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MLB Thread

Postby tackle-bag » September 28th, 2011, 2:52 pm

As the postseason approaches, it's probably not a bad time to set up a new baseball thread. The wildcard spot in the American League has gone to the wire in a manner that nobody would have predicted a month ago.

The final games of the regular season are tonight. The Red Sox are away to the Orioles, while the Rays host the Yankees. If one of Boston or Tampa Bay win and the other loses, that team will progress. If they both win, a winner takes all playoff will be played tomorrow evening in Tampa Bay. If they both lose, the same will occur.

It could have all fallen apart for the Red Sox last night, but for the intervention of a rookie called Ryan Lavarnway. Having made his first Major League start just over a month ago, he was asked to play catcher (the most challenging position on the field) for the first time in his MLB career. As it transpired, he played a blinder, belting the first two home runs of his career in quick succession to almost single-handedly win the game. Fairytale stuff.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby mikerob » September 28th, 2011, 3:21 pm

On the subject of MLB... I've just finished reading a book called "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis, the story of how the Oakland Athletics used statistical analysis to build a squad and plan tactics rather than the traditional baseball method of gut feel, received wisdoms or just spending lots of money. A good read although some knowledge of baseball would probably help... coming out as a film later this year with Brad Pitt as the Oakland general manager.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby Broken Wing » September 28th, 2011, 3:23 pm

Mikerob, didn't the Simpsons do an episode on that with Lisa coaching Bart's team?
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby tackle-bag » September 28th, 2011, 3:49 pm

Broken Wing wrote:Mikerob, didn't the Simpsons do an episode on that with Lisa coaching Bart's team?


They did indeed, it's called "Moneybart". I gather the Moneyball movie has been a huge hit with critics and audiences alike, so I'm looking forward to it.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby Avenger » September 29th, 2011, 9:47 am

Its play off time.

The Jays and the Cardinals have amazing comebacks to win the wild card races.

Phillies look like the best team in baseball at this point. Still hope the Cards with some great momentum could give them a scare.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby tackle-bag » September 29th, 2011, 12:59 pm

Avenger wrote:The Jays and the Cardinals have amazing comebacks to win the wild card races.


Rays you mean?

The Red Sox demise was absolutely gutting but they only have themselves to blame. They were cruising last night, but never managed to pull away from the Orioles and were sucker-punched in the 9th. The chances of that happening at the same time as the Rays making a comeback from 7-0 down against the Yankees in the 8th must have been about ten thousand to one.

My support is firmly behind the Cardinals now, if only because Pujols is such a classy player and deserves to win more than one World Series in his career. His contract is up at the end of the season and there's been a lot of talk about him moving to Boston. I really hope it materialises, because they need to bolster their batting line-up if they're going to contend. Great player though Ortiz still is, he's looked past his best this year.

The Sox also need some new blood in their pitching rotation. Lackey is nowhere near the standard, Wakefield is geriatric and Bédard isn't the answer they were looking for.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby Avenger » September 29th, 2011, 1:41 pm

tackle-bag wrote:Rays you mean?


Yep.


tackle-bag wrote:My support is firmly behind the Cardinals now, if only because Pujols is such a classy player and deserves to win more than one World Series in his career. His contract is up at the end of the season and there's been a lot of talk about him moving to Boston. I really hope it materialises, because they need to bolster their batting line-up if they're going to contend. Great player though Ortiz still is, he's looked past his best this year.


Pujols is amazing. For my money the best player in baseball over the last decade. The Cardinals didn't give him great support for a lot of that decade but it looks like they have a good team now (if a little lacking in quality outside the starters). Holliday will need to be back and fit if they are to really have a chance against the Phillies but beating them 3 out of 4 a few weeks back does give me some confidence that they can pull off a shock.

There's a lot of talk that the Cubs will be in for Pujols too but I'd say its likely he'll still be a redbird next season.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby tackle-bag » September 30th, 2011, 2:10 pm

Avenger wrote:Pujols is amazing. For my money the best player in baseball over the last decade. The Cardinals didn't give him great support for a lot of that decade but it looks like they have a good team now (if a little lacking in quality outside the starters).


I totally agree. What really sets Pujols apart, though, is the fact that he's one of a tiny minority of athletes who sit at the very top of their sport but remain genuinely decent people. Rafael Nadal is another obvious example. I saw a documentary about Pujols a few weeks back and was incredibly impressed. His work for Down's Syndrome charities is truly heroic.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby Avenger » October 15th, 2011, 3:15 pm

Loving the playoffs this year :)
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby tackle-bag » October 16th, 2011, 5:49 pm

Avenger wrote:Loving the playoffs this year :)


Both of the League Championship Series have been very entertaining. Hopefully the Cardinals can get through tonight and set up a great World Series with the Tigers. I'm planning on watching each of the games, but I don't know if I can take that many 4am finishes in a row!
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby Avenger » October 17th, 2011, 8:32 am

Cardinals v Rangers world series.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby Avenger » October 23rd, 2011, 7:34 pm

Loving the series so far. Pujols hit 3 homers last night.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby Avenger » October 28th, 2011, 8:55 am

Game 7 tonight.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby Avenger » October 19th, 2012, 8:57 am

Loving the playoffs again this year. World champion Cardinals one game away from returning to the world series :)
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby tackle-bag » October 21st, 2012, 1:35 pm

Avenger wrote:Loving the playoffs again this year. World champion Cardinals one game away from returning to the world series :)


A simply unbelievable achievement in circumstances where they lost Pujols to the Angels before the start of the season. Would love to see them do it again. The Tigers are to baseball what Northampton have been to rugby for the past few years; a team loaded with thugs.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby Avenger » October 22nd, 2012, 9:06 am

3-3 now. Game 7 tonight.
Edit: btw they also lost a hall of fame coach/manager. No one expected them to be contending this year.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby tackle-bag » October 22nd, 2012, 12:03 pm

I have to say that, as a Red Sox fan, I'm not convinced that John Farrell is going to be the man to help them recover from the last two disastrous seasons. We're talking about a guy with very little experience as a manager, who hasn't fared particularly well with a decent Blue Jays outfit. I thought Valentine was totally overhyped last season and, unfortunately, I suspect that history may be repeating itself.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby Avenger » October 22nd, 2012, 12:11 pm

tackle-bag wrote:I have to say that, as a Red Sox fan, I'm not convinced that John Farrell is going to be the man to help them recover from the last two disastrous seasons. We're talking about a guy with very little experience as a manager, who hasn't fared particularly well with a decent Blue Jays outfit. I thought Valentine was totally overhyped last season and, unfortunately, I suspect that history may be repeating itself.


Mike Matheny is the Cardinals manager and this is his first managers job. He was promoted from within. Managers don't have to be experienced to have success if they are working within a system they are familiar with.

But having said that, something doesn't look right in Red Sox land.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby Avenger » October 23rd, 2012, 8:43 am

Fair play to the Giants coming back from 3-1 down to win the series and move on to the world series.
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Re: MLB Thread

Postby Dave Cahill » December 10th, 2012, 2:24 pm

Excellent documentary out at the moment, Knuckleball!, about RA Dickey and Tim Wakefield who were at the time the only two knuckleballers in the Bigs. Since it was made Wakefield has retired (he was the oldest active player in Major League Baseball) and Dickey won the NL Cy Young this year.
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