October 08, 2016

Game 3 of the ALDS is a MUST WIN Game

But not for the Red Sox.  The Red Sox are down 2-0 to the Cleveland Indians in their Division Series, so by any logical, reasonable, literal definition of "must win", game 3 is one.  Any elimination game is. When they were down 3-0 to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, Game 4 was a literal "must-win", so was Game 5 and 6. Game 7 became one for both teams.   But this isn't what I'm talking about.  If Boston loses tomorrow, it will be disappointing. Any time a team makes the playoffs and doesn't win the last game they play, it's a disappointment.  Mets and Orioles fans are disappointed and before we crown another World Series Champion, seven other fanbases will be disappointed.

But this doesn't make tomorrow's Clay Buchholz start at Fenway Park a "MUST WIN" for the Red Sox.  Their fans have been disappointed before, and they will be disappointed again.  You can't win it all every season.  Even if we win five World Series in the next six years, we will be disappointed the other time.   And that's ok.  What is tougher to handle are the  heartbreaking, soul-crushing defeats when you think you are going to win and it's pulled out from other you. That takes all off-season to get over.  Sometimes it takes many seasons. Think Bucky Dent, Buckner or Boone.

October 03, 2016

Why the Cubs will NOT Win the World Series

The Curse of  the Billy Goat
(or why the Red Sox won't.  Or the Rangers or Nationals or Giants or Dodgers or Blue Jays or Orioles or Indians or Mets for that matter.  Insert any team name into the title, and this post still makes sense).*

At the trade deadline I had a post showing what the impact of a adding a player to a team would be on its likelihood to make the playoffs and/or win it all.  There were two separate points. One was that a single player, no matter how good, will not make a large difference in one team’s win totals over two months. The second, more interesting point, was to show how little of an edge a great team has over a good team in a playoff series.

I have updated the spreadsheet I used to calculate the odds in that post to show the actual season end records.   Here are the results:

September 24, 2016


Mike Trout should have 4 of these by now
The baseball regular season is nearing its end, and the MVP voter’s ballots are due soon.  And as usual there is a lot of talk about who should win and fans of individual players or teams make passionate arguments to convince others why they should vote for their guy.

What is the defined criteria for MVP?  Well, eligible voters are given the following guidelines: 

There is no clear-cut definition of what Most Valuable means. It is up to the individual voter to decide who was the Most Valuable Player in each league to his team. The MVP need not come from a division winner or other playoff qualifier.

The rules of the voting remain the same as they were written on the first ballot in 1931:
1.  Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.
2.  Number of games played.
3.  General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.
4.  Former winners are eligible.
5.  Members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.
You are also urged to give serious consideration to all your selections, from 1 to 10. A 10th-place vote can influence the outcome of an election. You must fill in all 10 places on your ballot. Only regular-season performances are to be taken into consideration.
Keep in mind that all players are eligible for MVP, including pitchers and designated hitters.
Ok, nothing too specific, but there is always the usual controversy over whether MVP means best player in the league, or most “valuable” to his team.

What’s the difference you may ask?  Well, when the best player in the league plays for a losing team, fans of a good player on a playoff team will use a variation of “Well, team X could have finished in last without player Y so how ‘valuable’ was he really?”  (By the way, this year X = Angels, Y = Mike Trout).

August 06, 2016

Big Papi's Farewell in Seattle Includes 1st Contract

Courtesy Twitter / @mariners 
In spite of David Ortiz having started his MLB career with the Twins, it was Seattle that signed him to his first professional contract. Back in 1992, the Mariners signed 17 year old David Arias as an amateur free agent.  But in the summer of 1996, they were a few games out of first place and wanting to increase their productivity from 3rd base, traded a player to be named later for Minnesota's Dave Hollins.  A few weeks later Ortiz was the player named to finalize the Hollins trade. The trade boosted the Mariners lineup a bit, but they still ended up 3 games out of a playoff spot.  Still, it was fairly unnoteworthy at a time, not many fans lamented that trade.  Alas, what could have been having Ortiz join the Mariners lineup in the late 90s with ARod, Griffey, Edgar and the rest.

Anyhow, prior to Wednesday night's game at Safeco the Mariners honored Ortiz and among other things gave him a framed copy of that first contract he signed. They also gave him a 34 pound salmon and some other stuff.

You can watch the whole video by clicking below:

August 01, 2016

Big Papi's last stop in Anaheim

Ortiz with a walkoff to clinch the 2004 ALDS against the Angels
(Courtesy Barry Chin / Globe Staff)
It's safe to say that this past weekend was the last time David Ortiz faced the Angels in his career. (In spite of Mike Trout, they ain't making the playoffs).  And he is probably lamenting that, as he has loved playing in Anaheim and against the Angels in his career, having many memorable moments. His first home run as a Red Sox came here in April 2003, when he pinch hit for Jeremy Giambi in the 14th inning and took a 2-0 pitch deep for the game winning home run (alas not a walkoff as those are infinitely harder to hit when you're on the road!).  And of course, no one will ever forget his extra inning Series winning walk off home run (pictured above, video heer)in the ALDS vs. the Angels in 2004 that helped propel the Red Sox to their first Championship in 86 years.  He also won the 2010 home run derby at Angel Stadium, defeating former and future teammate Hanley Ramirez while putting on a show hitting 32 balls out - which matches the total number of home runs he's hit against the Angels in 117 career starts.

Before Thursday's night Series opener, he was presented with a customized portrait by Mike Trout (doing his best Papi impersonation, wearing a big gold chain around his neck) and Albert Pujols which can be seen below:
(Courtesy of Jae C. Hong / AP)
You can enjoy the full video here