April 05, 2010

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 19 comments

RIP Mike Cuellar.

Now I'm really starting to feel old. He was something. A lefty with a deadly screwball.

The Orioles staffs he was on were just freaky. Culminating in the year that all four of the main starters won 20 games (I think Dobson won his 20th on the final day of the regular season).

Those guys were dominant AFTER they lowered the height of the mound. And it was still pre-DH. I remember that Cuellar was a pretty darn good hitter.

What a pitching rich time to be alive. Hell, Lew Krausse would probably be a #1 on a lot of today's teams.

posted by beaverboard at 11:51 AM on April 05

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkqAErSitJM

From last night's Boston/NY game at Fenway.

I can't tell if I hate this or love this. I enjoy his little clip on tie, that I know.

posted by jerseygirl at 12:06 PM on April 05

I'm sick of hearing about the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry every year. However, that was awesome...

posted by MeatSaber at 12:40 PM on April 05

SCREW 'EM!

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:03 PM on April 05

Oh god. The kid is STILL doing the "Miracle" speech?

That said, I laughed.

posted by grum@work at 02:10 PM on April 05

I see that Tiger Woods' evil twin has shown up for the Masters. If that's his new look, that's great. Embrace the dark side, Tiger. Embrace it.

posted by grum@work at 02:19 PM on April 05

The Orioles staffs he was on were just freaky. Culminating in the year that all four of the main starters won 20 games (I think Dobson won his 20th on the final day of the regular season).

Sorry Beaverboard, not trying to be picky, but I just really wanted to reference Baseball-Reference.com again. It would seem that the last one to get his 20th win was Palmer in game #155.

What I became curious about after looking at this, was why did the O's only play 158 games that year? I see several other teams played less than 162 as well (Senators 159, Royals 161, A's 161, Twins 160, Brewers 161). I could understand the 161's and maybe the 160's, but I couldn't imagine an owner losing more than 1 or 2 gates even back then?

Since it was several years before I was born, was 1971 a really wet year? (Hey Beaverboard, now's your chance to get me back with a link to a weather website!!)

posted by Demophon at 03:08 PM on April 05

Toronto Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum has a no-hitter through six against the Texas Rangers.

posted by rcade at 03:33 PM on April 05

SpoFites, please forgive me for the following, but I have to do it. Sports have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but last night came the epiphany of how much they have added to my enjoyment of the past 69 years. So here goes a little diary entry of one Boston fan's very happy Easter.

My wife and I were up early, very early, for the first Eucharist at church. It was a nice, simple service, and our priest, a dedicated Yankee fan, made not one mention of the rivalry. Unusual, to say the least. After church we went for breakfast at a local spot.

In the early afternoon I went upstairs to change out of my church clothes and into jeans, found a Red Sox t-shirt, and settled down on the bed to watch the Celtics. They are an infuriating team to watch; it is as if they can't stand prosperity. With a big lead, instead of continuing their offensive pressure and getting inside, they settle for the first convenient jump shot. They miss far too many, and by the middle of the 4th quarter, a 22-point lead is gone. Somehow they manage to hang on for the win, but they really don't deserve it. Since it's against Cleveland, it's satisfying. The officiating left much to be desired. It appeared that Spooner completely lost control of himself and the game. Whenever you have 6 technicals in one game, there is something wrong with the referees.

Basketball game's over and it's time to start putting dinner together. Menu tonight is lamb, butternut squash, asparagus, tossed salad, and a bottle of Merlot. The weather couldn't be better, so the lamb goes on the grill. Being a New Englander by birth, I have to move the snowblower to get the grill into position. I know only too well the hazards of prematurely stowing your snowblower for the season. For a change dinner preparation goes smoothly. Usually I'm running back and forth between the grill and the stove, frantically yelling at my wife to keep stuff from boiling over, but today the timing is perfect. The squash is smooth without being runny, the asparagus is still just a bit crunchy, and the lamb is seared on the outside and a little pink inside. The Merlot was inexpensive, but it went well with the food. It must have been good, because my wife had two glasses.

Dinner's out of the way, and the dishes are done. Now I can watch the pre-game stuff. NESN has Peter Gammons, Dennis Eckersley, and Jim Rice doing analysis this year. I think these guys might just know a little bit about the game. The pre-game ceremonies alternate between annoying, cute, and inspiring. The Vermont Air National Guard runs a pair of F-16s overhead. Someone had to do a real sales job on the FAA to allow them to do it after dark. They went to afterburner as they passed over Fenway. Awesome! Pedro comes out from under the huge American Flag in left field to throw out the first pitch. I can't believe the love he's getting in Fenway. Eventually he and Johnny Pesky wind up in an embrace, and I'm damn near crying.

Finally, the first pitch is thrown, and we're back to normal. Beckett is sharp in the 1st inning, but ragged in the 2nd. He leaves after 4 2/3 down 5-1. This could be a long night.

Hope springs eternal in the breast of a Sox fan. The bottom of the order strings some hits together to get one run back, then in the next inning Pedroia, Martinez, Youkillis, and Beltre tie it up. Maybe I won't switch to a movie after all. Crap, were down by 2 again. Okajima allows 2 inherited runners to score, but he does some good damage control. Bottom of the inning, and Pedroia loops one over The Wall. Back even again, this one's getting to be fun.

About the time the replay of Pedroia's shot is played, the 'phone rings. Caller ID tells me it's our son for the 2nd time today. I know he's in State College watching the game. 'Hello' is not an option; I greet him with "Don't ever try to put a high inside fastball past Dustin Pedroia". He laughs, and we begin watching the game together. The rest of the game is a running commentary on the Sox, the Celtics, planning to get to Fenway this summer, and yelling when the Sox go ahead. Bard is throwing smoke, but he could use a little better control. No matter, he does the job. Papelbon gives up a 2-out single, but Beltre cuts one off in front of Scutaro and makes a nice play look very easy. Son and I agree that last year that play isn't made. We exchange final pleasantries and hang up.

I am one tired old man right now. I've been up since 0430, and other than about 15 minutes of nap at the half of the C's game, I've not slept. As I turn out the light, I suddenly realize what sports have meant to me all these years. Now the Boston teams have become part of the bond between me and our son. It is often written about, but I'd never really thought about it. Tonight I know what it means to pass the love of the local teams on to the next generation.

posted by Howard_T at 03:34 PM on April 05

MLB Network picked up the feed from Texas. Marcum just lost his no-no. At least it was a legitimate line drive.

posted by Howard_T at 03:49 PM on April 05

Love the kid's "screw 'em" speech. Howard's comment is pretty good too.

Thank you for coming back, baseball. I waited so long.

posted by rcade at 04:10 PM on April 05

Well, you can forget about the rest of the season:

The play of the year happened today.

posted by grum@work at 04:33 PM on April 05

Toronto Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum has a no-hitter through six against the Texas Rangers.

Thank you Mr. Frasor for blowing the game and costing my fantasy team a win.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:52 PM on April 05

Howard, thanks for keeping the snowblower right were it should be. I was wondering why the weather was so nice.

posted by yerfatma at 04:58 PM on April 05

And here I thought Colby Rasmus' HR takeaway today had a shot at the top Web Gem tonight. What a play by Buehrle. Wow.

posted by boredom_08 at 05:26 PM on April 05

Also, much as I hate to say this as a Cards fan, the Cubs really just got screwed by a bad call on catch/no-catch in the outfield. (cough) (thatcouldeasilyhavebeenfixedbyinstantreplay) (cough)

posted by boredom_08 at 05:48 PM on April 05

Demo, you have the final word there on the O's 1971 pitchers. I had thought it was Dobson rather than Palmer, but I go mostly from memory. In my case, that is an organ that ain't what it used to be.

It's not the only one, either.

I think for that period of time, for a team to play less than 162 games was more a matter of logistics than weather. That's my best take on it. I don't have any links to weather sites.

Making up postponed games was more of a challenge to do then than it is now. This was in the small money era. Catfish was still with the A's, prior to his groundbreaking deal with the Yankees. Slick charters and swank hotels were not in the norm yet. Some air travel was still being done by funky prop jets. Turbulence, para el mareo, paper bag and all. The 727 Whisperjet was a brand new thing. A ballplayer's per diem probably covered a decent meal at an IHOP. God only knows if the press got fed and watered.

If a team was killin' like the O's were and a make up game wouldn't affect the final standings, my best guess is that MLB did what a lot of us were (in hindsight) used to doing. They went without - didn't get the make up games played.

Oh, and 1969 was the first year for the split divisions - East and West - which probably meant added travel anyway. So the Orioles came into dominance right in the midst of a whole bunch of changes.

I watched the Cubs go down the chute in 1969 game by game not realizing that because they played only day games at home and the travel was getting crazier, if they missed out on that shot, it would probably be a while before they got another chance to be in that position.

I've still got a half tank of gas in my snowblower. I will add fuel stabilizer and let it sit rather than officially put it away for the summer just yet.

posted by beaverboard at 05:56 PM on April 05

for a team to play less than 162 games was more a matter of logistics than weather

Right. I believe if a team lost a game to weather against a team they wouldn't see again, they waited until the end of the season to see if the game would make any difference in the playoff participants.

posted by yerfatma at 06:10 PM on April 05

Damn.

posted by boredom_08 at 11:44 PM on April 05

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