Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baseball this 'n' that

The World Series begins tonight with a fresh matchup. Literally.

The Detroit Tigers & San Francisco Giants have never met in the Fall Classic, not even when the Giants were in New York back in the day, and back then, they were routinely facing the Yankees. For Detroit, it's their third trip to the Series in the last 28 years, dating back to their dominating run in 1984, when they beat San Diego to win the title. San Francisco is looking for its 2nd championship in 3 years, having bested Texas in 2010.

In terms of pitching, it's pretty much a wash. Most pundits are conceding tonight's opener to Detroit because they have their ace, Justin Verlander, on the hill, and Verlander is likely to go at least twice in this series if it goes beyond four games. 

On Monday, the Giants took a page from Detroit's playbook and played lockdown defense against St. Louis in the NLCS finale, romping in the rain, 9-0. This postseason run has made infielder Marco Scutaro an overnight star. Pretty heady for a journeyman whose career began with the Mets, then took him to Oakland, Toronto, Boston, & Colorado before the Giants traded for him in July. Oh? You didn't know he was a Met? That figures. That makes 2 ex-Mets on the Giants roster, as the Amazin's traded outfielder Angel Pagan to San Francisco in the offseason, and right now, the Giants are making it look like a steal in their favor. That figures. I digress.

I'm figuring this series to go the full 7 games. Detroit's had almost a week's rest after sweeping the Yankees, and there's no rest for the Giants. All that tells you is that MLB needs to further tinker with their television-driven post-season makeover.

Meanwhile, there are other names making headlines.......

Miami cut bait on Ozzie Guillen, whom they traded for last offseason. Let's face it, they didn't learn the lessons of other so-called "dream teams", though they smartly didn't apply the label to themselves, and sank like a stone in the NL East, a couple of miles in back of division winner Washington. It was almost a sure thing that Guillen was going to be gone, but just a question of when. Of course, the Bobby Valentine-to-Miami rumors will start again, considering that Valentine also was bounced after 1 season by Boston, and like Guillen, controversy followed him all season long. It hasn't stopped. A headline today insinuates that Valentine feels injury-plagued slugger David Ortiz allegedly quit on the BoSox. Oh, really? 

Let's just call it the way it is. Valentine was a square peg in a round hole in Boston, and, 12 years removed from taking the Mets to the World Series, Valentine just didn't have the master's touch he once did. With Terry Francona now in Cleveland after a year as an ESPN analyst, the door may be open just a crack for Valentine to return to the network, but somehow, I doubt it. He's done as a manager, and needs to walk away for a while and reassess his future in baseball.

Boston traded for manager John Farrell, who left the Sox after the 2010 season to take the manager's post in Toronto. He wasn't that far up the ladder with the Blue Jays in the standings this year, despite a strong start, and he has some rebuilding to do in Boston after the mess Francona & Valentine have left behind. Would Toronto take a chance on Guillen? Nah, not with his penchant for putting his foot in his mouth. Manny Acta, a bust in Washington & Cleveland, might be a better bet unless ownership tries to find someone with a proven track record as a winner.

MLB Network has decided to rebrand their off-season news program, Hot Stove, as their morning show, effective next month. They're better off taking a chance and buying up tapes of older sports shows, like Greatest Sports Legends, particularly the baseball-themed episodes, and leave Hot Stove as the off-season  night program it's been since the network's inception. Just sayin'.

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