Some thoughts on the baseball post season as we await the League Championship Series....
- A once proud franchise, that has been basically lousy for as long as anyone can remember, finally makes the playoffs, catches fire, springs a couple of upsets, and now sits one series away from playing in the World Series. Yeah, it's a fun story, and it is easy to root for the Kansas City Royals, but in the back of your head all you can think of is WHY COULDN'T THIS HAVE HAPPENED TO THE PIRATES?????
- Friday night, seventh inning, Dodgers 6 - Cardinals 1, Clayton Kershaw on the mound for LA and riding a streak of having retired 14 consecutive batters. In the time it took to go to the fridge and grab a cold beer, Kershaw implodes, Cards take a 7-6 lead, and go on to win Game One 10-8. Does anyone out there think that the results of that series was decided then and there? Yeah, it took three more games, and yet another Kershaw gag job, but isn't this what the Cardinals ALWAYS do?
- In 11 post-season games over four seasons, Clayton Kershaw is 1-5 with a 5.12 ERA.
- Aside to my Facebook friend out there in California, Skip Collinge: Maybe I'm just old, but please stop with Kershaw-Koufax comparisons. I know about Koufax' first five seasons, and I know what Kershaw has done in his first seven seasons, BUT.....1-5 and 5.12. He's no Sandy Koufax. Maybe some day he will be, but he ain't there yet, no matter how many statistics you throw at me. (Skip, be sure to read anecdote at the bottom of this post.)
- Having said that, if the Pirates could go to some MLB Fantasy Island and have a chance to secure the services of Clayton Kershaw, I'd take that offer in a heartbeat.
- Few things could make me happier than knowing that we don't have to watch Bryce Harper any more this year.
- Despite the fact that they dispatched the Pirates last Wednesday night, I find myself rooting for the Giants. They are one series away from playing in, and possibly winning, their third World Series in a five year period, and who east of the Rocky Mountains even know who plays for them? Can you imagine the media bombardment we would have been subjected to if the Yankees, Red Sox, or Mets had put together such a five year run? Actually, we can imagine it, because the Yanks and Sox have indeed put together such runs, so where is the love for the Giants?
- I have never had any special dislike the St. Louis Cardinals. In fact, I've always kind of liked them. I guess it traces back to the Stan Musial and Bob Gibson days. Now, the Tony LaRussa association has tested that admiration, but he's gone now. So, despite the fact that they have been and will remain a HUGE impediment to the Pirates in the NL Central, I still can't work up a great dislike for the Cardinals. It's not like they are the Oakland Raiders or Cleveland Browns. And you just have to admire the Cardinals for how that somehow ALWAYS find a way to win. I just hope that Neal Huntington is trying desperately to figure out a way to beat out the Cardinals. That is the biggest challenge facing the Bucs.
- So, how about some predictions: I am calling for rematch of 1985: Royals vs. Cardinals in the World Series. Royals will win in spite of Ned Yost. Cardinals will win because, well, they are the Cardinals. Don Denkinger will throw out a first pitch in one of the games in Kansas City.
While on the subject of Sandy Koufax, I heard a great story on the Tony Kornheiser radio podcast last week. Tony was interviewing Richard Justice of the MLB Network, and he was relating a story about a conversation he once had with the great Frank Robinson. It went something like this....
Justice: What was it like facing Drysdale?
Robinson: Drysdale? Aw, man, I KILLED him.
RJ: How about Gibson?
FR: Man, I KILLED him!
RJ: What about Koufax?
FR: (pause) Man, NO-body killed him!
Just thought it was a great little anecdote.