The baseball columnists who share their wit, wisdom and/or ignorance every Sunday have inspired me to come up with a new deal here on Sundays entitled “Sunday Lightning” with quick hits of whatever pops into my addled little brain. I was trying to come up with a title and the repulsive, disgusting images that I can’t get out of my head stemming from Rich Lowry’s disturbing homage to Sarah Palin—-Lowry on Palin (not literally, lucky for her)—-were a factor as I settled on “Sunday Lightning”. Psychological analysis and heavy duty drugs may be necessary for me to recover sufficiently.
- Dodgers 3-Cubs 1; does the choke label fit for the Cubs?
The Cubs didn’t choke; they simply made a mistake in starting Ryan Dempster in game one; played shoddy (almost embarrassing) defense in game two; got outpitched in game three; and didn’t hit at all. With most teams who flame out rapidly in the playoffs, their flaws were evident over the course of a season and manifested themselves at the worst possible time in the playoffs; I don’t see that to be the case with the Cubs.
Their one obvious flaw is that they don’t have any left-handed bat in the lineup the opposing team has to prepare for; they thought that Kosuke Fukudome would be it, but he wasn’t (further shedding light on why Japanese imports are such a huge risk—-teams don’t know whether they’re getting Hideki Matsui or Kosuke Fukudome; Hideki Irabu or Hideo Nomo); this is a problem that they will address. Other than that, I can say this without sounding as if I’m a whiny fan who wants to change the rules to suit my team, this series is prime evidence why the regular season should be shortened to 154 games and all three post-season series should be best four out of seven.
It’s completely unfair for a team that won thirteen fewer games than their opponent to be able to have a hot streak of three games and knock out their opponent before anyone realizes what happened. I understand that the argument that Bud Selig has put forth as he’s said that there are a greater chance of upsets in a short series, but that’s a weak argument at best. Upsets shouldn’t be the goal; fairness should be and there shouldn’t be a punishment for the team that was clearly superior over the course of a long season, and that’s what a short, fast series is.
As for the decision to start Dempster, I’m sure Piniella would like a do-over on that one. The “ace” theory in the post-season is there for a reason; if a team has an obvious number one guy, he has to set the tone and start the opener. The only viable reasons to start someone other than the number one guy (in this case, Carlos Zambrano) is if the other option has a clear record of success against the opponent, or has had a dominating, career year. Dempster had a very good year; and it was his career year; but it wasn’t so good that it thrust him into the number one spot in the rotation and starting him was a big mistake that set the tone for the series.
The Cubs didn’t choke; they just got beat.
- The pain of the Yankees:
As the entire Yankee-world from the organization through the fan base plots their off-season strategy (one fan called that buffoon Mike Francesa on WFAN and said he wanted, in order: C.C. Sabathia, Francisco Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Mark Teixeira for next year), it must be a twisting of the knife that’s already embedded in their gut from not making the playoffs to see Joe Torre, Don Mattingly and Larry Bowa celebrating the Dodgers advance to the NLCS. Derek Jeter isn’t vindictive in that he wants Torre and co. to fail, but it must be killing him as well after this rough year with Joe Girardi.
- I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…
As much as I’ve unloaded on him for being a mediocre player who was a mistake for them to sign, I have a financial match for the Mets to get rid of Luis Castillo and it’s…Julio Lugo. I think Lugo is horrendously overpaid as a shortstop for the Red Sox and he’s been a disastrous mistake for GM Theo Epstein, but I could live with him playing second base for the Mets over Castillo. Both are making the same amount of money (Castillo over the next three years, Lugo the next two) and Epstein would be able to spin Castillo off somewhere else. Lugo can run, has a little pop and would probably love to both get out of Boston and return home to New York. I’d explore it if I were the Mets; they tried to sign him before the Red Sox and the money matches up.
- The Padres would do well to trade Jake Peavy:
With his stressful motion the Padres should absolutely trade Jake Peavy; and since they’re slashing payroll to $40-50 million and won’t contend next year anyway, what do they need Peavy and his salary for? Peavy sounds like he’s getting frustrated with the Padres’ penny-pinching and losing; the team is terrible; he’s in heavy demand and could command at least three blue-chip prospects in a deal plus some bodies to function as filler for the next couple of years. My one concern would be whether or not the Padres would even know what constituted a good return on Peavy; this ain’t the Marlins or Athletics and their smart, intuitive scouts we’re dealing with here;
the Padres scouting hasn’t exactly distinguished itself in the Sandy Alderson era (error?).
- Who’s Chris Russo again?
Phil Mushnick of the NY Post articulated exactly what I’d been thinking about Chris Russo with this comment in his column:
Chris Russo may have taken the big dough to become
Satellite Dog, but in so doing he has nearly disappeared off the local
radar. In a few years, figures reader Mark Morley, he’ll be known as “Chris from New Canaan.”
I don’t know anyone who even has satellite radio as anything other than a part of their package when they got a new car. Russo was never someone who was required listening for a sports fan in New York; his knowledge is a bare minimum; he’s mean-spirited, hypocritical and basically unintelligent and uninformed. People listened because there wasn’t much else to listen to, so now what’s happened in the month he’s been off of free radio? He’s been predictably forgotten; I said when he took the job it was a mistake on both ends. To think that people were going to follow Chris Russo to satellite radio when a small fraction of listeners followed Howard Stern to satellite radio was a terrible miscalculation at best and a colossal blunder at worst and I’m sure Russo is regretting his decision already because he’s irrelevant and forgotten.
- The most stunning thing about Raiders boss Al Davis’s firing of coach Lane Kiffin:
Say what you want about Al Davis and how he’s running his team into the ground, but at 79, he sounded very lucid and coherent during his press conference. That’s not to say he’s right, but he still sounded relatively with it. The most amazing thing to me about his firing of Lane Kiffin weren’t the allegations and the contretemps back and forth between the two, but that Davis did the same thing to Mike Shanahan when he fired him in 1989 and he still hasn’t paid Shanahan what he owed him!
Think about this. It was almost twenty years ago and this was before coaches were making the big money they’re making now. Even if Shanahan was making that big money, wouldn’t it have been easier just to pay him off and get the thing behind everyone? It opens a window into Al Davis as to why he’s been both a success and a failure and how he’s such a polarizing figure depending on whom you talk to about him with his generosity with some and petulant vindictiveness with others.