Nine Random Thoughts on the 2015 Season (Country Music Version)

Albert Pujols as a Cardinal

Albert Pujols as a Cardinal

As baseball plays nine innings in a game, it seems reasonable to look at the just concluded regular season by noting nine more or less random aspects of it to the tune of some Country Music titles and lines.

1 Back in the Saddle Again.  There were a lot of team surprises this season for fans who hadn’t seen their team win in a long time. The Mets and Rangers, who’d done good work earlier in the century returned to prominence. No one expected them to win their division, but here they are getting ready for playoff games. Same is true of the Astros, who only a couple of years ago were the worst team in MLB (and just broke a six year run of losing seasons). And while we’re at it don’t forget the Yankees weren’t supposed to be very good this year (and Joe Girardi will still get no credit). You could say that the AL playoff game might have been the surprise game of the year. And my son is happy to see his Twins get above .500 for the first time in a while.

2. He’ll Have to Go. Last season Matt Williams was National League Manager of the Year. This season he got fired. Strange how that works, isn’t it?

3. Don’t Worry About Me. It was great to see the return of Albert Pujols to something like his old self. OK, it was only for half a year, but it reminded us just how good Pujols was in St. Louis and why Anaheim paid so much to get him.

4. Please Help Me I’m Falling. What happened in Detroit and in DC? Both were picked to do well and both collapsed. Detroit could at least argue that the players who weren’t hurt got old. Washington couldn’t argue that. Considering everything, including picking up Papelbon, the Nationals gave an entirely new meaning to “choke.”

5. With Every Heartbeat I Still Think of You. Although no one ascended to Mount Rushmore heights, a lot a milestones were reached this season. David Ortiz picked up his 500th home run, Albert Pujols slugged his 560th, Clayton Kershaw became the first pitcher in 10 years to notch 300 strikeouts, Zack Greinke’s ERA was Gibsonesque (is that a word?), Ichiro Suzuki got within one halfway decent season of 3000 hits (and he pitched an inning), and Alex Rodriguez, like Suzuki, got within one season of a milestone. In Rodriguez’s case it’s 700 home runs (stated without reference to steroids and without intending to spark debate about either Rodriquez or steroids).

6. Trailers for Sale or Rent. I don’t remember a trade deadline that was so meaningful to so many. Hamels, Cespedes and Tulowitzki were key to the championship runs of the Rangers, the Mets, and the Blue Jays. And Latos was one of the things that came close to costing the Dodgers their shot at a pennant. There have surely been more meaningful deadlines but I can’t remember any recently. Feel free to correct me if you do remember a recent one.

7. Am I That Easy to Forget?  Miguel Cabrera is one heck of a ballplayer, isn’t he? He just won his fourth batting title and no one noticed. The four wins puts him in some elite company.  Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Rod Carew, and Wade Boggs are the only American Leaguers with more than four batting titles. Cabrera’s home run total was way down this year and maybe his period as a power hitter has come to an end, but he can still hit. Of course there are a lot of other superior ball players giving the game a try right now. One of those is Adrian Beltre, and you can also say a lot of the above about him. His home run total was also down, but try and imagine the Rangers in the playoffs without him.

8. One by one, they’re turning out the lights. If all those players who reached, or got within reach, of the milestones mentioned in #5 above, have gotten to those milestones, it means that we’re seeing the end approaching for a number of truly fine players (Kershaw and Greinke excepted–they’re still in mid-career). That’s a shame. All of them have given fans wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful) memories. For some it’s a short wait for a call from Cooperstown. For others it’s a longer wait and possibly a call that never comes. But you gotta admit, they were and are great to watch.

9. Poor, Poor Pitiful Me. This has been a year of absolutely dominant pitchers. Sometimes you can’t help but feel sorry for the hitters. And you know, Dodgers left-handers whose last names start with “K” are pretty good, aren’t they?

On to postseason.

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5 Responses to “Nine Random Thoughts on the 2015 Season (Country Music Version)”

  1. glen715 Says:

    Hey, this is great, V, although I wouldn’t consider “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” a country song. That was by Linda Ronstadt. Did they play that on country stations out there?

    The part about “Back In The Saddle Again.” Too bad the California (what is it this year, Anaheim Angels, Los Angeles Angels?) didn’t get that award, for an obvious reason: Gene Autry. I’ll never forget–I was at a Yankee game at Yankee Stadium in 1976, Ed Figeroa (spelling?) was pitching for the Yankees, and they were hosting the California Angels. It was a doubleheader, and the weirdest thing happened between games: Bob Sheppard intoned into the microphone for everyone to join in singing “Back In The Saddle Again” as California Angels owner Gene Autry, all decked out in a cowboy suit, rode a horse onto field and trotted the horse around the infield! He was holding his cowboy hat real high as he was riding, naturally! A lot of the crowd of New Yawkas appreciated it because they were old enough to remember Hoppy, Gene, and Roy as kids, going to matinees. And to be honest with you, that was the first time I had ever heard that song!

    Of course, “With Every Heartbeat I still Think of You” is from “Faded Love” by Bob Wills and His Playboys, and it’s a song that you told me that you got pretty sick of while growing up in Texas and Oklahoma!

    “Am I That Easy To Forget”—- Carl Belew wrote and had a huge hit with it, but George Jones’ version isn’t bad, either. (Of course, George Jones could sing the Madison, Wisconsin telephone directory and it would sound great!)

    “Please Help Me I’m Falling”– Great classic Hank Locklin honky tonk song from the 50s or early 60s—- Love that song.

    “He’ll have To Go”— Jim Reeves classic. Very few people know this, but “He’ll Have To Go” was written about a guy who had a little bit too much beer. (Get it???? 🙂 )

    “Don’t Worry About Me”— Wow, talk about a classic! Thought to be the first song recorded with that fuzz guitar sound! Marty Robbins with a great vocal!

    “I’ll Have To Go”, be back later.

    Glen

    • verdun2 Says:

      I remember Terri Clark’s version of “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me” so it seemed a natural.
      And “Trailers for sale or rent” is from Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” while “One by one they’re turning out the lights” is from a Jerry Lee Lewis number titled “Another Place, Another Time.” And I liked your first foray on YouTube.
      v

      • glenrussellslater Says:

        I thought that “One by one they’re turning out the lights” might have been from the Willie Nelson song, “The Party’s Over.” Well, the party’s over for the Yankees, and I’m happy about that.

        And of course, everybody (well, almost everybody) knows that “Trailers for sale or rent, rooms to rent fifty cents, no car, no pool no pets, I ain’t got no cigarettes!” is from “King Of The Road”! Roger Miller was one of a kind the way he could play around with those lyrics. He was a clever guy.

        Glen

  2. Bruce Thiesen Says:

    The 2015 season didn’t end exactly as some of us expected. Seasons rarely do. Injuries are the usual biggest factor and this year they hurt many teams with bigger plans.

    Surprises (top of mind) for me: Angels not going further (perennial observations); the A’s lousy record; the Nationals’ blah season; Mark Trumbo’s mid-season troubles; Ian Desmond’s struggles. Hats off to those who had really big years – Dee Gordon, Jose Altuve, Greinke, Kershaw, Bumgarner, Arrieta, Posey, Cabrera, Trout, Starling Marte, … The list goes on. There are some really good ball players on the rosters these days.

    By now, I guess we should know that for the most part, we can expect to see worn paths from the bullpens starting in the 5th or 6th inning. I don’t care for that so much, but that’s the way it is.

    The shift still confounds me. It’s very odd how it stymies a future hall-of-famer like Pujols. It seems to me that guys like Carew, Brett and Rose would relish hitting against the shift. They would go 4-4 game after game.

  3. Steve Myers Says:

    First to worst goes that manager Matt Williams. I wonder how many times that’s happened?

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