Category Archives: Baseball

Chicago Cubs: Your 2015 World Series Champions

I am not even a Cubs fan, but a couple years ago I made a bet with a friend that Cubs will win the 2015 World Series. Now, why would I be so confident in a team that hasn’t won in 103 years and counting and when I have no idea what its roster will look like in 2015??

Because Back to the Future II told us so!!!

Need some proof that Back to the Future II was onto something? In the movie, Marty is not as surprised by the fact that Cubs won, but more so by the fact that they beat Miami. Why? Because the movie came out almost 5 years before the entire state of Florida got its first MLB team (Marlins played their first season in1993). Now, almost another 20 years later, there is a talk of Florida Marlins changing their name to Miami Marlins to accompany their move into a new stadium. I also know that it is impossible for Cubs and Marlins to meet in the World Series, but just this Miami prediction is enough to make me a believer in what is already one of my favorite movie trilogies.

Cubs took a major step towards making this bold prediction a reality when they lured Theo Epstein to Chicago. Who better oversee the end of the longest title drought in baseball than the man who helped end an equally infamous drought (some might still prefer the word “curse”) in Boston? Next step: bring in Francona to complete the puzzle and duplicate what they did in Boston. Its hard to imagine too many Cubs fans having a problem with Francona as a manager, except maybe for those fans who still insist on bringing in Ryne Sandberg.

So you can go ahead and bet your life savings on Cubs in 2015, you cant go wrong 🙂

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When they make a movie about the 2012 RedSox….

The Red Sox completed an epic collapse in 2011. We all know that. But more importantly, they have set the stage for an equally epic comeback in 2012. And when they ride all the way to winning the 2012 World Series, a movie will be made about the team and the job that new GM Ben Cherington did to turn the team around. We all know these kind of movies sell in Hollywood. Just ask Billy Beane.

All you need to do to make a successful movie about a baseball GM is follow this format: find huge movie star to play the GM. And so when they make the movie about the 2012 Boston Red Sox, could you find a better look-alike than the one and only Matt Damon??

Matt Damon

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Strike Zone Technology: Make Up Your Mind, MLB

The debate about whether MLB should use the latest strike-zone technology for calling balls and strikes has been going on for quite some time and I’m not here to make an argument about that. What MLB absolutely needs to do, however, is to have it be the same for everyone: whether you’re sitting at the stadium, watching the game on your TV, or following the game on your latest release of iPhone. If they’re not going to use this technology on the field, that’s perfectly fine – baseball has been played that way for more than 100 years and it will survive, but then also don’t display the pitch location graphic on the TV screens, it only makes everyone look bad.

Exhibit A: I tune in for about 20 minutes of the Game 4 of World Series just in time to catch the announcers talk about how a big part of Holland’s success that night against the potent Cardinals line-up has been his approach of pitching inside to the right-handed hitters. This discussion was accompanied by a compilation of highlights with the location of every pitch relative to the strike zone mapped on the screen, and guess what?! HALF of the pitches that were called strikes (and I’m not counting swing-and-miss) were actually balls, and some were not even that close!

The way I see it, this is a lose-lose situation for everyone:

– The umps: I know some umps have tighter strike zones than others, and I know a pitcher might get some borderline calls go his way if he is on  a roll, but there has to be SOME level of consistency and competence among umps. When millions of people can see the evidence of your incompetence, I would not want to be those umps

– The announcers: I, for one, would be slightly uncomfortable as an announcer if I was making a point about a pitcher’s superb performance while televising something that does not necessarily speak to that. Even if the umps are blatantly bad, announcers have to be somewhat diplomatic about that. Having pitch trace on the TV screen makes it that much harder.

– The fans: It used to be a lot easier to dismiss fans whining about bad balls-strikes calls with “its part of the game.” When the evidence is right in front of your face and you can go back and pinpoint location of every pitch, it’s suddenly a lot harder to do so. Add to that the fact that these calls never get reversed, and it becomes only more nerve-wrecking for fans to watch, so as a fan I’m not sure if want to see strike zone on the screen.

Add all those factors up and I don’t see how the league wins from allowing the networks show the strike zone and pitch location on the screen during the broadcast, unless, of course, it is also implemented in the actual game. I just want to see some consistency.

Terry Francona, end of an era in Boston

As a die-hard Red Sox fan, I am definitely sad to see Terry Francona leave as manager. For a team that hadn’t won a World Series in 86 years, winning twice in 8 years is pretty damn good. I understand that the Sox choked this year in September, blowing a 9-game lead while going 7-20. But was this really his fault?

Major League Baseball is a game played by grown men. The manager may set the line-ups, but he can’t go out and hit homeruns or throw strikes. It’s on the players to do this, and they didn’t do it.

It has also been said that he lost control of the locker room, and that players were drinking, eating fried chicken, and playing video games during games. Again, can you really blame Francona for that? These players are getting paid tens of millions of dollars to play a game, and Francona is getting paid millions of dollars to manage a baseball team, not babysit his players. Had the story ended a little differently, with the Red Sox going to the playoffs and maybe winning the World Series, Francona would have been praised for allowing his players to be themselves and not trying to over-control the locker room. But the fact is that they did choke, so there must be someone to blame.

In the end, maybe its better for Francona that he moves on. He managed the second most number of games of any Red Sox manager ever, and maybe there is a reason for that. Maybe you can only manage for so long under the pressure of Red Sox Nation before you need to move on. I’m sure Terry Francona will find another managerial job, and wherever he goes, that team is lucky to have him.

I’m curious to see who the Red Sox get to replace Terry Francona. Whoever he is, he will have some big Sox to fill.

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