baseball gods productions

Thoughts about baseball, from the perspective of sports psychology and the role of sports in society. It includes team and player analysis, predictions, and what I think needs to be changed in Major League Baseball. Brought to you from the heart of baseball, Brooklyn, by baseball gods productions.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The World Series Begins

In the ALCS, I had a feeling that game 2 was going to be the key, that if Boston won, the series would be over quickly, and if Cleveland won, it would be down to the wire. Usually in a post-season series, the first game is in many ways the least important, and certainly the least predictive of the eventual winner.

This year's World Series is different, though, and I think game 1 will be the key. It's the irrestible force vs. the immovable object, the rolling Rockies vs. Josh Beckett. If Beckett continues his dominance and breaks the Rockies' incredible run of success, I think Boston will win the series easily. However, if the Rockies beat Beckett, they have a huge edge the rest of the way, especially with the lack of the DH in the middle three games.

My sense (and I said I was out of the prediction business) is that Beckett will dominate and Boston will win game 1. The Red Sox are what the Mets want to be and aren't quite; talented, ultra-competitive, and possessed with the killer instinct of a champion. I am rooting for the Red Sox, but if Colorado wins, I won't be too unhappy. They are impressive and a classy organization, and have been an amazing story this past few weeks.

© Judy Kamilhor 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Creativity vs. the usual moves

While watching this year's bizarre and refreshing post-season, it occurred to me that it may not matter whether managers get creative or stay with the status quo. It all comes back to the real determiners of post-season results: the baseball gods. Why fight it?

On the other hand, if I were managing, here are some things I might have tried, just for kicks:


Everyone talked about the choice of Wakefield or Beckett in game 4, and how it would affect the rest of the rotation. Only two options were mentioned, but there was a third, which I might have tried:

Game 4: Beckett
Game 5: Wakefield
Game 6: Schilling
Game 7: Beckett

This gets Matsuzaka out before he commits ritual suicide, and gets an extra start for the best post-season pitcher in the world, Josh Beckett. This occurred to me before the announcers mentioned that Beckett's back may have prevented him from coming back on three days rest, but my point is that a little creativity can go a long way, and it's rarely displayed these days.

I also would have started Jacoby Ellsbury in RF, and batting leadoff, moving Pedroia down to the bottom of the order. From what I've been reading on the Internet, I'm not alone with this idea, as most of Boston seems to want some variation of this switch to be made.

The way they are expressing their disdain for J. D. Drew, however, is pissing me off. It's the old "gratuitous insults to women" issue all over again. I used to keep a file with all the quotes from players, fans, and media comparing poor performances by major leaguers with women.

The recent Drew examples include calling him "Nancy Drew," and saying clever things like "he hits like my kid sister," etc. As a female athlete, I am sick of this. Reality check: J. D. Drew hits better than 99.999% of people on earth, including the idiots who call him Nancy Drew.

And there are plenty of women, such as Jenny Finch, and everyone else on the women's US Olympic softball team, that hit a lot better than those same idiots. It's time to give it a rest, and be more creative with your insults.


Game 4: Not only would I have pitched Micah Owings, as they did, but I would have batted him leadoff. I actually think that Owings is the best hitter and slugger on Arizona, period. His slugging average was .615, better than virtually every hitter in the NL this year. Batting him first is like giving him an extra at bat, which is certainly a good thing given their lack of offense. I wish they would make him a first baseman, by the way, and use him as a relief pitcher once in a while. He's not going to be a star as a starter, but I'd sure like to see him bat four times every day. I still miss Brooks Kieschnick, the last pitcher/hitter in MLB.

What I'm trying to say here, is that creativity is good, even when the baseball gods are being their usual inscrutable and devilish selves.

© Judy Kamilhor 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Someone Else's Agony Now

Something cosmic has been going on, and all my National League picks fell apart at the end. There was a time this season when all my first place predictions were actually in first place, or at least tied, and then the Brewers, Padres, and Mets sunk like anchors into the ocean. Congratulations to the Phillies, Cubs, Diamond Backs, and Rockies for playing like they wanted to win something. And now, it's someone else's heartache as each playoff series ends, and one more team is eliminated.

At least my American League picks did a lot better. Before the season, I picked Boston, Los Angeles de Anaheim, and Detroit to win their divisions, and the Yankees to win the Wild Card. 3 out of 4 isn't bad. I'm not surprised Cleveland played well, but I really expected Detroit to play better. It just proves how hard it is to get to World Series; everything has to go well for most of the season, which isn't as easy as it seems.

For the post-season, I am rooting and not predicting. It's less stressful and more fun. So, I am rooting for the Red Sox, Indians, Cubs, and Rockies to advance.

The Mets' collapse really hurt, although it wasn't totally surprising, as I was seeing small signs of their lack of killer instinct over the past couple of years. The biggest disappointment has to be Jose Reyes. His performance in the second half of the season was a huge step backwards in both performance and attitude, and he could become a real problem for Willie Randolph if Willie doesn't step up and make clear demands of how he expects Reyes to go about his business.

It's obvious to me that if Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes switched teams before this season, the Mets would have won the division. Rollins showed that he is the MVP this year, and Reyes showed how immature he still is.

The Mets' leaders have managed to put themselves in the same position as the Yankees, as far as needing to win the World Series to keep their jobs next year. At least the Yankees won some World Championships under Torre before they got to that point.

This offseason is going to be very interesting for the Metsies. Next I'll address some changes I would make if I were GM.

© Judy Kamilhor 2007