Thursday, September 25, 2008

The race to 100 has been won!

By the Seattle Mariners! Congrats on not only being the first team eliminated from playoff contention, but you are also the first team to 100 losses! At 58-100, they still have the chance to be a sub-60-win team. Keep it up boys, I just know you can do it!

Other teams on their way to 100: The Nationals are sitting at 59-99, so they seem like a certainty. The Padres have a chance too, they are 61-97. Remember that the Padres just missed the playoffs last year, losing on the final day to force a one game playoff for the wild card with Colorado. Must've been pretty demoralizing, what with going from one win away from the playoffs to a possible 100 loss season.

On the other end of 100, the Angels sit 2 shy at 98-60, and the Cubs and Rays are 4 shy. Cubs are at 96-61 and the Rays at 96-62. Man, if the Rays can win out the rest of the season, they'll be a 100 win team. The Rays. A team that only once before had won 70 games in a season, could still be a 100 win team. Regardless if they get it or not, what a phenomenal turnaround for that franchise.

There are three awesome races going on in baseball right now. The Mets stand only 1.5 games behind the Phillies for first place in the NL East and are tied with the Brewers for the NL Wild Card. Over in the AL Central, with a spectacular win last night the Twins are only 1/2 game behind the White Sox for the division title. Tonight's game will determine who controls their own destiny in that division.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

100th anniversary of Fred Merkle's Boner

Today marks the 100th anniversary of an epic blunder on the part of one Fred Merkle, a play regarded as "Merkle's Boner."

I'm just going to go ahead and copy paste from Wikipedia on this one, as I have no additional insight to offer as honestly I've never heard of this before today.

On Wednesday, September 23, 1908, while playing for the New York Giants in a game against the Chicago Cubs, while he was 19 years old (the youngest player in the NL), Merkle committed a base running error that later became known as "Merkle's Boner," and earned Merkle the nickname of "Bonehead."

In the bottom of the 9th inning, Merkle came to bat with two outs, and the score tied 1-1. At the time, Moose McCormick was on first base. Merkle singled and McCormick advanced to third base. Al Bridwell, the next batter, followed with a single of his own. McCormick advanced to home plate scoring the winning run for the game. The fans in attendance, under the impression that the game was over, ran onto the field to celebrate.

Meanwhile, Merkle, thinking the game was over, walked to the Giants' clubhouse without touching second base. Cubs second baseman Johnny Evers noticed this, and after retrieving a ball and touching second base he appealed to umpire Hank O'Day, who would later manage the Cubs, to call Merkle out. Since Merkle had not touched the base, the umpire called him out on a force play, and McCormick's run did not count.

The run was therefore nullified, the Giants' victory erased, and the score of the game remained tied. Unfortunately, the thousands of fans on the field (as well as the growing darkness in the days before large electric light rigs made night games possible) prevented resumption of the game and the game was declared a tie. The Giants and the Cubs would end the season tied for first place and would have a rematch at the Polo Grounds, on October 8. The Cubs won this makeup game, 4-2, and thus the National League pennant.

So there you have it. Had it not been for a Giants base running mistake (and the remainder of the season played out as it did), the Cubs would never have made the playoffs in 1908, the year of their last World Series victory.

Is there a Curse of Merkle's Boner? If so, I haven't heard of it. But it would make sense if you believe in curses. They got a gift trip to the World Series, which they won, so perhaps the past 100 years have been karma reclaiming what's due?

Monday, September 22, 2008

So I haven't updated in awhile...

So maybe I'll ramble a bit on what's been going on in baseball.

Yankee Stadium is done, save for a miraculous Yankees comeback, which would require winning out the rest of the season and the Red Sox losing out. So yeah, the Yankees are set to miss the playoffs for the first time since the strike. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays's magic number to clinch the division title is down to 5. So that's pretty exciting. I watched the game in which they clinched their first playoff appearance, and that was fun, except it came at the hands of Twins. Oh well, I'm too happy for the Rays to take it too personally that they clinched against my team.

Yes, my team. My true identity is Carl Pohlad.

The Brewers fired their manager with just a couple weeks left of the season. I understand why, but still weird timing. I guess whatever steps you need to take to spark that team into making a better push for the wild card than they have been this month. Speaking of this month, Ryan Howard has been a beast hitting .348/.420/.855 with 9 home runs and 27 RBI through the first three weeks of September (though he did go 0-4 tonight...slacker).

But speaking of the Brewers, it would seem that they are in direct competition with the Mets as to who can have a bigger late season collapse. Whichever one doesn't make the playoffs shall be declared the Fail Kings.

MVP awards? I like Justin Morneau's chances in the AL, though Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis are both worthy candidates, as is Joe Mauer. Also I suppose A-Rod should always be considered no matter how poorly the Yankees performed this year. Josh Hamilton's awesomeness has certainly dwindled as the season has progressed, and Carlos Quentin's injury may have killed his chances. NL: There's a few Phillies worthy of consideration, and Pujols is once again a stud. But with how they've greatly helped their teams make late season pushes, I think we could maybe see a MVP repeat of 2006 with Morneau and Howard. If Howard had a better BA, I would think he would be a no doubter.

Cy Young? Cliff Lee in the AL for sure, though that should diminish the great season that Roy Hallady has had. NL? My vote (which I don't have) goes to Tim Lincecum. It's too bad the Giants suck so bad as this has resulted in lil' Timmy not getting the recognition he deserves for the season he's had. Dude ripped right through the minors, playing in only 13 games before making it to the bigs.

In other random (non-baseball...gasp!) sports stuff, the U of M Golden Gophers football team is 4-0, and while that is against non-conference opponents, it's a nice change from last season's 1-11 record. Also, the Vikings may be on the right path to righting the ship. Beating the Panters bumped them up to 1-2, just one game behind the Packers at 2-1.

Ok, I'm gonna be done rambling for now and leave on this note. The Twins host the White Sox this week for a pivotal three game series at the dome. At 2.5 games out of first, the Twins need these games like (insert whatever analogy you please here, I'm feeling lazy).

Go Twins!

Friday, September 19, 2008

George Brett shits his pants a lot...and loves it?

The video on youtube has been removed, but here it is on a different video player: