A Few Thoughts on the 2014 Postseason

Giants logo

Giants logo

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.

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19 Responses to “A Few Thoughts on the 2014 Postseason”

  1. Kevin Graham Says:

    Bumgarner’s World Series performance was one for the ages, but I was really rooting for a walk off home run in the 9th, that would have been epic.
    And KOUFAX is overrated………just kidding V…..he was OK I guess.

    Kevin G

  2. steve Says:

    v, many people had never heard of Cain….many teams too. When the Brewers drafted him, he was not on anybody’s radar. That happens.

    Bumgarners career doesn’t matter…in the regular season anyway. It’s what he has done in the World Series that is already bronzed

    I did enjoy the surprise double play cal by Joe Buck; using the Harry Caray home run call delivery.
    It could be…ball rolls to shortstop
    It might be….ball flipped to second base
    It is…..ball caught by first baseman.
    That made my night.

    Bochy, Panic, Posey, Sandoval, Pence, throw in Affeldt…all guys with tons of integrity and the things Brain Sabean says after a game is well…I get weak knees.

    I was sort of hoping Gordon woulda been waved home for an inside the parker….it seemed like he was ready to keep running, dammit. We could still be in extra innings right now. Bumgarner pitching his 37th inning of the the night.

    I agree The Kershaw Koufax comparisons must stop. Two years in a row Kershaw imploded against the Cardinals. I like what Garciaparra said about Kershaw. “he’s great, no doubt about it, but still not as great as Pedro once was” and speaking of Pedro, it’s his time for the HOF.

    Great season v. I enjoyed your writings and looking forward to much more. steve

  3. glenrussellslater Says:

    Panik—– what a name for a guy who is the antithesis of “Panic”. Was he cool on starting that double play, or what? Got to be one of the best defensive plays I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of great defensive plays in my time. Panik Must be a Greek name, I would guess. Both teams had Greek guys on the team—- the Giants with Panic and the Royals with Moustakas. Maybe they can get together and open up a diner.

    I just looked up Panik. He’s from Hopewell Junction, New York, and was born there at the same time that I was a sportswriter and reporter for the Newburgh Evening News. And I lived right near Hopewell Junction at the time (in Beacon). Also, I covered John Jay High School Baseball, which he eventually attended.

    He’s already 24 years old. Makes me feel old. Oh. I AM old.

    Anyway, that double play was spectacular, and Madison Bumgarner definitely earned the World Series MVP. The pitching on both teams was great in that last game, but Bumgarner was unbelievable. That whole time that he was pitching last night, I only recall seeing one pitch by him that was way out of the strike zones. He has great control; even the pitches out of the strike zone were nothing to be ashamed of; they JUST MISSED.

    By the way, I think that Bumgarner’s performance is as good of an argument against the totally unscientific “pitch count” bullcrap. There is absolutely NO empirical evidence that proves that the “pitch count” does anything more than slow down the game (have to bring in a new pitcher, ya know), and proves the baseball haters right when they say that baseball is “dull and slow”.

    Glen

  4. The Baseball Bloggess Says:

    Yup … the Orioles will win the World Series in 2015. (It’s this unbridled optimism that has kept me going these past 31 World Series-less seasons.) 🙂

    But, boy oh boy, I loved watching Bumgarner. As I said to my husband last night, “If the Orioles had Bumgarner, we would have won the World Series.”

    His response: “If the Astros had Bumgarner, THEY would have won the World Series.”

    And a little shout out too, to Joe Panik … not bad for a rookie who was playing down in here in Richmond at AA just a few months ago.

    Just 111 days til pitchers and catchers report … not that I’m counting.

  5. glenrussellslater Says:

    By the way, that third baseman for the Giants, would have made the late George Scott, “The Boomer”, look like Twiggy in comparison, and maybe even Prince or Cecil Fielder look like Twiggy, as well. Is that guy the fattest third baseman I’ve ever seen. How can he play third base? The hot corner? You’ve got to be quick to play there. I thought for sure that round mound was a 1st baseman. Now, what’s Bruce Bochy’s rationale for putting him at third? Is his logic that if he puts a guy there who takes up a lot of real estate, no ball will get past him simply because all the fat slob has to do is stand there in one place like a fence and the ball will hit him and then stop dead? That guy’s so fat that he can stand with his right foot touching third base, and he’s in the shortstop’s territory, as well. Good ol’ Fatty Arbuckle playing third base.

    Glen

  6. glenrussellslater Says:

    Also, do you notice that over the years, there are a lot more real fat players? I have. Cecil Fielder, Prince Fielder, Steve Balboni, and others. I never remember seeing fat players in the 70s. Tommie Agee was my idea of a fat player, but he sure could play center field nicely. And he was FAST, which always confounded me. But he was nothing compared to the massive globs of goo that I see nowadays. The only one from pre-80s days that I can recall who was a real fat slob was Babe Ruth, but what are you gonna do, change the Babe’s eating habits when he was the greatest player ever???? Babe Ruth was an enigma for sure.

    I don’t understand, though. In the 1970s, they didn’t have all the fancy schmancy weight and exercise equipment available. It looks like the only exercise that that third baseman for the Giants does is lifting a Big Mac to his massive mouth.

    Glen

    • verdun2 Says:

      I remember Mickey Lolich (1960s-70s) put on a lot of pounds later in his career and Kirby Puckett was the first great player I recall being chunky (even I’m not old enough to remember Ruth).
      v

      • glenrussellslater Says:

        Yeah, Mickey Lolich, The Portly Portsider. Yeah, but he was only fat in his stomach. Boy, his stomach really hung out. But he was more rolly polly rather than fat. In “Ball Four”, Jim Bouton (and others) talk about the best way to pitch to “The Fat Kid” (Harmon Killebrew.)

        But I can’t really recall a REAL fat guy who played in the major leagues between Babe Ruth’s retirement and the 1980s. Fernando Valenzuela seems to have ushered that in. Then Sid Fernandez. And then they started becoming REAL, REAL, REAL fat starting in the 90s, making Mickey Lolich, Fat Fernando, Fat Fernandez, and Killebrew look like OLIVE OYL!

        I wonder why? Don’t the managers order the players to diet anymore?

        Glen

    • wkkortas Says:

      I don’t know, Glen–I think Boog Powell and Wilbur Wood had their own ZIP codes by the end of their careers.

    • The Baseball Bloggess Says:

      When portly Boog Powell played for Cleveland in the mid-70s, they wore all-red uniforms. He complained that they made him look like a giant tomato. Frank Howard and Jim Bibby were a bit chunky back in the day, too, weren’t they? But, maybe they were simply big, rather than just fat. They are probably the few exceptions that prove you right!

  7. glenrussellslater Says:

    Oh, yeah. One more thing. I just remembered that in Killebrew’s last season (1975), he was on the Royals. It was his only season not on the Senators/Twins. I remember reading in the New York Daily News that Killebrew got really angry that, when he came to bat for the Royals at Bloomington Stadium in Minnesota, the organist played the polka song “Roll Out The Barrel”! (aka “The Beer Barrel Polka”).

    Glen

  8. steve Says:

    Did anyone catch the pregame show starring George Brett? I had no idea how hilarious Brett is. He has a similar comic delivery as Bill Murray and he’s as funny as can be. I wish I could remember what the hell he said, but it cracked me up.

    • wkkortas Says:

      Well, Ken Brett used to do Miller Lite commercials back in the day, and he was funny, too–mebbe it runs in the family.

      • steve Says:

        The winter ain’t bad. They set up outdoor hockey rinks here; icelots i guess. With the sound of Ken Brett comes him pitching White Sox against Toronto; opening day 1977 and day 1 for the Blue Jay franchise; some sort of snow storm I think; Doug Ault taking Brett deep two times and well, dammit I don’t want to think about that. Times got tough for Ault. But the winter can be bad.

      • wkkortas Says:

        I don’t know if the old Exhibition Stadium was the worst place ever to watch a ball game, but if it was a cold day with the wind coming off the lake, or if you were in the part of the park that lost the sun….well, no picnic that, plus the configuration for baseball was pretty stinkin’ lousy.

  9. Precious Sanders Says:

    Excellent summation of the Series. I wish it had ended differently, of course, but it is what it is.

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