Baseball Toaster The Griddle
Monthly archives: October 2008


The Stove continues to burn
2008-10-31 12:16
by Bob Timmermann

From the San Diego County Griddle office of Eric Stephen:

Blue Jays pick up the option on Rod Barajas.

Mets pick up the option on Carlos Delgado.

Red Sox keep Tim Wakefield employed.

The Hot Stove is lit
2008-10-30 10:48
by Bob Timmermann

While I pondered a World Series where a J.C. (Juan Carlos Romero) beat a J.P. (James Phillip Howell) twice and wondered why a J.A. (James Anthony Happ) wasn't given a shot, I decided to move on to next season.

I debate the efficacy of posting links to offseason moves since there are a lot of readers who just monitor websites seemingly 24/7 waiting to see which players on the Nationals are having their options declined. But for today....

Ken Macha is the new manager of the Brewers. Dale Sveum, we hardly knew ye.

Mike Jacobs has been dealt from Florida to Kansas City for Leo Nunez. The link above contains a link to "Find the perfect Royals gift." I would comment on that, but Royals fans have suffered enough.

So long and thanks to everybody for playing this year
2008-10-29 19:00
by Bob Timmermann

Image via Flickr

Congratulations to the World Series Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies.

And so long to the AL Champion Tampa Bay Rays.

Game 5 World Series Open Thread: Last Gaspers vs Confident Guys, 5:37 pm PT (SUSPENDED), 5:37 pm PT Tuesday?? Wednesday?
2008-10-29 14:00
by Bob Timmermann

"And so we enter... endgame."

Scott Kazmir takes the mound tonight for Tampa Bay to keep the 2008 World Series going until Tuesday, but Cole Hamels starts for Philadelphia and there is a good chance that there will some Champagne spilled tonight in Pennsylvania. It might even slosh over to New Jersey.

The Phillies can make me zero for two in postseason predictions.

During Game 1 of the ALCS open thread, I predicted that the winner of that game would win the World Series. Perhaps that should count as a double error. (It's comment 90.)

Then over at Baseball Analysts, I said:

Who will win the World Series? Rays

How many games? 6 games.

Why? The Phillies will win one start from Hamels and scratch out another from one of the other starters, but the Rays showed that they can hit the ball over the fence. Frequently. More frequently than the Phillies.

If you're going to be a failure, you might as well as be a spectacular one.

UPDATE - The resumption of Game 5 has now been pushed back to Wednesday. 188th pitch is tentatively scheduled for 5:37 pm PT in Philadelphia. If you're going to the game, bring a jacket. And gloves. And a hat.

If there is a Game 6, it will be played Thursday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, around the same time all the other games have started (5:29-5:37 pm PT). There has been no date or time set for a potential Game 7 however.

Robbery or common sense?
2008-10-29 07:30
by Bob Timmermann

With all the caterwauling that has accompanied Bud Selig's decision, all I can do is plug my ears and hope that the din dissipates. And yet, the only way there won't be any complaints is if the Phillies win the conclusion of tonight's Game 5.

People can quote the rule book day and night about this (especially since the game has taken that long), but I'm still convinced that Commissioner Bud Selig, despite all of his PR miscues, did the best job he could and made the correct decision once he was forced into it. You can make an argument that the game shouldn't have started or been called before five innings and I would see your point.

But if you think that under any circumstance that the Phillies should have been awarded a win for a rain-shortened game, I will object. I will strenuously object.

Baseball's rule book is not the Code of Hammurabi. It is not the Ten Commandments (although it used to have 10 sections, it's been recodified to have 11, although 11 is the index and God didn't give Moses an index. Something like "Kill, Thou Shalt Not - 5"). The baseball rule book has been molded and shaped as situations occur.

This is not unlike American common law. If the baseball rule book were enforced to its letter all the time, there would be violations noted all the time. People would argue and the games would take forever. If your state's penal code were enforced as rigidly as some want baseball's rule book to be, prisons would be overflowing with people. (Oh wait, they are. Pick a better example to illustrate my point on your own. You can do it.)

Game 5 of the World Series will go at least 9 innings. Why? Because it's fair. It's a radical concept.

Somewhat related to this: A Las Vegas sports book is paying off people who bet on the Phillies to win for Game 5.

Even though the suspended game is tied 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Phillies were 2-1 winners in the eyes of Vegas.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Nevada gaming rules state that for betting purposes, the final score of an official baseball game is determined by reverting to the last completed inning. The Phillies held a 2-1 lead after five innings.

“We’re just following the regular baseball rules. This is a common rule,” Las Vegas Hilton sports book director Jay Kornegay told the newspaper. “We can’t make exceptions.

This is why you shouldn't bet on baseball. The rules that Kornegay are referring are the sports books rules on betting baseball, not the rules of baseball.

Great moments in bad World Series weather, part two
2008-10-28 18:09
by Bob Timmermann

The 1909 World Series between the Pirates and Tigers was another World Series beset by cold temperatures. The series was set up so the Pirates would host Games 1 and 2, then it moved to Detroit for Games 3 and 4, then to Pittsburgh for Game 5, and then back to Detroit for Games 6 and 7.

Game 4 of the 1909 Series was played in Detroit on October 12 and the gametime temperature was 34 degrees. The Tigers won the game 5-0 and the Pirates committed six errors. The Retrosheet box score also notes that this was the first World Series game to have four umpires. The "first base" and "third base" umpires actually served more like the left field and right field umpires of today as they weren't supposed to make calls on the bases. (The Retrosheet box score actually uses LF and RF as their designation.)


Alan Schwarz of the New York Times had an interesting piece about the poor weather in the 1911, 1960, and 1975 World Series.


Game 4 of the 1968 World Series was played in poor weather in Detroit (note to self: don't visit Detroit in October). There was rain off and on throughout the game and it was delayed for 74 minutes in the top of the third.

After the delay, with more rain falling, both teams were accused of either trying to speed up the game (the Cardinals) or delay it (the Tigers) in order to make the game official or unofficial.

News reports of the game had home plate umpire Bill Kinnamon stating that he told both Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst and Tigers manager Mayo Smith that no delaying or speed up tactics would be allowed.

There were two plays that were questionable. In the top of the fourth, with the Cardinals ahead 6-0, Detroit first baseman Norm Cash ambled over to pitcher Daryl Patterson to "discuss strategy." Cash admitted after the game that he was stalling. In the top of the fifth, Cardinals second baseman Julian Javier was picked off first to end the inning.

The Cardinals won the game 10-1 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. And the Cardinals then lost three straight to Detroit.


The new Rays fight song
2008-10-28 11:46
by Bob Timmermann

With the bad weather in Philadelphia forcing Tampa Bay to scramble for a new hotel, the Rays were forced to bunk in Wilmington, Delaware.

So let's all sing:

Great moments in bad World Series weather
2008-10-27 22:30
by Bob Timmermann

The World Series had its share of bad weather before tonight.

In the 1908 World Series between the Cubs and Tigers, temperatures for most games were in the 30s and 40s. The attendance for Game 5 (which was the finale) at Detroit's Bennett Park was a whopping 6,210.

In 1911, the World Series alternated games between the Polo Grounds in New York for the Giants and Shibe Park for the Athletics. Game 3 was on October 17 in New York. Game 4 was on October 24 in Philadelphia. And in 1911, the NL season lasted one week longer than the AL season to boot.

And then there was Game 7 of the 1925 World Series. The defending champion Washington Senators had taken a 3-1 lead in the series, but couldn't close the deal against the Pirates at Griffith Stadium in Game 5 and then lost Game 6 at Forbes Field.

Game 7 was scheduled for October 14, 1925, but heavy rains postponed the game one day. And over 46,000 showed up at Forbes Field on October 15 to watch Game 7. And Commissioner Kenesaw Landis was determined that Game 7 was going to be played. However, it was still raining. And a bit foggy. And the field was muddy. And it was cold. And it was dark.

But the game went on as scheduled.

The Senators scored four times in the top of the first to knock out Pirates starter Vic Aldridge after just 1/3 of an inning. And the Senators had Walter Johnson pitching.

But the Big Train didn't have it. Pitching with a bad leg and in bad weather, Johnson gave up 15 hits and shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh made two key errors behind him.

Nursing a 7-6 lead in the 8th, Johnson retired the first two Pirates before surrendering a double to catcher Earl Smith and Emil Yde pinch ran. Pinch hitter Carson Bigbee then doubled to left to score Yde with the tying run. Eddie Moore walked and Max Carey reached on a Peckingpaugh error that loaded the bases. Kiki Cuyler then stroked an automatic double to right field to score two runs and give the Pirates a 9-7 lead that Red Oldham made stand up in the 9th.

In the New York Times account of the game (by James R. Harrison):

Water, mud, fog, sawdust, fumbles, muffs, wild throws, wild pitches, one near fist fight, impossible rallies -- these were mixed up to make the best and worst game of baseball played in this country. Players wallowing ankle deep in mud, pitchers slipping as they delivered the ball to the plate, athletes skidding and sloshing, falling full length, dropping soaked baseballs -- there you have part of the picture that was unveiled on Forbes Field this dripping afternoon.

The suspension that never was from 1998 and Bud speaks
2008-10-27 20:41
by Bob Timmermann

Back on October 2, 1998, the New York Yankees took a 2-0 lead into Game 3 of the ALDS at Arlington against the Rangers.

The Yankees led 4-0 after 8 innings when heavy rains and a tornado warning hit the area. The game was delayed for 3 hours and 16 minutes, but eventually the rain subsided and the Yankees were able to close out the game.

But would the game have ended after 8 innings if the rain hadn't stopped? News accounts from the day seem to indicate it would have been suspended anyway.

From Larry Whiteside of the Boston Globe:

After a delay of 3 hours 16 minutes while the wind and rain of this Texas twister raged, conditions finally cleared and the game was resumed, with the Yankees retaining their 4-0 cushion through eight innings.

Under normal circumstances, the game would have been suspended and resumed today at the point where it was stopped. But this situation left officials in a quandary. To suspend the game would have created a possible logistical nightmare for the fans and television networks covering the series.

Had the Rangers won after the game was resumed today, Game 4 would have followed -- but only after The Ballpark was cleared so fans holding tickets for today's regularly scheduled game could get to their seats. The allotted turnover time was to be a mere 30 minutes. Beyond that, NBC aired last night's game, but ESPN would carry Game 4.

Jamie Aron, Austin American-Statesman

The game didn't resume until 12:24 a.m. and ended at 1:26 a.m.

More than two inches of rain fell during the three-hour, 16-minute holdup, which threatened to cause the first suspended game in postseason history. Plans had been made to resume the game, if halted, today at 12:07 p.m. Around 5,000 of the 49,950 fans remained and were as loud as the full house had been.

 From the NY Times Bats Blog:

UPDATE, 11:24: Selig just explained that if the Phillies had been ahead when play was stopped, the game would have technically entered a “rain delay.” That means that we would have waited here until conditions were playable again. But Selig specified that it would not have been called a Phillies victory. “I wasn’t about to let that happen,” he said.

Baseball has also had a rule that any game that is halted by rain won't resume after 12:45 am, which could still be in effect. Essentially, Selig could have ordered the game stopped by rain and then at some late hour, ordered the game "restarted" with no intention of restarting and then the game would have been suspended.

Investing with Brad Lidge
2008-10-27 09:53
by Bob Timmermann

As long as your money is in a save situation this year, I'd follow Brad Lidge's advice:


Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Brad Lidge said he's checked in with his financial adviser throughout the Major League Baseball playoffs as the Standard & Poor's 500 Index has dropped 25 percent in October. It's been a topic of conversation in the clubhouses of the Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays as players flip through newspapers and watch television.

``We are paying more attention now than we ever have,'' said Lidge, who has made almost $17 million in his seven-year career. ``Not so closely that it's going to distract us, but we are all aware that maybe we should be moving stuff into real estate right now.''

Later on in the story:

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, 54, majored in economics at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and has posted quotes from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan around the Rays clubhouse.

Perhaps something along the lines of: “Those of us who have looked to the quality of our three and four hitters to produce runs, myself especially, are in a state of shock and disbelief,” he told the committee.

Game 4 World Series Open Thread: Floridians versus Pennsylvanians, 5:35 pm PT
2008-10-26 16:00
by Bob Timmermann

Game 4 beckons with presumably better weather. I'll be watching this game at my brother's place, so I will just be with people in spirit.

Andy Sonnanstine will pitch for Tampa Bay and Joe Blanton for Philadelphia. While neither pitcher is his team's ace, both have pitched pretty well in the postseason. Sonnanstine has won both his starts and has given up five earned runs in 13 innings. Blanton has a win and a no-decision and has given up four earned runs in 11 innings.

Commenter das411 has some photos from his first ever trip to see a World Series game in person.

(Insert Joe Posnanski-esque asterisk) Not having anything to do with the World Series, I went to the Breeders' Cup races at Santa Anita on Saturday. One of the sponsors of the races is the Bessemer Trust.

When I checked their website, one of the parts it read:

Ironically, the more wealth one accumulates, the more complicated life can become. Thoughtful planning can help ensure your wealth is a source of satisfaction and opportunity — for you and your family.

I regret being a member of the middle class. I have just enough complications in life to make life difficult. If only I could be in abject poverty. That sounds sweet!

At least Bud Selig didn't have to do this...
2008-10-26 09:56
by Bob Timmermann

My brother passes along this press release from the NHL:

                       GAME AT TD BANKNORTH GARDEN
     TORONTO/BOSTON (October 25, 2008) - The Boston Bruins and National Hockey League announced a change in game format for their game tonight against the Atlanta Thrashers at TD Banknorth Garden.
     The  third  period  in  tonight's game will be split, with the team's switching  ends  at  the first stoppage in play after the 10-minute mark of the  period.   The  Bruins and Thrashers will begin the third period in the same  ends  that  they  finished  the  second  period.  Following the first stoppage  after  the  10-minute  mark  of  the third period, the teams will switch ends, and the face-off will take place on the opposite side of where play ended.
     The  change  in  format is occurring due to incorrect markings on the West  End (visitors bench side) of the TD Banknorth Garden ice. In the West End,  the  two  face-off  dots  are  24 feet from the goal line - four feet longer  than  NHL  specifications.   The corresponding face-off circles are also four feet further away from the goal line.
     The  ice  sheet  will  be  replaced  prior to the Bruins next game on Saturday, Nov. 1.

This never would have happened if all NHL games were played at neutral sites.

Game 3 World Series Open Chat, Tampa Bay at Philadelphia, 5:35 pm PT, or so
2008-10-25 16:00
by Bob Timmermann

With rain in the forecast for much of the day and night in Philadelphia, this game could be delayed or possibly be starting and stopping. Eventually, it should be ALCS MVP Matt Garza facing NLCS LVP (Phillies division) Jamie Moyer.

Of course, if we followed the incredibly idiotic Bill Plaschke plan to "save" the World Series, we'd be enjoying this game live from Chase Field in Phoenix. Some people were displeased with this idea, which transcends idiotic.

Let's say you're a fan of a team that has waited 15 years to make the World Series and you live in a large city in Pennsylvania. And now your team is in the World Series, but do you get to go see your favorite team in your hometown? No, you have to make a trip to Phoenix. Why?

I've come across articles in the past from columnists about moving the World Series to a neutral site. And they all came across as pieces written by guys who taken too many plane trips and had sat out in the cold more than they liked.  Jim Murray wanted a neutral site World Series. I was told by my brother that Mel Durslag always wanted one. One notable article was by longtime AP writer Will Grimsley who, stuck in the cold and rain for two days during one World Series, wondered why the Series couldn't be moved to the Astrodome.

Grimsley's article was written the day before Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

And yet baseball keeps playing the World Series in the league champion's home parks. Why? Maybe it's because baseball fans like it that way. And possibly because even Bud Selig isn't as stupid as Bill Plaschke.

Tying one on in Tokyo - UPDATE
2008-10-25 07:23
by Bob Timmermann

The Yomiuri Giants and Chunichi Dragons played a 5-5, 12-inning tie in Game 3 of the Central League Climax Series. The game won't be replayed and the Giants received a one-game head start, so they lead the series 2-1 and there are just three games left to play.

The Dragons must win the remaining three games (all of them at Tokyo) to advance. If the Dragons and Giants split 3-3, the Giants would advance to the Japan Series against the Pacific League champion Seibu.

UPDATE The Giants won the Central League Climax Series with a 6-2 win over Chunichi Saturday night in Tokyo. It will go in the books as a 3-1-1 series win. The Japan Series won't begin though until November 1.

RISPy business
2008-10-23 23:09
by Bob Timmermann

From the tail end of the AP story of Game 2 of the World Series:


Philadelphia's 0-for-19 skid with runners in scoring position was the second-longest drought to start a World Series since the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers finished 0-for-22 against Baltimore, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

As it turned out the Dodgers streak without getting a hit with a runner in scoring position in the World Series lasted quite a while.


In the fourth inning of Game 7 of the 1965 World Series, Wes Parker singled home Ron Fairly with the second and final run of the game. The Dodgers won the game 2-0, but still had several more scoring chances and failed to get a hit in seven at bats with runners in scoring position.

Then came the 1966 World Series, when the Dodgers set the bar for offensive ineptitude by failing to get any hits at all in the Orioles sweep. The Dodgers scored two runs in Game 1, one on a solo home run by Jim Lefebvre and the other on a bases loaded walk by Jim Gilliam.

The Dodgers wouldn't return to the World Series until 1974. In Game 1, the Dodgers lost to Oakland, 3-2. Despite picking up 11 hits, the Dodgers were a combined 0 for 9 with RISP. The Dodgers first run scored on an error and the second came on a solo home run by Jim Wynn.

L.A.'s streak had now reached 0 for 38 with RISP in World Series play for Game 2. In the second inning, the Dodgers had runners on first and third with one out for Steve Yeager. And behold! A single to center to score a run.

In last year's World Series, the Red Sox were 20 18 for 43 with RISP against Colorado.

Game 2 World Series Open Thread: The Philadelphia Story vs. Metropolitan Area Without Film Named For It, 5:29 pm PT
2008-10-23 16:00
by Bob Timmermann

Last night, Chris Coste served as the DH for the Phillies and went 0 for 4 and became part of a long string of mostly inept National Leaguers in the DH spot in the World Series.

Although the DH was adopted in 1973, it was not used in the World Series until 1976. Cincinnati used Dan Driessen as the DH in all four games and Driessen did a good job, going 5 for 14, including a home run off of Dock Ellis of the Yankees in Game 3.  (Warning: potentially long and boring discussion that inolves Tom Goodwin after the jump.)

Continue reading...

When the All-Star Game is like the World Series
2008-10-22 21:57
by Bob Timmermann

Game 1 of the World Series (it was played tonight, despite what people led you to believe) matched up teams that had the winning the winning and losing pitchers from the same season's All-Star Game (you know, the one that counts, it was 4-3 AL in 15 innings.)

Scott Kazmir, as you might remember, received the win the All-Star game for the American League (they had the white uniforms) and Brad Lidge was the losing pitcher for the National League (they had the gray uniforms, except the teams that wore solid colors. And I hate them).

This situation has happened before, but not all that often.

  • 1942 - Spud Chandler of the Yankees gets the win for the AL and Mort Cooper of the Cardinals takes the loss at the Polo Grounds. In the World Series though, Cooper's Cardinals would take the series in five games.
  • 1951 - Sal Maglie of the Giants is the winner against Ernie Lopat of the Yankees at Briggs Stadium. Lopat's Yankees would win the World Series in six games.
  • 1960, Game 2 - Back during the ill-conceived double All-Star Game era, Vern Law of the Pirates got a win over Whitey Ford of the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. And Law's Pirates won the World Series in seven games.
  • 1978 - Don Sutton of the Dodgers gets the win as Rich Gossage of the Yankees coughs up four runs in the eighth inning at San Diego Stadium. The Yankees will win the World Series in six games.
  • 1986 - Roger Clemens of the Red Sox gets a win while Dwight Gooden of the Mets takes the loss in what proves to be the last game for AL manager Dick Howser. The game is played at the Astrodome. The Mets win the World Series in seven games.
World Series Game 1 Chat: NL guys vs AL guys, 5:35 pm PT
2008-10-22 16:00
by Bob Timmermann

From scenic Tropicana Field:

It's the AL Champion Tampa Bay Rays:

And the NL Champion Philadelphia Phillies:

The Phillies don't seem to have a song as "catchy" as "Feel the Heat, Rays." So that's one thing in favor for them.

In 1950, the Phillies used this song.

Today's lineups


  1. Rollins SS
  2. Werth RF
  3. Utley 2B
  4. Howard 1B
  5. Burrell LF
  6. Victorino CF
  7. Feliz 3B
  8. Coste DH
  9. Ruiz C

Hamels SP



  1. Iwamura 2B
  2. Upton CF
  3. Pena 1B
  4. Longoria 3B
  5. Crawford LF
  6. Aybar DH
  7. Navarro C
  8. Zobrist RF
  9. Bartlett SS

Kazmir SP


Great moments in Phillies-Rays history
2008-10-21 18:08
by Bob Timmermann


The Rays and Phillies have played each other in interleague play 15 times since 1998, with Tampa Bay winning 10 of the meetings. The Phillies won a series from the Rays just once, back in 1999.

The very first meeting between the two teams was in the Devil Rays' maiden season of 1998. It was played on June 26, 1998 at Veterans Stadium and the Phillies got a combined shutout from former All-Star Tyler Green along with Yorkis Perez and Jerry Spradlin, for a 7-0 win.

A handful of participants from that game were still active in 2008: Tampa Bay starting pitcher Jason Johnson along with second baseman Miguel Cairo, and two members of the Phillies, right fielder Bobby Abreu and third baseman Scott Rolen. The Phillies were managed by Terry Francona, who was apparently not smart at this time.

The Phillies biggest win in the series came on July 19, 1999 with a 16-3 win over Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay's biggest win came on June 16, 2006 in a 10-4 win by the Devil Rays, highlighted by two homers by Julio Lugo against Philadelphia starter Cole Hamels at Citizens Bank Park. It was Hamels' fifth start in the majors.

The men in blue for the World Series
2008-10-21 13:41
by Bob Timmermann

Tim Welke was named crew chief for the World Series and he will be joined by Tim Tschida, Jeff Kellogg, Tom Hallion, Kerwin Danley, and Fieldin Culbreth.

Fun with geography
2008-10-21 12:46
by Bob Timmermann

As someone who enjoys nitpicking, and perhaps obsessively so (I'm in group therapy for it, but we can't decide what order we should sit in or who gets to speak first), I must point out the error in geography in's "Los Angeles Traces" story.

As for Longoria's teammates, James Shields, a pillar in Rays manager Joe Maddon's rotation, developed his game at Hart High School in Newhall, in the sprawling San Fernando Valley.

The emphasis is mine. Newhall is actually located in the equally sprawling Santa Clarita Valley, which is really more of a series of canyons than a big valley.


View Larger Map

Seibu Lions win or tie away from Japan Series berth
2008-10-21 09:40
by Bob Timmermann

Kaz Ishii of Seibu struck out 13 Nippon Ham batters as the Lions moved closer to a Japan Series berth with a 9-4 win in Game 4 of their Pacific League "Climax Series." The Lions lead the series 3-2 because of a one-game advantage they received going into the series.

Seibu can win the series with a win Wednesday at home (all games in the series are home games for Seibu) or with a tie (games tied after 12 innings are halted even in the postseason and not replayed.)

The Lions who have been a success on the field for most of their history, are still not much of one at the box office as a little over 18,000 attended the game.

Dragons move on to second round in CL playoffs; PL playoffs even in second round
2008-10-20 07:33
by Bob Timmermann

The defending Japan Series champion Chunichi Dragons won their best of three first stage Central League Climax Series against the Hanshin Tigers with a 2-0 win in the Game 3. Tyrone Woods homered in the ninth for the only runs. Hanshin will place first place Yomiuri in a best of six series for the Central League with Yomiuri receiving a one-game handicap.

In the Pacific League, first place Seibu won game one of its second stage series against Nippon Ham, but the Fighters have won the next two to even the series at 3-3. The teams were off Monday and the series resumes Tuesday at the Seibu Dome.

You can read about the games at Deanna Rubin's Marinerds.

Going to the pen over and over and over and over and over in the ALCS
2008-10-19 21:16
by Bob Timmermann

Tampa Bay's win over Boston in Game 7 of the ALCS was highlighted by Tampa Bay using five pitchers to get three outs in the seventh inning: Matt Garza (one batter reaching on an error), Dan Wheeler (hit and an out), J.P. Howell (an out), Chad Bradford (a walk), and David Price (a strikeout).

That was the fourth game in an LCS (all of them AL) where a team used five pitchers in an inning.

Game 3, 1976 ALCS, Kansas City at New York - Andy Hassler starts the inning nursing a 2-1 lead for the Royals and gives up a walk and a double. In comes righthander Marty Pattin and Billy Martin counters with Carlos May. So Royals manager orders Pattin to intentionally walk May. Tom Hall comes in and gives up an RBI groundout to Chris Chambliss and an RBI single to Thurman Munson and the Yankees take a 3-2 lead. Steve Mingori relieves and faces Elliot Maddox and Maddox doubles in Chambliss. Mark Littell finishes the inning by striking out Willie Randolph, walking Fred Stanley, and finally retiring Mickey Rivers on a popout.

Game 5, 1999 ALCS, New York at Boston - The Yankees lead 4-0. Orlando Hernandez gives up a home run to Jason Varitek to start the inning. Nomar Garciaparra follows with a double. Joe Torre brings in Mike Stanton to face Troy O'Leary, who walks. Out goes Stanton and in comes Jeff Nelso, who gets Mike Stanley to line out to center. Now it's Allen Watsons turn and he walks pinch hitter Butch Huskey to load the bases. Torre now turns to Ramiro Mendoza who strikes out pinch hitter Scott Hatteberg and gets Trot Nixon to foul out.

Game 5, 2002 ALCS, Minnesota at Anaheim - The Angels lead the Twins 2-0 and face reliever Johan Santana. After retiring David Eckstein, Darin Erstad singles. Santana follows with an error on a pickoff to send Erstad to second with Alex Ochoa at bat. LaTroy Hawkins comes in and gets Ochoa to ground out and sends Erstad to third. Lefty J.C. Romero comes in and gives up an RBI single to Garret Anderson and leaves in favor of Mike Jackson, who gives up a single, double, intentional walk, and a triple and the Angels lead 7-0. Bob Wells comes in to get the final out, Adam Kennedy.

Playoff series droughts (UPDATED)
2008-10-19 21:15
by Bob Timmermann

Last time a franchise won a playoff series:

  1. Rays - ALCS 2008
  2. Phillies - NLCS 2008
  3. Red Sox - ALDS 2008
  4. Dodgers - NLDS 2008
  5. Rockies - NLCS 2007
  6. Indians - ALDS 2007
  7. Diamondbacks - NLDS 2007
  8. Cardinals - World Series 2006
  9. Tigers - ALCS 2006
  10. Mets - NLDS 2006
  11. Athletics - ALDS 2006
  12. White Sox - World Series 2005
  13. Astros - NLCS 2005
  14. Angels - ALDS 2005
  15. Yankees - ALDS 2004
  16. Marlins - World Series 2003
  17. Cubs - NLDS 2003
  18. Giants - NLCS 2002
  19. Twins - ALDS 2002
  20. Mariners - ALDS 2001
  21. Braves - NLDS 2001
  22. Padres - NLCS 1998
  23. Orioles - ALDS 1997
  24. Reds - NLDS 1995
  25. Blue Jays - World Series 1993
  26. Royals - World Series 1985
  27. Brewers - ALCS 1982
  28. Expos/Nationals - NLDS 1981
  29. Pirates - World Series 1979

Still waiting: Rangers

Steve Harvey Show or Game 7 of ALCS Chat: Boston vs Tampa Bay, 5:07 pm PT
2008-10-19 15:21
by Bob Timmermann






Game 6 Open Thread: Boston vs. Tampa Bay, 5:07 pm PT
2008-10-18 16:00
by Bob Timmermann

Once more? With feeling? We shall see. James Shields starts on the mound for the Rays and the remnants of Josh Beckett starts for the Sox. Or will that be the case?

Here's the history of teams in the postseason facing a 3-2 deficit on the road in a 7-game series (1906, 1918, and 1923 weren't included because they weren't played in a 2-3-2 format. 1944 was played in a 2-3-2 format, but all the games were in the same park.):

  • 1911 - Philadelphia routs New York, 13-2 to win a World Series that took 13 days to play.
  • 1912 - Giants beat the Red Sox 11-4 in Game 7 (there was a tie in Game 2), but lose 3-2 in 10 innings in Game 8.
  • 1926 - Cardinals beat the Yankees 10-2 and then hold on for 3-2 win in Game 7 at Yankee Stadium.
  • 1930 - A's beat the Cardinals 7-2 to win the World Series.
  • 1934 - Cardinals win at Detroit 4-3 and then rout the Tigers 11-0 in Game 7.
  • 1935 - Tigers beat the Cubs 4-3 in the ninth inning of Game 6 to win its first championship.
  • 1936 - Yankees clinch championship with 13-5 win over the Giants at the Polo Grounds.
  • 1945 - The Tigers win Game 6 at Wrigley Field over the Cubs 8-7 in 12 innings, but lose in Game 7 9-3. That series was played in a 3-4 format because of wartime travel restrictions.
  • 1947 - The Dodgers win Game 6 at Yankee Stadium 8-6, but lost Game 7, 5-2.
  • 1951 - The Yankees close out the Giants at Yankee Stadium, 4-3.
  • 1952 - The Yankees beat the Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Game 6, 3-2. In Game 7, the Yankees beat the Dodgers again, this time by a 4-2 score.
  • 1953 - The Yankees score twice in the bottom of the ninth to eliminate the Dodgers with a 4-3 win at home.
  • 1955 - The Yankees force a Game 7 with a 5-1 win in Game 6, but the Dodgers win their first World Series with a 2-0 win the next day.
  • 1957 - The Yankees force Game 7 with a 3-2 win over the Braves, but Milwaukee takes Game 7 with a 5-0 win.
  • 1958 - The Yankees get revenge with a 4-3 win in 10 innings in Game 6 and then a 6-2 win in Game 7.
  • 1960 - The Yankees rout Pittsburgh at Forbes Field 12-0 in Game 6. Game 7 doesn't go as well for the Yankees.
  • 1964 - The Yankees (they show up a lot in the list don't they?) beat the Cardinals at Busch Stadium 8-3, but run into Bob Gibson in Game 7 and lose 7-5.
  • 1968 - The Tigers use a 10-run third to beat the Cardinals 13-2 in Game 6 and then the Cardinals make a series of crucial miscues to let the Tigers win 4-1 in Game 7.
  • 1972 - The Reds pound Oakland 8-1 in Game 6, but the A's win Game 7, 3-2.
  • 1977 - The Dodgers face the Yankee and Reggie Jackson in Game 6. It doesn't end well for the Dodgers. The Yankees win 8-4.
  • 1979 - Pittsburgh shuts out Baltimore, 4-0, in Game 6 and then wraps up the series with a 4-1 win in Game 7.
  • 1985 - The Royals travel to Exhibition Stadium and win Game 6 of the ALCS, 5-3. In Game 7, the Royals win again, 6-2.
  • 1990 - The Pirates get just one hit in Game 6 of the NLCS at Riverfront Stadium and lose, 2-1.
  • 1991 - Atlanta wins 1-0 at Three Rivers Stadium in Game 6 and 4-0 in Game 7 of the NLCS.
  • 1995 - The Indians get just one hit in Game 6 at Fulton County Stadium as the Braves win the World Series in six games with a 1-0 win.
  • 1996 - The Braves, after dropping three straight to the Yankees in Atlanta, drop Game 6 at Yankee Stadium, 3-2.
  • 1997 - The Indians stay alive in Game 6 with a 4-1 win, but can't hold the lead in the ninth inning of Game 7 and lose in 11 innings, 3-2 to Florida.
  • 1998 - Cleveland comes to Yankee Stadium for Game 6 trying to prolong the ALCS, but the Yankees win, 9-5.
  • 1999 - The Mets force the Braves into extra innings in Game 6, but lose in 11 innings, 10-9 to lose the NLCS.
  • 2000 - The Yankees finally polish off the Mariners with a 9-7 win at Yankee Stadium in Game 6.
  • 2003 - Bad things happen to the Cubs in Game 6 at home against the Marlins in the NLCS and Florida wins 8-3. The Marlins win the next day, 9-6. Boston wins Game 6 at Yankee Stadium by a 9-6 margin, but lose Game 7 in 11 innings, 6-5.
  • 2004 - The Red Sox come all the way back from a 3-0 deficit to win Game 6, 4-2, and Game 7, 10-3, at Yankee Stadium.


Sveum thanked and excused for his service by the Brewers
2008-10-17 19:59
by Bob Timmermann

The Milwaukee Brewers gave GM Doug Melvin a contract extension through 2012, and Melvin used the opportunity to tell interim manager Dale Sveum that he's not under consideration for the job permanently. And hitting coach Jim Skaalen was fired too.

Sveum took the news well according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"My heart was ripped out of my chest," said Sveum. "I was shocked.

Candidates to replace Sveum include Buck Showalter, Bob Brenly, Jim Tracy, Ken Macha, Grady Little, and Davey Johnson.

October 12, 1929
2008-10-17 08:15
by Bob Timmermann

ATHLETICS 7TH: Simmons homered; Foxx singled to right; Miller
singled to center [Foxx to second]; Dykes singled to left [Foxx
scored, Miller to second]
; Boley singled to right [Miller
scored, Dykes to third]
to shortstop; Bishop singled to center [Dykes scored, Boley to
; NEHF REPLACED ROOT (PITCHING); Haas hit an inside the
park homer to center [Boley scored, Bishop scored]
; Cochrane
walked; BLAKE REPLACED NEHF (PITCHING); Simmons singled to left
[Cochrane to second]; Foxx singled [Cochrane scored, Simmons to
pitch [Simmons to third, Foxx to second]; Dykes doubled to left
[Simmons scored, Foxx scored, Miller to third]
; Boley struck
out; Burns struck out; 10 R, 10 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. Cubs 8,
Athletics 10.

From Retrosheet
ALCS Game 5 Open Thread: Batoidea vs Boston, 5:07 pm PT
2008-10-16 16:00
by Bob Timmermann

Tampa Bay needs to "scrape" out another win today like its last two wins at Fenway Park (9-1 an 13-4) to move on to its first ever World Series. If the Red Sox win, it's back to Tropicana Field on Saturday night.

But if Tampa Day does win today, there won't be another baseball game until the World Series starts on Wednesday. Cole Hamels says hello.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is entrusted with the job of keeping the Red Sox season alive. Matsuzaka bobbed and weaved and stumbled for seven of the most surprising shutout innings ever thrown in the postseason back in Game 1.

Scott Kazmir, who lasted just 4 1/3 innings in Game 2 and gave up five runs, including three home runs, is the starter for Tampa Bay.

Both pitchers throw lots and lots and lots of pitches. So I again suggest stocking up provisions to eat for this one. And if this game is like Game 2, I would suggest that our East Coast and Midwestern viewers double check supplies of coffee, tea, and amphetamines.


Cycling through the postseason
2008-10-15 22:31
by Bob Timmermann

Wednesday night's 5-1 win by the Phillies over the Dodgers in the NLCS was the 1,223rd postseason in the majors since the AL and NL started playing the World Series in 1903. And in those games, there's been a perfect game and an unassisted triple play, yet no batter has hit for the cycle in the postseason. However, three players this year have come up one hit short of a cycle in this postseason.

Here are the close calls (and an explanation of the warning system is on the sidebar in really big print):

Yellow alerts (batter lacks a triple): As you might guess, this is the most common variety. It's happened 88 times in the postseason and twice already in this postseason (both by Red Sox players, J.D. Drew and Jason Bay).

Bay was the only one of the two with a chance to actually hit for the cycle as he had two more plate appearances against Tampa Bay in Game 2 of the NLCS after a sixth inning single. But Bay walked and struck out. Willie Stargell pulled off this feat twice in the 1979 World Series and Roy Campanella did the same in 1955.

The first World Series yellow alert was by Sam Crawford of Detroit in the 1909 World Series against the Pirates. Crawford was 3 for 4 against Babe Adams and finished off his day with a homer, but the Pirates won 8-4. Oh, and if you didn't know, Crawford is the all-time leader in triples with 309. (If I can phrase that in a more Jayson Stark-like way please tell me.)

Orange alerts (lacking a double): It's not often that someone gets the "needs a double" orange alert. It's happened just 11 times with Garret Anderson of the Angels being the last player to do it, in Game 3 of the 2005 Division Series against the Yankees. Anderson had a chance for a cycle, but in his last at bat of the game, he picked up a second single and settled for a 4 for 5 night. Scott Brosius also made an out in his last at bat in his attempt for a cycle in Game 1 of the 1999 World Series.

Paul Molitor had two orange alerts for the Blue Jays against the Phillies in the 1993 World Series. They were in Games 3 and 6. Molitor finished his career with 605 doubles, the 11th highest total in history.

Rickey Henderson had two at bats with a chance to hit a double for the cycle in Game 3 of the 1989 World Series, but made an out both times.

Elmer Smith had the first orange alert of this type in Game 5 of the 1920 World Series and he started out the day with a grand slam, then hit a triple, then a single, and then grounded out.

Orange alerts (lacking a homer): This is a little more common than its cousin and it happened as recently as Tuesday when Carl Crawford had a 5 for 5 night at Fenway Park, but couldn't get a home run. There have been 24 instances of this type of orange alert.

Milt Thompson and Devon White each had one in the epic 15-14 win by the Blue Jays over the Phillies in Game 4 of the 1993 World Series. Red Murray and Buck Herzog, both of the Giants, had orange alerts in Game 2 of the 1912 World Series, which ended in a 6-6 tie after 12 innings.

In Game 2 of the 1990 World Series, Billy Hatcher of the Reds went double, double, single, triple, and then was intentionally walked in his last plate appearance.

Vic Wertz had an orange alert in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series and in his 4 for 5 day, his only out came on Willie Mays' famous catch. Now if Mays hadn't caught the ball, it's doubtful that either Wertz could have circled the bases for an inside the park homer or if he would have batted in the 10th inning (when he doubled) as the Indians would have taken a lead in the 8th inning.

Red alerts (lacking single): Oh so close to a cycle. Two men have come up a single short of hitting a cycle in the postseason: Kazuo Matsui of the Rockies in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Phillies last year and Lou Brock of the Cardinals in Game 4 of the 1968 World Series.

Matsui had one chance to get the single to give him the first postseason cycle, but he grounded out against Antonio Alfonseca of the Phillies. Brock hit a double in his last at bat in the 8th inning, so he had no real shot at a cycle.


Maddon changes his mind for Game 5 starter
2008-10-15 08:47
by Bob Timmermann

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, with his team just one win away from the World Series, has decided to start lefty Scott Kazmir in Game 5 of the ALCS at Fenway on Thursday instead of James Shields. This came from a report at

Maddon feels that he would be better served using the pitcher who would require more relievers to back him in up in the game before a day off rather than in Game 6 and then potentially have a tired bullpen for a Game 7.

Also, Tampa Bay will open up over 5000 more seats for its next home game, which will either be Game 6 of the ALCS or Game 1 of the World Series. From, via BTF.

ALCS Game 4 open thread: Pinellas County vs Suffolk County, 5:07 pm PT
2008-10-14 16:00
by Bob Timmermann

Sadly, Josh and the Cardboard Gods are on the 15-day Uninspired List when it comes to game threads, so he ceded the duties to me.

I could start writing like Jack Kerouac, but that presupposes that I have read Jack Kerouac. Or I could channel Bon Scott. But I don't like heavy metal.

So, you're left with me. Remember that the Griddle is nominally nonpartisan.

And I just relate stories like this: As I left Dodger Stadium Monday (not as depressed as the teeming thousands because that's just me), a woman was talking to her companion (presumably husband) and said "There can't be a Tampa Bay-Philadelphia World Series! It will get bad ratings! It has to be the Dodgers versus the Red Sox!"

AUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! No. The World Series is played between the AL and NL pennant winners. Just roll with it. It's not about TV ratings. Unless you happen to work for Fox.

But most of us don't. So just watch the World Series. You might enjoy it.

Back to the business at hand.

The Rays took a 2-1 lead in the series Monday after the seemingly invincible Jon Lester got vinced by a couple of big home runs by B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria. If I had a dollar for every time a supposedly invincible pitcher lost a game in the postseason, I'd have about $40 now built up over my lifetime. I could buy two transcripts of "Nightline" and have about $10 left over depending upon what kind of shipping I wanted to use! Woo hoo! I'm rich!

Andy Sonnanstine tosses his four-N SURname against Tim Wakefield and his knuckleball of death. 

Just who dies is for all of us to find out.

Rays lineup:

1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
2. B.J. Upton, CF
3. Carlos Pena, 1B
4. Evan Longoria, 3B
5. Carl Crawford, LF
6. Willy Aybar, DH
7. Dioner Navarro, C
8. Fernando Perez, RF
9. Jason Bartlett, SS

SP: Andy Sonnanstine

Red Sox lineup:

1. J.D. Drew, RF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. Mark Kotsay, 1B
7. Coco Crisp, CF
8. Kevin Cash, C
9. Jed Lowrie, SS

SP: Tim Wakefield

Kevin Foster, 1969-2008
2008-10-14 11:54
by Bob Timmermann

Former big league pitcher Kevin Foster died Saturday at age 39 of renal cell carcinoma at a hospital in Oklahoma City.

Foster pitched in the majors for seven seasons, most of them with the Cubs.

Would you adopt this playoff schedule?
2008-10-13 11:30
by Bob Timmermann

As I've been detailing before, the Japanese pro leagues (NPB) have a much different playoff setup than those of us across the Really Big Pond.

Since there are just two six-team leagues, the practice for years was just to have the two regular season champs face off in a best of seven series for the big gonfalon. However, the less popular league, the Pacific League, opted to use a playoff system starting in 2004 and the Central League adopted a similar system last year.

The top three teams in each league make the playoffs. Team #2 and #3 play each other in a best of three with all the home games being played at the second place team's home park. The winner then faces the #1 team (who is officially the league champion regardless of the playoff results) in a six-game series where the #1 team needs just three wins while the #2 team must win four. The #1 team also gets to host all the games and they are played over a seven-day span.

The Seibu Lions will host the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in the second stage of the Pacific League Climax Series starting on Friday. The first game will not be played at Seibu's home stadium, the Seibu Dome, but rather Omiya Stadium Park. The final five (if necessary) will be back in the Seibu Dome. I am guessing that the first game is a sop to the fans in the rest of the Saitama prefecture as the Lions changed their name this year officially to the Saitama Seibu Lions. The Lions home park is actually in Tokorazawa. This map should show you the relative locations of Omiya (with the tag on it) and Tokorazawa which is to the southwest.

In the Central League, the first stage of its Climax Series starts on Saturday with the second place Hanshin Tigers hosting the third place Chunichi Dragons. Those games will not be played at Hanshin's historic Koshien Stadium, which is undergoing renovations, but rather at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka.

The winner of that series would play the Yomiuri Giants starting on October 22 at the Tokyo Dome, which will host all six games.

The Japan Series, matching the winners of both Climax Series, will be start on November 1 at the home of the Central League champ and will be played in a 2-3-2 format.

Fighters move on in Pacific League playoffs; Lions up next
2008-10-12 09:30
by Bob Timmermann

The defending Pacific League Champion Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters wrapped up a 2-0 series win in the first stage of the league's "Climax Series" with a 7-2 victory over the Orix Buffaloes at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka.

The second stage, which requires four wins, starts on Friday at the Seibu Dome in Tokorazawa. Seibu will only have to win three games though to win the series as the league champion gets a win spotted to them along with homefield advantage. The Fighters have to win four games.

The Central League does not start its playoffs until Saturday. Hanshin manager Akinobu Okada has offered to quit after his team blew a 13-game lead in the league to the Yomiuri Giants.

Fighters grab Game 1 of Pacific League playoffs
2008-10-11 10:38
by Bob Timmermann

The defending Pacific League champion Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters won the first game of their best of three first round playoff series against the Orix Buffaloes with a 4-1 win at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka.

Fighters ace Yu Darvish struck out 14 in a 139-pitch complete game. Game 2 will also be in Osaka. The winner will face the Seibu Lions in a best of five series.

The Central League playoffs won't start until next week. Yomiuri won its second straight regular season title after finally reeling in the Hanshin Tigers (who once led by as many as 13 games this summer). The Tigers will face the defending Japan Series champion Chunichi Dragons in the first round.

ALCS Game 1 Open Thread: Sentimental Favorites vs Big Meanies, 5:37 pm PT
2008-10-10 16:40
by Bob Timmermann

Despite Josh's eloquent plea earlier today, I believe my description is apt.

The AL East champion Rays will be taking on the defening World Series champs in the Boston Red Sox.

James Shields (14-8, 3.56 ERA in the regular season) faces Daisuke Matsuzaka (18-3, 2.90 ERA).

Shields got the win in Game 1 of the ALDS despite giving up a 3-run homer to DeWayne Wise of the White Sox. Matsuzaka got a no-decision in his only playoff start against the Angels, tossing 108 pitches in 5 innings against the slap happy Angels.

Stock up on supplies for this one. It should be a long night..

Starting lineups:

Big Meanies

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
5. J.D. Drew, RF
6. Jason Bay, LF
7. Mark Kotsay, 1B
8. Jed Lowrie, SS
9. Jason Varitek, C
--Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP

Sentimental Favorites

1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
2. B.J. Upton, CF
3. Carlos Pena, 1B
4. Evan Longoria, 3B
5. Carl Crawford, LF
6. Cliff Floyd, DH
7. Dioner Navarro, C
8. Gabe Gross, RF
9. Jason Bartlett, SS
-- James Shields, SP

The tricky business of counting racial backgrounds of MLB players
2008-10-10 11:21
by Bob Timmermann

Carl Bialik of the Wall Street Journal has an interesting post about how difficult it can be to count up the racial makeup of MLB players.

In the past decade, though, dozens of articles have lamented the declining proportion of black players, from 27% of all major leaguers in the mid-1970s to 8.2% last season, even as the percentage of Americans who are of African descent has inched up in recent decades.

For all its currency, that decline appears to be way off. In recent years, two baseball researchers, working independently, have found that blacks probably never made up more than 20% of major leaguers.


Baseball researchers still use a crude method to assign a single race to each player -- by gazing at baseball cards, flipping through media guides and judging whether surnames are Latino.

Bruce Dal Canton, 1942-2008
2008-10-09 16:33
by Bob Timmermann

Untitled Bruce Dal Canton, a reliever for the Pirates, Royals, Braves, and White Sox, passed away Tuesday in Carnegie, Pennsylvania of espohageal cancer at age 66.

Dal Canton was the pitching coach for the Braves before Leo Mazzone and served as a minor league instructor for them through May of this year before ill health forced him to retire. He signed as a free agent with the Pirates in 1966 at age 24 at a tryout camp.

Say it ain't so Cory, say it ain't so
2008-10-09 12:23
by Bob Timmermann

Former major leaguer Cory Bailey and two other Taiwanese players were suspended by the Chinese Professional Baseball League for possible game fixing, according to a Taipei Times report.

The scandal erupted on Wednesday when prosecutors detained six T-Rex members — including the manager and coach — and four bookies for allegedly fixing 10 matches since March.

The Banciao Prosecutors’ Office said T-Rex executive director Shih Chien-hsin (施建新) has confessed to using a gangster ring to run the team and fix matches.

Bailey was released on NT$100,000 bail and catcher Chen Ker-fan (陳克帆) and central outfielder Chen Yuan-chia (陳元甲) were released on NT$50,000 bail yesterday each. All three were suspended indefinitely by the team.

Prosecutors have also filed a request to detain alleged gangsters Lin Bing-wen (林秉文), Lin Ting-yu (林霆祐), Lin Chia-ching (林家慶), Lin Ching-chang (林慶昌), as well as dmedia spokesman Kuo Teh-chih (郭德志) and assistant manager Wu Chao-hui (吳昭輝).

Pro baseball in Taiwan has had numerous problems with gamblers influencing the outcomes of games and even going as far to kidnap and threaten players before games.

Revenge is a dish best served 92 years old
2008-10-09 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

Yesterday, I took a look back at the 1915 World Series and today, for your pregame NLCS reading, I thought I would take a look back at another potential World Series rematch. This would be the 1916 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

This was a World Series that is often overlooked. And after reading about it, I can see why. It was a five-game affair that was poorly played and left one prominent sportswriter saying that future World Series should be called off because the American League was just too good.

Continue reading...

Prepare to scapegoat these men
2008-10-08 13:02
by Bob Timmermann

ALCS umpires: Tim McClelland, Derryl Cousins, Brian Gorman, Brian O'Nora, Alfonso Marquez, Sam Holbrook

NLCS umpires: Mike Reilly, Mike Winters, Gary Cederstrom, Jerry Meals, Ted Barrett, and Mike Everitt.

From the Canadian Press.

Revenge is a dish best served 93 years cold
2008-10-08 08:00
by Bob Timmermann

If the Boston Red Sox defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in the upcoming ALCS, there will be a rematch in the World Series, a rematch from the great beyond. The Red Sox won two consecutive five game World Series in 1915 and 1916 against the Phillies and Dodgers.

In this installment, I'll take a look back at the World Series of 1915.
Continue reading...

George Kissell, 1920-2008
2008-10-07 23:39
by Bob Timmermann

Longtime St. Louis Cardinals coach George Kissell passed away Tuesday in Tampa at age 88 of injuries suffered in an automobile accident.

Kissell was signed by the Cardinals in 1940 and according to his obituary in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he attended 68 of the next 69 spring trainings for the Cardinals.

Among the managers tutored by Kissell are Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, and Sparky Anderson.

The Bush Administration Standings
2008-10-07 18:00
by Bob Timmermann

  Wins Losses Pct GB
AL East        
Yankees 775 518 .599  
Red Sox 740 555 .571 36
Blue Jays 647 648 .499 129
Orioles 560 734 .433 215.5
Rays 541 753 .418 234.5
AL Central        
Twins 707 589 .546  
White Sox 683 614 .527 24.5
Indians 661 635 .510 46
Tigers 564 731 .436 142.5
Royals 530 766 .409 177
AL West        
Athletics 724 571 .559  
Angels 721 575 .556 3.5
Mariners 661 635 .510 63.5
Rangers 618 678 .477 106.5
NL East        
Braves 711 583 .549  
Phillies 692  603  .534  19.5
 Mets  651  643  .503  60
 Marlins  645  650  .498  66.5
 Exponats  585  710  .452  126.5
 NL Central        
 Cardinals  727  568  .561  
 Astros  686  609  .530  41
 Cubs  659  636  .509  68
 Brewers  588  707  .4540  139
 Reds  588  708  .4537  139.5
 Pirates  550  744  .425  176.5
 NL West        
 Dodgers  681  615  .525  
 Giants  670  623  .518  9.5
 Diamondbacks  650  646  .502  31
 Padres  618  679  .477  63.5
 Rockies  595  702  .459  86.5

No, it's not political, it's just a standings generated by Brad Sullivan, president of the Jack Graney Chapter of SABR for how teams fared in the standings from 2001-2008.  The Yankees won the most games in the AL, while the Cardinals were kings of the NL. And between the two, the Yankees and Cardinals combined for one World Series championship in those eight seasons.

The closest "races" were in the Western divisions. The Athletics managed to withstand a 100-win season by the Angels to hold on to the top spot and the Dodgers stormed past the Giants this season to claim the NL West title.

The Blue Jays missed finishing at .500 for the 8-year period by one game. The Blue Jays had a game against the Devil Rays cancelled in 2004. The Brewers finished 1/2 game better than the Reds because of a 2004 cancellation against the Pirates.

Colorado managed to make it to the World Series once during this time period despite finishing with more losses than any other team in the NL West.

Florida was the only team to win a World Series during the Bush 43 years despite having an overall losing record.

Tampa Bay's 97-win season this year brought their eight year winning percentage up to a whopping .419.

Also ran: Texas, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City

Let the grousing begin in the World Baseball Classic
2008-10-06 20:57
by Bob Timmermann

Although the World Baseball Classic in 2006 was a surprising success, or surprisingly not a disaster, there were lots of disagreements and sniping among teams and national federations about which players would play and who would get paid or get to play.

It looks like Venezuela is the first country to start the complaining. Venezuelan stars Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera, and Johan Santana have voiced their displeasure with the return of Luis Sojo as the manager of the Venezuelan team and are threatening to boycott the WBC.

Sojo, who managed the class-A Tampa Yankees this year, could not be reached for comment regarding the dispute, but admitted when he was reappointed national manager in August that there were a lot of issues from three years ago.

Those included tickets for players' family members, team meals, and Sojo's decision-making in games.

"There were a lot of mistakes, a lot of things happened and we've got to fix it," he said in August.


ALDS Game 4 Open Thread: Rays vs White Sox, 2:07 pm PT
2008-10-06 13:30
by Bob Timmermann

Held over for at least one more day! It's the ALDS between Tampa Bay and Chicago. The Rays have a 2-1 lead, but still have one more game to play in "blackout" conditions at US Cellular Field.

The Rays will send out Andy Sonnanstine, the man with 4 Ns in his surname, against Gavin Floyd, the man with two first names. I've been trying to find someone with more than 4 Ns in his name, but it's hard to search such things. There was a Red Nonnenkamp. Bring out your Ns!

Cardboard Gods should return tonight with a far, far more interesting lead in to the game chat for the Red Sox-Angels game.

The greatest blow to Canadian pride since the Expos moved to DC
2008-10-05 22:26
by Bob Timmermann

Canadians had gotten the Guinness Book of World Records to recognize Labatt Park in London, Ontario as the oldest continuously used baseball diamond in the world. Records show that baseball was played on the site since 1877.

But ...

The town of Clinton, located about 50 kilometres from the historic Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, argues its diamond - Fuller Field, built in 1878 - is truly the world's oldest because its home plate and base paths have never been moved.

A severe Thames River flood in July 1883, which washed away Tecumseh Park's fencing and benches, prompted London sports officials to reorient the diamond, moving home plate so that batters would no longer have to stare into the sun while facing pitches.

Division Series Open Thread, Come One, Come All
2008-10-05 09:00
by Bob Timmermann

Welcome to the Conglomerated Game Thread for the Division Series games today:



There are three games today and there could have been four if the Dodgers hadn't polished off the Cubs Saturday night. So today it's the Philatampangeles Phirangels against the Milcagoton Brew Sox.


Or specifically:

Philadelphia Phillies at Milwaukee Brewers, Game 4, at 10:07 am PT. Joe Blanton facing Jeff Suppan.

Tampa Bay Rays at Chicago White Sox, Game 3, at 1:07 pm PT. Matt Garza against John Danks.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Boston Red Sox, Game 3, at 4:17 pm PT. Joe Saunders against Josh Beckett.

Since the games are likely to just bleed into the next one, I set up one thread. Also, I have to go in to work for part of the day. Basically, I have a Tampa Bay-Chicago shift. I still haven't seen one pitch of that series live. And if the Rays win, I will be shut out.

I've seen a handful of innings from the Philadelphia-Milwaukee series and all of the Boston-L.A. series.

Josh Wilker, your regular host for Red Sox playoff game threads, will be watching this one from a Red Sox bar in Chicago with his fellow displaced New Englanders. But Josh may be by at Cardboard Gods with some Kerouackian meditations.

If the White Sox win, they will play again tomorrow at 2:07 pm PT. If the Angels win, they will play in Boston at 5:37 pm PT. If the Brewers win today, they will play again Tuesday at 6:07 pm PT in Philadelphia. The NLCS starts on Thursday and the ALCS starts on Friday.

Cool weather and scattered showers are in the forecast for both Chicago and Boston.

NLDS Game 3 open thread: Philadelphia at Milwaukee, 3:37 pm PT
2008-10-04 14:00
by Bob Timmermann

Coming to you from the Cream City, it's Game 3 of the NLDS between the Phillies and Brewers.

It's a long and storied rivalry.

OK, maybe it's not.

Neither team has had the best of luck in the postseason. The Phillies have won a grand total of four postseason series: 1980 NLCS, 1980 WS, 1983 NLCS, and 1993 NLCS. That's it. The Phillies also have losses in the 1915, 1950, 1976, 1977, and 1978 NLCS as well as NLDS losses in 1981 and 2007.

The Brewers have won one postseason series, the 1982 ALCS and lost in the 1981 ALDS and 1982 WS.

Jamie Moyer, who actually married into Digger Phelps' family because he has no discernible human soul, pitches for the Phillies, and Dave Bush, whom I believe has a soul, pitches for the Brewers.

However, it may take more than soul for the Brewers to push this to a Game 4. If there is one it will be Sunday at 10:07 am PT. Breakfast at Miller Park!

The Brewers did come back from an 0-2 deficit to win a 5-game series back in 1982 for their only postseason win. However, it is believed that neither Mark Brouhard nor Pete Ladd will be suiting up for the Brewers today.

Starting lineups

Brotherly Love Types:

  • Rollins SS
  • Werth RF
  • Utley 2B
  • Howard 1B
  • Burrell RF
  • Victorino CF
  • Feliz 3B
  • Ruiz C
  • Moyer P

Cream Citians:

  • Cameron CF
  • Hall 3B
  • Braun LF
  • Fielder 1B
  • Hardy SS
  • Hart RF
  • Weeks 2B
  • Kendall C
  • Bush P
ALDS Game 2 Chat: White Sox vs Rays, 3:07 pm PT
2008-10-03 14:00
by Bob Timmermann

Coming to you again from scenic Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, it's Game 2 of the AL Division Series between the White Sox and Rays. Today's goal for the White Sox: keep Evan Longoria from becoming the second coming of Mike Schmidt.

It's a battle of lefthanders today in Mark Buehrle, who works quickly, and Scott Kazmir, who doesn't.

Kazmir is 3-1 in five career starts against the White Sox with a 3.31 ERA. Buehrle is 6-2 with a 4.34 ERA lifetime against Tampa Bay.


White Sox

Cabrera SS
Swisher LF
Dye RF
Konerko 1B
Thome DH
Ramirez 2B
Pierzynski C
Uribe 3B
Anderson CF
Buehrle P

Iwamura 2B
Upton CF
Crawford LF
Longoria 3B
Aybar 1B
Baldelli DH
Navarro C
Perez RF
Bartlett SS
Kazmir P


What might have been, the teams that just missed the playoffs
2008-10-03 11:55
by Bob Timmermann

Insert your own headlines:

Coming to a cable system near you on January 1, 2009
2008-10-03 07:41
by Bob Timmermann

Live from Seacaucs, it will be the MLB Network, the first 24/7 baseball only channel. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reports on the ambitious plans for a network that will be taking on ESPN in many ways.

Presumably, since there are a lot more baseball games than football games, there will be more programming than the NFL Network showing you the Draft Combine.

On-air personnel haven't been named, but Harold Reynolds and Al Lieter are expected to work as studio commentators.

And in other baseball media news, longtime (33 years) Pirates broadcaster Lanny Frattare is retiring. Frattare started with the Pirates in 1976 after Bob Prince and Nellie King were fired, but overcame that to become a beloved figure to most Pirates fans.

ALDS Open Thread, Chicago vs Tampa Bay, 11:37 am PT
2008-10-02 10:45
by Bob Timmermann

Nothing screams postseason baseball more than seeing the blue, green yellow, and white of the Tampa Bay Rays running across the FieldTurf of Tropicana Field in front of a screaming crowd of 36,000 people or so, many of them banging cowbells or sounding a klaxon.

Actually, I don't think you can bring in a klaxon to Tropicana Field and besides, I have already cornered the market on klaxons on the Gulf Coast of Florida. It's a cutthroat business. Follow along online here.

Today's lineups:

Cabrera, ss
Wise, lf
Dye, rf
Thome, dh
Konerko, 1b
Griffey, cf
Ramirez, 2b
Pierzynski, c
Uribe, 3b
Vazquez, p

Iwamura, 2b
Upton, cf
Pena, 1b
Longoria, 3b
Crawford, lf
Floyd, dh
Navarro, c
Gross, rf
Bartlett, ss
Shields, p

Is six better than four?
2008-10-02 07:23
by Bob Timmermann

During the postseason (and that included Tuesday's tiebreaker game between the Twins and White Sox), Major League Baseball deploys six umpires for each game. This has been the practice since 1947. However, as John Branch of the New York Times asks umpires: does it really help?

Major league umpires spend years learning more than an encyclopedic grasp of baseball’s rules. They figure out where to best position themselves at each base, where to move if the ball is hit over here or out there, and how to instinctively find the best angle and proper distance for their eyes to make the most accurate call.

The job is endlessly rehearsed through clinics and the thankless strata of minor leagues, until the complex choreography is set to muscle memory. At the major league level, there may be no call that an umpire has not made and no angle on a play that an umpire has not seen.

Then the playoffs begin.

And, suddenly, there are two extra umpires on the field, standing along the foul lines in the outfield, maybe for the first time in their lives.

NLDS Game 1: Milwaukee at Philadelphia Open Thread
2008-10-01 11:54
by Bob Timmermann

Live from (Insert name of troubled financial institution) Park in Philadelphia, it's the first game of the postseason, Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the wild card Milwaukee Brewers and the Eastern Division champion Philadelphia Phillies.



  • Cameron, CF
  • Hall, 3B
  • Braun, LF
  • Fielder, 1B
  • Hardy, SS
  • Hart, RF
  • Weeks, 2B
  • Kendall, C
  • Gallardo, P


  • Rollins, SS
  • Werth, RF
  • Utley, 2B
  • Howard, 1B
  • Burrell, LF
  • Victorino, CF
  • Feliz, 3B
  • Ruiz, C
  • Hamels, P


Eddie Brinkman, 1941-2008
2008-10-01 09:00
by Bob Timmermann

Untitled Eddie Brinkman, who defined "good field, no hit", passed away Tuesday at age 66, according to a Detroit Free Press story. The cause and location of his death was not reported.

Brinkman played for 15 seasons in the majors and batted .224 and slugged .300. He started his major league career with the expansion Washington Senators in 1961 and was traded to Detroit before the 1971 season along with Joe Coleman, Jim Hannan, and Aurelio Rodriguez for Denny McLain, Don Wert, Norm McRae, and Elliott Maddox.

Brinkman also played briefly for the Cardinals, Rangers, and Yankees.

Brinkman was an AL All-Star in 1973 and won a Gold Glove in 1972.

It is unclear if John Foster Dulles named his diplomatic strategy after Eddie Brinkman.

Josh Wilker wrote about Brinkman at Cardboard Gods back in 2006.

So my work is done here for a while
2008-10-01 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

The calendar has turned over to October and over here at the Griddle, I can kick back a little. Teams will be eliminated now not by mathematical formulas, but rather by losing 3 or 4 games before their opponent does.

There are no countdowns, no magic numbers, no more walking into the light. It's just the playoffs. Eight teams that get to play games in October, two of whom could be gone by the end of Saturday.

September is a much different month. There is scoreboard watching. There is the dilemma of trying to figure out how to follow four games at once. Which teams do I want to win? Which teams do I want to lose? How will the third place team's record in one division affect the fourth place team in another?

Now I'll just be sitting back waiting to see what happens. Waiting to find out what obscure player will get his moment in the spotlight. Who will be the next Bobby Kielty or Anthony Reyes or Geoff Blum?

I'll actually get to go to a playoff game in person this year: Game 3 of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. However, I'm not exactly postseason deprived as I've attended three NL Division Series games (1981, 1995, and 1996), one NLCS game (1981), and three World Series games (1977, 1978, and 1981). Those were all at Dodger Stadium and for those not scoring at home, the Dodgers record in those games is 2-5.

And then no later than October 30, the baseball season will be over.

And so for a while, I will lower the heat on the Griddle. Although a pancake or two will show up from time to time before the Hot Stove League starts up again.

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