Here’s a few random thoughts on the just concluded 2014 postseason.
1. Congratulations to the Giants. Yuck! Do you have any idea how hard that is for a Dodgers fan to type? I’m trying to figure out whether “dynasty” is the right word for them. I tend to think of a dynasty team as having won at least two in a row and a couple more around it. By that definition (which is strictly mine) the Giants aren’t a dynasty but most closely resemble the 1942-46 Cardinals who win in ’42, ’44, and ’46 (and lose in ’43). But if it isn’t a dynasty, it’s something very close and I won’t argue with people who want to label the Giants a dynasty.
2. Congratulations to the Royals. They gave us a feel good story for the postseason and a chance to root for a true underdog (I had my money on the Giants, but rooted for the Royals). I hope they aren’t a fluke but, like last year’s Pirates, are a team that will be in contention for a while.
3. As Bumgarner has been around for a while, this year’s break out player may be Lorenzo Cain. I admit I’d never heard of him until late in the season, but he was a revelation in the playoffs. He hits, he runs, he catches everything in center field (and in right). Hopefully he isn’t a flash in the pan who got hot late in the season and drifts back into obscurity.
4. What is it with the National League. The last five pennant winners are the Giants, Cardinals, Giants, Cardinals, Giants. Do we note a pattern here? If so, you might want to get your money down on the Cards for the 2015 NL pennant.
5. The American League appears to be more wide open than traditionally. Their last five pennant winners are the Rangers, Rangers, Tigers, Red Sox, Royals. So I got no pattern here. Best guess is that Bloggess will get her Orioles in next season (but that’s strictly a guess and no one has ever favorably compared me to a prophet). Whatever happens, Buck Showalter is one heck of a manager, isn’t he?
6. Madison Bumgarner is one heck of a postseason pitcher. Before we deify him, we might want to give him a few more years on the mound. He looks like the real deal but a lot of “real deal” types have ended up in oblivion. And while we’re at it, how much does the 3-4-5 combination of Buster Posey, Pedro Sandoval, and Hunter Pence scare you? They don’t scare me a lot in the regular season, but they really come through in the postseason (OK, Posey had a lousy Series) and that does scare me.
7. With three World Series wins, Bruce Bochy should have just punched his ticket to Cooperstown.
8. Can we knock off with the Kershaw-Koufax comparisons for a while? Don’t be doing things like that to Clayton Kershaw. He’s a heck of a pitcher and, depending on injuries, should end up with more wins and strikeouts than Sandy Koufax. But he’s never going to reach SANDY KOUFAX!!! (Said in Charlton Heston/James Earl Jones voice of God tones with trumpets in the background) status. Koufax was a really good pitcher. KOUFAX!!! (now with drums added) is damned close to God in his mythology. He has a greater peak than Kershaw will ever have because they simply won’t let Kershaw pitch enough innings to reach that peak, so there will always be those who will go “Well, Kershaw was good, but at his peak KOUFAX!!! (maybe now we add bagpipes doing “Amazing Grace”) was a whole lot better.” And of course Kershaw got shelled in the playoffs (He’s 0-4 against the Cards in postseason play) and Koufax only gave up six earned runs in 57 innings pitched in the World Series and KOUFAX!!! (the 1961-66 version) only gave up five in 48 innings. Kershaw gave up that many in two innings. Enough already, let Kershaw be Kershaw.
9. All in all the World Series was a mixture of fun and drama, but some of the games were really boring. Five of the games were won by at least five run margins. That’s nice if it’s your team, but I kinda want the Series to be a set of close games. Didn’t get that this time.
10. Having said that, I enjoyed the postseason except for one small thing. Would the powers that be quit dividing up the playoffs so I have to wander all over my TV remote control trying to find the games? Fox, Fox Sports 1, MLB TV, TBS, ESPN all did at least one game (and don’t get me started on the quality of the broadcasters). Come on, guys, knock that off. Put them on just a couple of channels so we know where they are going to be and leave them there.
Feel free to disagree with anything above (you have the right to be wrong :-) ). Now on to the Hotstove League and next season.