Sunday, October 23, 2016

Philadelphia Teams Phail at Momentum

Crazy 48's Season Update

Two of the Three Crazy 48's Philadelphia franchises played this past week in key series, granted that the last few series for most playoff contenders will be key series. The 1931 Philadelphia Athletics are unfortunately not in playoff contention (at the moment) entering Game #29, but they are playing their 1st place division foes in the 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords -- but any time a team needs to make serious ground, beating up on the 1st place team to better their chances, is definitely a place to start.

Meanwhile, the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies find themselves also facing an elite team in the 2001 Seattle Mariners. Some APBA elitists may scoff at myself labeling the 2001 M's an elite team, but they definitely are, this team fields an APBA grade 45 / fielding 1 easily! Plus an all Grade B rotation to go with a stellar bullpen (one of the absolute best bullpens ever in all of APBA) & a dangerous lineup.

The 1993 Philadelphia Phillies plan to make a run at the post-season.

We'll start with the...

2001 Mariners / 1993 Phillies series...

Both teams have excellent lineups & bullpens, so the starting pitchers will be on shorter leashes than usual. Both teams would be locked up in a 3-3 tie after 3 innings in Game 1, Mariners would break away with some big small hits by Mike Cameron & David Bell in the 5th, as Mariners walk away with the victory in Game 1 (of the 4-game series), winning 6-3. Both starting pitchers (Seattle's Freddy Garcia & Phil's Terry Mulholland) didn't make it to the 6th inning.

Bret Boone hit his 9th HR of the season in the first game, and would continue to be a monster in this series.

Game 2 featured the Mariners' Aaron Sele facing off against the Phillies' Tommy Greene. The Mariners' bats were quiet this game, collecting a grand total of 4 hits! Boone would not be a factor in only this game, only because he got injured sliding into second base during the top of the 1st & would not return for the remainder of the game; Mark McLemore would slide over from short to second, as Carlos Guillen filled in at shortstop. Kevin Stocker's two-run single (his 3rd hit of the game), plus Lenny Dykstra's two-run double during the bottom of the 6th off of reliever Ryan Franklin will prove to be the dagger in this one, as the Phillies win 5-2.

After hosting the first two games of the series, the Phillies now travel to Seattle, now playing under A.L. (post-DH rules).

Lenny Dykstra would continue his hot hitting with a two-run homer in the top of the 3rd, putting the Phillies up 3-1. The Phillies pile on a couple more runs in the 4th, with Wes Chamberlain (playing DH in Seattle) would smack a two-run triple to score in both Dave Hollins & Darren Daulton.

The Phillies at this point, seemed to be in complete control, even after a solo HR by John Olerud in the 4th, had Seattle trailing 5-2. Bret Boone would make it a ballgame though, hitting a two-run HR (in the 5th) off of starter Curt Schilling to make it only a 5-4 Philly lead.

Man on a Mission: Bret Boone has put together a solid season (.351 BA, 10 HR & 27 RBI in 32 games).

Bottom of the 6th, with a man on second, Al Martin would hit a two-out single to score in Mike Cameron -- tying the game up at 5-5.

This game would go to extras, with the Mariners' bullpen dominating from the late top-of-the-5th onward -- by only allowing one hit (a Darren Daulton single), while logging 9 strikeouts! The Mariners' lineup, meanwhile, would get their hits, but keep falling short in driving that go-ahead run.

Eventually, with Mike Cameron on first, David Bell would deliver a walk-off double off of Roger Mason in the bottom of the 12th, to win the ballgame, 6-5; Bret Boone went 5-for-6, with a HR, double, 3 singles, 2 RBI & 2 runs in this one.

The Phillies would win Game 5, although they once again flirted with late game disaster, by edging the Mariners, 5-3. Lenny Dykstra hit another homer (his 5th), while collecting a late single & stolen base as well. Pete Incaviglia, who has lost playing time of late, due to his struggles at the plate, went 2-for-4 with a HR & 3 RBI. Danny Jackson (Grade C) pitched 6 good innings, allowing only 4 hits & one earned run (he did allow 4 walks though, while collecting no K's). Mitch Williams collects his 7th Save of the season.

The Phillies would walk away with a 2-2 series split, remaining 4 games out of 1st, but Phillies fans have to wonder, how much that Game 3 choke (which could have resulted in a 3-1 series win) will come back to haunt them. The Phillies are currently just outside of that 8-team playoff bubble at 17-15, with a 19+ scoring differential, tied with the 1981 Montreal Expos; The 2001 Seattle Mariners & 1998 Atlanta Braves are tied in 1st in the (Bobby Cox) Division race at 21-11.

Next up for these two teams: The Mariners get a push-over series against the 1999 Texas Rangers (who have no pitching), while the Phillies will have to face off against the team they are tied with, in the 81' Expos. I do think the Phillies have the edge in this series, but I believe Montreal will get a win here.

1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords / 1931 Philadelphia Athletics

It's been quite some time since I continued this series, played Game 1 quite a ways back, although I have the stats logged, but I currently can't find the game sheet at the moment, but Crawfords did win. It probably ended with Satchel Paige dominating as usual, he started 8 games this season & completed ALL 8 games, while logging two shutouts (one no-hitter against the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals)...

Here is Satchel's stats, this season....
  • 12 games, 8 GS, 8 CG, 2 SHO (including no-hitter).
  • Perfect 8-0 record.
  • 1.42 ERA (12 ER / 13 R)
  • Only 36 hits & 6 walks allowed (.553 WHIP)
  • 67 strikeouts
  • 76 Innings Pitched
  • 4 Saves (4-for-4 Save Opportunities)

Paige defeated Lefty Grove in Game 1, Grove struggled majority of season, but finally logged a win last series, and hung in there with Paige in Game 1 of this series, but Crawfords pull out the victory. Grove is now, 1-5, with a 3.47 ERA, after two strong starts of late.

Game 2 would be all about coming up clutch for the Crawfords -- in which they failed in this one. Four times in this game, they would have a runner in scoring position, with one out or less & they would come up empty each time. Crawfords only collected 7 hits in this one, one more than the Athletics though. The Athletics capitalized off their opportunities though, Mule Haas' RBI double & Jimmie Foxx would give the A's a 2-0 lead in the top of the 6th; Jimmy Dykes' RBI double in the 7th (after a lead-off Bing Miller triple) would give the A's a 3-0.

George Earnshaw's shutout bid would be spoiled by a 9th Inning homerun by the one-and-only Josh Gibson, his 6th HR (22 games played); Earnshaw collects 7 K's against the Crawfords. 

The Crawfords' Leroy Matlock who logged the loss in this one, actually was pitching a no-hitter through 5.1 innings, but would allow 6 hits for the remaining 3.2 innings though.

With the series tied 1-1 & new-found momentum, the Athletics take the series back home to Philadelphia, while the Crawfords will be sporting two APBA Grade D starting pitchers for Game 3 & Game 4 -- while Philly will be sporting a Grade B & C for the next two games.

Game 3 starts early with the Philadelphia A's up 3-0 after 3 innings. Max Bishop, who has played nothing like his card, enjoys his move to the 5th slot in the lineup, collecting two doubles in this game, while drawing a walk -- his two-out double made it 3-0 in the 3rd; Jimmy Dykes hit a two-run single in bottom of the 2nd to get things rolling.

Popeye Harris for the Crawfords, hits his 3rd HR of the season to give Pittsburgh some light. After the Athletics failed to get some runners in, during the bottom of the 5th, the Crawfords take advantage of the Athletics' failed opportunities, with a two-run 6th Inning double by Josh Gibson, to tie the ballgame at 3-3. Oscar Charleston continues the Crawfords' attack with an RBI single to give them the lead. 

X marks the spot, as Jimmie Foxx ties the game (4-4) late in the bottom of the 8th, with a lead-off homer off of reliever David Harvey

Top of the 10th, reliever David Harvey reaches first on an error by the Athletics' Dib Williams; Jimmy Crutchfield reaches on a walk, both on no outs. Popeye Harris would score in Harvey on a RBI single, Crutchfield advances to 3rd base. Josh Gibson's sac fly, scores in Crutchfield. These two runs would be enough, as Satchel Paige comes in for his 4th Save of the season.

For the Crazy 48's Season, starting pitchers can only come in for saves after a game's rest, so for starting pitchers in the first slot (aces), they can only come in (for one inning only) on the 3rd game of the series; Game 2 starters can come in for Game 4 bullpen sessions. 

It kind of helps these teams with small pitching staffs, especially a Negro League team like the Crawfords that ONLY have 6 total pitchers. Plus it gives these old teams, the old-school feel, starting aces like Lefty Grove of the Athletics are no strangers to Saves, Lefty logged 54 career saves, while actually leading the American League with 9 Saves in 1930.

Game 4 would be all about hitting for both teams, as they combined for 21 hits. Both starting pitchers were out of the game by the 6th Inning.

Statue of Cool Papa Bell outside of the Cardinals' ballpark.

The Crawfords would have a 6-2 lead after 5 innings, thanks to a two-run double by Cool Papa Bell; Bell also scored in previous innings twice, thanks to a bases on balls & triple -- finishing the game 2-for-3. Andrew Patterson also had two RBI on two hits, including a 2nd Inning triple. 

The Athletics would make a run at it, with three runs in the bottom of the 6th; Mule Haas had an RBI single, while Al Simmons followed with a two-run double. The Crawfords would end up holding on with a 7-5 victory, with Leroy Matlock coming in for his team-leading 5th Save.

The Crawfords would take the series, 3-1. Three of the games were close, with Philadelphia having a real shot at two of those other opportunities, so the script could have been flip-flopped and the last place Athletics could have gained some ground & with 4 more series against division rivals could have made a good jump start to a late playoff run, but it all may be too late.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The 'WHAT IF' 1975 World Series (Game 4)

George Foster making huge impact on series.
The Boston Red Sox find themselves up 2-1 in the series, after Rick Wise's Game 3 (4-0) shutout of the "Big Red Machine". Now Cincinnati looks to even things up, with Don Gullett (Grade A-Y) on the mound, as he will be matched up against the Red Sox' Cuban sensation Luis Tiant (Grade B-YZ).

Game 4 (at Cincinnati)

Denny Doyle leads the game off with a triple to left-center off of Gullet; Fred Lynn follows with sac fly RBI. Carl Yastrzemski hits a single to right, but Carlton Fisk & Dwight Evans would not continue this early momentum for Boston. Boston leads 1-0.

The Reds answer back quickly, starting with a lead-off double by Pete Rose to kick off the bottom-half of the 1st Inning; Joe Morgan draws a walk on next at-bat. Johnny Bench hits a grounder to deep second, as Boston gets the runner at second for the force; Fielder's choice, one out. Tony Perez steps up to the plate, with runners on the corner, slashes a single over short to drive in the tying run at 1-1; Bench advances to second. The dangerous George Foster would take advantage of a mistake pitch by Luis Tiant, sending the ball over the right field fence for a three-run homer. Reds take an early 4-1 lead.

Don Gullett would help his pitching cause with the bat, by leading off the bottom of the 2nd Inning, with a double off of Tiant. Pete Rose gives the Reds more scoring insurance, with RBI single.

Carlton Fisk would hit a three-run homerun in the top of the 3rd, to pull within a run, but that's as close as it would get, as the Reds come up huge later in the game with a monster 8th inning. The monster inning featured 7 runs, including a two-run single by Tony Perez.

Perez would finish the game with 3 hits, 3 RBI & 2 runs, while George Foster has been putting up great World Series numbers -- .563 Batting Average (9-for-16), 2 HR, 8 RBI & 6 runs.

Series is now tied 2-2, with Game 5 in Cincinnati.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Oh Canada!

Crazy 48's Season Update:

Bobby Cox Division action from the Stars League, as it's a series battle (4 games) between two Canadian teams -- the 1985 Toronto Blue Jays (15-13) & the 1981 Montreal Expos (14-14). Toronto enters the series in 3rd place, while the Expos are 5th; The top two teams in the division are the 2001 Seattle Mariners (20-9) & 1998 Atlanta Braves (21-11).

Both teams are going to have a tough time getting into playoff contention, Toronto has the best chances entering play this series, as the 1912 New York Giants (16-13) are holding onto that 8th spot, who are in 4th place in the Ruth Division.

The four-game series will take place in Montreal (under N.L. rules) for the 1st two games, and the last two games of the series will take place in Toronto (under A.L. rules).

For the Crazy 48's League, the road teams have to play to the home team's rules. All National League teams & all American League teams prior to 1973 -- pitchers bat; All A.L. teams from 1973 to current use the DH rule when at home.

We are currently playing the Games #29-32 series of the season, while all teams are scheduled for 48 games each; There are two leagues of 4 divisions each, each division has 6 teams, all adding up to a total of 48 teams.

Game 1 (at Montreal)

The 85' Jays' Ernie Whitt played huge role in Game 1.
The Toronto Blue Jays strike first with two solo home runs (George Bell & Ernie Whitt) during the top of the 2nd, an RBI single in the third by Willie Upshaw would make it 3-0 Jays.

The Montreal Expos would bounce back in the bottom of the third with Rodney Scott scoring on a Warren Cromartie sac fly, while Tim Raines, the runner on second would eventually score as well with a RBI single by Andre Dawson. Cromartie's RBI double in the 5th would tie the game at 3-3.

Ernie Whitt was the star of the game for Toronto going 4-for-4, with a HR, double, two singles & 2 RBI; His RBI double during the top of the 6th would be the difference maker. Tom Henke would come into the 9th & get his 6th Save.

Dave Stieb (2-3, 2.76 ERA) gets the win, allowing 5 hits, 4 walks & 3 earned runs in 8 effective innings, while striking out 4 batters.

Steve Rogers (2-5, 3.29 ERA) is on the losing end, allowing 4 earned runs, 2 walks & 8 hits through 6 innings, with only 1 K.

Game 2 (at Montreal)

Milner presents Hammer Time!
Toronto once again, gets off to another 3-0 start, this time in the first inning, as Damaso Garcia leads the game off with a solo shot to right... for Garcia that is actually his 4th HR already. With one out, George Bell steps to the plate after a Garth Iorg double; Bell would make Bill Gullickson pay with a two-run HR to deep center (6th HR of the season / team lead).

Just like last game, the Expos bounce back in the bottom of the 3rd, with back-to-back RBI doubles by John "The Hammer" Milner & Larry Parrish; Parrish would eventually get hurt on the field in the top of the 4th, when Lloyd Moseby (caught stealing third) slid into Parrish.

Tim Raines would steal his 4th base of the young series & would eventually get knocked in, by a Warren Cromartie single, tying the game at 3-3, during the bottom of the 6th; Raines, by the way, has 32 steals in 30 games for the season -- on pace for 51 steals for the Crazy 48's, while his 162-game MLB rate would be 173 steals!

This game would go to extras -- Warren Cromartie leads off the bottom of the 13th by drawing a walk off of Toronto reliever Gary Lavelle, two outs later, John Milner would hammer in the winning run, with a walk-off double! Milner would go 3-for-5, with 2 doubles, BB, 2 RBI & a run.

Bill "Spaceman" Lee (1-0) would record his 1st win of the season in relief, while striking out 3 Jays in 3 strong innings, allowing no runs & only two hits; Lavelle falls to 0-2 for the season.

Montreal evens series, with 4-3 victory.

Game 3 (at Toronto)

All Scott Sanderson in this one for the Expos, as he accomplished the first complete game of the season for the Montreal Expos' team -- a four-hit shutout! Jerry Manuel (starting instead of Chris Speier) collects two doubles (scoring once), while Tim Wallach collects 2 RBI.

Jimmy Key is the hard-luck loser (3-2, 4.03 ERA) with 7 innings of hard work, allowing 3 hits, 4 walks & two earned runs, while striking out only 2 Expos.

Game 4 (at Toronto)

Ray Burris (Grade B-Z) on the mound for Montreal, Jim Clancy (Grade C) on mound for Toronto. The game remains a 1-1 pitchers duel through 7 full innings. Gary Carter's bat finally sounds off in this one, by going 3-for-4, with a clutch two-run HR off of Dennis Lamp (credited with loss & is now 4-3 in relief).

Toronto, not only suffered a loss in the standings, but Ernie Whitt got injured & will miss the next 6 games -- including entire full crucial series against division rival 1998 Braves.

Montreal gets to take its new momentum against the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies; The Phillies are currently in a four-game series with the first-place 2001 Mariners (losing Game 1).

CURIOUS ABOUT THE STANDINGS? Here is the most recent posting (click below)...

Friday, October 14, 2016

1982 NXPL World Series (Game 7)

The 1982 NXPL World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals & my Detroit Tigers has been really entertaining to say the least. The Cardinals won the first two games of the series (both games in extras), 2-0 in St. Louis, the Tigers battled back by winning three straight games. The Tigers' momentum was halted with the Cardinals' Ron Guidry no-hitting the Tigers in their return to St. Louis.

So the series as predicted by many, ended up going at least 6 games, by going the full seven games, in what long-time NXPL'ers are calling a classic series.

GAME 7 (at St. Louis)

The Tigers send Dan Petry to the mound to face the Cards' Steve Carlton. The first inning would be 1-2-3 innings for both pitchers.

The Detroit Tigers would strike in this one, all starting in the 2nd Inning; Kirk Gibson (after a single) would advance to third on a Lou Whitaker double. Ben Oglivie would follow by scoring in both runners on a single. Alan Trammell's single would move Oglivie over to second & Petry would help his cause by hitting a two-out single to make it 3-0, Detroit!

The Cardinals answer back quickly in the bottom half of the 2nd. Terry Puhl would reach base with two outs, steal second, and then would score off of a Garry Templeton double. The Cardinals would surprisingly pull Steve Carlton for pinch-hitter Bake McBride, but McBride would come up empty, as Cardinals trail 3-1, after two innings.

The Cardinals' bullpen would take over after the quick hook to Carlton & they would succeed to keep the Tigers off the board until the top of the 5th Inning. With Ron LeFlore on, Bill Madlock would add his 3rd HR of the series, making it a Tigers' lead of 5-1.

Bottom of the 5th -- Glenn Wilson, who was pulled early in the series for Willie McGee, pinch-hit for pitcher Charlie Puleo, would hit a solo HR to make it 5-2, Detroit. Slight hope was starting to gleam for the Cardinals.

Bottom of the 6th - Terry Kennedy leads off with a single, followed by a Willie McGee single, with the tying run at the plate in Terry Puhl; Puhl would smack a single, flat-footed Kennedy would have to hold at third. No outs for the Cards, the Tigers' bullpen silent, as Garry Templeton lines it up the middle, to be caught by Lou Whitaker for the first out. Jim Dwyer would come in to pinch-hit for reliever Al Hrabosky, singling to right & driving in both Kennedy & McGee... Cardinals are now only trailing 5-4, as Puhl advances to third (Dwyer on 1st). Julio Cruz would hit a sac fly, tying the ballgame at 5-5, as now it's a new ballgame.

The 82' N.L. Batting Champ comes through.
With rookie Andy McGaffigan on the mound in the 9th for the Tigers, Tom Herr would lead off with a pinch-hit double. Julio Cruz tried to bunt over Herr to third, but would draw a walk instead, putting runners on 1st & 2nd. The Cards play small ball by having Ken Oberkfell successfully laying down a bunt down the 1st base line, as Jason Thompson was too slow to make a play at third to get the speedy Herr, as the runners reach 2nd & 3rd. Keith Hernandez who struggled overall in the series, did what a professional hitter does best & that's not over-think everything, by hitting a deep fly to left to Howard Johnson, Herr would tag-up and score to give the Cardinals a come-from-behind Game 7 victory to win the 1982 NXPL World Championship! Cardinals win 6-5, and for Manager Ron Zejdlik that's his 2nd NXPL World Championship, winning the other in 1979.

Hernandez by the way, won the N.L. Batting Title for the National League (NXPL) with a .352 batting average (he only batted .299 in real-life, 1982.

Second-year NXPL Manager Shawn Baier is really happy with his American League Champion, Detroit Tigers, and is really excited about the team's future. The rotation is solid for the next three seasons, and Tom Seaver returns to form in 1983. The rotation will be Mario Soto, Seaver, Dan Petry, Joaquin Andujar & Walt Terrell.

The NXPL is currently conducting its 1983 NXPL Draft via email. The Toronto Blue Jays traded away their #1 overall pick to the Baltimore Orioles, which the Orioles then drafted Darryl Strawberry.

The American League Champs (Tigers) through 4 rounds, have drafted SP-Mark Thurmond (who will be a fixture in the 84' rotation), RP-Keith Atherton, traded-up to draft C-Bill Schroeder & Terry Francona to be a good bench option with OF/1B depth.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Jinxes, Fans & Curses

A few things have caught my eyes lately on Facebook. I am a member on a few Baseball-themed Facebook groups, and the topics have me a bit riled up as of late.


For example, Sports Illustrated featured the 2016 Chicago Cubs on the cover of their issue as 2016 World Champions, and by doing so it sparked talks of the fact that the Cubs are cursed & now Sports Illustrated has supposedly jinxed them now.

Let's start with the fact that THERE IS NO SPORTS ILLUSTRATED COVER JINX!!!

This has been the most ridiculous, overrated nonsense I have ever heard, I cringe whenever people start talking of the SI cover jinx, to the same degree of someone dragging their nails across a chalkboard or to the pain of having to sit through a Taylor Swift song. Personally, I think the Madden video game cover curse has more of a track record to back itself up.

There is no SI cover jinx, this nonsense really took ground back in the mid-to-late 1980's when Sports Illustrated on a few occasions placed John Elway & the Denver Broncos on the cover, picking them to win, which they came up empty for the 1986, 1987 & 1989 seasons. Let me remind you that the Super Bowl is a 50/50 chance, and back in the day they only put one of the teams on the preview cover, now they find away by putting both teams on cover.. sometimes above on the title flap portion (topics in the issue)... so this means, we are guaranteed that one teams' fan-base will scream JINX! ... even though both teams are now featured on the cover!

The Buffalo Bills certainly didn't help deflate this nonsense, when the Bills would smoke most of their AFC opponents & then didn't show up for 4 straight Super Bowls.. Plus let's be honest Dr.Z was lousy as making predictions!

There has been numerous times where a team or sport athlete went on to success. Take SI record (most covers) cover boys, Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan -- these two went on to finish their business! There has also been Michael Phelps and Tiger Woods, both put on the covers, went on to succeed as well. I think one of the more recent 'jinxes' happened with the last issue Rhonda Rousey was deemed unstoppable & then she lost, and had to get rushed to the hospital... even in this case, she was featured at least 3 times before in which she went on to win.

For all the 'jinxes' you can put on the table, I will come back with plenty more covers that over-turn your proof... There is simply no jinx! Even Sports Illustrated has to be sitting back thinking this is absurd, but they won't deny it either, this is one of the things that keep SI relevant or trending.

Micheal Jordan's many covers & many successes.

I have repeated this subject over & over to the wife, and occasionally on Facebook groups about it as well. She has suggested in the past that I should write on the subject, and I got that extra motivation to do so recently, thanks to the San Francisco Giants' fan-base.


Every team has their fans & those teams' fans have their trademarks... Pittsburgh Steelers fans have the Terrible Towels, the St. Louis Cardinals are a dedicated sea of red in the stands, the Green Bay Packers are 'Cheeseheads', while Detroit Lions fans are just a hopeless, sad bunch... We don't talk harsh to Lions fans, we treat them like recovering alcoholics, patting them on the shoulder, in which we encourage them that everything will be alright & that the next day will be better. I personally can't speak much smack about the Lions... I am a Dallas Cowboys fan, you know... as in 'America's Team', although can we really call ourselves that anymore?! The Cowboys in recent years have not been much better than the Lions.

But let's get back on track here, so there is all these fan bases, THEN there is THAT fan base! -- The San Francisco Giants fan base! Now before I start teeing off on the Giants, let it be known that I do have a friend in Mike Miller, who is a wonderful guy, a guy who'll give you the shirt off his back, who happens to be a Giants fan, he loves his team & is truly faithful to his beloved Giants, but at the same time he NEVER comes off as annoying as the typical Giants fan does.

I decided to mention this fan base for a few reasons. They are now facing the heavily-favored Chicago Cubs in one of the National League Divisional Series; Vegas odds have the Cubs with best chances of winning the World Series at 9-5, followed by the Boston Red Sox (9-2), Texas Rangers (5-1) & Los Angeles Dodgers (5-1). The San Francisco Giants are 12-1 odds, and yes... it's an even year, so according to a typical Giants fan it's written on the same stone slabs that Moses handed out, saying the Giants shall not fail!

Of course, as predicted Giants fans (along with jinx supporting baseball fans in general) pointed at the recent Sports Illustrated cover (penning the Cubs as prophetic champions) -- noting that the Cubs will be jinxed by the all-mighty SI jinx, and that they will be unable to overcome the completely irreversible curse... although their present GM Theo Epstein did this with a once-cursed franchise in the Boston Red Sox (2004).

I love October for the following reasons....
  • I was born October 28th, 1976
  • I always loved autumn & Halloween.
  • Our wedding anniversary is October 7th, 2006 (Today).
  • Playoff Baseball
  • Football season -- I loved playing football in the backyards with friends, to the smell of burning leaves & changing colors.
The ONE reason I hate October...
  • San Francisco Giants fans
These fans get overly excited about every single play in the entire season, they make their mark on the internet with such bravado about their team, in the same way as Kanye West & Kim Kardashian love sending out self-absorbed tweets on a nightly basis.

It never used to always be this way, the Giants were not expected to do much entering the 2010 MLB Season & have not really had any success since their World Series collapse in 2002. It was easy to get behind this team for the 2010 World Series, Tim Lincecum was easily one of my favorite players in all of baseball. I rooted for them in 2010, and they won it against a tough Texas Rangers team... personally, I was just glad the New Yankees were not there.

Then came 2012, my beloved Detroit Tigers ran into the San Francisco Giants. We lost the series, while I also had to sit there & listen to Giants fans running their mouths, saying we had no business going there; The Tigers suffered the same consequences like in 2006, by sweeping our ALCS counterpart, and then sit for 5-6 days while we cooled off. I won't sit here & make excuses, but I think it would have been a much better series, if both teams were battle-ready. I will say the mid-season acquisitions of Hunter Pence & Marco Scutaro were bona fide moves by the Giants' brass, while those moves paid dividends.

It'll take more than Superman to pull off a 2016 miracle.
The Giants (or should I say Madison Bumgarner?) won it in 2014, now giving the annoying fan in orange a right to shout 'even year' over & over for 2016! Looking back at 2014 & their season numbers, I'm still scratching my head on how they even got there.

But let us talk about these 2016 San Francisco Giants, shall we? The team was 57-33 at the All-Star break, they have been 30-42 since (.417 winning pct) -- finishing at 87-75, 2nd place & by the skin of their neck, they reached the playoffs & defeated the New York Mets in the N.L. Wild Card team.

Time to take note, Giants fans, these are not the same Giants of previous championship years, your over-ridiculous luck will eventually run out. Although, their team ERA is 3.76 & their OPS is .728 --which is eerily similar to 2012's numbers, odds are the better teams will finally pull through... or at least for the sake of Baseball, I hope it does... this will go down as one of the biggest upsets in MLB history if these Giants defeat the Cubs, even with all that playoff experience backing San Fran. This time, Bruce Bochy is up against Joe Maddon, who is equally brilliant in his own right. Sorry Giants fans, no more Matt Williams making horrible decisions (taking out Jordan Zimmermann /2014 NLDS) to help you out this time!

There was a time when the one team I absolutely hated was the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox (division foe of Tigers) would eclipse them from time to time with that label... Now, it goes...

1) Giants   
2) White Sox   
3) Yankees


Once upon a time, there was a New England franchise that was so cursed that every time they got so close to success, they would find a way to completely fall on their face. There was the sale of Babe Ruth, then Bucky Bleepin' Dent, Bill Buckner's blunder & Aaron Boone, this team the Boston Red Sox was forever to be cursed with no hope in sight, then 2004 happened, then 2007 & then 2013, and the rest is history.

Now that same General Manager (Epstein) in Boston then, is the man in charge for the Chicago Cubs, for another franchise cursed by a Billy Goat, plagued with black cat sightings & a man named Bartman.

They are the best team on paper from top to bottom, Jason Heyward is batting 7th for crying out loud! Certainly they have no chance right? A curse is a curse in the same way that the city of Cleveland was cursed, but oh...
that's right...
curses end.
Cleveland rocks?! First pro title since 1964.

Lebron James & the Cleveland Cavaliers ended the 'curse' that plagued the city since the 1964 Cleveland Browns won a title (before the Super Bowls).

It is truly time for the best team to win the season again for MLB Baseball, I personally think this Chicago Cubs team is something truly special, and I believe they will finish what they started. Do I think there are curses? I'm more on the fence with this [than with jinxes]...

Overall, I think there can be a lot of bad luck, and that long droughts of coming up short or just flat-out losing just end up sinking into the minds of the players & fans.... I think the Detroit Lions fall into this boat, even though I do believe the Lions win the Super Bowl, that hell has completely frozen over. There is always going to be a baseball franchise that has gone for some time without winning the World Series, there is 30 teams & there are more playoff teams in today's playoff system, so the odds are much tougher. My Detroit Tigers have not won a World Series since 1984, and until 2006, they missed the playoffs every year from 1988 through 2005! Even after 2006, us Tiger fans had to wait another 5 years, then we were rewarded with four straight division titles from 2011-2014, and after all that, we are still empty-handed... are we cursed? Hell, no!

Does it start to all creep into our minds, as fans? Definitely, as I am sure the players start to feel the cities' expectations start to put weight on their shoulders... this is the difference between champions & hopeful challengers. This is where a Giants fan has the right to be proud of their franchise, because their team came out as champions, while the losing fan bases scratch away, hoping we can catch that sweet taste of success once again... or for some, for the very first time.

Do I still find most Giants fans still annoying?

You betcha!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Butler Whoops Glass in Toledo (Glass City Tournament)

I feel bad that I am finally getting around to a post about the 2016 Toledo Glass City Tournament highlights (The tournament happened a month ago to be exact). I have not seen any photos from the event, besides the picture (below) of Dick Butler holding the championship trophy.

I do have a couple of video links to share though, thanks to tournament administrator Ron Emch.

I have yet to experience this tournament in person, I plan go to the Toledo tournament inside the next couple year... For those that have never been to any APBA Tournament, you need to, it's an amazing experience & they are always fun -- plus meeting new friends, while enjoying your time with current friends that you got to know through tournament experiences together. I have met some of the guys at this tournament in previous tournaments & have formed friendships with Ron Emch, Dick Butler & John Roels, as well as a few others that were present during this tournament.

There is a few interesting things about the Tournament Championship between Butler & Roels; They are both from the same area in Michigan, and with a few other league members they play a season each year, by drafting out of a huge batch of APBA Cards from numerous years. John is no stranger to APBA Tournament success, he won the very 1st Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament with the 1937 New York Yankees over my younger brother Chris Baier's 2006 Detroit Tigers; He also reached the final four in this past summer's Chicago Fantasy World Series. I know Dick Butler has had some good runs of his own in this past, so it made me real happy to hear that he has finally won a APBA Tournament championship... It really couldn't have happened to a better guy. Dick has a wonderful presence about him, he is one of many reasons why I love these tournaments.

His 1969 Baltimore Orioles jumped out to an early 3-0 1st Inning lead, preventing John's 1927 New York Yankees from getting on the board until the 9th Inning -- winning an hard-fought 3-1 game to win the championship.

Once again, congrats to Dick Butler & hats off to Ron Emch for running another successful tourney!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Lightning Strikes! - 1982 NXPL World Series (Game 6)

The Detroit Tigers have battled back from a 2-0 deficit & now have the 3-2 advantage in the series. The Tigers send Joaquin Andujar to the mound to face off against the St. Louis Cardinals' Ron Guidry, as the series comes back to the Cardinals.

The Tigers decide to give Kirk Gibson a day off, with George Wright playing left, a defensive strategy (Wright has a fielding 2 with a 34 arm) -- that arm will be tough to tag up on.

GAME 6 (at St. Louis)

For the Tigers it would not matter if Gibson played or not, it ended up being a very long day for Detroit.

Tigers were no match for Guidry in Game 6.
The Cardinals team was greeted with a stadium full of a sea of red -- and the fans' spirits were as if they were up, 3-2 in the series (than the other way around). Ron Guidry, "Louisiana Lightning" was in full control, as he only allowed two walks to Mookie Wilson -- while he ended up NO-HITTING the Tigers' offensive juggernaut. What a way to bounce back from a so-so start in Game 3, by no-hitting the Tigers in a potential series clincher for Detroit, plus what a momentum shift, with the series now tied for anyone to win it in Game 7.

Guidry struck out 6 Tigers, while Willie McGee and Terry Puhl had to put on the after-burners to chase down some deep flies to keep the no-hitter in tact. He was backed offensively by Terry Kennedy (who's having a great series) with a 3-4 performance, his 1st HR of the series, plus 5 RBI in the game (7 RBI in series); Plus Keith Hernandez' bat finally woke up for 3 hits, lifting his low batting average up to .227 in the series... Leon Durham added two hits & scored three times for the Cards.

The Cardinals blow out the Tigers, 9-0.

The future Hall of Famer, Steve Carlton will face off against the Tigers' Dan Petry in the deciding last game.

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