a 17 point loss.
Washington State 56, Idaho 10. At least we know Wazzu is better than Michigan State.
LSU 45, Arizona 3. Um ya, probably wan't a good idea to talk shit about LSU during the week. Let's see who should talk shit, the team that won a national title in 2003 or the one that hasn't been to a bowl game since 1998?
California 42, Minnesota 17. Meh, you guys still were humiliated on national television by a team that was a two point conversion from losing to Air Force this week.
UCLA 26, Rice 16. Now I take back what I said about being impressed by the Bruins.
Arizona State 52, Nevada 21. Nice to see the Sun Devils actually show up this week.
Oregon 31, Fresno State 24. The Ducks needed a Leon Lett play from Fresno to help them win this game but any game where the kicker scores the winning touchdown is fun. The Ducks are now the last hope for the Pac-10 getting any respect (not that they deserve any right now) with the game against Oklahoma next week. Ducks had to win this game just have the Pac-10 go 3-2 against the WAC this week.
San Jose State 35, Stanford 34. I hate football.
I realized that I haven't done a single entry on the NFL out of the first 90. That mainly has to do with that the NFL doesn't interest me nearly as much as it used too. And a lot of that has to do with the current state of my San Francisco 49ers. It's tough to get too inerested when you're force fed your terrible team every Sunday in which I can't typically make it through an entire a game before changing the channel. When your team is this bad there's no point in paying much attention to other scores as every other game is inconsequential when your team has no shot at the playoffs.
So I decided I'll every once a while during the season come up with some total random list of useless NFL facts and useless facts is the true heart of this blog. So this week, since it is Week 1, I give you the Week 1 results of every eventual Super Bowl champion. Before the list here are a few useless facts to throw out.
-Eventual Super Bowl champions are 33-6-1 overall in Week 1.
-1981 49ers were the first eventual Super Bowl champ to lose their Week 1 game.
-Of the six teams who have defeated the eventual Super Bowl champ in Week 1, none of them made the playoffs.
-Only once has the eventual Super Bowl champion played the defending Super Bowl champion, 1976 when the Raiders beat the Steelers.
-For three straights from 2001-2003 the eventual Super Bowl champion lost it's Week 1 game, matching the total number of times the eventual Super Bowl champ had lost the previous 35 years.
Packers 24, Colts 3
Packers 17, Lions 17 tie
Jets 20, Chiefs 19
Chiefs 27, Chargers 9
Colts 16, Chargers 14
Cowboys 49, Bills 37
Dolphins 20, Chiefs 10
Dolphins 21, 49ers 13
Steelers 30, Colts 0
Steelers 37, Chargers 0
Raiders 31, Steelers 28
Cowboys 16, Vikings 10
Steelers 28, Bills 17
Steelers 16, Patriots 13
Raiders 27, Chiefs 14
Lions 24, 49ers 17
Redskins 37, Eagles 34
Raiders 20, Bengals 10
49ers 30, Lions 27
Bears 38, Bucs 28
Cowboys 31, Giants 28
Redskins 34, Eagles 24
49ers 34, Saints 33
49ers 30, Colts 24
Giants 27, Eagles 20
Redskins 45, Lions 0
Cowboys 23, Redskins 10
Redskins 35, Cowboys 16
49ers 44, Raiders 14
Cowboys 35, Giants 0
Packers 34, Bucs 3
Broncos 19, Chiefs 3
Broncos 27, Patriots 21
Rams 27, Ravens 10
Ravens 16, Steelers 0
Bengals 23, Patriots 17
Saints 26, Bucs 20
Bills 31, Patriots 0
Patriots 27, Colts 24
Steelers 34, Titans 7
This may or may not become a regular feature. Probably do entries on Sunday's about the previous day in college football until I run of out of mildly interesting things to say which will probably happen a week from now.
Game of the Day: Tennessee 35, California 18. Oh ya that hit the spot. As I said in the TWiCFB thread this was a game that could give Cal that signature non-conference win that can take a program to the next level. Now I wasn't going to put up with a year's worth Cal in the national title picture. I would have been happy with any Cal defeat here but Tennessee flat out embarrassed them on the national stage. Now if Minnesota can pull off the upset next week and kill Cal's chances at a BCS bowl two weeks into the season then I'll be able to ruly enjoy this season.
The WTF Score of the Day: Montana State 19, Colorado 10. Now listen Dan, you ain't in Boise no more. If you want to win Boulder your gonna have to recruit some rapists. You're gonna have to find that special prospect who will one day put a hit on his pregnent girlfriend to avoid paying child support. Also if you have a daughter, that's a plus as you can have the players run the train on her.
The You Could See That Coming Game of the Day: Richmond 13, Duke 0. Should we start a pool as to when Duke scores their first point of the year?
The I Thought This Was The Year Game of the Day: LSU 45, Louisiana-Lafayette 3. Aww there goes the Sun Belt's best hope at a BCS bowl. Damn and I really thought they had a chance.
Bad Idea of the Week: ESPN on ABC. A few weeks ago I saw an entry on Deadspin about ABC Sports being dead but I completely glossed over it and little did I know what this would wrought. ESPN has taken over ABC Sports. Every sporting event on ABC will now have the ESPN logo on it which as unveiled yesterday on the first Saturday of college football. This is really fucking stupid. Why would a network want to present themself as a basic cable station? ESPN may be universally recognized as the leader in sports but it's still cable. As bad as Fox's presentation is you at least know when your watching a Fox Sports presenation. You know when you're watching NBC Sports and you know when you're watching CBS Sports. Call me old fashion but a network sporting event has a bigger feel to it then anything on ESPN. I can understand from a way to limit expenses to just have ESPN produce the events but completely abandoning the ABC brand name is ridiculous. Why would they want the primetime feature game on ABC to look exactly like the third choice Big Ten game on ESPN2?
Wack Pac Wrap Up
USC 50, Arkansas 14. You know I actually that the Hogs would make this more interesting than the ESPN hype machine would want but the Trojans humiliated them again. You could argue this was worse than the 70-17 defeat at the Coliseum last year. They had all Summer to prepare for this game against a USC team with a ton of new players on offense and have them on their homefield to get some sort redemption for the previous year but they failed miserably.
UCLA 31, Utah 10. If you asked me what team that I thought might fall on their face this year in the Pac-10 I would have said UCLA but they surprised me yesterday. Utah isn't as a good as they were a few years ago but they aren't a pushover.
Arizona State 35, Northern Arizona 14. Of course as we know this was 14-14 going into the 3rd quarter before ASU woke up. Somewhere in Lincoln Sam Keller must have been laughing his ass for the first three quarters.
Oregon State 56, Eastern Washington 17. Considering how some BCS confernece teams struggled against I-AA teams yesterday I guess you have to give the Beavers for kicking the shit out of one of them.
Auburn 40, Washington State 14. Wazzu hung around for a short time but the inevitable happened. Is Auburn going to Pullman next year? Can anyone find Pullman?
Washington 36, San Jose State 29. The Huskies are a looong way from the days when they'd murder a team like the Spartans 70-7.
Arizona 16, BYU 13. Ya I bought into to the Willie Tuitama hype too but maybe U of A isn't getting back to a bowl game this year.
And the Stanford game I'll just pretend didn't happen.
Been a little while now since the last MVP Watch as was waiting for Hardball Times to finally update the Win Shares totals.
Hey so did you hear that Ryan Howard is now the N.L. MVP winner? If your left handed and fat, this is your year! You know the media goo-goos and ga-gas over homeruns and RBI and then they wonder why players take steroids? Of course is Howard even the MVP of the Phillies is a more interesting question. As for the league he's in Top 10 but with a month left he's got no shot at the top spot on my ballot. Now as for the #1 spot things keep getting more interesting. I really, really wanted to give Beltran the top spot finally but I didn't pull the trigger but that might change a month from now. Also we may have a late 3rd candidate to the race as Miguel Cabrera clocks at a very strong #3.
#10 Nick Johnson, Nationals
.286/.423/.511, 93 RC, .312 EQA, 42.5 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#9 David Wright, Mets
.294/.369/.511, 97 RC, .294 EQA, 34.4 VORP, 24 Win Shares
#8 Ryan Howard, Phillies
.294/.382/.628, 96 RC, .313 EQA, 50.2 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#7 Jose Reyes, Mets
.298/.351/.488, 103 RC, .285 EQA, 47.9 VORP, 25 Win Shares
#6 Chase Utley, Phillies
.317/.385/.525, 94 RC, .296 EQA, 53.5 VORP, 23 Win Shares
#5 Alfonso Soriano, Nationals
.294/.365/.603, 110 RC, .303 EQA, 52.9 VORP, 28 Win Shares
#4 Lance Berkman, Astros
.308/.414/.614, 112 RC, .323 EQA, 54.7 VORP, 27 Win Shares
#3 Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
.337/.426/.585, 117 RC, .328 EQA, 64.8 VORP, 30 Win Shares
#2 Carlos Beltran, Mets
.286/.389/.631, 111 RC, .321 EQA, 63.1 VORP, 34 Win Shares
#1 Albert Pujols, Cardinals
.323/.424/.665, 114 RC, .337 EQA, 65.4 VORP, 30 Win Shares
For the A.L. it's still anyone's guess but by the way things are shaking out now Derek Jeter may win the real award by default and he's still in strongly my Top 5. I nearly had a new #1 here and originally had Manny Ramirez taking the top spot but changed my mind due the uncertain staus of his knee. The media favorite David Ortiz is now clutching his heart (awww I'm mean) and his season could be over. Joe Mauer is still in the Top 5 but he needs a strong September to grab the award.
#10 Vernon Wells, Blue Jays
.319/.374/.583, 93 RC, .310 EQA, 59.0 VORP, 21 Win Shares
#9 Jason Giambi, Yankees
.261/.420/.594, 101 RC, .330 EQA, 46.9 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#8 Jermaine Dye, White Sox
.326/.392/.649, 99 RC, .328 EQA, 59.3 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#7 Johan Santana, Twins
153 ERA+, 5.03 K/BB, 1.02 WHIP, 62.7 VORP, 21 Win Shares
#6 Jim Thome, White Sox
.294/.413/.615, 103 RC, .331 EQA, 53.9 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#5 David Ortiz, Red Sox
.287/.400/.633, 105 RC, .329 EQA, 61.0 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#4 Joe Mauer, Twins
.356/.434/.514, 91 RC, .322 EQA, 57.6 VORP, 26 Win Shares
#3 Derek Jeter, Yankees
.337/.413/.480, 108 RC, .311 EQA, 61.3 VORP, 25 Win Shares
#2 Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
.326/.442/.628, 108 RC, .345 EQA, 62.8 VORP, 26 Win Shares
#1 Travis Hafner, Indians
.307/.434/.643, 120 RC, .347 EQA, 74.6 VORP, 23 Win Shares
Since my 1991 Mariners entry was flushed and I doubt I’ll try to type it again anytime soon so I might as well do 1991 A.L. MVP redo which does feature a Mariner player being underrated by the voters. But the main reason this particular MVP was interesting is that it’s one of those cases with where player on a losing team won the award. Now in the 1987 N.L. MVP redo Andre Dawson was shown to be one of the worst choices ever, nevermind that he played on a last place team. For the 2003 A.L. MVP redo A-Rod was shown to be perfectly acceptable choice for the award but just not my choice.
In 1991 Cal Ripken had the best year offensively of his career and won the MVP by somewhat of a close margin over Cecil Fielder despite playing on a Orioles team that lost 95 games, the next to worst record in the league. What likely helped Ripken win the award was that the two division winners, Minnesota and Toronto, lacked a standout candidate. Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar both received first place votes but neither cracked the top 4 and really neither should have received a first place vote. Kirby Puckett was the only Twins player in the Top 10 and did not receive a first place vote. The rest of the A.L. after that was highly competitive as nine teams won between 81 and 87 games that season.
Looking at the basic, writer friendly numbers my guess as to why Ripken won the award over the likes of Fielder and Jose Canseco was due to both Fielder and Canseco having batting averages in the .260’s so they gave the nod to Ripken even though those two both topped Ripken in homeruns and RBI. It’s a good thing that the writers did vote Ripken over Fielder as he would have been a terrible choice and the classic case of writers giving the award to a player simply because he lead the league in RBI, which nine voters used that line of thinking and chose Fielder as their MVP. Despite his prodigious counting stats Fielder only finished 9th in the league in slugging and that was while playing in a hitter’s park. Per Win Shares and VORP, Mickey Tettleton was the best player on the Tigers that year but he didn’t receive a single vote. Sandwiched between Fielder and Canseco was the White Sox young slugger Frank Thomas who was in his first full season. Thomas led the league in OBP and OPS but managed just one first place vote. The most surprising snub in the voting was Ken Griffey Jr. who already had emerged as one of the best and most popular players in baseball while helping the Mariners to their first ever winning record yet he only placed 9th. My only guess is he got penalized for not being a power hitter at that point as he hit only 22 homeruns but did hit 42 doubles.
1) Cal Ripken 2) Cecil Fielder 3) Frank Thomas 4) Jose Canseco 5) Joe Carter 6) Roberto Alomar 7) Kirby Puckett 8) Ruben Sierra 9) Ken Griffey Jr. 10) Roger Clemens 11) Pal Molitor 12) Danny Tartabull 13) Jack Morris 14) Chili Davis 15) Julio Franco 16) Devon White 17) Scott Erickson 18) Rick Aguilera 19) Rafael Palmeiro 20) Robin Ventura 21) Dave Henderson
.307/.357/.502, 120 RC, 138 OPS+, .316 EQA, 52.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.322/.389/.532, 130 RC, 155 OPS+, .333 EQA, 69.5 VORP, 26 Win Shares
164 ERA+, 3.71 K/BB, 1.05 WHIP, 74.8 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.341/.408/.474, 113 RC, 146 OPS+, .332 EQA, 70.1 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.316/.397/.593, 114 RC, 171 OPS+, .346 EQA, 62.8 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.325/.399/.489, 128 RC, 147 OPS+, .328 EQA, 64.7 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.266/.359/.556, 113 RC, 157 OPS+, .333 EQA, 59.0 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.327/.399/.527, 117 RC, 155 OPS+, .334 EQA, 68.2 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.323/.374/.566, 138 RC, 162 OPS+, .337 EQA, 94.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.318/.453/.553, 140 RC, 180 OPS+, .365 EQA, 81.9 VORP, 34 Win Shares
This was like the 2003 A.L. MVP as neither of the Top 2 is a wrong pick and when you have two evenly matched candidates like this I do give the nod to the player who played on a winning team. I also gave Thomas the 1992 A.L. MVP and he won the ’93 & ’94 awards in real life. I haven’t put the numbers in for those two years but I think I’ll have to look into that and see if the Big Hurt should have had four straight MVP awards. This was a tough ballot to put together as I changed 3 thru 9 a few times and even looking at it now I’m not entirely settled on it.
Another entry flushed because I'm a dumbass. I had been working on for an hour and a half on a new "Where'd They Go?" entry, this one on the '91 Mariners but decided to be typing here in the blog instead of C&P from a Word file. I was almost done with their line-up and but I had to restart my computer and I hit restart before realizing I hadn't saved my entry. So this is a complete throw away entry and I'll just talk briefly about one thing.
-ESPN I'm going to let you in on a little something...you don't have Monday Night Football. You may have the name, you might be showing games on Monday nights this year, but you don't have Monday Night Football. Monday Night Football is now shown on Sunday nights. NBC landed the dream deal where they will be able select better games the last couple of months of the season while ESPN your stuck with your lousy schedule. What you have ESPN is Sunday Night Football on Monday nights. No shock at all NBC's presentation and coverage absolutely smokes ESPN's, even though NBC hasn't covered the sport since 1997. It's pathetic the way they've been hyping their preseason MNF games and then after the game ends they start SportsCenter with a 15 minute segment with extended highlights and analyzing the game people just saw, a meaningless exhibition. It's scary to think how much coverage and hype they'll give to their regular season MNF games.
Starting off topic, but are the Red Sox cursed again or something? Seriously stop with this “Boston Massacre” shit ESPN. Oh my god they won’t win the East…just like the last 10 years. They still have a shot at the Wild Card and a shot at ruining the playoffs for me again with another Yankees/Red Sox ALCS.
1975 World Series Game 5 - Reds 6, Red Sox 2 (boxscore and play account)
-As mentioned before the video quality of these games has not held up very well. The first few innings of this game the video is waaaaaaaaay too bright but the quality is fairly decent the rest of the game.
-Graphic flashes that Joe Morgan has led the league in “on base average” three of the last four years. Gowdy brings up a quote from during the year, or supposedly it was, that a writer saying something to Joe in the effect of “you get on base a lot” and Joe replied “that’s what I get paid to do.” Wait it’s not hitting a ground ball to the right with a runner on first and less than two out? Say it ain’t so Joe, say it ain’t so.
-What the hell died on Tom Brenneman’s head?
-In the 6th with Morgan on first, Red Sox starter Reggie Cleveland throws over to first base 15 times. Ya that’s just a bit excessive. Not surprisingly Cleveland gives up a single to Bench and then a homerun to Perez and gets knocked out of the game, no doubt tiring after all those throws to first.
-Hey a Dick Pole sighting. The announcers mention that Pole had his jaw broken earlier in the year by a line drive. Got to watch out for those balls to the face Dick.
-They bring up that Don Gullet once scored 11 touchdowns in a high school football game. I wonder if Don does any Al Bundy type reminiscing about that game or pitching in four World Series?
1979 World Series Game 5 - Pirates 7, Orioles 1 (boxscore and play account)
-Yay, the original network graphics show up on this game’s footage after they were missing from Game’s 2 thru 4.
-Jim Rooker was the surprise starter over Game 1 starter Bruce Kison for the Pirates. Quite the risk going against the eventual A.L. Cy Young winner in Mike Flannagan with the Pirates season on the line. Rooker kept them in the game though and then Bert Blyleven, who apparently has never been good a big game supposedly or whatever lame reason he’s kept out of the HOF, pitched four shutout innings out of the bullpen to pick up the win.
-The special Sunday Night Football game on ABC that night between the Rams and Cowboys is hyped through the whole game. Dallas blew out the eventual NFC champs 30-6.
-ABC producers for no apparent reason go back to their Game 1 strategy of showing every single player’s wife that they can. Cosell I’m pretty sure got fully aroused when showing Rich Dauer’s wife as went into creepy old man mode about how he’d like to sit next to the wives.
-Fidel Castro apparently picked the Pirates to win the Series. And who says communism doesn’t work?
-Chuck Tanner’s mom died the morning of this game. Now in none of these DVD sets is any pregame coverage included but in the actual game they don’t mention this until the 5th inning. Can you imagine if a manger or player’s mom died the morning of a World Series game today how much Fox would play up that angle through the whole game? A little later Cosell accidentally says that Tanner’s wife died and takes a little bit before he (or probably a producer) corrected him.
-Cosell’s gushing over Willie Stargell through out this series really reached Tim McCarver/Derek Jeter type levels. Funny enough though late in the game with Stargell up and Cosell in the middle of again talking about how Stargell is saving the city of Pittsburgh or something, he brings up Stargell being 0 for 6 with RISP so far. So in one minute he goes from being Jeter to A-Rod.
-Here’s a rule change, in the bottom of the 8th with runners on first and second Doug Stanhouse’s pick off throw trying to get Tim Foli hits Foli in the helmet and bounces all the way into the crowd. The runners are only awarded one base while today it would have been two bases.
1986 World Series Game 5 - Red Sox 4, Mets 2 (boxscore and play account)
-I guess in 1986 they still weren’t having the ceremonial first pitch be thrown for the mound as Ted Williams throws it here from the stands. Williams as you see was with his son John Henry. Did they freeze his head too?
-Another lackluster outing for Gooden here. He never gets in any rhythm as he seems bothered by the relatively cold weather as he’s constantly blowing on his hands after almost every pitch. He takes so much time the Red Sox hitters then start to mess with him in the 4th and 5th but constantly stepping out of box right before he gets set.
-Dave Henderson was a having a huge series to this point going 8 for 18 with a two homeruns and then adding a double and a triple (although should have been a double as Strawberry made a weak effort to get to the ball) in this game. He likely wouldn’t have been playing if Tony Armas wasn’t hurt even though he was the better player at this point.
-Overmatch of the Night: Sid Fernandez vs. Rich Gedman. Six pitches, six swings, six strikes.
-After Strawberry pops out to end a mild Mets rally in the 8th the Sox fans greet him with the “Darrrrrrrrrrrryl” chant. He mockingly tips his cap to them. Joe Garagiola says he hates to see this happen to a young player and wonder what it does to him. Trust me Joe he had bigger problems.
-After three straight drama free games, Mets bring the tying run to the plate in the 9th with a two out rally but Dykstra goes down swinging
-Red Sox up 3-2, Clemens going in Game 6. This one is in the bag…
Last night the Oakland A’s beat the Seattle Mariners 4-0 and by doing so have tied a Major League record with 15 consecutive wins over a divisional opponent (Braves turned the trick against the Padres in 1974). On the season the A’s are 53-51 against everyone besides the Mariners while on the flip side the Mariners are 55-49 against everyone besides the A’s. The A’s dominance of the Mariners has now put them a position that didn’t seem possible just a few weeks earlier and that is a commanding lead in the A.L. West. Now it was just four years ago around this time of year that the A’s were in the middle of another streak, one of much more historic importance that I was able to see in person.
On August 12th, 2002 the A’s lost the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 at home dropping themselves 4 and a half games back of the first place Mariners. They wouldn’t lose another game until 24 days later. The following night an Eric Chavez two run single in the 7th broke a 3-3 tie, Billy Koch made it interesting in the 9th as he usually did but the A’s held on for a 5-4 win. They’d take the rubber match 4-2 the next day. That Friday on the 16th I went to the game with my brother as the A’s played the White Sox, the first of three games I’d attend during the streak not that I had any idea at the time what had started. Jermaine Dye led off the 2nd with a homerun and that would be enough for Cory Lidle and three relievers as the A’s went on to win 1-0. After sweeping the White Sox that weekend they headed to Cleveland for four games. The Indians would hardly put up a fight as the A’s outscored them 29-7 during the four game sweep and left Cleveland in a tie for first now with the Mariners. Next up was a trip Detroit. The A’s crushed the hapless Tigers 9-1 and 12-3 for wins #10 and #11 in the streak and the Mariners had lost both days giving the A’s a two game lead now in the West, a six and a half game swing in a span of 11 games. But in the finale in Detroit it appeared the streak would come to an end. In the 4th starter Aaron Harang was tagged for five runs, capped by a Randall Simon three run homer off reliever Micah Bowie to give the Tigers a 7-2 lead. A’s were still down 7-3 going into the 8th but it was in that inning that you got the feeling this streak wasn’t going to end anytime soon. Greg Myers led off the inning with a homerun, Chavez would hit a two run double a few batters later to cut the lead to a run, and then John Mabry followed with another two run double to give the A’s the lead. They tacked two more runs on in the 9th on a Dye homer and the A’s would win 10-7 for win #12. Off to Kansas City next for a fairly easy sweep to cap a 10-0 road trip and head home with a 15 game winning streak.
Now while on this was going on baseball involved in another labor dispute. My Dad and I had tickets to the A’s return game from the road trip on Friday the 30th against the Twins but there was potentially not going to be a game at all as the player’s were set to go on strike the day before if a labor deal was not agreed on. Obviously the A’s had probably more to lose than any team if a strike happened both on the field and at the box office. But for the first time a very, very long time the player’s union compromised with the owners and a strike was avoided. That following night there was a bit of a buzz in the crowd as the A’s closed in the American League record of 19 straight wins held by the ’06 White Sox and ’47 Yankees but at the same time you didn’t get the sense that people thought it would happen. It didn’t help that Jacque Jones would hit the first pitch of the game from Tim Hudson into the right field seats. But Ray Durham would answer with his lead off homerun in the bottom of the inning and the A’s would eventually win 4-2 for win #16. The next day I was off to Tahoe for the weekend for my brother’s bachelor party and I would miss three remarkable games by the A’s, not that I really noticed beyond catching a few highlights at the casinos. A’s won Saturday 6-3, after Ricardo Rincon had coughed up the lead in the top of the 8th they had answered with three runs in the bottom of inning to get the win. With the A’s now two wins shy of tying the record, they would start a streak of three straight games that they would win in their last at bat. Koch would blow a 5-2 lead in the 9th giving up homeruns to Corey Koskie and Micahel Cuddyer. But with two out and one on in the bottom of the 9th, Miguel Tejada hit a walkoff homerun against Eddie Guardado for the 7-5 win. Kansas City came in for Labor Day the next day for a brief two game “series.” The A’s blew yet another late inning lead but Tejada would get the game winning hit again after the A’s loaded the bases for a 7-6 win and tie the A.L. record with 19 straight wins.
I came home from Tahoe on Tuesday morning the 3rd and the A’s had an odd off day between the two home games that day. For whatever reasons I hadn’t even thought about going to the game the next night and I was surprised about two hours before the game my Dad asks me if I want to the game but I was like “sure, why not?” Now a weeknight game against the Royals wasn’t going to have much of a presale so we weren’t too concerned about tickets even if we knew there would be a huge walk up because of the possibility witnessing baseball history. I thought that a lot of the walk up would be people getting off work and buying tickets right before the opening pitch. But apparently people were there all day long getting tickets and everything outside of Mount Davis was sold out by the time we got to the game. For those unfamiliar Mount Davis is the football monstrosity that was erected in the outfield of the Oakland Coliseum back in 1996 in place of the old school bleachers. I had never sat on top of Mount Davis and I’ll never do it again unless the A’s get to the World Series. There’s little to no sarcasm in me saying that you have a better view of San Francisco up there than you do of the field. A good portion of the outfield is obstructed so we had to pretty much rely on what the rest of the crowd did to figure what happened on long fly balls. But bad seats aside the game started out as good as anyone could hope for. By the end of the 3rd inning the A’s had torched Paul Byrd and Darrell May for an 11-0 lead. The A.L. record was in the bag. Even when the Royals scored five in the 4th there was still none of the 55,000+ at the game who was worried at all and as the 11-5 lead held most of us just wanted the game to end as soon as possible so we could see the celebration. Then came the 8th with Chad Bradford in the game for the A’s.
Brent Mayne walked.
Emil Brown walked.
Neifi Perez singled.
Luis Ordaz reaches on fielder’s choice, no out recorded, Mabry scores, 11-6.
Bradford was lifted for Rincon and at this point my Dad and I started to head down the ramps to get down the field level area and watch the rest of the game standing behind the field level seats. Still not that worried but wishing they would stop this from getting too interesting. Now it is a long ass walk down Mount Davis to field level and Michael Tucker struck out while we were walking but as we reached the bottom a large portion of the stadium groaned…Royals just scored again on a Carlos Beltran sac fly. But there were now two out and the A’s were still up 11-7. Rincon was lifted for Jeff Tam and we finally settled on a spot to watch the rest of the game. Any remaining thoughts that the A’s still had this under control soon went out the window. Mike Sweeney crushed one down the left field line and it was now 11-10. It was at that point that I let out a loud “FUCK!” and got a dirty look from some old lady. It was also at that time that Billy Beane was in the A’s clubhouse breaking several things. Thankfully Raul Ibanez grounded out to ended the inning but you suddenly now didn’t even care about the record and were more worried about the A’s being part of a different record by blowing an 11-0 lead. A’s went quietly in the 8th and it was now up to Koch. Joe Randa led off with a single and Mayne bunted him over to 2nd. Koch though would strike out Brown and got two strikes on Luis Alicea…this was it, the 20th straight win! Or not. Alicea singles. Randa scores. Tie game 11-11.
The sound you heard in the Coliseum was 55,000+ people being punched in the stomach at the same time. You just couldn’t believe what had happened. A team with a 19 game winning streak, playing one of the worst team’s in baseball, just blew an 11-0 lead. Now faced with possibly extra innings and the A’s bullpen almost completely exhausted, things couldn’t be grimmer. Against Jason Grimsely, Dye led off the night with a harmless fly out. Scott Hatteberg came up to pinch hit for Eric Byrnes. Grimsley missed with the first pitch and then….
Everyone knew it was gone the second it left his bat. I've never been one to start celebrating and high fiving complete strangers at sporting events but you couldn't help it here. In an instant this had gone from the worst game I've ever been to, to the best game I've ever been to.
Two days later in Minnesota the streak was over. Exactly one month later the Twins would end the A's season in another dissapointing, heartbreaking playoff ALDS loss by the A's and the streak was forgotten. But it is kind of cool to know that I was able to watch some true baseball history in person.
The Streak (* - Game I saw in person)
#1: A's 5, Blue Jays 4
#2: A's 4, Blue Jays 2
#3: A's 1, White Sox 0*
#4: A's 9, White Sox 2
#5: A's 7, White Sox 4
#6: A's 8, Indians 1
#7: A's 6, Indians 3
#8: A's 6, Indians 0
#9: A's 9, Indians 3
#10: A's 9, Tigers 1
#11: A's 12, Tigers 3
#12: A's 10, Tigers 7
#13: A's 6, Royals 3
#14: A's 6, Royals 4
#15: A's 7, Royals 1
#16: A's 4, Twins 2*
#17: A's 6, Twins 3
#18: A's 7, Twins 5
#19: A's 7, Royals 6
#20: A's 12, Royals 11*
All the talk on ESPN and the TWiB threads when it comes to the American League MVP award in 2006 is about Clutchie McClutchie of the Boston Red Sox being the MVP favorite. One debate that has creeped up again and will certainly be talked about as we get closer to the end of the season is whether or not a DH should win the MVP. In my 1995 A.L. MVP redo I showed that a DH should be able to win the MVP award. Well okay my original intention when doing the redo was to show the voter bias against Albert Belle by the media and then in turned out Edgar Martinez should have won the MVP. An everyday DH has never won the MVP award so I'll take a look back at the closest thing we've had to a DH winning the award.
Don Baylor won the 1979 A.L. MVP while splitting time between the outfield and the DH spot. He played 97 games in the outfield and 65 games at DH, the most games ever played at DH by an MVP winner to date. As usual it's not particularly hard to figure out why a player won the MVP. Baylor played on the A.L. West champion Angels and he led the league in RBI and runs scored. Baylor was also his very own Clutchie McClutchie as he hit .330 with RISP. Despite his high RBI total and also finishing 4th in the A.L. in homeruns who only finished 10th in the league in slugging. In fact the Angels team leader in slugging was not Baylor but Bobby Grich. But because of his 139 RBI Baylor won the award in a lopsided vote, taking 20 of 28 first place votes.
In second place was Ken Singleton who had the best year on the best team in the league but received only three first place votes as his RBI total was only 111. George Brett picked up two first place votes and then other three first place votes were for Mike Flanagan although he only finished 6th. He was the near unanmious choice for Cy Young but as you'll see he was agruablly not the best pitcher in the league. Ahead of Flanagan were two Red Sox, Fred Lynn and Jim Rice. Lynn led the league in average, obp, and slugging while playing a Gold Glove center field. Awww I just gave away my pick didn't I?
1) Don Baylor 2) Ken Singleton 3) George Brett 4) Fred Lynn 5) Jim Rice 6) Mike Flanagan 7) Gorman Thomas 8) Bobby Grich 9) Darrell Porter 10) Buddy Bell 11t) Jim Kern 11t) Mike Marshall 11t) Eddie Murray 14) Brian Downing 15) Sixto Lezcano 16) Roy Smalley 17t) Steve Kemp 17t) Willie Wilson 19) Mark Clear 20) Paul Molitor 21) Rick Burleson 22) Tommy John 23) Cecil Cooper 24t) Willie Horton 24t) Reggie Jackson 26t) Dan Ford 26t) Ron Guidry 26t) Mike Hargrove
.322/.372/.469, 102 RC, 126 OPS+, .296 EQA, 59.6 VORP, 26 Win Shares
148 ERA+, 2.54 K/BB, 1.19 WHIP, 72.6 VORP 24 Win Shares
.321/.414/.573, 113 RC, 164 OPS+, .334 EQA, 56.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares
#7 (I couldn't find a 1980 or 1979 card for Grich, first time I've had that problem)
.294/.365/.537, 105 RC, 144 OPS+, .310 EQA, 62.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.296/.371/.530, 122 RC, 144 OPS+, .310 EQA, 57.0 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.291/.421/.484, 109 RC, 142 OPS+, .319 EQA, 59.5 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.325/.381/.596, 141 RC, 154 OPS+, .317 EQA, 71.2 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.295/.405/.533, 124 RC, 156 OPS+, .327 EQA, 58.7 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.329/.376/.563, 137 RC, 148 OPS+, .313 EQA, 69.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.333/.423/.637, 143 RC, 176 OPS+, .341 EQA, 82.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
So what did we learn today? That outfield/DHs should never win the MVP! Wait okay that really doesn't make sense. Okay RBIs are overrated! Well you probably already should have known that. Okay we didn't learn anything but at least we had the first reference ever to Sixto Lezcano in this board's history and it's about fucking time.
In case you didn't know Dwight Gooden is currently behind bars in a seven month prison sentence after another drug relapse. Gooden has described his time in prison as torture and I have to imagine he can't be the happiest of guys right about now. But I'm here to cheer ol' Doc up and take a look back at the year he was on top of the baseball world and see if he should have won the MVP.
After phenomenal rookie year (17-9, 2.60 ERA) Gooden followed it up with one of the best years by a pitcher in recent baseball history going 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA. He won the Cy Young unanimously and finished 4th in the MVP voting receiving one first place vote. The winner of the MVP was Willie McGee who had the best year on the best team in the National League, receiving 14 of the 24 first place votes. McGee bucked the usual trend of MVP voting of giving the award to power hitters and his 10 homeruns in 1985 were the fewest hit by an MVP winner since Maury Wills in 1962 who hit only six homeruns. He beat out two 30+ homerun seasons by Dave Parker and Pedro Guerrero who received six and three first place votes respectively. Really overall this was a pretty solid ballot produced by the N.L. writes as no one in their Top 10 seemed completely out of place beyond the usual lack of respect for Tim Raines who finished only 12th despite his usual excellence. Only really bizarre voting was a throw away 10th place vote for Mariano Duncan who put up a .244/.293/.340 line as a rookie for the first place Dodgers.
1) Willie McGee 2) Dave Parker 3) Pedro Guerrero 4) Dwight Gooden 5) Tom Herr 6) Gary Carter 7) Dale Murphy 8t) Keith Hernandez 8t) John Tudor 10) Jack Clark 11) Vince Coleman 12) Tim Raines 13) Ryne Sandberg 14t) Hubie Brooks 14t) Mike Marshall 16) Orel Hershiser 17) Keith Moreland 18t) Mike Scioscia 18t) Ozzie Smith 20) Jeff Reardon 21t) Jose Cruz 21t) Bill Doran 23t) Mariano Duncan 23t) Tony Gwynn 23t) Fernando Valenzuela 23t) Glenn Wilson
.305/.364/.504, 112 RC, 131 OPS+, .301 EQA, 61.0 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.312/.365/.551, 127 RC, 148 OPS+, .306 EQA, 47.7 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.302/.379/.416, 95 RC, 124 OPS+, .303 EQA, 50.3 VORP, 30 Win Shares
183 ERA+, 3.45 K/BB, 0.94 WHIP, 80.8 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.281/.365/.488, 98 RC, 139 OPS+, .306 EQA, 46.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.300/.388/.539, 129 RC, 151 OPS+, .318 EQA, 63.0 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.353/.384/.503, 119 RC, 148 OPS+, .318 EQA, 67.5 VORP, 36 Win Shares
.320/.422/.577, 118 RC, 181 OPS+, .349 EQA, 68.0 VORP, 35 Win Shares
.320/.405/.475, 110 RC, 153 OPS+, .330 EQA, 69.3 VORP, 36 Win Shares
226 ERA+, 3.88 K/BB, 0.97 WHIP, 99.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares
There you go Dwight, you are the winner of the only 1985 N.L. MVP given away by some guy on a wrestling message board. Now don't be dropping that new MVP in the shower.
For the first time this year I actually had to give more than a second of thought for who would take the #1 spot in the N.L. MVP race. As the Cardinals have slumped so has Albert Pujols and Carlos Beltran has now tied him for the M.L. lead in Win Shares. Pujols hangs on to the top spot for now but we now finally have a race. Chase Utley is hot, David Wright is not, and Ryan Howard makes his first appearance of the year.
#10 Ryan Howard, Phillies
.294/.378/.625, 78 RC, .308 EQA, 41.0 VORP, 17 Win Shares
#9 Nick Johnson, Nationals
.294/.425/.521, 82 RC, .317 EQA, 39.1 VORP, 19 Win Shares
#8 David Wright, Mets
.308/.383/.545, 86 RC, .302 EQA, 37.1 VORP, 20 Win Shares
#7 Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
175 ERA+, 4.31 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 58.3 VORP, 17 Win Shares
#6 Chase Utley, Phillies
.328/.390/.557, 86 RC, .301 EQA, 52.7 VORP, 21 Win Shares
#5 Alfonso Soriano, Nationals
.290/.362/.594, 93 RC, .304 EQA, 43.0 VORP, 23 Win Shares
#4 Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
.326/.422/.547, 90 RC, .319 EQA, 47.4 VORP, 21 Win Shares
#3 Lance Berkman, Astros
.322/.411/.621, 96 RC, .324 EQA, 46.7 VORP, 24 Win Shares
#2 Carlos Beltran, Mets
.284/.388/.626, 93 RC, .318 EQA. 52.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares
#1 Albert Pujols, Cardinals
.319/.428/.684, 98 RC, .344 EQA, 56.3 VORP, 27 Win Shares
Hey did you hear the news? David Ortiz has won the American League Most Valuable Player award. ESPN told me so. All kidding aside after not even being on my radar until recently Ortiz has made a big jump on my imaginary ballot and if he keeps this up he could even possibly grab the top spot by the end of the year, but for the moment he's still not even the Red Sox MVP in my view. Travis Hafner has grabbed the top spot back but it wasn't without reservations and I gave consideration to everyone in the top 4 this week for the #1 spot. Carlos Guillen and Justin Morneau both make their first appearance in the Top 10.
#10 Vernon Wells, Blue Jays
.319/.382/.597, 79 RC, .314 EQA, 52.3 VORP, 17 Win Shares
#9 Jason Giambi, Yankees
.249/.407/.578, 82 RC, .322 EQA, 35.3 VORP, 18 Win Shares
#8 Justin Morneau, Twins
.323/.378/.605, 85 RC, .313 EQA, 41.9 VORP, 19 Win Shares
#7 Carlos Guillen, Tigers
.307/.389/.511, 75 RC, .304 EQA, 42.0 VORP, 20 Win Shares
#6 David Ortiz, Red Sox
.291/.395/.627, 90 RC, .324 EQA, 51.3 VORP, 19 Win Shares
#5 Jim Thome, White Sox
.298/.417/.627, 91 RC, .332 EQA, 49.5 VORP, 19 Win Shares
#4 Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
.319/.429/.633, 91 RC, .338 EQA, 52.7 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#3 Derek Jeter, Yankees
.350/.425/.487, 88 RC, .317 EQA, 54.9 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#2 Joe Mauer, Twins
.365/.446/.525, 75 RC, .328 EQA, 52.8 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#1 Travis Hafner, Indians
.306/.430/.641, 103 RC, .348 EQA, 62.4 VORP, 19 Win Shares
This week the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu for some magic beans and Chase Utley was the talk of baseball with his assault on Joe DiMaggio’s consecutive hitting streak record, so the Phillies are having the best week ever! Oh Utley’s streak ended last night…but hey at least they got rid of Lazy Abreu. You know what rhymes with Abreu? Poo. That’s the kind of hard hitting analysis that you can also get from the TWiB thread.
So with the Phillies in the news the past week I figured might as well make them the next WTG? feature and the subject will be the Fightins’ from 1995. The Phillies that year stormed out of the gate after the delayed start to the season, winning 23 of their first 31 games. After beating the Cardinals 5-3 on June 25th they were 37-18, the best record in the National League with a 4 ½ game lead over the Braves in the East. Two weeks later at the All-Star Break they would be 4 ½ games behind the Braves. The Phillies lost 17 out of 20 games after June 25th and by August 10th they were under .500 after capping an eight game losing streak. After hitting rock bottom less than a week later the Phillies showed signs of life going through a stretch where they won 10 of 12 games and grabbed the Wild Card lead. But it turned out to be one big tease to a young Al Keiper as the Phillies would lose 21 of their last 31 games, finishing six games under .500. Several injuries to key players and a punchless line-up that had a MLB worst 94 homeruns were too much for the Phillies to overcome.
C: Darren Daulton (.249/.359/.401, 12.8 VORP, 12 Win Shares) – Daulton tore knee ligaments in a game against the Dodgers on August 25th which was just about when the Phillies started their collapse after taking the Wild Card lead. That would be the last game he would ever play at catcher. He only played five games the following season and was traded to the Marlins midseason in 1997 where he would pick up a World Series before retiring. It was also in 1997 when Daulton began to fucking nuts.
1B: Gregg Jefferies (.306/.349/.448, 14.7 VORP, 10 Win Shares) – Jefferies spent the first half of the year in left field and then the second at first after Dave Hollins was traded to Boston. After two very good years in St. Louis it had appeared that he might start living up to the hype he received as a prospect for the Mets but it never happened with the Phillies. They traded him a waiver deal to the Angels in 1998 and then spent two seasons as a part time player with the Tigers.
2B: Mickey Morandini (.283/.350/.417, 21.2 VORP, 17 Win Shares) – Morandini was one of six Phillies to make the All-Star team based on their hot start that was fading by the break. After a down year in 1997 he was traded to the Cubs for Doug Glanville and would have a career year in 1998. Too bad for him it wasn’t a contract year so wasn’t in a position to cash in on it and fell off a cliff after that. He signed with the Expos before 2000 but never played a game with them as he was reacquired by the Phillies before the season started. He would be traded in a waiver deal to the Blue Jays. He’d be re-signed by the Jays after the season but did not make the club for 2001.
3B: Charlie Hayes (.276/.340/.406, 10.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares) – This was second go around with the Phillies for Hayes, which would be the first of three times he’d return to a team he used to play for. He signed with the Pirates after the season who would trade him at the waiver deadline to the Yankees where he lucked out and got to catch the final out of the World Series without doing anything else of note. Yankees traded him after 1997 to the Giants where he’d spend two seasons. Spent 2000 with the Brewers and then signed with the Astros who released him midseason in 2001.
SS: Kevin Stocker (.218/.304/.274, -7.4 VORP, 8 Win Shares) – Stocker pretty much pissed away all good feelings about him when he was an important midseason season call up for the Phillies during their 1993 championship season. Was traded after 1997 to the expansion Devil Rays for Mr. Poo which set the tone for the future the of the D-Rays franchise. They released him during the 2000 season and was picked up by the Angels to finish his career.
LF/RF: Jim Eisenreich (.316/.375/.464, 22.3 VORP, 13 Win Shares) – As a kid I was never an autograph seeker but one of the few autographs I ever got was Jim Eisenreich in 1992 when he was with the Royals and I’m not really sure why. The Phillies had nine different players make 20 or more starts in the outfield in ’95 with Eisenreich leading the way with 90 total starts, the majority in right. Signed with Marlins after 1996 where he picked up a World Series ring. Traded to the Dodgers midseason in 1998 in the monster Mike Piazza/Gary Sheffield deal but Eisenreich was washed up and it would be his last stop.
CF: Andy Van Slyke (.243/.333/.350, 2.4 VORP, 3 Win Shares) – Phillies stats only, acquired in June due to Lenny Dykstra’s injury problems. Van Slyke had hit the career wall the year before and it wasn’t getting any better this year which would be his last.
CF: Lenny Dykstra (.264/.353/.354, 2.9 VORP, 8 Win Shares) – Dykstra was pretty much crippled at this point by knee and back problems, he played in only 62 games. Many thought his career was finished at this point and they were almost right as he tried to gut it out the following year but only lasted 40 games although with decent numbers (.261/.387/.418). Missed all of 1997 and tried to make a comeback in ’98 but was injured again in Spring Training, then officially retiring.
RF: Mark Whiten (.269/.365/.481, 10.8 VORP, 9 Win Shares) – Phillies stats only, acquired for Dave Hollins from the Red Sox in July. Whiten only played in 60 games for the Phillies yet he tied for the team lead in homeruns with 11. The well traveled Whiten would be released during the following season then picked up by Atlanta who would trade him a couple of months later to Seattle. Spent 1997 with the Yankees and then had a second stint with the Indians for one full season and a couple of cameo appearances the following two years.
Paul Quantrill (92 ERA+, 13.5 VORP, 7 Win Shares) – This was Quantrill’s only full year as a starting pitcher and it’s not hard to see why. Traded after the season to Toronto and was in their rotation at the start of the year but was removed from it by midseason. It’d be the following year he’d begin a nice run as one of the better middle relievers in the game. With the Jays thru 2001 before being traded to the Dodgers with Cesar Izturis. Signed with the Yankees after 2003 but unfortunately for them he started to suck at that point and gave up the game winning homerun to THE GREATEST CLUTCHIEST HITTER WHOEVER CLUTCHED WHO ISN’T DEREK JETER in Game 4 of the ALCS that year that sparked the Red Sox comeback. Yankees traded him midseason in 2005 to the Padres who would release him in August and was picked up by the Marlins to finish the season. Announced his retirement last March.
Tyler Green (81 ERA+, 5.2 VORP, 5 Win Shares) – The former much hyped first round pick, Green’s MLB future was already bleak at this point with major arm problems although he was, believe it or not, selected to the All-Star team. He went into the break with a 2.75 ERA but those arm problems popped up again soon after. Just a hunch Jim Fregosi having him throw three complete games in a span of five starts might not have helped his situation. Spent two more injury plagued years and then was out of the Majors.
Mike Mimbs (104 ERA+, 18.3 VORP, 8 Win Shares) – Mimbs was a 26 year old rookie who posted a decent ERA despite walking 75 batters in 136 2/3 innings pitched. Not surprisingly a man with that kind of command didn’t last long in the Majors, last appearing in 1997.
Curt Schilling (121 ERA+, 22.8 VORP, 8 Win Shares) – Schilling’s sock wasn’t bloody and wasn’t red yet but I’m sure he was just as annoying as he is today. Wait, wait Curt just IM’d me and he’s insisting typing his own profile as he wants to mention how great his 9/11 speech was, talk about steroids, and I’m sure throw in his opinion on the war in Lebanon because god damnit the world is waiting for Curt’s opinion on any every subject because he said so. Well not on my watch Schilling! Go verbally masturbate yourself some more on the SOSH boards.
Closer: Heathcliff Slocumb (149 ERA+, 15.2 VORP, 11 Win Shares) – This was Slocumb’s first year as a closer and hey he managed a good ERA despite a 1.51 WHIP. Traded to the Red Sox after the season and again got by on giving up tons of baserunners but not a lot of runs. In 1997 though all those baserunners finally started touching homeplate more often but he at this point he was a PVC~ so the bullpen starved Mariners traded prospects Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for him in a deadline deal. Remember kids trading prospects for mediocre relievers never ends well. Signed with the Orioles in 1998 who released him a month into the season and was picked up by the Cardinals. Traded the Padres in another deadline deal in 2000 and they released him during the offseason.
In the ongoing debate in college football of playoffs vs. bowls I certainly come on the side of playoffs. I personally think the bowls have out lived their usefulness and that any tradition left in the system was pissed away when the Big Ten and Pac-10 agreed to join the BCS a few years back thus no longer guaranteeing that those two conference’s champions would meet in the Rose Bowl. Since the creation of the BCS in 1998 it has only avoided controversy twice, in 2002 and 2005 simply because they lucked out by having two major conference, unbeaten teams left at the end of the year. Not surprisingly those are the only two years that the BCS title game hasn’t been terrible. It is only in years like 2002 and 2005 where the BCS “works” but if you look at college football’s history there are several years with scenarios where such a system would have been incapable of solving any controversy. One of those years was 1993.
After many near misses at a national title Bobby Bowden and Florida State came into 1993 the run away favorites to win the title. Led by the eventual Heisman trophy winner Charlie Ward, the Seminoles destroyed every team in their path. I had forgotten how dominate they were, just look at their jaw dropping results from that year.
8/28 vs. Kansas 42-0
9/4 at Duke 45-7
9/11 vs. Clemson 57-0
9/18 at North Carolina 33-7
10/2 vs. Georgia Tech 51-0
10/9 vs. Miami 28-10
10/16 vs. Virginia 40-14
10/30 vs. Wake Forest 54-0
11/6 at Maryland 49-20
Not even their tormenters from Miami could give them a real challenge. Then came a trip to South Bend. The Irish were also undefeated and came in at #2 in both polls. The Noles fell behind 24-7 but made a furious comeback to pull the game to 31-24. They had the ball on the Irish 14 for one final play but Ward could not connect in the endzone and it looked like FSU’s national title hopes had been dashed but a late season loss yet again. Now going into that weekend Nebraska was undefeated and #3 in the Coaches’ Poll and #4 in the AP Poll (Miami was #3). The Cornhuskers had not been nearly as dominate as the Seminoles and Irish, with one point wins over UCLA and Kansas. The coaches would move Nebraska to #2 ahead of FSU but the media would leave the Seminoles ahead of the Huskers.
Things then of course got really interesting the following week as after their triumph over Florida State and now with strangle hold on the #1 ranking in both polls, the Irish were stunned at home by Boston College in another classic on a last second field goal 41-39. FSU that weekend slaughtered another ACC foe, N.C. State 62-3, and in the media poll reclaimed the #1 spot while Nebraska grabbed the #1 spot in the coaches poll. The Irish dropped all the way to #4 in both polls behind two different interesting stories. In the coaches poll at #3 was a surprising West Virginia team had upset Miami that week to improve to 10-0 which finally earned them some serious respect, but they were #5 in the media poll. #3 in that poll was Auburn. Auburn was on probation and ineligible for postseason, they concluded their regular season undefeated but nothing to show for it. The final weekend of the regular season would play out with FSU and Nebraska disposing of their rivals, Florida and Oklahoma, while West Virginia edged Boston College 17-14 and thus ending the season with a serious poll controversy. Here’s how the regular season concluded in the polls.
1. Florida State 11-1
2. Nebraska 11-0
3. West Virginia 11-0
4. Auburn 11-0
5. Notre Dame 10-1
1. Nebraska 11-0
2. West Virginia 11-0
3. Florida State 11-1
4. Notre Dame 10-1
5. Auburn 11-0
This is was a complete nightmare. The coaches felt the right thing to do was put Nebraska and West Virginia at the top two spots but many didn’t think either was on the level of Florida State and Notre Dame. Of course the media poll was ripped to shreds as how could you have FSU at #1 and the Irish at #5, let alone have West Virginia below FSU when they beat Boston College, who beat Notre Dame, who beat Florida State. This was the type of scenario that only a playoff could have solved. Interestingly enough there was one poll left after the SEC title game, which with Auburn ineligible didn’t have much meaning on the national scene, the media bumped the Irish past Auburn even though neither played.
In the bowl selection process the Orange Bowl held all the cards as who they picked would likely decide that national title. Nebraska had the automatic invite with winning the Big 8 so after that they had the choice of Florida State, West Virginia, and Notre Dame. The would choose the Seminoles, Notre Dame would head to the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M, and West Virginia to the Sugar Bowl against Florida. In the afternoon of January 1st the Irish edged A&M 24-21. West Virginia would prove their doubters right as they would get murdered by the Gators 41-7 and potentially helping the pollsters quite a bit. If Nebraska could beat Florida State they would get an undefeated and relatively undisputed national champion. They took a 16-15 lead with a little over a minute to go but Charlie Ward would march the Seminoles down the field in a drive that included a fourth down conversion and very controversial personal foul penalty for a field goal and an 18-16 lead with 21 seconds left. A celebration penalty though gave Nebraska life and get in field goal range but kicker Byron Bennett badly hooked the 45 yard attempt. Everyone waited for the polls the next day to see if Notre Dame jumped Florida State due to the way everything shook out but the Irish’s unconvincing win over the Aggies left them at #2 and Bobby Bowden with his long awaited first national title, despite losing to the team who was at #2.
Preseason AP Top 25
1. Florida State
4. Texas A&M
7. Notre Dame
16. Penn State
17. Ohio State
20. North Carolina
21. Boston College
24. Mississippi State
25. N.C. State
Top 25 Regular Season Match-ups
#20 North Carolina 31, #18 USC 9
#3 Miami 23, #20 Boston College 7
#1 Florida State 57, #21 Clemson 0
#11 Notre Dame 27, #3 Michigan 23
#17 Oklahoma 44, #5 Texas A&M 14
#8 Tennessee 38, #22 Georgia 6
#10 Colorado 45, #24 Baylor 21
#16 Ohio State 21, #12 Washington 12
#1 Florida State 33, #13 North Carolina 7
#9 Florida 41, #5 Tennessee 34
#20 Stanford 41, #7 Colorado 37
#3 Miami 35, #13 Colorado 29
#18 North Carolina 35, #19 N.C. State 14
#1 Florida State 28, #3 Miami 10
#13 Washington 24, #16 California 23
#25 UCLA 68, #19 BYU 14
#1 Florida State 40, #15 Virginia 14
#2 Alabama 17, #10 Tennessee 17 tie
#19 Auburn 38, #4 Florida 35
#5 Ohio State 28, #25 Michigan State 21
#18 Michigan 21, #7 Penn State 13
#20 Colorado 27, #9 Oklahoma 10
#22 UCLA 39, #12 Washington 25
#6 Miami 49, #23 Syracuse 0
#7 Arizona 9, #25 Washington State 6
#21 Virginia 17, #12 North Carolina 10
#3 Ohio State 24, #12 Penn State 6
#6 Nebraska 21, #20 Colorado 17
#15 UCLA 37, #7 Arizona 17
#25 Kansas State 21, #14 Oklahoma 14
#24 Michigan 13, #21 Wisconsin 21
#3 Ohio State 14, #15 Wisconsin 14 tie
#7 Tennessee 45, #13 Louisville 10
#19 Penn State 38, #17 Indiana 31
#2 Notre Dame 31, #1 Florida State 24
#5 Ohio State 23, #19 Indiana 17
#11 Texas A&M 42, #20 Louisville 7
#17 Boston College 41, #1 Notre Dame 39
#9 West Virginia 17, #4 Miami 14
#6 Auburn 22, #11 Alabama 14
#16 UCLA 27, #22 USC 21
#25 Virginia Tech 20, #23 Virginia 17
#1 Florida State 33, #7 Florida 21
#2 Nebraska 21, #16 Oklahoma 7
#5 West Virginia 17, #11 Boston College 14
#14 Penn State 38, #25 Michigan State 37
#9 Florida 28, #16 Alabama 13 (SEC Title)
#10 Wisconsin 41, #25 Michigan State 20
Bowl Results (MVP)
Las Vegas: Utah State 42, Ball State 33 (Anthony Calvillo)
Sun: #19 Oklahoma 41, Texas Tech 10 (Jerald Moore)
Aloha: #17 Colorado 41, #25 Fresno State 30 (Rashaan Salaam)
Liberty: Louisville 18, Michigan State 7 (Jeff Brohm)
Copper: #20 Kansas State 52, Wyoming 17 (Andre Coleman)
Holiday: #11 Ohio State 28, BYU 21 (Raymont Harris)
Freedom: USC 28, Utah 21 (Johnnie Morton)
Gator: #18 Alabama 24, #12 North Carolina 10 (Brian Burgdorf)
Alamo: California 37, Iowa 3 (Dave Barr)
Peach: #24 Clemson 14, Kentucky 13 (Brentson Buckner)
Independence: #22 Virginia Tech 45, #21 Indiana 20 (Maurice DeShazo)
Fiesta: #16 Arizona 29, #10 Miami 0 (Chuck Levy)
Carquest: #15 Boston College 31, Virginia 13 (Glenn Foley)
Hall of Fame: #23 Michigan 42, N.C. State 7 (Tyrone Wheatley)
Cotton: #4 Notre Dame 24, #7 Texas A&M 21 (Lee Becton)
Citrus: #13 Penn State 31, #6 Tennessee 13 (Bobby Engram)
Rose: #9 Wisconsin 21, #14 UCLA 16 (Brent Moss)
Sugar: #8 Florida 41, #3 West Virginia 7 (Errict Rhett)
Orange: #1 Florida State 18, #2 Nebraska 16 (Charlie Ward)
Final AP Top 25
1. Florida State
2. Notre Dame
7. West Virginia
8. Penn State
9. Texas A&M
11. Ohio State
13. Boston College
19. North Carolina
20. Kansas State
22. Virginia Tech
Charlie Ward, Florida State
Marshall Faulk, San Diego State
LeShon Johnson, Northern Illinois
Errict Rhett, Florida
J.J. Stokes, UCLA
Johnnie Morton, USC
Ryan Yarborough, Wyoming
Carlester Crumpler, East Carolina
Pete Mitchell, Boston College
Mark Dixon, Virginia
Stacy Seegars, Clemson
Aaron Taylor, Notre Dame
Wayne Gandy, Auburn
Jim Pyne, Virginia Tech
Korey Stringer, Ohio State
Marcus Spears, Northwestern State
Rich Braham, West Virginia
Todd Steussie, California
Bernard Williams, Georgia
Rob Waldrop, Arizona
Dan Wilkinson, Ohio State
Sam Adams, Texas A&M
Lou Benfatti, Penn State
Derrick Alexander, Florida State
Shante Carver, Arizona
Kevin Patrick, Miami
Bryant Young, Notre Dame
Trev Alberts, Nebraska
Derrick Brooks, Florida State
Jamir Miller, UCLA
Barron Wortham, UTEP
Dana Howard, Illinois
Antonio Langham, Alabama
Aaron Glenn, Texas A&M
Jeff Burris, Notre Dame
Corey Sawyer, Florida State
Bobby Taylor, Notre Dame
Bracey Walker, North Carolina
Jaime Mendez, Kansas State
Bjorn Merten, UCLA
John Becksvoort, Tennessee
John Stewart, SMU
Terry Daniel, Auburn
David Palmer, Alabama