Tagged: boston

What’s wrong with King Felix

Where is King Felix? The person on the mound the last three starts is not the King who was being talked about for the Cy Young Award.

After setting a major league record for most consecutive starts pitching at least seven innings allowing two runs or less he is pitching not like Cy Young, but Eric Bedard. Sorry Eric.

In his last three starts Felix has pitched 17. 2 innings, allowed 22 hits, 6 of which are home runs, and allowed 10 runs, a 5.09 ERA. His ERA has jumped from 1.95 to 2.23. He has given up 6 of his 13 home runs in the last three games, 4 came last night against Washington.

And what is worse is that the Mariners gave Felix an extra day of rest. This season when given the extra day he had been 7-0 with a 1.77 ERA. Heck yeah, give him the extra day. Perhaps the law of averages caught up with Felix, or perhaps that is not the real Felix. Has the real Felix been kidnapped by gamblers and a celebrity look-a-like put in his place? 

Something is wrong.

In the August 14th game against Detroit and David Price, though Felix only gave up 2 runs in five innings he threw 92 pitches. That is what Felix throws in seven or eight innings, not five. Against Boston in 5.2 innings it was worse. He threw 116 pitches. He only threw 103 in his seven innings against Washington, but he gave up 10 hits and four homers.

The answer could be he has hit a dead arm phase that all pitchers seem to go through. It could also be that Felix, who has not pitched well in August or September the last couple of years is tired. In 2012 he was 0-4 in August and September, in 2013 he was 1-6. A 1-10 record down the stretch that last two years does not bode well if Felix continues. So far Felix is 2-2 in August, now comes September.

Felix must regain his Cy Young form otherwise the Good Ship Mariner will sink into Elliot Bay.

 

Baseball’s first umpire and his long walk to work

April 22nd, 1876, Boston and Philadelphia played the first game in National League history. Back then there was only one umpire and William McLean was chosen to be the first umpire. He was selected because having umpired since 1872, he developed a reputation for honesty and the ability to control a game, not easy when you are one man in a roughhouse era of baseball.

He was born, depending on the source, either in 1833 in Scotland, or 1835 in England. His family moved to Philadelphia when he was ten. He participated in cricket, boxing, gymnastics, and race walking, so he must have been athletic.

If what I read is true he believed in keeping fit. He lived in Providence, Rhode Island. It was said he either woke up at 4 a.m. or left at that time to reach Boston, 50 miles away. I say 50 miles because that is the distance that came up when I Googled. I live on the west coast and am unfamiliar with the New England area.

Assuming he left at 4 a.m. if he walked five miles per hour it would take ten hours, getting him to Boston at 2 p.m. Since they only played day ball the time is about correct. Of course as a race walker, he may have walked at a faster pace. And he did this on a daily basis when he umpired in Boston, at least that is the inference I drew.

One can factor in that the fifty miles today is based on highway. In 1876 could the distance have been different? Was there a shortcut? Could it have been longer?

The fifty mile walk to work sounds like a tall tale, something out of Paul Bunyan. There is no way to confirm the McLean walk, but considering his athletic youth, it is certainly possible he was a fitness fanatic. Could be he didn’t like horses. It could also be he did the walk on opening day in 1876, and the legend grew out of that.

Boston won that first game 6-5. There is no record on how Bill McLean got home.

Are the Boston Red Sox the new evil empire

If you are baseball fan you are either a Yankee lover or Yankee hater. There is no in-between.  People hate the Yankees for the same reason they hate major corporations, mainly pinstripes, symbolic of money, corporate greed, the rich and powerful. The Yankees have won 27 World Series titles out of the 40 Fall Classics they have played. The St. Louis Cardinals are second with a mere 11 titles. Chances are by the end of this century they will still be the leader.

But is it not time to look at the Boston Red Sox as the new team on the block to despise, to hate, to root against. Are they the ‘new’ Yankees, the team with too much success?

It was fun in 2004 when Boston swept the Cardinals for their first title since 1918. They were the sentimental pick, the pick for those that love the underdog, the cute, cuddly pick. But things have changed.

Since 2004 Boston has won three titles, the Yankees one. After sweeping the Cardinals in 2004, they swept the Rockies in 2007 and took four of six from the 2013 Cardinals. That is a 12-2 World Series record in their last three appearances. Dominating. Of course those type of numbers appeal to the type of neutral fans who are front runners, the type who only pull for top teams. These type of fans are to be avoided. There is something wrong with these folk.

True, the Yankees have won 951 games in the last ten years and Boston 910. In 2012 Boston won only 69, but if you take their average season for the other nine years and replace the 69 with the 93, they still fall short of New York.

But what matters is the World Series. And with three dominating championships in ten years I no longer find the Red Sox the cute and cuddly choice. They are too good, too dominating, too powerful. The only thing missing is pinstripes. The pinstripes may not be visible, but they are there in spirit and intent.

It is time for new cute and cuddly choices. Some team needs to step up like the Cubs or the Mariners. Okay, neither team can step up quick enough, but at least Boston provides true fans with someone to root against come October.

For the record I am not a Yankee fan. I grew up a Dodger fan, now I am a fan of losers.

Red Sox-Cardinals World Series history, 1946, 1967, and 2004

When you consider the Boston Red Sox were 5-0 in World Series play, having won the flag in 1903, 1912, 1915, 1916, and 1918, before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1946 and throw in two more October meetings in the Fall Classic, you see they have history between them.

In the 1946 opener, the Cardinals led 2-1, but in the top of the 9th inning, Tom McBride hit a 2-out single scoring pinch runner Don Gutteridge to tie the game, then in the 10th Bobby Doerr hit a 2-out homer to give the Sox a 3-2 win. The Cardinals, however, would win games six and seven to claim the title. McBride, by the way, had only one more hit in the Series, going 2-12 with that one game tying rbi. 

English: American baseball player Babe Ruth, p...

English: American baseball player Babe Ruth, publicity photo, 1918, Boston Red Sox (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boston would not get to the World Series again until 1967 when once again they faced the Cardinals. This was during an era when the games were played during the day, not at night, thus assuring  high school boys, such as yours truly, would skip school, go to a friends house, where a dozen of us watched the games. Sometimes teachers would allow someone in the class to play their transistor radio so everyone could hear the game. The World Series was bigger then, more like the Super Bowl today, and school obviously more fun.

But I digress. The 67 opener saw the Cardinals Bob Gibson beat Boston 2-1, then shutting them out in game four, 6-0, and winning game seven 7-2. Gibson was dominant in World Series play, going 7-2, losing to Mickey Lolich and the Tigers in game seven of 1968 and to Mel Stottlemyre and the Yankees 8-3 in game two of the 1964 Classic.

So Boston after going 5-0 in World Series championships had now lost two straight, both to the Cardinals, and both in seven games. Boston would lose to Cincinnati in 1975 and to the Mets in 1986, and losing both in game seven.

The Cardinals had sent the Red Sox into a tailspin, but in 2004, the curse of the Bambino ended when Boston got their revenge and swept the Cardinals in four games. No doubt they knew a game seven would be fatal.

The Cardinals are 11-7 in the World Series, the Red Sox are 7-4. The way Boston played in the 2013 opener they are trying to avoid another game seven. We shall see how history writes this Series.

 

The evolution of baseball on field celebrations needs to take this next step.

I watched Tampa Bay’s Jose Laboton hit his walk-off home run to beat Boston. As usual with all walk-off home runs there is a tunnel of players at home plate to pound him on the back as he runs the gauntlet to touch home. Then the players gather into a 25 man group hug, jumping up and down together like soccer fans on meth.

I thought how odd it was. In the old days, the player who hit the game winning homer was met at home with handshakes, but not the whole team, more than likely the hand shake came from the on deck batter and whoever else straggled out. The team usually waited near the dugout. Not much hugging though.

Wil Nieves Walk Off Home Run

Wil Nieves Walk Off Home Run (Photo credit: Scott Ableman)

The same activity, though a bit more chaotic, happens when a team like the Dodgers, later in the night, wins the division series and advances to the championship series. They also like to pound each others backs, give hugs, and jump up and down like those meth head soccer nuts. I remember when the Dodgers won the 1965 World Series against the Twins  (I was a mere child). Comparing the Dodgers win over the Braves in the NLDS and the 65 Dodgers, you would never know the 65 team just won the World Series. The smiles were all the same, but the body language has certainly changed.

I forget which player from days earlier than the 60’s said, you have to have a lot of boy in you to play baseball. (I think it was Don Newcombe). Certainly true of todays players who act like little boys when a home run ends the game or their team wins the World Series or league championship. It is not meant as derogatory. I find it ironic because today’s players make more money then players in olden times. It means millionaires celebrating like today’s players do, is an indication that money has not jaded them. They act like the little boys in themselves, as if the are back in little league.

Teams used to celebrate in their clubhouse, now they do it on the field. Nothing wrong with any of it, but, to be honest, it is getting redundant. Some team needs to bring into existence the next evolutionary act of celebrating. Maybe winning players jumping into the stands and hugging fans, kissing babies, and posing for twitter pics. I like it.

Who was dumber, Seattle Mariner or Minnesota Twins

David Ortiz made a name for himself in Boston, probably a Hall of Fame DH. But at one time he was in the Mariners organization and later was with the Twins. The question is who was dumber to let him go.

He was signed by the Mariners as an amateur free agent in 1992. He made his minor league debut in 1994 at the age of 18 in the Arizona rookie league hitting .246 with 2 homers in 167 at bats. Next year, same league, he hit .332 with 4 homers in 184 at bats. In 1996 he made the jump to A ball with Wisconsin hitting .322 with 18 homers and 93 RBIS. Only 20 and showing lots of potential.

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox points to th...

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox points to the sky (as in, to God) in tribute to his mother after hitting a home run. 20:34, 17 April 2007 . . Toasterb . . 858×1620 (214,756 bytes) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Mariners were in a playoff hunt in 1996 and on August 29th acquired Dave Hollins from the Twins for the proverbial player to be named later. On September 13 David Ortiz was the proverbial player. It can be said that giving up an A ball player in a playoff drive is a safe bet. Now it looks like a steal, but in 1996 no one noticed. Hollins, by the way, hit .351 in 94 at bats. He did his part. 

Ortiz got into 15 games with the Twins in 1997 and split time with them and their minor league affiliates for a few years, also having wrist injuries in 198 and 2001. But in 2002 he hit .272 in 125 games with 20 homers and 75 RBIS at the age of 26. So what did the Twins do? Following the season they released him. Good bye, so long, thanks for nothing. good luck.

The Mariners would love a .275 hitter with 20 home runs and 75 RBIS. Can  we go Back to the Future?

In his first year with Boston he hit .288, slugging 31 homers, driving in 101 runs, the first of five consecutive years driving in 100+ runs. And to rub a little salt into the Twins wound, Ortiz finished fifth in MVP voting.

There is no point going over his Boston career, that is not  we are here for. We are here to see who is dumber Seattle or Minnesota. It is clear. The Mariners thought they had a good young player, but they could not know he would be a Hall of Famer, and you have to pay when you want to trying to get to the playoffs. The Twins, however, had a bat with 20 homers and a good average, and released him. They got nothing.

Twins win!

Should the Mariners do what the Idaho Vandals football team did

It worked for the Idaho Vandals in college football, maybe the Seattle Mariners can try the same approach.

Idaho and Washington would meet each September in Husky Stadium. Idaho, after getting vandalized by the Husky’s 36 out of 40 games, tying two, winning two, they cried uncle, choosing to abandon the series. Who can blame them? Too bad, the Husky’s always got a win, and the Vandals had cute cheerleaders.

English: Logo for University of Idaho Vandals ...

English: Logo for University of Idaho Vandals Category:University logos Category:Sports logos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seattle should do the same with the Boston Red Sox. Thankfully they are done with them for 2013. The Mariners won the first meeting July 8 in Seattle 11-4 which at that time gave Seattle five wins in seven games. But Boston won the next three of the four game series by scores of 11-8, 11-4, and 8-7. The losing streak to the Red Sox is now six after being  swept in Boston. The Mariners lost 8-2 Tuesday, then lost a heartbreaking 15 inning game Wednesday, 5-4.

That set up the fiasco of Thursday. King Felix pitches 7 innings allowing one run. Mariners led 7-2 going into the bottom of the 9th and Tom  Wilhelmsen, Oliver Perez, and Yoervis Medina faced 10 batters, got one out, and blew the game for Felix as Boston’s six run inning gave them a shocking 8-7 win, torpedoing the Good Ship Mariner. It is bad enough that frequently King Felix gets no runs to work with, losing games 1-0, or 2-0, or drawing a no decision. The three members of the bullpen who pitched the ninth in Boston sabotaging Felix’s great effort should walk the plank in shark infested waters.

What Brendan Ryan is to hitting is what Wilhelmsen is becoming to closers. The waters he is navigating, if he keeps this course, will find him out of a job next season.

The Mariners should cry uncle to Major League Baseball, call Commissioner Bud and get Boston off the schedule next year, and every year that Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are there. It is a mismatch. Seattle and Boston may both be in the American League, but the Mariners are clearly not in the same league competitively. Seattle are the Vandals to Boston’s Husky’s. The Mariners are the new Vandals, but without cute cheerleaders.