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Posts Tagged ‘Major League Baseball’

Image of Willie McCovey

“Stretch”

Two days ago, on Halloween, the world lost one of the true gentlemen of sports history:  Willie Lee McCovey.  Nicknamed “Mac”, “Big Mac”, and (my personal favorite) “Stretch”, McCovey was a first baseman who defined the position for me as a child.  He played for the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball for 19 of his 22 seasons in the majors.
My earliest memory of ANY sports event was attending a baseball game as a youth at Candlestick Park and seeing McCovey, Willie Mays, and Juan Marichal in person.  My mom and I sat high in the upper deck, underneath the shell which used to line the stadium.  I don’t recall if the Giants won the game or much else about the game except – Marichal’s high-kick pitching delivery style, Mays hit a home run and “Stretch” made a terrific catch at first base.  It wasn’t a high catch (as shown in the image above).  It was low, near the ground and McCovey had to practically do the splits to make the catch.
It seems “funny” to think of this, but imagine you are Willie Mays – arguably the greatest baseball player of all time and in the top five career home run hitters in history and you bat third in the order because the guy (Willie McCovey) batting fourth, behind you, has more power…
None of the above speaks to the true greatness of the man, himself.  It is better to think of Willie McCovey this way:  his last active year was 1980.  That same year, the Giants retired his jersey number (44) and began awarding “The Willie Mac Award” which is given to the team’s most inspirational player that year, as voted on by the team’s players, coaches, training staff, and (just recently included) fans.  Finally, in 1986, in his first year of eligibility, Willie McCovey was voted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
R.I.P “Stretch”.  And thanks for the childhood memories…
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2011 See The Specialist
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First off…  With all due props…  Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox for winning the 2018 World Series!!!
Image of Boston World Champions patch
Boston defeats LA in 2018 World Series 4 games to 1 !!!!
Image of Stamp over Dodger Logo
As an SF Giants fan, all I can say is:  “Two World Series losses in a row!!  How sweet it is!!!!
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On This Day In:
2017 By Their Acts Thy Shall Know Them
2016 Remembering
2015 One
2014 Sure Experiments And Demonstrated Arguments
2013 Irrational Complacency
2012 Why Criticize?
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2011 Saying Just Enough
2010 Giants Win Game 2 Shutout of Rangers – 9 to 0!!!

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Astros Win 2017 World Series - Dodgers Choke

Astros Win 2017 World Series – Dodgers Choke

Congratulations to the Houston Astros for winning the 2017 World Series (defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers) four games to three!
Last night the Los Angeles Dodgers completed one of the most dominant seasons in Major League Baseball history by choking in the 2017 World Series!!  Although heavily favored to win (mostly picked for victory in 6 games), the Dodgers lost to the regular season’s second most dominant team – the Houston Astros.  This is not to take anything away from the excellent baseball played by the Astros, but when push came to shove, all three of the Dodgers’ strengths (Kershaw, power hitting and a dominant bullpen) fell short.  Of the three, Kershaw was the only one which did not “clearly” choke.  Kershaw finished his three appearances in the Series with 4.02 ERA and 17 strikeouts to five walks (almost 1 walk per 3 strikeouts) across 15 2/3 innings (almost 1 walk per 3 innings) facing the Astros.  These are NOT normal Kershaw numbers.   (His career ERA is 2.36.)  Granted, take away his horrible game 5 loss and he had an okay Series.  In contrast, in game 7, the Dodgers everyday players left ten(10) players stranded on base and many were in scoring position (on second or third base).
So, while the boys in Blue go home (stay home – the loss was in LA) with dreams of what might have been, the men in Orange carry the day with a 5 to 1 game 7 victory!!
Okay, while it’s Orange and Navy Blue, not Orange and Black…  As a Giants fan…   I LOVE IT!!!!
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On This Day In:
2016 Why Do Republicans Always Seem To Be Angry?
2015 All Things Being Equal
2014 Fearful Light
2013 Unexpectedly Knowledgeable
2012 Seems Obvious
2011 See The Specialist

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The San Francisco Giants closed out the National League Championship Series (NLCS) by 4 wins to 1 with a 6 to 3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on a three run, walk-off home run!!  Wow!!

2014 National League Championship Cap

2014 National League Championship Cap

2014 NLCS S.F. Giants T-Shirt

2014 NLCS S.F. Giants T-Shirt

Unbelievable!  The Giants start the World Series on Tuesday against the Kansas City Royals.  Format: 2-3-2; with the first two played in Kansas City by virtue of the American League victory in the All-Star Game earlier this year.  If we manage to steal one of the games back there – watch out!!
I predict this will be our fourth playoff series where we are the underdogs.  We’ve beaten the favored Pittsburgh Pirates. We’ve beaten the heavily favored Washington Nationals.  And now, we’ve beaten the slightly favored St. Louis Cardinals.  Based on the head to head competition this year, where the Royals swept the Giants in three games in K.C. back in August, a realistic person would have to give the Royals a definite edge.  They are a very good team which seems to be peaking at just the right time.  We seem to be a team which gets by on mostly smoke and mirrors.  Their strengths (power, speed at base running/stealing, and a lock down bullpen) all play to our weaknesses.  But, I still like our chances.  Once we bring them back to our ball park, their pitchers will have to hit.  They won’t be used to it and we’ll be able to claw our way back into the series.  I’m predicting a six game, 4-2 World Series win by the boys in Orange & Black.  Go Giants!!
I AM ORANGE INSIDE !!
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On This Day In:
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Another exciting and well played game by both sides results in a come from behind 6 to 4 win by the Giants over the Cardinals.  This essentially reverses the position the two teams were in two years ago, when the Cards held the 3 game to 1 advantage over the Giants.  Of course, the Giants went on to win the 2012 NLCS by sweeping the three remaining games and ultimately going on to win the following World Series (against Detroit).  So the Giants know how quickly the opportunity to advance can slip away if you don’t keep up the pressure.
In tomorrow’s Game 5, we again have our ace (Madison Bumgarner) pitching against the St. Louis ace (Adam Wainwright).  We only need to win one of the next three (.333 ball), while the Cards need to win out (1.000 ball).  While it’s possible for the Cards to come back, it’s a tall hill to climb.  But, that’s why we play the games…   Go Giants!!!
I AM ORANGE INSIDE !!
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On This Day In:
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The glory of baseball (and most other sport) is that when a game is well played and close the drama of the competition can turn the game into a thing of beauty.  This is what happened in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday.  Even though the team I support (the S.F. Giants) lost that game by 5 to 4 on the strength of four home runs by the St. Louis Cardinals, the game was thrilling, close and could have gone either way.  The Cardinals, who have been among the cellar dwellers for teams with home runs during the regular season, have suddenly found their power stroke.
Monday was a day off for travel and play resumed today for three games (and three days) here in San Francisco.
Today, the Giants returned the favor by winning Game 3 by the score of 5 to 4.  This was another “beautiful” game because although the Giants jumped out to a first inning lead of 4 to 0, they let the Cards hang around and hang around until they finally tied the game and sent it into extra innings.  In the 10th inning, the Giants did what they have been doing this whole postseason – they found a way to win.  The got a walk, a funky hit and then a bunt which allowed a walk-off runner to score when the pitcher threw a wild toss to 1st base to try to get the force out.  The ball sailed inside the man covering first base and down the baseline into the warm up area.  The runner was safe at first and the Giants won.  What should have been an “easy” out (meant to simply advanced the runners) ended up an error to win the game.
Well, as unconvincing as the win may have been, we’ll take it.  The Giants are now up 2 – 1 in the series with four games left and the next two are here at home.  We need to play .500 ball to advance.  The Cards need to play .750 to advance.  Pretty long odds for the “Birds On A Stick”.  Historically, when a team wins game 1 on the road and is 2 – 1 in the Series, they win game four  59% of the time and the seven game series 68% of the time.  Not as dominating a percentage as I would have hoped for, but still much better than being in the reverse.  So, on to Game 4!!
I AM ORANGE INSIDE !!
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On This Day In:
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Well, as I said in a prior post, it’s starting to look like “Katie-bar-the-door”…  !!!  The S.F. Giants defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series by 3 to 0!!!
Madison Bumgarner, our ace southpaw, pitched a dominating game (7-2/3 innings, 4 hits, no runs allowed) on his way to breaking a 90 year old record for consecutive playoff innings without allowing a run.  The current record is now MadBum’s and stands at 26-2/3rd innings (and counting).
The Giants scored two of their three runs off of Card miscues, so we’re still waiting for the offense to wake up.  The good news is when you don’t allow ANY opposition runs, you only have to score 1 run to win the game.  So we did have a little insurance.
So, for now, it’s mission accomplished!  We’ve gone to their home and taken game 1.  Now, we only need to play .500 ball in the next six games while they have to play .666 ball to move on to the World Series.  Both teams are certainly capable of playing to that level, but the burden is now definitely on St. Louis to win Game 2.  For the regular season, the Cards won 2 more games than the Giants and finished with a .556 winning percentage, to .543 for the Giants.  It’s far more likely the Giants will continue to play .543 ball and advance, than it is the Card’s will jump from .556 to .666.  But, that’s why we play the games.  Both teams are tested champions and I still expect the series to go at least six games.
Tomorrow is Game 2 and then the teams fly to San Francisco for three games.  The NCLS playoff format this year is 2-3-2.  Two games in St. Louis; three games in San Francisco; and, the final two games back in St. Louis.  Of course, the last three games are only played if necessary.
On the downside, the Baltimore Orioles have now given up games 1 and 2 in the American League Championship Series – both at home to the Kansas City Royals.  Baltimore now needs to win 4 of the remaining 5 games to win the ALCS and go to the World Series.  .800 ball is asking a whole lot with the next three games in Kansas City, so it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be the all Orange & Black World Series I was hoping for.
I AM ORANGE INSIDE !!
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On This Day In:
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2010 Giants Advance To NLCS!!

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