Posts Tagged ‘mariano rivera’

MLB Postseason Preview: Rangers vs. Yankees

New York Yankees (95-67) at Texas Rangers (90-72)

OVERVIEW

Fresh off the franchise’s first playoff series win, the Rangers take on the Yankees, who once again swept the Twins in the first round. Oddly, the Yankees’ sweep of the Twins may have been a closer—or at least more exciting—series than the Rangers-Rays five-gamer. The Yankees came from behind in each of the first two games (with Mariano Rivera of course saving both) before finishing the Twins off at home. The Rangers and Rays, meanwhile, played only one close game in five—a Game 3 win for the Rays. Two great starts from Cliff Lee and another from C.J. Wilson (combined for 2 ER in 22.1 IP) were enough to put the Rangers in their first ever ALCS. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while boldly enriching our uranium…

  • Speaking of, another one of those “Man, I’m trying real hard to stay off Twitter in order to remain literate” stories, this time from NBA blogger Ryan Corazza. (We don’t mean to be sarcastic; we like these stories.)


The Sports Revolution: Fixing the All-Star Game

In preparation for this year’s Fall Classic, we asked Pierre Menard if he would be interested in revising his plans from last season on how to fix Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. “Revise???” Pierre responded indignantly. “What revisions are needed? Fine, change the moronic number of current All-Stars from 32 per side to 34 and we’re done.” We didn’t even go that far. Here, unrevised and from last season, is Pierre on, well, revising the All-Star Game.

Let me set the scene for you: It’s an All-Star Game, and nobody cares.

Let me reset the scene for you: It’s an All-Star Game, and everybody cares.

My esteemed colleague wrote a vapid, nonsensical, and generally tedious post on why the Major League Baseball All-Star Game isn’t that bad. But John S, let’s be honest with ourselves and call a spade a spade. What fan of baseball is actually going to subject themselves to the abject torture that is the All-Star Game? I challenge you, John S, to sit there through the interminable player introductions, ceremonial first pitches, shots of Bud Selig, and not least in inducing woe, the actual four-hour game, and come out on the other side of it thinking yourself somehow enhanced by the experience.

A confession: I have not watched an All-Star Game in its entirety; this is because I have a sense of propriety. I did monitor bits and pieces of last year’s, which proved mildly interesting. But suffice it to say that, each year, Major League Baseball errs more in its All-Star shenanigans than Daniel Uggla.

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Monday Medley

What we read while celebrating the independence of our nation by blowing up a small part of it…

  • We had endless fun with the worst sentences of the year, but our personal favorite might have to be the following: “As Holmes, who had a nose for danger, quietly fingered the bloody knife and eyed the various body parts strewn along the dark, deserted highway, he placed his ear to the ground and, with his heart in his throat, silently mouthed to his companion, ‘Arm yourself, Watson, there is an evil hand afoot ahead.'”
  • The answer appears to be “No,” but the question in the subhead–“Could a brain parasite found in cats help soccer teams win at the World Cup?”–is undeniably intriguing.

In Praise of Jorge Posada

Jorge Posada returned to the Yankee lineup Wednesday night after over two weeks on the DL. If you don’t actively follow the Yankees, though, you may not have even realized he was gone. Posada is not the kind of marquee player whose injury would be national news.

Even though the last few weeks haven’t been the best for the Yankees, it’s not really like the Yankees have missed Posada so much—Francisco Cervelli’s surprising performance (he’s put up a .383 OBP and a stunning 1.442 OPS with 2 outs and runners in scoring position, albeit in an extremely small sample) has made Posada’s absence more palatable. Even before Posada’s injury, there was talk that he should become the team’s full-time DH to make room for Cervelli.

This isn’t really new. Being underappreciated seems to be Posada’s destiny. The most anonymous of the Core Four has flown under the radar throughout his career.

If you live in the New York area, have ever watched the YES Network, or picked up Sports Illustrated a few weeks ago, then you’re already familiar with the term “The Core Four.” This is how we insufferable Yankee fans refer to the quartet of teammates—Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada—that have been with the team since the beginning of the Yankee Dynasty in 1996. All four players made their MLB debut with the Yankees in 1995 and would go on to play major roles in the Yankee championships of the late ’90s, 2000, and then again last season. When critics point out (fairly) that the Yankees can sign free agents and assemble a roster of All-Stars seemingly at will thanks to their bottomless pockets, fans point to the Core Four as the four examples of homegrown talent that the Yankees didn’t have to “buy.” Earlier this season Jeter, Rivera, and Posada became the first trio of teammates in any major professional sport to play together for 16 consecutive seasons—a pretty remarkable fact in the era of free agency, even for the Yankees. Pettitte would have joined them, if not for a three-year stint with the Houston Astros from 2004-2006 that Yankee fans conveniently ignore in their memory. Continue reading

Aught Lang Syne: What John S Is Looking Forward To….

In this final installment Aught Lang Syne’s conclusion, John S presents what he is looking forward to in the coming decade. In case you missed it, Josh posted what he is anticipating here, and Tim posted his here. We at NPI hope you’ve enjoyed our retrospective on the Aughts.

In the Teens, I’m looking forward to….

…A Suitable Name for a Decade: Were we happy with “the Aughts”? Of course not. But we stuck with it for the sake of consistency. And even if it won’t be accurate for 30% of the decade, at least all the 2019 decade retrospectives will refer it as “the Teens.”

…The Future of Television: I’ve already touched on this, but television is currently at a crossroads. If anything, things have become more dire for the old model. Network television is apparently on its way out, and free television may be a casualty. This, of course, may have disastrous consequences: With free TV gone, shows’ budgets may be severely restricted. As a result, shows will not be able to have big casts, shoot extensively on location, or attract the best talent. In other words, the Golden Age of TV will be over.

It’s probably inevitable that television will undergo some growing pains, but I think that ultimately the industry will get stronger. The evolution away from the old network model will actually be conducive to more innovative programming. Broad hits like CSI and American Idol may suffer, but shows like Mad Men—which is already on pay-cable and maintains a large cast, original sets, and great actors—ought to be able to survive. In fact, the cable model, which is what people say we are drifting towards now, already produces most of the best television. No matter what, though, it will be fascinating to watch a medium that is hitting its creative stride at the precise moment that it faces logistical upheaval.   Continue reading

Aught Lang Syne: Top 10 Games — Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball hit a bit of a rough patch in the Aughts, what with steroids and tie games–well, one at least–and out-of-control payroll imbalances and talk of contraction and ugly stadiums and all. It’s odd to say this, but it might even have been a worse decade for the game than the ‘90s.

Okay, now that’s not true. But still, the Top 10 Major League Baseball Games from the ‘90s would certainly be a more impressive list than this one. I can think of four absolutely transcendent games from that decade, which is double the number the Aughts can boast of.*

*In chronological order because it’s too tough to rank them: ’91 World Series Game 7, ’92 NLCS Game 7, ’97 World Series Game 7, ’99 NLCS Game 5. Others that would make the top 10 off the top of my head include ’93 WS Game 6, ’95 WS Game 6, ’96 WS Game 4, and ’99 ALDS Game 5.

But that still leaves the Aughts with two games to be pretty proud of. And you know what, these other eight are pretty good, too. Most, but not all, are one-run games; several went a few extra innings, and a few went several extra innings; and a surprising and perhaps statistically significant number of them ended with a score of 6 to 5.

In case you’re wondering, hitting a walk-off home run in the World Series for your first homer of the year still wasn’t enough to get Scott Podsednik and the ’05 White Sox on the list, who also had Game 2 of their ALCS against Anaheim and Game 3 of their World Series with Houston short-listed. Brad Lidge not only escapes the Podsednik homer unscathed, but also the shot he surrendered to Albert Pujols a series earlier in Game 5. Armando Benitez is off the hook for Game 1 of the 2000 World Series, as is Steve Bartman. I heard that guy’s had some other issues to deal with.

The worst game of the decade goes to the Rangers and Orioles for that 30-3 charade they had a few years ago. I can’t imagine anyone sitting through to the end of that one.

Final clerical note: Not all of the games have videos supported by YouTube, and thus capable of embedding. Don’t blame me; blame Time magazine’s Person of 2007.

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