Saturday, January 20, 2018

Game 6 of 2011 or Game 5 of 2017? 1/15/18

Hey baseball fans!

In case you don't remember, Game Five of the 2017 World Series, which saw the Astros top the Dodgers in Houston by a final score of 13-12, has been regarded by some as the best World Series game ever. Now, I am not one of those people, because I believe that Game Six of the 2011 World Series, which saw the Cardinals beat the Rangers in St. Louis by a final score of 10-9, is better than Game Five of '17 for one simple reason, which is...

You think I'm going to reveal my one reason for deciding the fate of a World Series game on my "Tope World Series Games Ever" list at the beginning of a blog post? Well, think again. First, let's talk about what makes both of these games so great and then we'll get into what sets the 2011 matchup apart from the 2017 one.

The Run-Scoring
So as you read in my intro paragraph, both of these games were not pitching duels, but all-out slugfests. The Astros and Dodgers combined for 25 runs in their clash in Minute Maid Park, while the Rangers and Cardinals totaled 19 runs on a chilly night in Busch Stadium. The Texas matchup featured seven home runs, while the game in Missouri featured six and both games saw 28 hits.

The Scoring Changes
Both games went back and forth until the end. In St. Louis, the Cardinals and Rangers exchanged leads seven times (counting the times that one team took the lead after a tie game) and the Astros and Dodgers switched leads five times. The only reason the game in Houston didn't feature more scoring changes is because the runs were scored in bunches; Houston and LA combined for six half-innings where three or more runs were scored.

The Dramatic Walk-Off
Alex Bregman walked off for Houston in the bottom of the tenth with a single that scored pinch-runner Derek Fisher to give the Astros the W, while David Freese of the Cardinals sent the St. Louis fans home happy with a miraculous walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 11th.

So obviously these games had plenty of drama to go around, but why is Game Six of 2011 so much better than Game Five of 2017? Well, I've got one word for you: magnitude.

Ok, so Game Five of 2017 saw the Astros beat the Dodgers, giving Houston a 3-2 lead in the Series, but it wasn't a must-win game for the Astros. However, the Cardinals came into Game Six of the 2011 Fall Classic down 3-2 in the Series and were one strike away from losing the World Series altogether on two (yes, two) separate occasions! In the ninth, the eventual hero Freese hit a two-run triple on a two-strike count with two outs to tie the game at seven and send it to extras and in the tenth, again on a two-strike count with two outs, Lance Berkman came up with a game-tying single. Not to belittle Game Five of 2017, but had I not told you that the game that ended in an Alex Bregman walk-off single was the fifth game of the 2017 World Series, would you have known that? Probably not. But did you know that David Freese hit a walk-off homer in Game Six of the 2011 World Series? Probably.

It's simple math, really. Six is greater than and, in this case, better than five. Sorry, Astros fans, but your former NL Central rivals have defeated you yet again. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, January 12, 2018

Baseball History on the 12th of January 1/12/18

Hey baseball fans!

January is almost halfway done, which means that we are almost halfway through one of the most inconsequential months of the year in terms of baseball-related activity. However, some (but not a lot) of baseball's most influential moments have come during the first month of the year and here is a list of some of those highlights that have occurred on this date, January 12th, throughout baseball history.

1961: Charlie Grimm and Verlon Walker were named to the Chicago Cubs' "College of Coaches." Basically, Cubs owner Philip Wrigley came up with the idea to hire a bunch of coaches who would take turns either being the team's manager or a coaching assistant and the coaches would rotate jobs throughout the season. The Cubs were managed by four different coaches throughout the season. None of them finished with a winning record individually and the Cubbies finished the '61 campaign at 64-90, a solid 29 games back of the first place Cincinnati Reds.

1983: "The Human Vacuum Cleaner," otherwise known as Brooks Robinson (pictured below), becomes the 14th player in baseball history to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Juan Marichal, the winningest Latin American pitcher in MLB history, with 243 career victories, was the other ballplayer of the 1983 Hall of Fame class.

1999: Mark McGwire's historic 70th home run ball from his 1998 season is auctioned off and bought by an anonymous bidder for a "measly" $3.05 million.

2009: In a historic Hall of Fame election, Rickey "Man of Steal" Henderson gets into the Hall on his first year on the ballot, while Red Sox legend Jim Rice (pictured below) gets in on his last possible and 15th year on the ballot.

Although this stuff is pretty cool, I'm sorry that January is such a dull month for baseball. But at least there's only a couple more weeks until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Last Time That the Mariners Were in the Playoffs... 1/2/17

Hey baseball fans!

The Buffalo Bills have snapped their 17-year playoff drought, which means the Seattle Mariners now own the longest playoff drought out of all the professional American sports teams. Seattle's most recent playoff appearance came in 2001, a year in which they set the record for the most wins in a single season by an AL team with 116, but then lost the ALCS to the Yankees. Going back to the last time that the Mariners were in the playoffs...

1. The Astros were still in the National League.
2. The Red Sox hadn't broken the Curse of the Bambino.
3. Hank Aaron was still the all-time home run king.
4. "Moneyball" was just a compound word and had no association with the A's
5. The Pirates, Reds, Phillies, Padres, Cardinals, Nationals, Mets, Yankees, Twins, Marlins, and Braves were all playing in different ballparks than they do now.
6. Albert Pujols was just a rookie.
7. Ichiro Suzuki was a rookie as well.
8. Rickey Henderson was still playing.
9. There were two Canadian teams.
10. It was the middle of the Steroid Era.

Sorry Mariners' fans, but your team needs to play in October soon or we're all going to lose it. But anyway, thanks for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it, and happy new year! Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."