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Random observations from ALCS Game 2

Oct 18, 2009, 10:26 AM EDT

Epic game.  Stuff worth discussing further:

Question to those who believe that ballplayers actually have some
inborn ability to perform (or not) in the clutch as opposed it simply
being a matter of chance:  when did A-Rod “learn” this ability?  Last
winter?  Some time over the course of the season?  Did he read the
Cliff’s Notes during the All-Star break? Inquiring minds want to know .
. .

Despite his heroics in the 11th, I’m sure some folks will still say
something snarky about his popup with the bases loaded in the 12th.  It
takes longer to give up irrational A-Rod hate than it does to learn to
be clutch.

First we heard over and over again about how fundamentally sound the
Twins were supposed to be and about how they do all of the little
things right.  Then we heard over and over again about how
fundamentally sound the Angels were supposed to be and about how they
do all of the little things right.  The Yankees may have won all five
of their postseason games so far anyway, but poor fundamentals on the
part of the Twins and Angels have made it a hell of a lot easier for them.

That said, if Chone Figgins comes up with the Izturis overthrow
cleanly, I think there’s a good chance Hairston would have been out at
home.  Not that it matters a bit.  Should have taken the out at first,
Macier.

As I sipped my beer and waited for the commercial break to end, I
wondered to myself: “is there a single person watching this game who
said ‘you know, I wasn’t going to get Direct TV, but now that the Black
Eyed Peas have weighed in on it, I’m going to take the plunge.’”

In case Angels fans are wondering, Fuentes is owed $9 million next
year, and has an option that vests for 2011 if he finishes 55 games. 
Yes, blown saves in the 9th count as “games finished.”  Enjoy next
season!

In contrast, Mariano Rivera, despite looking like he’s about 55 now, is
still basically unhittable.  Two and a third, and the Angels couldn’t
touch him.  I think even Angels fans have to agree that there’s never
been another relief pitcher like that guy, and that we’re all lucky to
have seen him in action.  Our grandkids will be talking about him.

I never thought I’d say this, but after a round and a half of Chip
Caray, Joe Buck is actually a sound for sore ears.  He’s still
basically terrible, but he’s less offensive than the other terrible announcer who only has his job because of nepotism.

I won’t dwell on it because the play ultimately didn’t have any impact
on the game’s outcome, but the safe call on Erick Aybar’s attempted
double play in the bottom of the 10th is the sort of thing that will
have people talking.  You know the deal: the old “neighborhood” play,
where they usually give the shortstop some leeway on actually touching
the bag with the ball in his hands when a runner is bearing down on
him.  I understand the reason for the leeway: we don’t want dudes
getting hurt down there if it can be avoided, but you at least have to
skip your feet across the bag a bit, right?  Aybar just straddled it.  Video here. I think it was the right call.

Like I said, epic game (at least for everyone who isn’t an Angels
fan).  I’m glad that, if they had to have a five-hour+, 13-inning
affair, that it happened on a Saturday night.  The Angels are in deep
trouble.  To win, they basically have to beat Sabathia twice now,
right? Good luck with that . . .

  1. greyghst - Oct 18, 2009 at 11:02 AM

    “I never thought I’d say this, but after a round and a half of Chip Caray, Joe Buck is actually a sound for sore ears. He’s still basically terrible, but he’s less offensive than the other terrible announcer who only has his job because of nepotism.”
    And why is Joe Buck there? One of, if not the worst announcer in sports, is only there because of his father. If not for Buck sr, none of us would ever know who Joe Buck jr. is.

  2. Craig Calcaterra - Oct 18, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    I know. I meant that, of the two announcers who owe their jobs to nepotism, Buck is better.

  3. Sal - Oct 18, 2009 at 11:04 AM

    Craig, you did not mentioned that the A-Rod homer was eerily similar to the Jeff Maier’s homer by Jeter… didn’t that homer also tied the game?
    For that matter, you have not written about the old Yankee Stadium’s Ghosts moving into this one with free rent….

  4. Charlie - Oct 18, 2009 at 11:05 AM

    I’m definitely NOT a Yankee fan but it’s undeniable that they are playing great baseball right now.

  5. lar @ wezen-ball - Oct 18, 2009 at 11:23 AM

    I’m with you, Craig. For the neighborhood play to be called, you have to at least be kind of close to the bag. Neither of his feet were any closer than a foot or so at any time. You’ve *got* to do better than that.
    And re: the Twins & Angels being fundamentally sound, here’s a couple of tweets from FJM’s KenTremendous last night:
    “Weather forecast for NYC: chilly, windy, 80% chance of inexplicable mental errors by visiting team. Definitely favors Yankees.”
    “I just simulated a game between the Yankees and a team of Datas, from Star Trek: TNG. The Datas made four key mental errors and lost 6-2″
    “If Sherlock Holmes suspected the Yankees of murder, he’d make four crucial errors in his investigation and they’d get away scot-free.”
    Well, i thought it was funny…

  6. Christian - Oct 18, 2009 at 11:47 AM

    Joe Buck is the absolute worst. Is it me, or does he ooze contempt for the yankees? I’m glad Artie drove a steamroller over his terrible HBO show.

  7. Tom - Oct 18, 2009 at 11:54 AM

    You couldn’t be more correct regarding Chip Caray being one of the most awful broadcasters. And yes, gramps and pop was responsible for this inhuman jesture. If fact, I’d heard the entire Caray family broadcast, I think they were/are all terrible.

  8. AJ - Oct 18, 2009 at 12:00 PM

    Joe Buck may be God-awful. I totally agree. But Tim McCarver has to be, just has to be, the all-time worst, and stupidest, announcer on TV. How can someone get so many things wrong and still have a job?
    At least Buck is smarter than McCarver in that he does a better job of covering up his anti-Yankee bias.

  9. YankeesfanLen - Oct 18, 2009 at 12:22 PM

    I don’t need no stinkin’ baseball announcers on TV! Except Vin in Dodgerland. Let me listen to Fibber and Molly on the radio, let them get silly once they figure out what’s happening.
    Seriously, don’t want to spend the afternoon looking this up, are the Yankees 145-0 in four hour+ games?
    A-Bombs from ARod and Mets defense will do this every time.

  10. inRI - Oct 18, 2009 at 12:30 PM

    I think Aybar’s mistake was being about a foot BEHIND the bag that he was supposedly straddling. He wasn’t in the ‘neighborhood’….

  11. Val - Oct 18, 2009 at 12:56 PM

    At first it was tough to watch the games with the announcers. I agree with all your comments on Buck & McCarver. I’m just used to the teams’ usual broadcasters all year, as I watch just about every game.
    Yankees are unstoppable this year. I get so tired of the whining about their payroll though. If you made a purchase, wouldn’t you buy the very best your budget would allow? That’s exactly what the Yankees and every other team do. They just have more money, and historically the best attendance in mlb.
    It will be nice to see Torre come back to Yankee Stadium, even though I hope his team gets trounced. :)

  12. char in miami - Oct 18, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    you know – i thought that i was the only one who thought the game calling was awful so am pleased to realize it isn’t my imagination.
    i subscribed to mlb and watched many more games than i normally do and when the same game was being sent by both the home team and the away team, sometimes you had to wonder if both anouncers were calling the same game.
    as to the yankees – having been a fan since back in the 60′s, i hope they can keep up the good work – teamwork that is.
    i hope in the off-season, they can manage to trade joba chamberlain to toronto for halladay. and they can have the prima donna burnette back also.
    go yankees!!

  13. nfieldr - Oct 18, 2009 at 2:10 PM

    Skip Caray’s youngest son, Josh, does PxP for the AAA Gwinnett Braves. I think that he is head and shoulders above Chip.

  14. Mike Trofinoff - Oct 18, 2009 at 2:18 PM

    There are duds and studs in every occupation, even sports announcing. If you don’t like them do what I did…hit the mute button and run on the treadmill while watching the extra innings with the earphones on to your favorite music. It worked this morning.

  15. Jon - Oct 18, 2009 at 2:30 PM

    Well, now I am sold on Direct TV, thats for sure! Also, great game.

  16. Rd - Oct 18, 2009 at 2:36 PM

    How about Pete Rose for TV Announcer, Id Take him over McCarver any
    day. Or get Boomer over from TBS. Great Game in spite of announcers
    Yankees are a team of destiny in 09. Exciting game, better than football.

  17. Mark - Oct 18, 2009 at 2:51 PM

    I turn the sound off. During the playoffs I listen to the WCBS broadcast of all Yankee games on MLB.com. Even with a slight broadcast delay, the game is 1000% better. John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman are the best when the YES network announcers are not available for a televised broadcast. End of story!

  18. Yankee Fan in Boston - Oct 18, 2009 at 3:30 PM

    The Aybar safe call is worth talking about because Aybar was doing it *all night long.* I’d love to be able to go back and check all those double plays and see Aybar not actually touch the bag.
    This neighborhood call thing is kind of ridiculous. We’re pouring accolades on all these double play combos, and it comes to be they’re not actually turning double plays. The 2B is just letting the shortstop throw to first.
    Go back and see if Jeter does the same thing. If he does, shame on him, too. It was the first time in a while I felt it was so blatant, so I wasn’t shocked that they called it. I was shocked that they *finally* called it.
    Touch the bag. Play it right.

  19. Rick - Oct 18, 2009 at 4:05 PM

    Angels tore my heart out last night! Followed them all year…great season, now THIS?? My team hasn’t shown up yet!
    As to the announcer debate, I’m spoiled rotten, having grown up listening to Scully… And if you guys think McCarver’s an idiot, you’ve never listened to a game with Rex Hudler as the color man!
    He gives new depth and breadth to the words MORON and HOMER!!
    (And I don’t mean Simpson!!)
    Honestly I thought Buck was doing a better job this year so far, than last, but the Master of Malaprops, the man who get’s literally EVERYTHING wrong…The Moron of Midtown still has to be that dumber than dirt idiot Tim McCarver! What a douchebag!!
    He’s only qualified to call the crossing guard follies in whatever podunk, redneck poophole he comes from!

  20. Nacho - Oct 18, 2009 at 5:04 PM

    I have the MLB package and watch a ton of Angels games. I actually like Rex Hudler, it’s Gubicza I find incredibly boring. I never realized how deadly boring some of these teams are. Ever hear Frank White and Paul Splittorf (or whomever it is)? The Mariners, The Rangers and Tampa Bay also have horrible announcing teams. It’s not so much what they know or impart…they are BORING! Yes those teams have had their struggles, but give me a homer like Hawk Harrelson or Michael Kay (as grating as he can be) every time. Rex Hudler is colorful (get it color man?)! He’s got enthusiasm. Just my two cents…

  21. XTrust_No1X - Oct 18, 2009 at 5:16 PM

    I think that the YES Network, should be at least televising the game, like Channel 9 does, only not in SAP, that way, the Yankees fans don’t have to listen to idiots like Carry & Buck. Between them, they don’t have a brain! In the first round against the twins, I shut the souund off, and just watched the game, much beter. Now, I’m at the same point trying to listen to McCarver & Buck, it’s like listening to Quint scrtach his nails on the blackboard. Well, I guess I’m willing to put up with those two numbskulls, to be able to watch my Legendary New York Yankees spank the rest of MLB, on they’re way to their 27th World Series Championship in the very first year of the $1.5 Billion Dollar Shrine, “The House That Derek Jeter Built”. That’s the only way the New, New York Yankees Stadium could’ve opened, not like the second rate New York team over in Queens. The Mutts should’ve named their new park, the same name as the town it resides in, FLUSHING Park, home to a team that let the opening of their new park, go down the drain! Well, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his minions cutting up Millions of pounds of Ticker Tape, having Key’s to the City made and poliched, and getting the Greatest City in the World, ready for the biggest Ticker Tape parade ever down the Canyon of Heroes for the Millions of New York Yankees fans, the Greatest fans in the World!, The New York Yankees Universe!

  22. Len - Oct 18, 2009 at 5:44 PM

    Respectfully disagree. Joe Morgan is easily the worst. He repeats everythng 4 times, and is almost always wrong on anything he says. I pity Jon miller having to put up with him. I’m certain that in his heart, Jon agrees with me.

  23. Len - Oct 18, 2009 at 5:49 PM

    No. McCarver said the same thing. Then he looked at the replays and found that he was wrong and admitted it, that Aybar did indeed hit the bag on the other DP’s.

  24. soxrocker - Oct 18, 2009 at 6:02 PM

    I thought McCarver’s kissass routine on Jeter after the HR was particularly sickening…plus he totally missed the point. I don’t think Jeter got much criticism for his offense. It was mostly his fielding that was under scrutiny. He hits a dinger, and suddenly Tim claims all the evil naysayers are “hiding in their caves,” or something to that effect.

  25. AvaP - Oct 18, 2009 at 6:20 PM

    He was referring to Jeter’s entire 2009 season, not the homer last night.

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