Category Archives: Major League Baseball

Armageddon at Arrowhead

Four hours until kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium. Four hours until the most important Chiefs vs. Raiders game in 22 years gets started. At stake is first place in the AFC West, and in all likliehood, a first-round bye in the playoffs. 

The parking lots at Arrowhead (and Kauffman Stadium) opened early today. Those fortunate enough not to be working today can get plenty of eating and drinking (bad idea; alcohol is not recommended in cold weather, since it lowers the body’s ability to fight the chill) before kickoff. 

I know all about that from attending numerous games at LSU, where many fans start tailgating on Friday before a Saturday game. Many fans want night games at LSU in order to have more time to tailgate. The worst thing to some is an afternoon kickoff, since it curtails the time to be eating and drinking. 

Kansas City is going to melt down if the Chiefs lose. There are two all-sports radio stations in the area (KCSP 610 AM and WHB 810 AM), and not one local personality believes the Chiefs will lose tonight. They say the Raiders’ defense is soft, they think Derek Carr will buckle under pressure from the Kansas City defense, they think it wil be too cold for the Raiders, whatever. If you believe some of the talking heads, the Chiefs might as well book their reservations for Houston and Super Bowl LI. For a franchise which hasn’t been to the Super Bowl since 1969, and has played in only one AFC championship game (1993) since winning Super Bowl IV, that’s heady stuff. 

Many sports fans in the area are upset already. Wade Davis, the Royals’ closer on the 2015 World Series winning team, was traded to the Cubs yesterday. Simply put, Royals owner David Glass didn’t want to shell out the $$$$$ to keep Davis in blue and gold. Instead, Davis heads to Wrigley, where he joins Joe Maddon’s juggernaut. Kelvim Herrera becomes the closer after being a setup man the last few seasons. 

The Royals weren’t the only team to trade their closer this week. The Brewers dealt Tyler Thornburg to the Red Sox. Milwaukee isn’t expected to contend until 2018 or 2019, but general manager David Stearns is taking a chance on some prospects developing. Closer has been a royal pain in the butt for the Brewers since the heyday of Dan Plesac in the late 1980s. Before that, it was also a pain, because Rollie Fingers was injured and could not pitch in the 1982 World Series. It may not have made a difference, but Milwaukee would have had a better chance against the Cardinals. More recently, Francisco “K Rod” Rodriguez blew up as the Brewers stumbled down the stretch in September 2014 after leading the NL Central for most of the season. 

Speaking of the Brewers, Bud Selig is going into the Hall of Fame. His reign as commissioner of baseball was an abomination. Ignoring steroids, foisting interleague play upon us, and worst of all, giving the winning league in the All-Star Game home field advantage in the World Series. On the good side, he brought baseball back to Milwaukee after the Braves pulled up stakes and moved to Atlanta, and built a solid core around Robin Young, Paul Molitor, Jim Gantner, Cecil Cooper and Ben Oglivie, all of whom started on Harvey’s Wallbangers, the Brewers’ 1982 American League championship team. Also, Selig got Milwaukee into the National League. 

I’ve been at Buffalo Wild Wings since 1 p.m. Going to stay for part of the Chiefs game, but how long is up in the air. 

Healthy dose of sports hate!

The Cubs won the World Series.

I hate it.

I turned the game off in the fifth inning last night, with the Cubs leading 4-1. I couldn’t take it anymore. The Indians came back to tie in the eighth, but still lost 8-7 in 10 innings.

I have never liked the Cubs. NEVER. I got sick and tired of them in 1984, when they won the National League East division (although the Cubs should have been in the West), and Harry Caray gloated over them on WGN. Since then, they’ve been one of my most disliked sports teams.

One good reason you should hate the Cubs, too: Hillary Clinton loves them. That would be enough for me, but I hated them long before anyone outside Arkansas knew who Hillary Clinton was and how insatiable her desire for power is.

The Cubs are one of four MLB teams I truly despise.

Another is the other team in Chicago, the White Sox. I hate their black uniforms, which are not only ugly, but they evoke memories of the biggest cheaters sports has ever known, the 1919 White Sox, who threw the World Series to the Reds, another team I am not fond of.

I loved the uniforms the White Sox were wearing when I was born. I’m sorry, but the jerseys with the big floppy collars were cool. I bought the hat this summer, not only because the uniforms were awesome and it was the team’s hat when I was born, but because asshole Chris Sale cut up the throwback jerseys in July.

The White Sox play in a shitty ballpark in a shitty neighborhood. The original Comiskey Park had charm. The current park, now known as Guaranteed Rate Field, is the complete opposite of charm. It has a steep upper deck, and if you have a seat in the upper deck, you cannot move, period. Not even to sample the concessions. What a bunch of turds the White Sox are.

The biggest reason to hate the White Sox: BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA or Barry Soetoro or whatever his real name is.

The third team in my axis of MLB evil: the Atlanta Braves.

I hated the Braves from the first time I saw them on TBS. I got sick and tired of hearing them proclaimed as “America’s Team”.

First, Georgia does not speak for all of America. Maybe for itself, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi, but not all of the South, and certainly not all of the country.

Second, the Braves were shitty for the vast majority of their first 25 years in Atlanta. The only things mitigating it were (a) Hank Aaron setting the home run record (he still is the legitimate home run king; I will never recognize Barry Bonds) and (b) winning the NL West in 1982 with Joe Torre as manager. I loved watching the Braves lose, which happened often between 1985 and 1990.

Third, the Braves were owned until recently by supreme asshole Ted Turner. Not only is the son of a bitch far to the left, but he also has bought up all the water rights to the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides water to most of central United States, including all of Kansas. Now farmers and the states will have to pay this piece of shit to reacquire the rights. What a fucking turd.

The fourth MLB team on my shit list: the Miami Marlins.

The Marlins are owned by another real fucking asshole, Jeffrey Loria. Jeffrey Loria, the man who ruined the Montreal Expos by running them on a shoestring budget and then selling them for a handsome profit to Major League Baseball, giving Bud Selig and his minions the excuse they needed to abandon Montreal and return MLB to Washington DC for the first time since 1971. Yes, Washington deserves a team, but Montreal should not have had to lose its team.

Somehow, the franchise has won more World Series (2) than division championships (0). The Marlins bought both championships, 1997 and 2003, by using high-priced free agents, then dumping them when their contracts expired after one year in most instances. For all of you who bitch and whine and moan about the Yankees buying their teams, shut the fuck up. The Marlins perfected it, simply because they went back to being shitty after their one year of glory on both occasions.

Right now, I’m sick and tired for all of the sympathy the Marlins are receiving.

Jose Fernandez, the Marlins’ ace pitcher, died Sept. 25 in a boating accident. Turns out he was high on coke and drunk. Too fucking bad. Did himself in. Just like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and millions of others.

Four of my most hated teams. Here are some of the others.

NHL

Anaheim Ducks–Don’t hate them, but California needs only ONE NHL team. The Kings fit that bill long before the Ducks or The Mighty Ducks. At least they can beat up on the Coyotes.

Arizona Coyotes–The team moved from Winnipeg in 1996. That made me hate this team forever. Winnipeg has a team again, but it should not have been forced to go without the NHL for 15 years. That’s bullshit. Not only did the team leave Winnipeg, it refuses to let the new Jets have the old Jets’ history. What a bunch of shitheads. Bobby Hull and Dale Hawerchuk never skated one second in the state of Arizona. Why should the Coyotes get to claim their achievements?

The Coyotes also went bankrupt many years ago. Yet commissioner Gary Bettman demanded the team stay in Arizona. Heaven forbid the franchise move to a city which can actually support an NHL team, like Hamilton, Hartford, Quebec City, or Toronto, which could easily support two teams. Even Seattle would have been a major upgrade.

The Coyotes will always be the sixth most popular team in Arizona, behind the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Suns, Arizona State and the U of A.

Carolina Hurricanes–Stole the Hartford Whalers thanks to shithead owner Peter Karmanos. Hartford supported the Whalers when they would get their brains beat in regularly by the Bruins, Sabres and Canadiens, which was most nights. The Nordiques even took their turn for several seasons. Karmanos said FUCK YOU to the loyal fans of Connecticut and moved the franchise to that hockey hotbed, North Carolina. The first two seasons, the Hurricanes played before empty seats in Greensboro, while the arena in Raleigh now known as the RBC Center was under construction.

What do you call a Hurricanes season ticket holder? One who is (a) too poor to own North Carolina State basketball season tickets or (b) someone who is too stupid to realize the NHL has no business in your state.

Colorado Avalanche–Don’t hate them. Colorado should have a team. However, it still depresses me they were once the Quebec Nordiques.

Florida Panthers–Florida should not have hockey. Period. Especially not the NHL. Gary Bettman is a fuckwad. Putting teams in Miami, Nashville, Raleigh and Tampa, yet teams can’t survive in Hartford and Quebec City? Or Hamilton? Or Saskatchewan? HOLY SHIT. Bettman, you fucking suck. Then again, you learned from the ultimate piece of shit, David Stern.

Nashville Predators–First and foremost, Nashville does not deserve a hockey team. ANY CITY WHERE YOU CAN’T SKATE OUTSIDE IN THE WINTER SHOULD HAVE AN NHL TEAM. Second, my pissant brother and his wife are huge Predators fans, so another reason I hate them. Third, Carrie Underwood forced the Ottawa Senators to trade her husband, Mike Fisher, to Nashville. Since when does Carrie U. Fisher run an NHL team? The Senators should have sued Carrie and the Predators for extortion. I refuse to listen to Carrie’s music. She’s on my no-play list as much as Bruce Springsteen. At least in Carrie’s case, it’s not because of toxic politics. The Boss hates America and always has.

San Jose Sharks–California only needs ONE NHL team. The Kings were around long before the Sharks came along.

Tampa Bay Lightning–Again, Florida should not have any NHL teams. Worse, Tampa is a real piece of shit city with piece of shit people. It’s a cesspool. Yet somehow three of the four major sports organizations in North America see fit to place teams in the area. Steven Stamkos’ wife must look hot in a bikini. That’s the only reason he would re-sign with Tampa over going to Chicago, Detroit, Toronto or any other REAL hockey city.

NBA

Atlanta Hawks–Once owned by Ted Turner. Good enough reason to hate them. Also, Atlanta is a shithole with no redeeming value. The only reason to even like them was the cool pea green uniforms they wore when Pete Maravich played for them in early 1970s. Otherwise, they’re a bunch of turds.

Brooklyn Nets–Russian shithead owner who tried to buy a team. Great to see the team fail miserably.

Charlotte Hornets–Owned by Michael Jeffrey Jordan. FUCK THEM.

Chicago Bulls–Michael Jeffrey Jordan. His arrogance is all you need to know about why I despise this franchise. I do not worship Jordan. I do not believe he is the greatest of all-time. I do not believe the 1995-96 Bulls are the greatest NBA team of all-time. Jordan benefitted from a watered-down NBA, one which let him get away with everything. I’m sure he could have murdered someone on an NBA court and nobody would have said a peep. FUCK JORDAN AND FUCK THE BULLS.

Dallas Mavericks–Mark Cuban can go fuck himself. He’s a complete asshole on Shark Tank, the same way he’s a complete asshole owning the Mavericks. I would love to see Kevin O’Leary (MISTER WONDERFUL) kick him in the balls on Shark Tank. Better yet, it would be much sweeter if Barbara Corcoran kicked Cuban in the jimmy.

Miami Heat–The Heat committed collusion for FOUR YEARS and David Stern didn’t give a shit. Dwayne Wade begged LeBron and Chris Bosh to come, and of course, who were they to say no? FUCK THEM.

New York Knicks–James Dolan is a big piece of shit. Cunt. Asshole. Motherfucker. Good enough reason to hate them entirely.

Sacramento Kings–Left Kansas City in 1985 to move to the cesspool which is California’s capital city. Team was going to move to Seattle, but mayor (and former Suns guard) Kevin Johnson, an admitted criminal, bribed NBA owners to keep the team in Sacramento. Bought by a Russian turd who is just as big a turd as the one owning the Nets. FUCK SUCKRAMENTO.

San Antonio Spurs–Bruce Bowen got away with attempted murder against the Suns during the 2007 playoffs, thanks to degenerate gambler/”referee” Tim Donaghy. Bad enough. Then there’s the gigantic piece of shit Greg Popovich. The walking definition of CUNT.

Washington Wizards–Changed name from “Bullets” to be politically correct. FUCK THEM.

NFL

Atlanta Falcons–Once employed dog killer Michael Vick. Also, Atlanta has no redeeming value.

Baltimore Ravens–Where do I start? Let’s see: Art Modell stole the Browns from Cleveland because he was broke and desperately needed to pay off 700,000 creditors. Ray Lewis got away with murder. Ray Lewis flaunted his “innocence” and Baltimore fans thought he was the greatest athlete in the city’s history, not remembering men like Johnny Unitas, Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken. Okay, that’s enough.

Carolina Panthers–Once employed murder mastermind Rae Carruth, who was so callous as to order a hit on his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Cherica Adams, after she refused to get an abortion. Adams died; the baby survived, but is mentally retarded.  What a total piece of shit. Why Carruth didn’t get the death penalty, or at least life without parole, is absolutely sickening. North Carolina has some really fucked up people.

(S)Cam Newton has done anything nearly that bad, but he’s an arrogant turd who can’t take it when things don’t go his way.

Chicago Bears–They play in CHICAGO, home of BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA and birthplace of HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON. There.

Miami Dolphins–Sick and tired of the overrated 1972 Dolphins celebrating when a team loses so their perfect record can’t be equaled. The 1972 Dolphins played an absolutely shitty schedule. Would have lost Super Bowl VII had Redskins coach George Allen not been so fucking paranoid. HE lost the game for the Redskins. Not Billy Kilmer, Larry Brown, or the Over-the-Hill Gang Defense. George Allen was responsible. Hope he’s rotting in hell over it.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers–Employ gigantic asshole Jameis Winston, who got away with rape and only a slap on the wrist for shoplifting. Once employed gigantic asshole coach Jon Gruden and gigantic asshole player Warren Sapp. Have disgusting uniforms which they stole from the Raiders. Tampa is a shithole. Need more?

Tennessee Titans–Nashville is a shithole. I hate that city. I hate it. Vanderbilt is the only thing making that city remotely tolerable. I also hate Nashville stealing the Houston Oilers. Yes, Houston has another team, but for the nation’s fourth largest city to go without an NFL team for five years was very bad.

I do not recognize Major League Soccer as legitimate. Not as long as they want to have playoffs to determine its champion.

 

So long for now, KC

I’m only a few minutes from leaving Kansas City and heading back to Russell.

Had the World Series ended by now, I might have stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings in Salina, since my favorite trivia game, SIX, is tonight. However, no way in hell I’m going to battle the crowd for Game 7 of the World Series.

Cubs fans are the worst. They are the most arrogant, most insufferable, most whiny fans around. They believe God owes them the World Series after the franchise has suffered for so long. They believe they are God’s chosen team and there is no way you can possibly hate the Cubs. If you hate the Cubs, you are some freak who also hates America.

Bullshit.

I have never been a Cubs fan and I never will be. I got sick and tired of it in 1984, when the Cubs were winning the National League East, and WGN broadcast almost every game. I got nauseous listening to Harry Caray gloat over the Cubs’ success. I hated his complete bias. His son, Skip, was just as bad doing it for the Braves, who were on TBS.

I was so happy when the Padres rallied from 2-0 down in the 1984 National League Championship Series to win, but it might have been just as good if the Cubs had made it to the World Series then gotten hammered by the Tigers.

I left Buffalo Wild Wings last night during the first inning, by which time the Cubs led the Indians. In the third, Addison Russell’s grand slam made it 7-0, and I just about gave up. Joe Buck, the worst announcer in sports, is so far in the bag for the Cubs it’s terrible. He and all the other national media are on the Cubs bandwagon, not only because the Cubs are trying to win their first World Series since 1908, but they’re also playing the Indians, who have that evil Chief Wahoo mascot.

Again, BULLSHIT!

I’m so glad the Indians have told the politically correct assholes SCREW YOU by wearing the Chief Wahoo hats every game.

The trip to Kansas City has been a very good one, save for an incident Monday night, when four illegal aliens were sitting outside an entrance to the hotel drinking and smoking, making me fear for my safety. I saw Robb and Dawn three times, which made it much more worth it.

Brittany Davidson Morgan, the bane of my existence, is pregnant. More on that when I get back to Russell.

A hard to stomach Saturday morning

I woke up this morning with a terrible case of indigestion. That’s what I get for eating a New York strip, coconut shrimp and a salad from Outback between 9:15 and 10 p.m. That was on top of a big order of wings, fries and mushrooms at Buffalo Wild Wings.

That brings the total to almost 15 hours at Buffalo Wild Wings since Thursday evening. I’m addicted. Fortunately my brain hasn’t exploded yet from all the inane trivia I’ve played.

I saw Larry at lunch, then Robb and Dawn at happy hour. Always a fun time when I get to match wits with them, or more accurately, match and share wits.

A surprise visitor showed up at 8:15: Lisa. She came in to get takeout, and she spotted me all the way from the register at the front of the restaurant. I guess I’m kind of hard to miss.

She had an announcement about another former employee. I’ll go into that in another post. It brought me to my knees (not literally). It also was a horrible reminder of my sordid past.

I should have just gone to the hotel and hit the sack. Instead, I ate and watched the rest of game 3 of the World Series. Cleveland won 1-0 to go up 2 games to 1. Then I stayed up some more, fooling around on the Internet looking for scores from the Kansas State High School Activities Association’s state volleyball tournaments and football games.

It wasn’t until 11:45 that I finally got in bed and put the CPAP mask on. I knew not to set an alarm. I finally woke up a little after 8.

I need to get to Buffalo Wild Wings when it opens today at 11. Kansas State AND Missouri both have 11 a.m. kickoffs. I’m sure it will be packed from the get-go. There should be a lull in the afternoon, but pick up tonight for the Kansas-Oklahoma glorified scrimmage and then Game 4 between the INDINAS and Cubs.

I am so proud of Cleveland for wearing the Chief Wahoo hats for every game in the series so far. Serves those politically correct whiners right. Too freaking bad.

I said I would get in the shower no later than 9:30. It’s already 9:45. Enough farting around!

What’s wrong with a draw? NOTHING!

Following the Seattle-Arizona tie, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson suggested if overtime ends still tied, that a field goal be attempted. If the kicker for his team makes it, they win. If he misses, the other team wins.

STUPID. REALLY STUPID.

That would be the equivalent of a free throw contest in basketball or a home run derby in baseball to break a tie. It’s already stupid enough in hockey and association football (soccer in America) with the penalty shootout.

Personally, I do not see the problem with a draw. I believe the American obsession with winning and having to have a winner and loser in every single facet of society, whether it be sports or something else, is the reason why people disdain ties so much.

The most popular sports league on earth, the English Premier League, has witnessed 24 of 90 league matches to date end in draws. That’s almost two out of every seven matches. Nobody in Manchester, Liverpool, Leicester, Southampton, Bournemouth, London or any other Premier League outpost is griping about it. Neither are German fans of the Bundesliga. Or La Liga in Spain. Or Serie A in Italy.

Even though Major League Soccer is seriously flawed, thanks to having conferences instead of a single table and playoffs to determine its champion instead of using only the regular season, at least it ditched the shootout in 2000.

The shootout in MLS used from 1996-99 was beyond asinine. A player had to start 35 yards from the goal, dribble ahead, and shoot from the penalty area. He had to do it all within five seconds. Matches which ended level did not even feature extra time; it was straight to the stupid shootout.

My God. That’s not association football. That’s stupidity. That’s a video game.

If a draw was so toxic, the Premier League and other association football leagues would not award a point for a draw. It would disregard a draw, as the NFL did through 1971.

What is the outcome of many chess matches? A DRAW. STALEMATE. INSUFFICIENT MATERIAL. Has the good possibility of a draw stopped boys and girls from across the globe from learning the game? HECK NO.

Wars have been stalemates, so why are Americans so obsessed with determining the winner of a sporting event? If America would have accepted a stalemate in Vietnam, it would have looked a heck of a lot better than fighting on and accepting disadvantageous peace terms as Nixon and Kissinger did.

Before 1982, there was no provision whatsoever for a penalty shootout in the FIFA World Cup, the most watched sporting event on the planet. If a knockout round game ended drawn prior to ’82, it was replayed in its entirety. Many competitions continue to use the replay rather than a shootout if a match remains level after 120 minutes (90 regulation, 30 extra time).

The NHL got rid of overtime in the regular season in 1943. It didn’t return until 1983. In 1982-83, the last season before overtime returned to the regular season, 127 of 840 games (15.1 percent) ended drawn. That’s slightly more than one in six. What’s the big deal? So what if one of every six ends in a draw?

Hockey is a brutal enough game for 60 minutes of regulation. If a game is even after 60 minutes, that’s enough, at least for the regular season. I understand the need for having a winner in a playoff game. But playoff overtime is real hockey: 5-on-5, 20-minute periods, not this crazy 3-on-3, 5-minute crap for overtime, then the stupid shootout.

The NHL should award a team three points for a regulation win. NO OVERTIME. Draws earn each team one point. That’s it.

The same applies to American football.

Players expend far, far, far too much energy over 60 minutes, more than the average human can only dream of expending. Why make them go any farther during the regular season? If it’s even, the game should end right then and there. In the playoffs, yes, there needs to be overtime. And none of this crap about both teams need to possess the ball. Straight sudden death. If your defense is not good enough to prevent the other team from driving to score a field goal, you don’t deserve to advance.

Don’t get me started on how ridiculous college and high school overtime is. College is bad enough starting from the 25-yard line. High school is much, much worse, going from the 10. If an offense can’t gain 2 1/2 yards per play for four plays, then that team needs to give up the game.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association has done some really dumb things. The tiebreaker its former Executive Director, Brice Durbin, came up with in 1971 is totally ludicrous. It’s not real football. You’re asking a defense to hold a finger in the dike having to keep the offense out of the end zone from 10 yards out, and that team is already within range of a field goal.

The college and high school football format is not football. It takes the kickoff and the punt out of the game. Special teams have made the difference in thousands of football games over time. Why take part of it out of the game? Also, where is the strategy for a high school defensive coordinator, when you’re defending 10 yards every time?

High school and college football games in the regular season should end drawn if the score is level after 60 minutes (48 in high school). Overtime should be sudden death in the playoffs. If high school associations want to return to the old method of using first downs and penetrations inside the 20-yard line to break a deadlock, then go right ahead.

Baseball isn’t nearly as physically taxing as American football or hockey, but there are limits, too.

In Japan, regular season games are declared a draw if the score is still even after 12 innings (three extra). That’s not a bad idea for the United States. Once a game gets to 15, 16, 17 innings, teams are out of pitching, and it affects them for days after.

Major League Baseball would balk at any idea to declare a game drawn, but many managers would breathe a sigh of relief when they didn’t have to throw four relievers three innings each. The vast majority of games are resolved in nine innings, or those which do go extra can be resolved in 10, 11 or 12, so why worry about a draw? Not going to happen very much.

Basketball? Everyone has overtime, so I don’t see too much of a problem. Non-varsity high school games should be considered draws after regulation, simply to keep things moving. .

Some states use the “international tiebreaker” for softball. In that situation, the last batter of the previous inning starts the new frame on second base, and then the batting order proceeds as normal.

Hate it. HATE IT. Play real softball.

There are many, many more pressing issues than if a sporting events ends in a draw. America, as it is on many issues (using red for Republicans and blue for Democrats, not using the metric system, using paper money instead of coins or plastic), is DEAD WRONG.

Salina redux 

I returned to Buffalo Wild Wings in Salina for the first time in almost five months. I want to forget May 28 as much as possible. I lost my cool, and then I got a speeding ticket for being stupid. That’s what driving 91 MPH on the Interstate is. STUPID. 

I didn’t speed on the way here, and no way I’m doing it tonight. 

I went to Buffalo Wild Wings tonight to play my favorite Buzztime game, SIX. I had trouble in the final round, especially with the sports question. I had no idea Pepper Martin, the Hall of Famer who was part of the St. Louis Cardinals’ famed Gas House Gang, was nicknamed the Wild Horse of the Osage. i also didin’t know the Thirty Years War started in teh 17th century. Always thought it was the 18th. 

One thing about me: once I see a question, I won’t forget it if it comes up again. 

I’m leaving at 9. I have an appointment with Crista tomorrow morning at 10. I typed out my agenda between trivia questions. 

The Cleveland Indians are heading to the World Series for the first time in almost two decades. The Tribe wrapped up the American League pennant this evening with a 3-0 victory in Toronto, giving Clevleand a 4-1 series victory. 

The Indians (that’s INDIANS for you politically correct buttheads) last played in the World Series in 1997, when they lost in seven games to the Marlins, the best team money could buy that season. While the series went seven games, it was horrible to watch. 

I hated the Marlins then, and I hate them now. The only times (1997 and 2003) the Marlins have done anything is when they buy a team, get the wild card, and somehow get a HUGE break. 

In 1997, Eric “Rerun” Gregg had the widest strike zone known to man during Game 5 of the NLCS, allowing Livan Hernandez to strike out 15 vs. Atlanta in a 2-1 Florida victory. Gregg was always a garabage umpire who thought the game was always about him. I don’t give a crap he weighed 400 pounds. I’m obese. But he was absolute garbage. Gregg got away with it, because he knew he could call the NAACP and sue the National League if he ever got fired. 

Thank God Gregg was stupid enough to follow Richie Phillips’ absolutely stupid idea to resign. The NL got rid of Gregg once and for all, and we never had to put up with his antics or his ridiculous strike zone again. 

I like a big strike zone. I think the way pitchers are getting squeezed at the top of the strike zone is pitiful. Yet there’s a difference between a big zone and one which has no place in the game, which Gregg’s didn’t. 

Six years after Gregg handed the Marlins a key victory, the Marlins got another break they should not have. 

Steve Bartman. 

Bartman didn’t do anything wrong in trying to catch the foul ball heading into the left field stands in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Bartman did not reach onto the field, and Moises Alou had no case to complain. 

However, the Bartman play caused the Cubs to self-destruct. The Marlins scored eight runs following the Bartman incident to win that game 8-3, and then won Game 7. 

Enough about the Marlins. I’m sorry they lost their best player, Jose Fernandez, far too soon, but he was dumb enough to go out on a boat at night after drinking with two buddies. Also, Jeffrey Loria is a turd. HUGE TURD. I am reminded of him some mornings when I need to expel waste. Anyone who bitches about Royals owner David Glass needs to remember Glass is nowhere near as evil as Loria, who stole baseball from Montreal. 

Back to the Indians. 

I’m certain the buttheads who hate Native American imagery will be protesting long and loud in Clevleand and either Chicago or Los Angeles about Chief Wahoo.

GIVE IT UP. 

The club was named IN HONOR of an Native American player. Getting rid of Chief Wahoo is not going to erase the national debt, is not going to make North Korea treat people with basic human dignity, not going to put life on Mars, cure cancer, or even get you a date with Gisele Bunchden or Tom Brady. 

If you are that worried about a baseball team mascot, Styx had a song about you in 1981: Too Much Time on My Hands. 

It looks like the NLCS is going to be returning to Chicago. The Cubs lead the Dodgers 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth. If this holds, the series will be tied 2-2. Game 5 is in Los Angeles tomorrow, and then it would go back to Chicago Saturday. Game 7 would be Sunday at Wrigley Field. 

Anxiety in Atlanta

Turner Broadcasting executives are an unhappy bunch this morning.

Their network is televising the American League playoffs, and the League Championship Series will be Cleveland vs. Toronto, barring two unforeseen comebacks by Boston (vs. the Indians) and Texas (vs. Toronto).

One of Major League Baseball’s smallest markets vs. its only Canadian team battling for the right to represent the DH league in the World Series.It had to be TBS’ nightmare scenario long before the playoffs began Tuesday with the AL Wild Card game.

Canadian teams are the scourge of the American television networks.

If you ever took time to analyze the NHL schedule on NBC Sports Network and NBC itself, you will notice there are extremely few games involving the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Senators, Oilers, Flames, Jets and Canucks. If a Canadian team is involved in a game on an NBC property, it will certainly be  in the United States.

During the first three rounds of the playoffs, if NBC broadcasts a game from a Canadian arena, it will use the CBC or TSN feed. ONLY if a Canadian team plays in the Stanley Cup finals will NBC send Doc Emrick, Eddie Olzcyk and Pierre McGuire north of the border. I’m sure an all-Canada final would cause some NBC execs to pull out their hair, but it hasn’t happened since 1989. ESPN wasn’t thrilled with its first Stanley Cup Finals, Canadiens-Flames in 1986. ESPN also had two finals from Edmonton and one from Montreal in its early years of televising the NHL, and USA Network did three from Edmonton and one from Vancouver when it had a contract from 1981-85.

The Raptors are almost never featured by TNT, ESPN or ABC for its NBA coverage, except during the playoffs. The Canadian teams in Major League Soccer, the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC, never have home games shown by ESPN or Fox Sports 1.

ESPN will show an occasional Blue Jays regular season game from Rogers Centre, but almost always it’s against the Red Sox or Yankees, and it is NEVER on Sunday Night Baseball. The good thing for Toronto is it can play Saturday afternoon games, since it is exempt from Fox’s exclusivity rules, which don’t allow local telecasts of games when it is broadcasting.

If the NFL placed a team in Canada–highly unlikely–would CBS or Fox show the game anywhere outside the visiting team’s footprint? Would NBC ever televise a Sunday Night game? Same for ESPN on Monday night and NFL Network on Thursday night?

I, for one, am glad the ALCS now looks like it will be Toronto-Cleveland.

The good citizens of Toronto need something to cheer about, since the Maple Leafs have been pretty much putrid since winning their last Stanley Cup in 1967, and Toronto FC won’t be winning the MLS Cup anytime soon. Yes, the Argonauts have won more Grey Cups (16) than any other CFL franchise, but how many people outside the nine CFL cities (and all of Saskatchewan) know this?

Cleveland broke its sports jinx in June when the Cavaliers (or, LeBron James and the rest of the Cavaliers) won the NBA championship, but the Indians haven’t won the World Series since 1948. The Tribe played far too many seasons before tens of thousands of empty seats at Municipal Stadium (The Mistake by the Lake), and now don’t get the proper support at Progressive (nee Jacobs) Field, which once had a streak of 455 consecutive sellouts. Cleveland needs something to take their minds off the Browns. If the Indians make the World Series, it will work out perfectly: the Cavaliers will start their season while the Indians are in the World Series, so they don’t have to think about the Browns, period.

The dream ALCS for any network is Red Sox-Yankees (it isn’t mine). It happened in 2003 and 2004, but in was a different era for the playoffs. First, there was only one wild card team, so that team did not face a winner-take-all game to get into the main bracket; second, the wild card could not play the champion of the same division in the division series, so the Red Sox got to avoid the Yankees in the division series in both instances. The Yankees had the best record in the AL both times, and instead got to face Minnesota, which has won only one playoff series (2002 ALDS vs. Oakland) since winning the 1991 World Series.

Boston has the better chance of extending its series, simply because the next two are at Fenway Park. But the Indians beat the Red Sox’ two best pitchers, Rick Porcello and David Price, so John Farrell is up against it. And Terry Francona would love nothing better than to clinch the series at Fenway, where he managed the Red Sox from 2004-13, leading Boston to two World Series titles with sweeps of the Cardinals (2004) and Rockies (2007).

Texas is really behind the 8-ball. For the second consecutive year, the Rangers lost two games to the Blue Jays in Arlington. The Rangers have been a terrible home team during its playoff history. It lost Games 4 and 5 to the Giants in the 2010 World Series, and had to watch San Francisco celebrate at what was then Rangers Park (now Globe Life Park). The Yankees clinched the ALDS in 1996, ’98 and ’99 in Arlington. Tampa Bay won twice at Texas in the 2010 ALDS, even though the Rangers won all three in St. Petersburg.

Call the Rangers’ home struggles in the postseason the curse of Bowie Kuhn. It was Kuhn, as Commissioner of Baseball, who vehemently opposed the move of the second Washington Senators to Texas for the 1972 season. Bob Short, the owner of the Senators/Rangers, was a cheapskate who took a sweetheart deal from Arlington to play in a crappy minor league stadium in the shadow of Six Flags. Ted Williams may also be cursing the Rangers; he was the Senators’ manager who was forced to move from D.C. to Texas, and he absolutely hated Dallas/Fort Worth.

The Rangers are proposing to build a new ballpark with a retractable roof in time for 2021. Geez, shouldn’t that have been done in the 1990s, when George W. Bush owned the team and the Rangers were attempting to replace the decrepit Arlington Stadium?

Today is travel day in the AL. Hopefully by Monday morning, we’ll have our Blue Jays-Indians ALCS all set.

As for the NL, it was Blue Friday. The Dodgers beat the Nationals in Washington, and the Cubs won 1-0 on an eighth inning home run by Javier Baez.  Game two for both series today.

Tigers and Bluejays…oh my!

Just before I woke up, I had a strange dream.

I discovered a secret passageway between Norton and Stockton high schools. I was trying to make my way from Stockton’s gym to Norton’s, but there was a crush of people. I somehow made it through.

In that same dream, Caitlyn and Peggy suddenly disappeared without telling me where they were going. The case to my cell phone broke. To top it all off, Norton’s wrestling team was competing in a tournament, but the high school I went to, Brother Martin in New Orleans, was in the same tournament. I was upset I was missing that.

Norton and Stockton connected? Sure, I know both are in the Mid-Continent League, but they’re pretty far apart. They’re nowhere near each other; Norton is at the junction of US 283 and US 36, and Stockton is where US 183 and US 24 meet. I could understand if there were a passage between Stockton and Plainville, since they’re in the same county and 15 miles apart, but with Norton? Hmm. But anything is possible in a dream.

Now that I’m awake, I have to get ready for my session with Crista in Hays, and later today, my trip to Norton to watch Caitlyn play volleyball vs. Goodland, Dundy County of Benkelman, Neb., and Stratton, Colo. I missed Caitlyn’s matches Tuesday in WaKeeney, but she and Peggy forgave me. The Bluejays won vs. Oakley and Trego to improve to 5-2 this year.

I had an appointment with Dr. Custer yesterday. I learned something new about her: she has two sons, both born in October, although neither on the 13th, my birthday. I’m glad. I’m certain she’s a super mom. My health is pretty good, although I need to be more vigilant about checking my blood sugar.

If the Royals weren’t finished before, they are now. Losing three consecutive games at home to the Athletics, mired in the basement of the AL West, is inexcusable. Maybe Oakland is extracting its pound of flesh for the loss in the 2014 AL Wild Card game. Then again, the Athletics have always had it in for Kansas City, given the franchise’s pitiful 13-season existence in KC.

Ned Yost is going to rue the day he ever brought Joakim Soria back to KC. Yes, he was an All-Star for Trey Hillman, but now, he’s shot. He would have done much better giving Kelvim Herrera the closer’s role when Wade Davis went down. Greg Holland wasn’t an option since he’s still recovering from Tommy John surgery. Royals fans should not be that sad. It wasn’t that long ago avoiding 90 losses was reason to celebrate.

I’m going to have to drive back to Russell after my appointment with Crista. Not ideal, but if I went straight to Norton, I’d be there before noon. The other option is to drive all the way to Colby, go up to Atwood and then over to Norton, but that would burn too much gas. Not a big deal.

One-Mule State

The Los Angeles Rams made a huge splash Thursday morning when they traded with Tennessee to acquire the Titans’ No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, which begins April 28.

It’s the first time since 1991 that a team from outside the top 10 traded up to the No.1 pick. That year, the Cowboys acquired the top overall pick from the Patriots and selected Miami (Fla.) defensive tackle Russell Maryland, who was a starter on Dallas’ three Super Bowl championship teams in the 1990s.

Nobody knew it at the time, but New England and Dallas would someday share a common coaching link. Bill Parcells, who did not retire as Giants coach until after the ’91 draft, would coach the Patriots from 1993-96, and then the Cowboys from 2003-06.

The Rams and Titans already share a common coaching link. Jeff Fisher coached the Titans (previously Houston/Tennessee Oilers) from the middle of the 1994 season through 2010, and then took over the Rams in 2012. The franchises have another link with the late Jack Pardee, who played linebacker for the Rams from 1957-70, then was Fisher’s predecessor as Oilers coach from 1990 through the middle of ’94.

Of course, the Rams played in St. Louis from 1995 through 2015, making Missouri a two-team NFL state, as it was from 1963, the year the Dallas Texans moved to Kansas City to become the Chiefs, through 1987, the Cardinals’ last year in St. Louis before moving to Arizona.

Now, you can clearly tell Missouri is once again the exclusive domain of the denizens of Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs’ radio network now shades all of Missouri as part of “Chiefs Kingdom”, a term liberally used by play-by-play man Mitch Holthaus. It used to only include the section of Missouri roughly along and west of US 63, which includes Columbia and Jefferson City. Those two locales did not have many Rams fans until Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce began “The Greatest Show on Turf” era until 1999. The Rams were dominant in mid-Missouri from 1999 through 2003, but after that, the pendulum began to swing back to the west, but really, both teams were pretty pathetic for many years between 2004 and 2012.

I went to a Bed, Bath and Beyond yesterday after eating lunch with Bill. I did not see a single Rams item. I saw plenty of Chiefs, Royals, Blues and Mizzou. But no Rams. Not even in the clearance bin. It’s been only three months since NFL owners approved Stan Kroenke’s request to move the Rams back to Los Angeles, and you can’t tell the team played its last game in St. Louis last December 17.

Coincidentally, 2013 was a turning point for the loyalties of both NFL and MLB fans in mid-Missouri.

The Chiefs immediately improved under Andy Reid, starting 2013 9-0. They’ve made the playoffs twice under Reid, winning their first playoff game since 1993 earlier this year. The Rams? Did anyone in Columbia, Jefferson City (and Springfield for that matter) notice the Rams? Sure, they were on TV in those cities when it didn’t conflict with the Chiefs, but did anyone really watch? Those with NFL Sunday Ticket certainly didn’t. And most others could simply watch Red Zone to follow all the games at once.

Meanwhile, by September 2013, people in this part of Missouri realized there was a real MLB team playing on the western edge of the state, not a team playing in MLB masquerading as a minor league squad.

The Royals were pretty much irrelevant in all of Missouri, save for the immediate Kansas City area and the I-29 corridor all the way to the Iowa state line, from the mid-’90s until 2013, when Kansas City enjoyed a late surge and finished with 86 wins.

Now, I would say the loyalties may be 60-40 Cardinals, a major improvement for the boys in blue. Columbia is actually closer to St. Louis than Kansas City by a few miles, but there are an awful lot of Royals fans here.

Now hockey loyalties have NEVER been a problem in Missouri. All Blues, all the time. Yes, I’m aware there were the Kansas City Scouts for two seasons in the mid-’70s, but hardly anybody in Kansas City cared, so I’m certain nobody did 125 miles to the east.

Even Mizzou doesn’t have the entire state’s loyalty. The Kansas Jayhawks have owned the Kansas City metro in recent years, and that ownership has only grown after the Tigers left the Big 12 for the SEC. Right now, Mizzou is toxic in the City of Fountains.

The NBA hasn’t been in Missouri since April 1985, when the Kings left for Sacramento (Suckramento–thank you Jim Rome). The Hawks left St. Louis for Atlanta in 1968, four years before the Cincinnati Royals moved to KC. I guess the Bulls are the choice of most NBA fans here, although there may be pockets of Thunder fans in southwest Missouri and Grizzlies fans in the southeast.

Major League Soccer? Sporting Kansas City plays in Kansas. Never mind.

 

Gordon staying in KC; hashtag queen rejoices

According to Royals fans, we might as well not play the 2016 World Series. Besides, how can Kansas City lose now that Alex Gordon has signed a four-year, $72 million contract which will keep him as the starting left fielder for the greatest baseball team ever assembled?

I am being very sarcastic about the Royals being the greatest team assembled. They are not. Far from it. However, I cannot deny keeping Gordon was very important.

If Gordon left Kansas City, the only Major League home he has known, the Royals would have entered the 2016 season with Lorenzo Cain in center field and two huge question marks on the corners. Alex Rios, who started most of 2015 in right field, is not expected back. Jerrod Dyson is a great defensive replacement, but he is not starting material. Paulo Orlando has not proven himself. And of course, Ben Zobrist is now playing for the Cubs.

Royals fans across the social media spectrum started posting all kinds of celebratory posts, complete with numerous hashtags.

Not surprisingly, the hashtag queen of Facebook herself, Jami Applegate, had FOUR hashtags in her status about Gordon’s re-signing, all of them very long. Had she been on Twitter, only one of the four hashtags would have fit in the 140 characters.

If you aren’t following Jami Applegate on Facebook, you need to. Every post includes at least two extended hashtags. Some include six or seven. And some of them are so long you could make a complete sentence out of them.

Gordon didn’t get the $20-$23 million per season he was hoping for. But nobody cry for him. He got the Royals to pony up $18 million per year, and that’s no mean feat given David Glass’ notoriously cheap ways throughout his ownership of the franchise, which only stopped when he realized it was far more fun to win than make boatloads of cash. He’s doing both right now and having the last laugh on his fellow owners.