Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cleveland Rocks

The Cleveland Indians will be hosting their first-ever World Series opener on Tuesday. The Tribe went 7-1 in the playoffs, allowing only 7 runs in their sweep of the Red Sox and only 8 runs in the five games against the Blue Jays. Andrew Miller pitched 11-2/3 innings across six of those games, whiffing 25 of the 41 batters he faced while allowing only five hits, two walks, and no runs. Acquiring him obviously had the biggest impact on the AL race. Congratulations to them for a great season. They have not won the World Series since 1948--losing in 1954, 1995, and 1997. Manager Terry Francona adds another pennant to his already impressive resume.

Down in Los Angeles the Dodgers have to be a bit dismayed that the Cubs seem to have found their collective batting stroke with a 13-hit, 10-run attack to even the NLCS two games apiece. Chicago's lefty ace Jon Lester goes tonight. The Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw scheduled for Game Six in Wrigley. Replay denied LA an early score as Adrian Gonzalez was called out at home after apparently beating the tag. He tweeted "Us against the world" after the game. I don't know about that--this is the Dodgers who have not only the best attendance but the highest payroll, not to mention an internationally-recognized brand. Seems like the "world" is filled with Dodgers fans! "Us against the ML replay system" might have been better. It did look like he was safe, although there could have been a gap between his hand and the plate at the moment of the tag. I'm glad I don't have to make those calls.



Zo said...

Ahhhh, 1954. That was a good one.

nomisnala said...

In both our series vs the Cubs and now the dodger series vs. the Cubs, MLB cannot seem to get some of these replays correct, and the overwhelming majority of the time, the end up in favor of the Cubs. Does MLB want an all midwest world series this year? I mean, if Trump can pre-judge an election in 50 separate states, with the overwhelming number of governors being republican as being rigged against him, certainly baseball can be silently rigging the WS appearance in favor of the hapless, not lovable to me, Cubs.

M.C. O'Connor said...

The close calls are just that--close. "Too close to call," in fact. There's a limit to human perception, even video-enhanced perception. I'm amazed the umpires do as well as they do--they have remarkable skills, in my mind. That play last night at home looked like 'out' in real time and 'safe' in review. But it wasn't black-and-white, clear-cut, no argument. It was still a little uncertain. And until all the players and bases are wired with sensors we'll have to live with that uncertainty, and even then there will be events that the technology won't be able to sort out definitively.

I always thought that MLB hoped and prayed for a Dodgers-Yankees World Series every year. Biggest markets, opposite coasts, a media empire dream match-up. People who aren't even baseball fans know about the Yankees and Dodgers.

nomisnala said...

I have a different opinion. I am mortified at how poorly some of the umpires call plays. To think over all these years, there has been so many poor calls. Not always guaranteed to even out over the season (by the way). Sometimes the replay looks fairly clear on whether a play should be overturned or not, and they still get it wrong. It is very understandable however, when a play is still too difficult to call that it stands. Yet there are so many plays that they still get wrong. I am not as generous as you in forgiving all these calls, after all these guys are supposed to be the best umpires on the planet. I wonder how often they get their visual acuity checked.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Eventually a lot more of the calls will become robotic. I could easily see a system for ruling fair and foul done entirely with technology. Certainly an enhanced-reality system (a la Google glass) will become standard for officials. We aren't quite there yet, but it's coming. I give the umps a lot of credit for embracing the replay, and wanting to 'get it right'. MLB is making progress with the changes. You have to do it incrementally in order to see what works, what helps and what doesn't, and how it effects pace-of-play and how the fans respond. Overall I think the replay has been a good thing for the game but I expect it to keep evolving.

M.C. O'Connor said...

So with the Cubs getting to the Series (against Kershaw no less) what do we have? The Midwest Matchup? The Corn Belt Contest? The Rust Belt Rumble? The Great Lakes Grumble? The Buckeye Bloodbath? The Prairie Punchout? The Heartland Hoodoo? The I-90 Knockaround?

Cubs -185 Indians +160

Tuesday 5:08 pm PT in Cleveland.

campanari said...

If they win alternating games, THE C-C SEE SAW?

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

There is never going to be great umpiring overall. Look at how many incompetent umpires there are, you hear about them all the time, listening to the radio broadcast, and once they are in, they have no incentive to ever improve themselves,mbecause they got a job for life.

Sandy Alderson actually tried to reform things, and the umpires, I think led by Joe West, one of the most useless umpires around because he seems to think the fans come out to see him, actually all turned in their letters of resignation, and Sandy accepted the ones he wanted to get rid of! I thought, great, but the courts eventually reinstated them, and he left the commissioners office.

The union protects and preserves their incompetence. It will take technology taking over entirely the duties for them to be removed, and even then, they will probably need to be paid off.

I love the idea of Google glasses augmenting their calls, maybe the umpires will become the MLB equivalent of the ABA franchise that was terminated in the merger, with the NBA, but they still split the revenues equally as if they were still a team, a non essential part of the sports landscape, but still making good money off of the sport. They can wear the eyeglasses and Watson would call all the strikes, out calls, balks, check swings, etc, using video analysis, relay the result to the umpire, and then they can do their schtick. It is amazing what can be done today with technology!

carmot said...

Ummmmmmmm. Joe West is currently in his FOURTH term as President of the MLB umpires union- the World Umpires Union. So, welp. Second-most all-time in playoff games umpired. Yeah. Seriously.

M.C. O'Connor said...

So the Indians have the "former Giants" edge over the Cubs with Rajai Davis and Dan Otero. Davis was drafted in the 38th round in 2001 (Pirates)--the Giants first round picks that year were Brad Hennessey and Noah Lowry. Otero was drafted by the Giants in the 21st round in 2007--our first-rounder that year was Madison Bumgarner. Davis played for the Giants in 2007 and 2008 (63 G, 181 PA) while Otero saw action (12-1/3 IP) for the Giants in 2012 (but was not part of the post-season roster). Otero has turned himself into an effective reliever. Davis has always relied on his superb base-stealing skills. Obscure connections, I know, but connections nonetheless. I don't believe there are any former Giants on the Cubs.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Ah, a former tradition I used to do every year since we never got in. Except I think I treated it as a curse, if I recall right, where the team with the most ex-Giants would lose.

Yeah, no ex-Giants, almost, as they had Nathan earlier in the year but dumped him. Closest obscure connection is that I think the Giants tried to trade for Zobrist before.

Yeah, Otero has been good. A's stole him from us by claiming his waivers, I was really sad when that happened as I liked his minor league stats. Not sure how he ended up on Indians. Ha, I wonder what the former As edge is, Cubs got Russell and Hammel at minimum, Indians Otero and Rajai, another As waiver claim from Giants, if I remember right.

Am I bored with this series? :). Go Indians!!!