As you know, I’m pretty wrapped up in the St. Louis Cardinals at the moment. But I’ve spent a lot of time paying attention to all of the MLB playoffs and here are some off-the-cuff thoughts:
* I wonder whether Dick Stockton and Brent Musburger are friends? They should be. They do have one significant thing in common – they both drive me crazy.
* I have always been a Cardinals fan, but I was also a little bit of an Oakland A’s guy back in the day. And by “back in the day,” I’m talking
about the 1970s, when Oakland was having all of that success with Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, Gene Tenace, Bert Campaneris, Sal Bando, Catfish Hunter, Kenny Holtzman and that group. I’m finding that I still have an affinity for the A’s and I love their home crowd, which I believe is made up of bitter Oakland Raiders fans who aren’t quite sure what to do with success. Watching the A’s play in their home park is a treat and I’ll be tuning in tonight.
* Johnny Cueto. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
* St. Louis right-hander Chris Carpenter, who shut out Washington over 5 1/3 innings today while making only his fourth start of the season, is one very bad man. And I’m so glad he’s on our side.
* I’m glad 22-year-old Trevor Rosenthal is on our side, too. I haven’t been this excited about a young Cardinals pitcher in a while now.
* Come on Baltimore. Figure out a way. Go into Yankee Stadium and send New York packing. I’m as “baseball guy” as it gets and you have people on your roster I thought were washed up years ago. Nate McLouth? Lew Ford? Seriously, these are players who would be better suited playing in the National Baseball Congress World Series. But they’re finding a way.
* Alex Rodriguez looks like Burt Mustin at the plate. If you don’t know who “Burt Mustin” is, please google him.
* I don’t have much respect for Andy Pettitte. And I used to like the guy. Now he’s just a Roger Clemens enabler for me.
* When the San Francisco Giants lost 9-0 to Cincinnati in Game 2 of their NLDS, I thought it was over. But the Giants are, as we speak, continuing to put up a fight. I shouldn’t be surprised. That’s what the Giants do.
* Giants manager Bruce Bochy used to manage the Wichita Wranglers. But you probably already knew that.
* It was interesting that Reds manager Dusty Baker benched third baseman Scott Rolen today. Rolen didn’t take too kindly to St. Louis skipper Tony La Russa’s decision to sit him out of some playoff games in 2006. That created a rift between the player and the skipper that was never resolved and ultimately Rolen was traded to Toronto. But Rolen is near the end of his career now and Baker’s decision is the right one, considering it gets the dangerous Todd Frazier into the lineup to play third base.
* Pete Kozma has been a revelation.
* Reds right-hander Homer Bailey has transformed into a top-of-the-rotation ace before our very eyes. With Bailey, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo and Cueto, the Reds have something. As a Cardinals fan, I’m not unhappy Cueto will miss the NLDS, should both teams advance.
* It’s fun watching Haven’s Andy Dirks patrol left field for the Detroit Tigers and Goddard’s Derek Norris catch for the Athletics. It gives that series just a little more oomph for me.
* Baltimore might have the best bullpen in the big leagues this season. And I’m still not sure who any of those guys are outside of closer Jim Johnson. Amazing, amazing story.
* I honestly do feel sorry for fans who don’t get to experience playoff baseball very often. I’m spoiled. So I’m happy for fans of the A’s and Orioles. I hope those teams have some staying power.
* It was a pleasure listening to Bob Costas and Jim Kaat call the Cardinals-Nationals game today on the MLB Network. Costas might be the best broadcaster ever. He’s at least in the discussion, right? And Kaat is a superlative analyst, given that he’s almost double my age. And I’m not young, friends. Not young at all.
* I just called you “friends,” which made me think of CBS’ Jim Nantz. #schmaltzy.
* I scream at my television three or four times during each Cardinals playoff game. The language is not something I’m proud of.
* I wonder what Washington general manager Mike Rizzo really thinks of his decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg with a month left in the regular season? I mean really thinks. I know what he says publicly, that this is the right move. But if the Nationals are bounced out of the playoffs by the Cardinals, how much flak does Rizzo catch? I think it’ll be a lot. Nobody guarantees a team a playoff spot and although the Nationals have the look of a team that will get back to the postseason soon, these are opportunities to be cherished.
* Thanks for reading some baseball banter today. Much appreciated.