Thursday, November 20, 2014

Award Pages Updated For 2014

As I do every year, the special award list pages have been updated. This'll probably be the only update here for the month of November, as my Baseball-Reference sponsorship posts had ceased being fun several years ago, and I don't have the time to dig through them that I did in the past. I hope the few of you who care understand.

Anyway, here are the links to the updated award pages:

Which Team Had the Most Cy Young Winners?
Rookie of the Year Facts
The Second-Place Award Winners

Have fun looking through them. Or don't. Whatever you like. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's All Over

So the Giants won. Just as I predicted. The Oligopoly remains intact. Before the playoffs began, I knew which teams had a chance, and which ones didn't, because I understood how the Oligopoly works. For me personally, this is my ninth straight World Series disappointment, and my fourth straight rerun championship. And people wonder why I'm so bitter about this game.

Oh well. It's all over now, and I can move on with my life instead of spending time loving a game that hates me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gearing Up For Another World Series...and the Inevitable Result predictions were just a bit off. I did all right predicting the early rounds, but I got both pennant winners wrong. I sure underestimated the Giants and Royals.

I'm not going to waste my time doing much analysis of this World Series, since it's a given that the Giants are going to win. I predict five games tops. The Royals have been a streaky team all year, so they're due to cool off soon. They have the look of one of those fun, memorable teams that doesn't quite win it all, while the Giants are a member of the Oligopoly, so the end result is a foregone conclusion. Still, I'll tune in, just to say I've seen the Royals play in the World Series. Given the size of their market, and how much broke right just for them to get this far, it's possible we won't see them here again for another 29 years.

Hats off to you, Royals. I've enjoyed watching your run, and the fans in Kansas City should always cherish this. It's just not destiny, because you're not one of the privileged big-ticket franchises that gets to win the World Series. I would love to be wrong on this, but I don't think I am. Take comfort in knowing that in the future, this one will be just another Giants title, while it'll be a legendary season in Royals lore. That has to count for something.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Playoff Predictions 2014

All righty then. Tomorrow the postseason officially begins with the stupid Wild Card Game That Nobody Wanted. Before I make any predictions though, I'd like to rank the teams in order of my preference to see them win the World Series:

1. Washington Nationals. I've been following this team all season, and besides that, they've never won a World Series, even when they were the Expos. I always had a soft spot for the Expos, as they were the first team I considered my own (long story), and now I live in an area where their games are broadcast. Nothing could be more awesome than to see them claim their first World Series trophy.

2. Baltimore Orioles. Here in the Mid-Atlantic region, I've had access to their games all year too, and they've given me plenty of exciting moments. I feel a special connection to this year's Oriole team.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates. A small market team that's been waiting a long time, and has a lot of uncertainty going forward. Their window to win might not be that large.

4. Kansas City Royals. Pretty much the same as what I said about the Pirates. It's exciting to see them in the playoffs for the first time in my fandom.

5. Detroit Tigers. I like the Tigers, and would love to see them win their first World Series in 30 years, but they'll likely still be competitive for several years more, and there's no sense of urgency about this team.

6. Oakland Athletics. I just don't get much of a charge out of them. They have some small-market, clever-roster-construction appeal, but they don't grab my fancy like the teams above do.

7. Los Angeles Dodgers. A big market team that'll likely be in contention for years. I'd be happy for them, because I've never seen them win it, but being a glamor franchise, it's not as fun to root for them. No underdog appeal.

8. Los Angeles Angels. Saw 'em win it in 2002. Though this team is completely different than that one, I want to see a new franchise as champion.

9. San Francisco Giants. Though they've won it twice this decade, and more recently than the next team, they at least have fans that are generally cool and not self-congratulatory clowns.

10. St. Louis Cardinals. There's nothing likable about this team. Nothing whatsoever. They are the epitome of evil.

OK, that said, how do I think it's actually going to play out? Well, the bottom four teams above are all part of what I call "The Oligopoly," so I believe one of them will win it in the end, unfortunately. So here's what I'm going to predict:

Wild Card Games:

Kansas City over Oakland  (I don't think Oakland's that good, and Kansas City will be pumped up at home)
San Francisco over Pittsburgh  (Just a feeling about this one, since Pittsburgh in the LDS two years in a row would be crazy)

Divisional Series:

LA Angels over Kansas City  (The Royals will probably give 'em a good fight but come up short)
Baltimore over Detroit  (Detroit's bullpen is concerning, and Baltimore has had its share of late inning heroics this year)
St. Louis over LA Dodgers  (I just can't pick against the Cardinals. They're most dangerous when you count them out)
San Francisco over Washington  (I love this Nats team, so it's hard to believe they could get past a media darling like the Giants)

League Championship Series:

Baltimore over LA Angels  (I have a feeling about the Orioles this year...that they're destined to be 2014's dangling false hope, like the Tigers were in 2012)
St. Louis over San Francisco  (The Cardinals always get the last laugh, and some are still bitter over 2012)

World Series:

St. Louis over Baltimore (Of course)

The only alternate scenario I could see would be the Dodgers taking the place of the Cardinals. First they'd beat St. Louis, then defeat the Giants in a battle of lifelong rivals, and then cap off Kershaw's magical year with another victory for the Oligopoly. So really, that first round series between the Dodgers and Cardinals is the one the postseason hinges on. You heard it here first.

Isn't it fun being bitter and cynical about the game you love?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Oldest Ringless Players: 2014

After a final day of the season where a few tiebreakers were avoided, it's officially that time of year again! Time to look at each postseason team's roster and determine who the oldest guy without a World Series ring is! I still don't approve of the Wild Card game, but I'm still technically counting it.

If you've been reading my blog all these years (as you surely have), you know the rules: The player here must be on the 40-man roster at the end of the season, and to throw in a new rule, he must have played for the team this season, for reasons discussed below. Any older players who might be in line to get a ring aren't mentioned. So here we go!

Baltimore Orioles: Nelson Cruz (July 1, 1980)
Detroit Tigers: Joe Nathan (November 22, 1974)
Kansas City Royals: Raul Ibanez (June 2, 1972)
Los Angeles Angels: Jason Grilli (November 11, 1976)
Los Angeles Dodgers: Jamey Wright (December 24, 1974)
Oakland Athletics: Adam Dunn (November 9, 1979)
Pittsburgh Pirates: Clint Barmes (March 6, 1979)
San Francisco Giants: Tim Hudson (July 14, 1975)
St. Louis Cardinals: Mark Ellis (June 6, 1977)
Washington Nationals: Adam LaRoche (November 6, 1979)

Johan Santana (born March 13, 1979) is on the Orioles' 40-man, but since he hasn't played this year, I didn't think it right to count him. Would he even get a ring if the Orioles won the World Series? I didn't actually realize how relatively young the Orioles were until I looked just now.

In fact, it's amazing how much youth there is on this list even compared to last year's. Last year the youngest player was Carlos Beltran (born April 24, 1977). This year there are five players younger than that. It looks like a lot of veterans from last year ended up on bad teams this year or retired.

With no Yankees or Red Sox in the playoffs for the first time since I've been a fan, the AL is looking interesting. The Cardinals and Giants still lurk in the NL to ruin it though, so we'll see how that turns out. I'll do a separate post for my playoff predictions.