Rangers-Giants Game 4: Orange Is The New Black

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Orange was everywhere today, given the confluence of the Giants and Halloween. I’ve never been a fan of orange. I don’t wear it. It’s not my color. In fact, I said to Michael before we sat down to watch the game tonight, “If I see another pumpkin, I’ll go mental.” Just as the words were out of my mouth, into my inbox landed an email from Friend of the Blog Audrey, along with this photo.
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I quickly changed my mind and said, “Now that’s a pumpkin I could love.” Thanks, Audrey. Great carving job and even better accessorizing.
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Speaking of carving up, that’s what young Madison Bumgarner (with a name like that he has to be good) did to the Rangers’ vaunted offense. Vlad Guerrero played the role of Pat Burrell tonight, looking especially awful at the plate. But “Bum” was tough on everybody. And he’s only a kid! It must be so satisfying for the Giants organization to see their prized prospect meet expectations. And now the World Series could be all over tomorrow – if, by some chance, Cliff Lee has two bad outings in a row.
Meanwhile, Bud Selig has been talking about expanding the playoffs by adding two more wild card teams. How does everyone feel about that? Here’s how I feel about it: NO THANKS.
“Oh, come on,” you’re saying. “It would give teams like the Royals and the Pirates a chance to compete for a championship.”
No, it wouldn’t. It would simply prolong the baseball season – something I wouldn’t mind under other circumstances – by diluting the talent pool. And I’m not just griping because the Yankees get into the playoffs so often; I’d feel the same way even if they didn’t. I wasn’t in favor of the wild card concept in the first place, just as I wasn’t crazy about the DH. But I came around to the idea that the best teams in each division would play each other with a “wild card” team rounding out the math. Adding two more teams does what, exactly? Push the games into December? Give more fans in more cities a chance to buy more tickets and more merchandise? Boost the TV ratings?
The whole notion is making me tired. I’m off to sleep. Let me know what you think.

23 Comments

As far as the whole “extra wild cards” thing goes… if we allow additional teams, what’s the point of even having a postseason? Less fortunate/talented teams have months to vie for a slot in the playoffs, and adding more teams just lessens the motivation everyone needs to make it past regular season. No thanks.

Well I’ve said this many a time to friends : ‘Whenever someone high up makes a decision that doesn’t make any sense, it can attributed to one thing : money.’

I can’t stand the talk of adding extra teams for postseason play. From what I’ve read though, it wouldn’t be a full round. It might end up being a best of three for two teams to earn the right to play in what we currently know as the playoffs. Or a play-in game.

What this does, obviously, is give other teams a chance if they’ve fallen behind the division leader. Much like the wild card today. But now second place in the wild card standings would be good enough to get in as well. It also gives the teams with the better records even less incentive to go out and win as many games as possible. They now have two possible slots to fall back on!

Getting into the postseason would be less of an accomplishment. I love basketball, but it’s really worn on me lately because of how long the playoffs seem to drag. Sure four rounds might seem like the definitive way to crown a champion, but when number one seeds consistently beat the eighth seeds, do you really need to keep telling that story? More than half the league gets into the playoffs. Even teams with sub five hundred marks. Yes, your team can have a losing season and make the playoffs!

Now, I’m not saying baseball would turn into that, but baseball’s postseason has historically been about truly earning it. There’s something simplistic and beautiful about how teams used to make the World Series. Best record in each league and you’re in. But we look back at that now and think, “How quaint…” There were also fewer teams back then. Money and rooting interest probably forced a change to the division system, birthing the LCS for each league. More opportunities came for teams with great records who just couldn’t catch up to a runaway train, like say the Detroit Tigers in ’84. And it gave us unbelievable matchups, like the Mets and Dodgers in ’88. Money again probably opened up our current system. In a span of approximately 25 years the postseason participants multiplied by four, from 2 to 8.

And so money rears its ugly green head once again. But I have to question this. As it stands, I think we have the best playoff system. Football is probably a close second, but they can only have one game a week, so there’s some lucky winners sometimes. The better team wins a series. Always. As hard as that may be to swallow for us Yankee fans right now, it can’t be anything but true. Our bad pitching killed us. What else can we say? “Oh, those were lucky home runs the Rangers hit against us!” Or, “Oh, they’re so lucky their pitching dominated our hitters!” So my question is: how does this make baseball’s postseason better? Look who would have made it this year: Boston and San Diego.

Now this isn’t as a proud Yankee fan, but what was Boston really going to do in the playoffs? They were a beaten down team. They lost so many key players during the season. Were a bunch of farm kids really going to make a mad dash to a World Series victory? Probably not. And if the point of opening things up is meant to get other teams a chance, isn’t Boston successful enough? How does Boston making the playoffs with a depleted team help?

On the flip side, I feel for the Padres. They were leading the division most of the year after they were projected to land in the cellar for 2010. But they were an amazing story and almost made it in. And then their poor hitting caught up to them and a San Francisco team that was fighting tooth and nail to catch them finally did and put them away on the last day of the season. And now that same San Francisco team that fought and earned their way into the playoffs is one win away from being World Series Champions. And deservedly so.

Not to sound like a jerk, but what would the Padres have done had they gotten in as the second wild card? Gone home a few days later than they did anyway?

Hopefully money doesn’t win this time out, but I don’t know. Money does have a pretty good track record… In fact, you can almost bet on it.
http://yankeecase.mlblogs.com/

These “innovations” always come too late to help the Mets; baseball came up with the Wild Card five years after the 1980s group was disbanded—-they would’ve made the playoffs every year; now talk of the expanded WC after the Mets missed by one game in 2007-2008. It never ends.
http://www.paullebowitz.com/
http://princeofny.blogspot.com/

I agree Yankeecase!! It’s all about $$$.

Who was ever the last one picked for kickball teams in gradeschool PE? You HAD to be picked. You weren’t great. You weren’t even good. Not even a little bit good. You were just the last choice and you had to play, despite that even you knew this was an act in futility. (I speak from personal experience).

If Bud can’t see after 162 games who should and should not make the post season, then maybe he also can’t see he needs a new job!!

Wait!! Let’s play 162 games, and let all the teams in the playoffs!! It’ll be yearround baseball!! Every playoff series will be best of….what….15?….21….57 games?? How long can we drag the playoffs out??

I agree with all of you. Money, money, money. The system works. The only adjustment I would make is to have the LDS be the best of seven, not the best of five. Sometimes the lesser team can get in with that series. That said, going any further into Nov. is crazy. Most stadiums are open and baseball is not a snow sport! Could this be another “make everyone feel good, there are no losers” strategy? Maybe.

Since it’s the topic du jour, lemme open with this…
No, hell no, we don’t need MORE playoff teams. The one thing that makes some sense is expanding the LDS to seven games, because a 5-game series REALLY favors the odds of underdog upsets, thereby highly increasing the risk of ruining a good/great team’s chances. Back in the ’70s and early ’80s, when the LCS was new, the players ALL agreed that the LCS had FAR more intense pressure than the World Series…because it was only five games. That is NOT how it should ever be in our sport.
Now to pleasantries. Last nite’s game was SO enjoyable — seeing that rook pitch like a master, shutting down the big Dallas bats, sparkling defense by the Giants — okay, they got breaks on two very close calls at first — that’s beisbol. And the colors of the day…well, you know what I already said about the serendipity of that…”it’s the time of the season,” don’cha know (and Son #2 LOVES orange)…!
Of course, my favorite fan signs were at the football game next door, a few hours earlier; you see, Sunday was a BIG sports day in Dallas…both the Cowboys & the Rangers had home games back-to-back. At the football game (Cowboys got stomped), two boys held up signs that said: “Hurry up, COWBOYS; we have a RANGERS game to go to!” Given this comment (baseball trumping football in a Football Town), AND you know how I feel about Dallas, AND the results of the day…I loved it ALL…!!

Perhaps Selig is secretly a soccer fan and wants baseball playoffs to resemble the World Cup, where teams compete for 2 years to get into the tournament, then play a “mini-league” to get into the elimination round. We could wait FOR-EV-ER to see who wins the World Series. Geeze! What a stupid idea! We already have to worry about snow. Selig needs to go. Can we trade him? Or place him on waivers? Or simply release him?

The Giants are looking good. The Rangers seem to have taken on the Yankees persona from the ACLS in this series. These series are all about who is hot at the moment. Baumgarner looked great.

Only one depressing note for me. When you added up the ages of both starting pitchers, it was still less than my age.

Melissa

Absolutely not to expanding the playoffs any further. Besides the money motivation, there is this incorrect belief today that more is better. (My recent fridge disaster testifies against that!) Sometimes less is more. It keeps things unique and special. Consider college hoops and March Madness. It takes less than three weeks, start to finish, yet no one feels deprived of basketball by the end. Whereas pro postseason play seems to last forever – I’m not a pro b-ball fan so it’s hard to imagine how people sustain interest in these series for so long. Same thing with hockey. Maybe that’s just personal preference but I think our “more is more” mentality ultimately cheapens everything it touches and the baseball playoffs would be no exception.

Last night’s game was fun to watch – love Madison Bumgarner (My dog is named Madison – can I claim she was named for him, even though he was in middle school when she was born?). It was great to see him perform so well. It was fun to watch Texas play as badly against SF as we played against them. Felt like a little bit of cosmic justice.

With ya on the playoff thing. Let’s not change it anymore… ever. I’d still like to go back to two pennant winners and that’s it before the World Series but that’s me.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

Hi, Jane! I agree with everybody also. Money! I don’t like the idea of adding more teams for the wild card. It would be weird.

I’m sure it’s been mentioned before, but Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are annoying. My favorite TX she-fan texted me how she thought they were broadcasting a little biased. I explained to her that Yankees fans have had to deal with their nonsense over the years. Now, Jon Miller and Joe Morgan…I enjoy listening to them broadcast.

Hope everyone is doing well. Jane, my brother-in-law has been keeping an eye out for A-Rod and other Yankees in Vegas. I think I need to fly in. I doubt he would recognize them in their street clothes. Have a great day, fans! – Becky :D

Hi Jane and fellow Yankee/baseball fans. Not sure if it’s been brought to your attention already Jane but the News Corp/Cablevision dispute is over finally. I couldn’t stand dealing with the terrible quality online streams. I don’t think I made this a secret but I’m rooting hard for the Giants to win the WS. It may be sour grapes a bit due to the Rangers beating us in the ALCS but I like so many players in the Giants team like Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, Posey, Bumgarner, etc. They’re a much more likeable group to me. Bumgarner was brillaint last night and he also had some fantastic defense backing him up (Sanchez in particular had some great plays). Here’s hoping that Lee vs Lincecum round 2 actually lives up to the pitcher’s duel it was supposed to be with the Giants coming out on top of course.
As for the news of Selig considering expanding the playoffs, I’m not for it at all. YankeeCase, as always, summed it up perfectly with his assessment. It looks to be all about money. The playoffs are fine just the way they are. The best of the best of each division gets in with one wildcard on both sides. Any more expanding would just unneccissarily drag the playoffs longer than they need to be. It won’t do any good for the ratings either as it just means the playoffs have to compete against football even more.
Leo

That was a fun game last night and a really impressive outing for Bumgarner! I agree you and, it would appear, everyone else on this blog – no expanded post season. In addition to more wild card teams being unnecessary, making the post season too long and other things already said better than I can say them, I worry about how lengthening the post season will affect the players. There is already a tendency to play injured in the post season, which is understandable. These are fierce competitors and baseball and careers being what they are, the players never know if they’re going to get another serious shot a ring, so they play injured. Also, the amount of rest built into the post season (especially for teams that dominate the LDS and/or LCS) is already detrimental to more players’ performances than it helps (especially for pitchers). I think that adding two more wild card teams is just going exacerbate both problems.

There are 30 teams, and yet even the Leagues and Divisions are uneven numerically. Drives my obsessive compulsiveness crazy. I say three leagues made up of two divisions, each division having five teams. No Wild Card necessary. As for “fairness,” rotate the division and group them based on last year’s performance, crappy teams face crappy teams, good teams face good teams, etc.

Westcoastgirl, you’re exactly right. Teams do have months – 162 games – to play well and qualify for the postseason. If they want in, they have to be the best. End of story.

Well said, YankeeCase. Getting into the postseason would be less of an accomplishment and why would the czar of baseball want to tarnish the sport’s golden event? Makes no sense unless it’s about the money. I suppose you could give an advantage to the team with the best record by giving them a bye in the first round. But then you’d make them sit for a couple of weeks, and that’s no favor; we’ve seen what long layoffs do for a team: nothing. Yes, the Padres had a good run, but they ran out of gas and were overtaken by a hot Giants team. That’s the way it goes. Disappointment happens. Grow up, Bud!

This isn’t about the Mets, Paul. Sorry to say. Baseball should function like this: a team plays well enough to win their division; the team makes the playoffs.

Aw, Wendy. Were you picked last in kickball? LOL. I remember getting stuck in the outfield for softball because I’d close my eyes whenever a ball came in my direction! 162 games should be more than enough to decide who’s in and who’s out. This whole idea is nonsensical.

I’m with you on the best of seven for the LDS series, Kathleen, and I think Selig is looking at that too. Which makes adding two more teams and extending the season further even more ludicrous. It’s bad enough that the players have to wear those hats with ears and look like they’re in the North Pole. They’d have to wear skis too. Or does Selig intend to have the playoffs in some warm climate and give away home field advantage?

Yes, to the pleasantries, Dave. Bumgarner was fun to watch. Talk about a young battery they have! With all the hype about Cliff Lee and Josh Hamilton, this series is full of surprises. All these unsung heroes making a splash. Who would have guessed? So the Cowboys lost too? Baaaad day for Texans.

LOL, Melissa, on trading/releasing/waivering Selig. The Rangers do seem to have gone cold the way we did. So interesting how this game swings depending on the time and the opposition. Baumgarner? HAHA. I love how you made him Jewish! Yes, they’re so young, aren’t they? When Ken Rosenthal was interviewing Bumgarner he asked him something, then said, “Oh, but you weren’t even born yet.”

I SO agree about the less is more aspect of all this, Audrey. Where did Selig get the idea that the game would be better if it went longer or included more teams? It’s not football. It’s not basketball. It’s not soccer. It has its own leisurely pace and meanders through 162 regular season games before crescendoing in the playoffs. Why isn’t that enough? The more is more mentality does cheapen things. I agree on the cosmic justice too, although I’m almost beginning to feel sorry for the Rangers. I said ALMOST.

I’d still like to go back to the pennant winners too, Jeff. That era was the purest of all. But what can we do. Sigh.

You may like Jon Miller and Joe Morgan, Becky, but I’m sorry to tell you they may not be doing the ESPN games anymore. Their contract is up at the end of the season, and there’s talk that ESPN will go with a younger duo. I hope your brother-in-law can shoot you more pics of A-Rod at the tables in Vegas. I loved the one you posted on Twitter!

Yes, Leo. I heard about the settlement between Cablevision and Fox over the weekend and I’m very happy for all of you who were stuck in the dispute. Yay! I hope tonight’s matchup with Lincecum and Lee delivers this time too. It would be very exciting to see a 0-0 game until somebody (hopefully a Giant) puts a run on the board. And you’re right about the baseball TV ratings if there were two more wild card teams; they’d probably go down. Football and hockey would be on too, and we’d all have playoff fatigue by then.

I hate the odd number thing too, kaiser. But your idea makes my eyes glaze over. Sounds too complicated to me. With baseball my motto is KEEP IT SIMPLE!

It would be great if we could wrap up the World Series before Valentine’s Day, wouldn’t it Jane? lol It’s bad enough to play baseball into November (not that i like baseball season to end, but they do need time off!), adding another round would pretty much guarantee that. Making the ALDS 7 games would already stretch out the playoffs to the limit as is, going another round is crazy talk. And eventually the three game series that’s proposed would likely start to be called ‘unfair’ and then there would be a push to lengthen that series as well… Ack! It never ends…

Oh, and ‘Ha!’ Jane, regarding your reply to my comment about the potential future Mrs. YankeeCase in your previous post. I was tired and I didn’t even notice it until just now. I don’t know what kind of details you want, but you know me! I’ll go on for about five pages worth of words if I don’t stop myself… But our silly/stupid sides clicked, as well as the intelligent/rational sides. We made silly voices, talked politics, movies (she made a Star Wars/Han Solo reference! sweet!!), writing, made fun of our ‘Noo Yawk’ accents, and more. I made her laugh and think all four hours of the trip back. And she’s almost as tall as me. And hot!

(ahem!) But ok!! Enough about that! This is a baseball blog… Wow, what a great play by so and so. And what a monster home run by that guy! lol, Sorry was busy and didn’t see the game. Just highlights. Too bad the series will end tonight. No more baseball for months… It would’ve been nice to see the Giants celebrate their first World Series title since New York in San Francisco. Buckle your seatbelts, people. It’s going down tonight…

http://yankeecase.mlblogs.com/

Oh ha ha about my misspelling of Bumgarner. My piano teacher growing up was Mrs. Baumgartner (who was Protestant by the way) and I was focusing on not putting a t in there!

I, for one, will be happy to see the end of Joe “Back-when-I-was-on-the-big-red-machine” Morgan. But I’ll take him over those idiots on Fox any day.

I won’t mind too much if SF loses tonight, because it would be really fun to see the crowd in SF celebrate.

I want us all to stay friends, so NO POLITICS PLEASE PEOPLE, but I did get a kick out of seeing Barbara Bush keeping score last night.

Melissa

You raise a good point that we all neglected to mention, blithescribe – how a lengthened season would affect the players, who are always banged up after 162 games. The ones that could would play hurt and the kid pitchers with innings limits would pitch anyway. While I’m not saying they should be babied or coddled, why risk a guy’s arm, back, etc?

Melissa, I said on Twitter that Barbara Bush was probably tweeting. (And I was joking.) Somehow I can’t picture her having an iPhone or BlackBerry but I could be wrong.

Oh, cool. You’re giving me a few details about the girl, YankeeCase! That’s waaay more important than baseball. LOL. It sounds like you two had a lot in common and were very compatible, not to mention tall! I hope something good will come of your meeting. Having the same sense of humor is so important in a relationship. I love that you made her laugh and vice versa. Looking forward to tonight’s game.

Ha, that’s more info than I give my mom…!

But now I really stepped in it! I said the Giants were going to win, and now I hope they don’t because I probably won’t be able to watch the game tonight! I’d like to see a Giants victory in front of their own fans for sure, so we’ll see what the cosmos has in store for them tonight…

http://yankeecase.mlblogs.com/

Jane
Did you hear the rangers ceo call the Yankee fans “either violent or apathetic”
Okay I’m no wordsmith but I’d say those are quite the opposite. Apathetic? (Yankee fans?) Violent? (Really?)

I have a feeling he is trying desperately to keep Cliff Lee and like all good red state folks he is using fear and building on Cliff’s wife’s comment. To me he just made himself look like an ***. Apathetic is so ridiculous. My husband suggested he get a dictionary because that is the last word one could use for a Yankee fan!!!

Just another reason I hope the Giants kick their ***** tonight.
Peg

Just consider me your part-time Mom, YankeeCase. LOL. And I want “my boy” to be happy. Yes, you did make a bold prediction about tonight’s game, so I’m sorry you won’t be able to watch it. I think beating Lee twice will be a tall order, but we’ll see.

Peg, I did read it and at first I was seething mad. And then I remembered the post I did last week about Cliff Lee’s wife’s comments and I just figured this guy must be sucking up to the Lee family so they’ll stay in Texas. I liked Randy Levine’s response, which was to not give one. No point in even dignifying those words with an answer. GO GIANTS.

I started to listen to him speak and then realized he’s just delusional. Actually, I think his problem is HE’S NEVER BEEN TO THE POST SEASON. He has absolutely no clue what a World Series crowd is like. He was sitting in the corporate seats in NY, not with the true fans. All the players want to come to NY, not only for the winning attitude, but they all say how much they love the fans.

And let’s see, the Rangers have been in existence since 1971, so the longest lasting fan has been rooting for them for 39 years. When my dad died last year, he’d been a fan for about 80 years and he wasn’t alone. You can’t create mystic and history.

Melissa

No, you can’t create mystic and aura, Melissa. This guy is so bush league it’s unreal. I heard he “apologized.” Yeah, right.

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