Sunday, December 22, 2013

10/22/1991 Minnesota Twins 4, Atlanta Braves 5

Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta, GA
World Series Game 3

Watching Steve Avery and Scott Erickson pitch the same game was like watching two Superheroes fight each other with bloody abandon.
I drew this conclusion not based upon the announcers' repeated references to Erickson's features favoring those of Christopher Reeve, but based upon the sheer amount of #rack and #rig between the two of them.

The 1991 World Series will probably always be my favorite; I watch the whole series every year, during the offseason, and I am always flush with excitement no matter how many times I do so. This legendary extra-innings affair certainly contained its share of cliffhangers, with Mark Lemke's heroics in the 12th inning closing the game in extraordinary fashion.

What is also extraordinary: Rick Aguilera pinch hitting in the 5 hole during the top of the 12th inning. Why? Because it was the first time in a World Series since the Designated Hitter era began that a Pitcher batted as a pinch hitter since Don Drysdale did the same in 1965. Aguilera stayed in the game as the Pitcher for the bottom of the 12th and gave up the 1-out single to David Justice, who would eventually steal a base and then score on Lemke's single and win the game.

SCOREKEEPER'S NOTE: There will have to be a post (or a series of posts) on how to score extra-innings games, because there are so many things you can do to stay on top of the events as they unfold, and to wrap it all up when the game is finally over and you're all out of ice cream. It can get messy if you don't keep up on it; there are several tips on preventing the of those tips, I'd like to share right now.
Here's a typical scoresheet entry (from another game) that indicates Crowe entered the game as a defensive replacement during the bottom of the 7th in RF for Paredes - I mark the entry with a "B7" to note this. Related: if a player enters the game as a pinch hitter, I don't note this by his name, as I did above...his first entry is for his first Plate Appearance, and is therefore easier to understand.

For extra-innings games, the focus of record-keeping is to be able to distinguish what happens during the innings on your first page (for my 2013 scoresheets, that would be the first 9 innings) and what happens on your second pate (10th inning and beyond). On the MIN sheet, page 1 of 2, there were a total of four batters in the 9th spot:

  1. #19 Erickson (P - 1 AB in the 3rd)
  2. #9 Larkin (PH - 1 AB in the 6th)
  3. #44 Davis (PH - 1 AB in the 8th)
  4. #1 Brown (defensive replacement, RF in the bottom of the 8th, no AB)
  5. #25 Bush (PH - 1 AB in the 9th, stayed in the game as RF + 1 more AB in the 12th = 2 AB)
Brown was only a defensive replacement, was lifted for another PH (Bush), so that's why there's an 'X' in his AB box. This is straightforward because the only defensive replacement was in the 8th inning, on page 1 of 1 (the first 9 innings).  What if the first appearance as a PH occurred after the first 9 innings?
Well, it happens here, during this game. Looking at the 5th and 6th spots in the order, instead of making the note inside the 'player's name' box, I make it to the left of the box, so that when I wrap all of this up, I know that "yeah, this happened on page 2" and I can reference that information. All of the totals happen on page 1, the way that I do it, so this is important to me. More detail on this in the future, I promise!!!

My scoresheets, using my new pitch-counting method! Read about it HERE, download the scoresheets for free HERE!

If you enjoy my work, I encourage you to spread the word via Twitter
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

10/30/2013 St Louis Cardinals 1, Boston Red Sox 6

Fenway Park, Boston, MA
World Series Game 6

The WEIRD SERIES...ends with Game 6.

This is Boston celebrating. They would have liked to celebrate at home, and they did.
Mike Napoli gets a Golden Sombrero...but Boston still wins. Mike Matheny calls for 3 intentional walks, 2 of those 3 baserunners ended up scoring. Think about that what you will. Or not.

Scorekeeper's Note: The weirdest play happens in the bottom of the 5th inning, Boston already up 6-0, Jacoby Ellsbury on 1B after reaching on an error (Matt Carpenter's 2nd errah of the Series). During Dustin Pedroia's AB, Ellsbury heads for second...and returns safely on a 1-3-4-3-6-3 PO attempt. According to the Rules - this is not a Stolen Base would have been considered an attempt only if Ellsbury was either safe at 2B (successful), or caught at either 1B or 2B as a result of the Pick-off (unsuccessful). You can't give credit for something that didn't result in either outcome, regardless of the intention at the time.

Boston wins the Series 4-2. Cue "Dirty Water."

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Monday, October 28, 2013

10/28/2013 Boston Red Sox 3, St Louis Cardinals 1

Busch Stadium, St Louis, MO
World Series Game 5

The 2013 WEIRD SERIES continues...

Yeah, Adam Wainwright was great, but Jon Lester was better. But this isn't weird.
David Ortiz really isn't weird either, but his triple slash of .727 / .750 / 1.364 through the first 4 games of the Weird Series is, just a little bit. Ortiz ties Billy Hatcher's 1990 record for reaching base safely in consecutive World Series games with his single in the 4th inning.

However, he only ties it, as he flies out in the 6th.

Boston leads the Series 3-2.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

10/27/2013 Boston Red Sox 4, St Louis Cardinals 2

Busch Stadium, St Louis, MO
World Series Game 4

The 2013 WEIRD SERIES continues...

Oh, the HUMANITY...
With Kolten Wong brought in as a pinch runner for Allen Craig, the game ends as Wong is picked off at first base.

"Should of left Craig in, Napoli would of tripped on his legs."

The Series is tied 2-2

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

10/26/2013 Boston Red Sox 4, St Louis Cardinals 5

Busch Stadium, St Louis, MO
World Series Game 3

The 2013 WEIRD SERIES continues!

"The game ends with an obstruction call!!"

To be more specific, the last play:

  • 19 FC, 4-2-5
  • 4-2; 4 out at home
  • 2-5; throw gets away, 21 scores (interference error by 5)

St Louis leads the Series 2-1 #PixieDust

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

10/24/2013 St Louis Cardinals 4, Boston Red Sox 2

Fenway Park, Boston, MA
World Series Game 2

The 2013 WEIRD SERIES continues...

Boston wins the errah sweepstakes tonight, by committing 2 in the same AB (Saltalamacchia, Breslow).
Michael Wacha's Postseason scoreless innings run ends at 19 (tying Bob Gibson), but he still gives the Red Sox "the business" and manages to break 2 bats in the process (Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz).

Boston loses their first World Series game since 1986 Game 6.

The Series is tied 1-1.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

10/23/2013 St Louis Cardinals 1, Boston Red Sox 8

Fenway Park, Boston, MA
World Series Game 1

Welcome to the 2013 WEIRD SERIES!

Pete Kozma commits 2 errahs in 2 consecutive innings...
But, HEY...Mystery Solved!! It's not really Pete Kozma playing shortstop for the Cardinals tonight, it's actually Dweezil Zappa!!

Interesting occurrence during the 1st inning: After Dustin Pedroia reaches on a one-out single, David Ortiz grounds into a Fielder's Choice (4-6, KozmaZappa bobbles the ball), Pedroia is called 'out' at second by Dana DeMuth. With barely a rumble from Red Sox Manager John Farrell, the Umpire Crew overturns DeMuth's call and Pedroia is "SAFE" at second. Just a reminder, this doesn't happen very often.

Red Sox lead the Series 1-0

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Friday, October 18, 2013

My Last Talk With Pop: A Baseball Story

This was originally published as a previously scheduled guest post for Baseblog94 on July 29, 2013.  I had no idea when I agreed to do this, on this date, that what I eventually wrote would be the subject of that post.  

The initial response to it, from friends, family, and a lot of folks I've never met, was overwhelming.  I'm re-publishing here, with additional photos.

This is the piece I hoped I would never have to write.

I haven’t always been a Baseball fan, or a Cubs fan for that matter, but when I was young I was.  How that happened and how it worked out is a very exhaustive story with many tangents that tie in to other stories about me that don’t always have anything to do with Baseball.  Many of them tie into my personal “Tale of Two Dads,” but I’m not going into that here.  On July 10 of this year, I lost Pop, who was one of those Dads, and two weeks later my heart is still broken.

Pop was a lifelong fan of Baseball, and at an early age I was enthralled at his knowledge of the game, as well as his stories about seeing young Roger Maris play with the Indianapolis Indians against his local Omaha Cardinals in 1956.  He grew up a Dodger fan and idolized Pee Wee Reese.  When I was a lad, he took me to my first professional Baseball game, the New York Yankees versus the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park on August 1st, 1979.  It was Thurman Munson’s last game, and also the last game I would attend with Pop for nearly 30 years.

Pop wasn’t the kind of person you’d think would be a Baseball coach; he was a Theatre Educator, and was instrumental in rebuilding the Theatre program at Highland Community College in Freeport, Illinois.  I can’t recall how he got involved at the managerial level of Little League Baseball, but my brother played (I didn’t, I tried a little but I couldn’t even put on a fielder’s mitt the right way) and he ended up as the Coach for a team that was more like the Battlestar Galactica of Freeport Little League than it was like a potential championship squad. 

There was a sprinkling of raw talent (including a kid he called “Palmer” because he looked just like Jim Palmer, a great pitcher whose real name I still can’t recall) but there was enough #want present for Pop to guide them to the city championships, a trophy they proudly claimed.  I watched most of those games (and the practices) and marveled at how unique he was compared to the other coaches; we won over his charge with applied confidence, attention to minutia and fundamentals, and through the ring of discipline.  I understood later how he used the same skills to direct plays and work with young college students, as he did to manage a winning Baseball team that wasn’t a favorite to do so.

Over the years, Pop became a Cubs fan.  We lived in the proper geographic locale for this, and the benefit of access to just about every game through WGN broadcasts helped out as well.  He had intense and profound relationships with his friends and colleagues at the time, friendships that would endure until his death.  Most of them were probably Cubs fans as well. 

In later years, we talked Baseball quite a bit.  He didn’t share my twisted ‘yin-yang’ admiration for the Cardinals (it took lots of ‘splaining to bring him to an understanding of why I had a Cardinals cap in my collection) but was mostly complacent about the White Sox; they were a Chicago team and deserved a nominal amount of respect for that.  We didn’t watch a lot of Cubs games together, but sometimes we’d exchange emails about a particularly memorable contest or talk about them on the phone.

My family relocated to Louisville in the late 90s; during one of my folks’ early visits I pulled Pop aside and we went on a solo trip to Louisville Slugger Field to see the newly-erected statue of his childhood hero.  He told many after the fact that it was one of the neatest things he’d ever seen in his life.

When my oldest daughter started attending high school at duPont Manual in Louisville, Pop immediately emailed me to let me know that Pee Wee also attended school there.  I was never able to host him at a Louisville Bats game, but we did visit the Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum together, and spent the better part of an hour reviewing all of the player names burned into wood on the foyer wall.

Pop wasn’t surprised at all when I started writing about Baseball; I had been a casual writer most of my life and he enjoyed reading my work and discussing it.  During my first Brother-in-Law Baseball Tour of 2009, we scheduled a stop in Peoria to see the Peoria Chiefs at O’Brien Field, only a few minutes from my folks’ house in East Peoria.  I wrote a little bit about it and posted photos and scoresheets here.

I’m not usually adept at taking advantage of photo opportunities when they arise, but as we entered the concourse and were admiring the Pete Vonachen statue, I was seized by the moment and handed my camera to an usher.

My brother-in-law Mark and I were picked by Pete Vonachen’s granddaughter (who was working as an usher at the ballpark) to participate in an On-Field Sack Race after the first inning, because we looked like “a couple of fun guys.”  We had to report to the field during the first to prepare for the race, Pop was kind enough to handle my scoresheet while we did so.  I revised some of his play notation, but didn’t touch his filling in the lineup for me.

It was one of my best memories ever.

Pop had been acting kind of funny for a few weeks recently, and on Sunday July 7th, he had a seizure at home and was taken to the hospital.  A CT scan and angiogram revealed a rather large aneurysm (5.5cm in size) at the base of his brain.  He was responsive, yet puzzled, after the seizure and the doctors were considering surgery.  I rushed over to Peoria to see him, arriving late that Tuesday evening.  On the way there, I listened to the Cubs gloriously vanquish the Angels 7-2 on WGN Radio itself (not Gameday Audio as I have to do at home).  It seemed as if it was meant to be; I could pick up WGN clearly just as the game was starting, and the contest took me swiftly through dismally barren areas of sparse 3G coverage.  By the time the game was over, I was less than an hour from my destination.

It was also a wonderful distraction from the grim expectations of what would I would see and learn about Pop’s condition when I arrived.

I arrived at the hospital in Peoria just after 11pm.  My mom had just left a few minutes prior, and I nearly elected to stop at my folks’ house, get some rest, and visit Pop first thing in the morning.  I changed my mind just as I approached; I had been driving a lot that day and really wanted to see him.  I was only concerned that I would disturb his slumber (waking up Pop had never been a good idea, ever).

The room was dark, Pop was laying on his side asleep.  He looked a lot better than I had expected he would.  I gently touched his hand, without fully opening his eyes he grabbed my hand and sighed, “Ah, you made it.”  We talked about my day, my trip, his day, his trip, complained about doctors for a little bit, and then as it typically did, the conversation drifted towards Baseball.  He wanted me to validate (as he usually did) that the teams I have been following are still terrible, and I did…but, yes, the Cubs won HUGE tonight!

“Pop, did you get to watch the game?”
“Yes, I watched the whole thing! It was amazing! 5 home runs!! Where did that come from?”

“Who knows! Frustration and lots of grit and hustle!! They should have saved some for tomorrow night!”
“Oh, you got that right…but the Angels are supposed to be great!”

“Go figure, the American League offense is always superior during interleague play! Strategy! (in my goofy voice) Thuuuhh Amehhhhrican Leeeeeeegue!!”
Pop shakes in his trademark ‘silent earthquake laugh’…no sounds emit, but his entire body trembles the heartiness of his laugh, which means he REALLY thought this was funny.

“Ha ha, I’ll never let go of that!”
“Stephen, this team is really going to be something else in a couple of years…I can tell.”

(I find out later from my mom that after the Cubs game, she changed the channel to the Cardinals game and Pop wanted nothing to do with that.)

We talked about books, my wife and kids, and then soberly turned towards his condition and the discussion about surgery we’re supposed to have in the morning with the doctors and their staff.

“We’re going to see some videos!”
“Darn it, I forgot my 3-D glasses!!”
Silent Earthquake Laugh, a second time.

As I stood up to leave, I gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

“Good night, Pop…I’ll see you here in the morning for breakfast.”
“Come on up, I’ll fix you some eggs.”

That was the last conversation I, or anyone else for that matter, would ever have with him.  Two hours later, while at my folks house discussing Pop’s condition with my mom, we received a phone call from the hospital that Pop had taken a turn for the worse.  We were there in 5 minutes.  A second seizure had occurred, and he had stopped breathing.  As I arrived, one of the medical staff handed me his glasses as they were inserting a breathing tube.  He looked completely different.  Another CT scan confirmed that the aneurysm had started to leak, enormous pressure on his brain was causing severe damage, and within a few hours it was made clear to us that his brain activity was not favorable, and that he would never recover.

Pop passed away at 7:37pm on Wednesday, the 10th.  I hadn’t slept, nor had I left his side since returning that morning, his glasses still in my pocket.

I didn’t know it at the time, but Christmas 2012 would be my last with Pop.  My gift from my folks was a subscription to Baseball Prospectus, as well as a Peoria Chiefs cap and banner.  I had asked for those, the latter to commemorate our game together a few years back and to herald the transition of the Peoria club from a Cubs affiliate to a Cardinals affiliate.  What I also received, and hadn’t asked for, was a copy of Edward Achorn’s “Fifty-Nine in ’84,” the story of Old Hoss Radbourn and ‘bare-handed baseball.’

One of the activities Pop enjoyed participating in while living in Central Illinois was the renowned “Cemetery Walk” at Evergreen Cemetery in Bloomington.  One of his favorite characters mentioned in the program was Old Hoss Radbourn; upon receiving the book he told me for the first time that he enjoyed Evergreen so much that my folks decided to secure interment arrangements there, barely a hundred yards away from Radbourn’s gravesite.  He always wrote something in the leaf of every book he ever gave me, this one was no different:

“I’m anxious to hear your impression of this interesting era in your favorite sport.  Hoss is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in our own Bloomington, Illinois.  There are plans underway now to develop a one man show about him.  Enjoy every minute!”

Reading this after his death sent some chills through my being.  Pop was a true Hall-of-Famer.  I’ll miss you buddy, you were a hell of a guy.  GO CUBS!!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

10/14/13 St Louis Cardinals 0, Los Angeles Dodgers 3

Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
NLCS Game 3

Charlie asked the Dodgers to "do something witchy" tonight...

...and they did, thanks to Hyun-Jin "Tex" Ryu.

My scoresheets, using my new pitch-counting method! Read about it HERE, download the scoresheets for free HERE!

If you enjoy my work, I encourage you to spread the word via Twitter
(I am @yoshiki89), and also please leave a comment!

Monday, September 2, 2013

9/2/13 Indianapolis Indians 5, Louisville Bats 7

Louisville Slugger Field, Louisville, KY
Game 2 of 2

Sometimes, you have to take the good with the bad.  A one-hour, 44-minute rain delay in the 4th was bad; the Bats were down 2-0 and after play resumed, they tried to chip away at the lead but met with response by the Indians every time.

In the bottom of the 9th, with the Bats still down 5-2, the Indians leave pinch-hitter Matt Hague in the game as a PITCHER, "trying for a save."

Well, Denis Phipps would have none of this.  Hague allows the first two batters to reach base on singles, strikes out the next two, then walks two in a row to meet Phipps at the plate, who took a 1-0 changeup deep into left field for a walk-off GRAND SLAMMO.

BALL GAME.  A remarkably #wet end to a wacky season.

Mystery Rookie Cards
Me: 2004 Topps T128 Hector Made

Guest: 2006 Upper Deck 1208 Dustin McGowan

Guest: 2001 Fleer 529 Mark Prior

My scoresheets, using my new pitch-counting method! Read about it HERE, download the scoresheets for free HERE!

Official Program (featuring Greg Reynolds) and Scorecard

BONUS: How about some FUN TIMES with Buddy Bat? Just check out that #chin.

Louisville is finally adding some #sparkle to their season tickets, with several players (and a mascot) featured on different dates...I believe I have one of each this season, so here's tonight's ticket with Denis Phipps (wearing number 21, as he did during the 2012 season) -quite the coincidence, no?

Bat Chat and Gameday Stats

If you enjoy my work, I encourage you to spread the word via Twitter
(I am @yoshiki89), and also please leave a comment!
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