Results tagged ‘ Yankees ’

’80 and ’08

What’s another couple nights when you’ve waited 28 years?

That’s what Phillies fans had to be thinking as they watched their team win the World Series last night, completing the suspended Game 5 by outlasting the tough Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4, and capping off another memorable October.

Here are my final, or should I say Phinal, thoughts:

* The hallmark of this Philadelphia team has to be its resilience, and they showed it right away, getting the go-ahead run in the sixth, answering right back after Rocco Baldelli’s game-tying homer, and leaving it up to Brad Lidge, who has been spectacular all year.

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* Can’t say enough about Cole Hamels, a deserving Series MVP. He didn’t get the win in Game 5, but four wins in one postseason is fantastic, and he set the tone for the whole Fall Classic with his pitching in Game 1.

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* The Rays are a scary-good team when you consider that most of these guys were in their first October and a lot of the talent in the organization hasn’t even made it to the Major Leagues yet. Boston and the Yankees have a lot to worry about in 2009 and beyond.

Well, that’s it for me. Thanks for participating in my blog throughout October.

I’m going to take a little time off before I start thinking about baseball again.

After all, the Winter Meetings are in less than two months …

O.G.

New beginnings

The Cubs and their Nation of fans are partying like it’s 1908, and can you blame them? They officially joined the October dance over the weekend, making it two postseason appearances in a row.

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Now comes the fun part — seeing if the team from the North Side of Chicago can take 100 years of close calls, disappointments and heartbreakers and turn it all into one World Series title. And why not? Their South-Side neighbors did it in 2005 and the Boston Red Sox did it in 2004. It’s the decade to end all “curses.”

Or maybe it’s just the year of the underdog.

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NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY, thought the Tampa Bay Rays could go from the worst record in the Major Leagues to an October clinch with a week to go in the regular season. But when you’ve got young talent all over the field, veteran role players, a great bullpen and defense and an optimistic manager who gets you to click from Day 1 in Spring Training … well, I’ll say it again. Why not?

But before we all say hello to October, we had to say goodbye to Yankee Stadium on Sunday night. I’m a grown man, but I’ll admit that my eyes watered a bit, especially when the Captain delivered the final speech.

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That’s what baseball is all about. And October’s what baseball’s all about, too.

One more week and we’re there.

O.G

A Wild Finish

There’s almost too much excitement around the big leagues to blog about these days with only two weeks until October, but things are getting Wild in the Wild Card races, and everyone knows all you have to do is get in it to win it.

The Red Sox look good at the top of the American League Wild Card standings for the AL’s fourth berth in the Postseason, but the Twins are still kicking after their dramatic win Thursday over Tampa Bay.

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In the National League, it’s a different story. The Mets have fallen out of the lead in the NL East, but they’re still holding a tight lead on the Milwaukee Brewers for the Wild Card, and a big effort by their big horse, Johan Santana, kept them in charge Thursday.

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Things aren’t looking so good for the Yankees, and the last time Major League Baseball had a postseason without them was 1993. I can’t believe it, and I’m sure a lot of you can’t either, but that’s baseball, right?

Added to that stunning fact is the reality that baseball’s Cathedral is closing down at the end of the season to make way for the shiny, new ballpark across the street.

So I would like to give an official O.G. shout-out to all the majestic moments we’ve witnessed at that big ballyard in the Bronx, with a big nod to my personal favorite, Aaron Boone’s 11th-inning walk-off piece off Tim Wakefield in that epic Game 7 of the 2003 AL Championship Series to beat the Red Sox.

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Then again, there are about 100 others that come to mind, too. I’d be blogging all night if I was going to list them all. I don’t have that much time, but you all can help me out by voting in the poll and commenting.

So bring it: What are your favorite Yankee Stadium moments?

I want to hear all about them.

O.G.

Dog days

Here’s a trio of random O.G. blog-servations from the heat of early August… only seven weeks from October, but who’s counting?

http://www.mlb.com/chc/fan_forum/y2008/october_gonzo_vote.jsp?poll_q=3

*Have you been watching the Cubs? Signs throughout Wrigley say “It Will Happen,” and I can’t really argue when I watch these guys play. Sweet Lou has them feeling it, Ryan Dempster’s out of his mind, and Kerry Wood’s coming back, too. They’ve pulled away from the Brewers a little bit and might be ready to finally give the North Side some World Series championship love for the first time in exactly 100 years.

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*No matter how you feel about the Yankees (and I think I know how a lot of you outside New York feel), it’s a bummer that Joba’s hurt. The Yanks already don’t have Chien-Ming Wang and Phil Hughes right now, so now we’ll see what this kid Ian Kennedy is made of. We might also get a Carl Pavano sighting soon. Who knows? Maybe the fresh arms will get the Bombers back on top. Stranger things have happened in October.

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*I’ve got one more for you and it’s got three words: Tampa Bay Rays. OK, two more words: Still there. These guys keep winning games in crazy fashion, they’re absolutely ridiculous at home, and their manager, Joe Maddon, has them believing there’s nothing they can’t do. I’m here to tell you that when you have a little confidence, you can rule the postseason — even if you’ve never been there before. Joe saw it close up when he was the bench coach of the ’02 Angels. And now he’s got Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena. That doesn’t hurt, either.

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More coming soon as we march toward October memories… are you getting fired up?

O.G.

Who’s the one?

There were almost too many big-time Trade Deadline deals to blog about, but the fact that every single one of these guys has breathed new life into his new team has made it a lot easier to keep track of.

Seriously, did anyone really expect such immediate returns on their investments?

Check out the new guy in the No. 99 uniform at Dodger Stadium. I’m telling you … Manny isn’t just being Manny … he’s being the Man.

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The Angels have got to be kidding me. The best record in the game and now a trade for at least a few months of Mark Teixeira? Sick.

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And I should have known the Yankees would load up again. This time they got a nice haul, including a Hall of Fame catcher in Pudge Rodriguez. What does that mean? It means watch out, Red Sox and Rays.

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Then again, Boston isn’t exactly hurting from the Manny deal, not when they brought in a great fit like slugger Jason Bay.

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Every one of these teams is in the hunt for October and every one of these teams might have gotten just a little bit better, which means baseball got A LOT better … and A LOT more confusing. I think maybe I have to take a few more hours at the computer to figure this all out again, but it’s tough when you’ve got the Postseason on your mind.

Until then,

O.G.

Familiar faces

The march toward October is in full swing, and we caught a good taste of what might happen in the postseason over the weekend at Fenway Park.

I don’t want to make any bold playoff predictions based on three games in July, but if the Yankees taking two out of three in Boston is any indication, I think Tampa Bay better start doing as well on the road as they’ve done at the Trop. Yep, the Bronx Bombers are back and making the American League East THE division to watch as the summer heats up, and their deal for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte and rumored upcoming deal with Seattle — Jarrod Washburn, anyone? — should make them even stronger.

Here are some other O.G. observations that may or may not mean anything when that fall chill hits the air and the pennant races whittle down to eight teams…

The Angels continue to pile onto their AL West lead and best record in baseball, and now they add Mark Teixeira to the mix? Ridiculous. All that AND the fact that Vladimir Guerrero still hasn’t gotten hot. That’s a scary proposition for the rest of the league come October.

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The Mets are finally playing to their potential. I’m not sure if it has to do with replacing Willie Randolph with Jerry Manuel, but something’s clicking at Shea – particularly the ball off of Carlos Delgado’s bat.

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Watch out for Milwaukee. The C.C. Sabathia trade was genius and the Brew Crew has responded, big-time. And oh yeah, if you need any late-game heroics, Ryan Braun is clearly your man.

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So many games to watch, so little time. But the clock’s ticking down to the Trade Deadline and to October.

More commentary after the deals are done before Thursday at 4 p.m. ET …

O.G.

What’s in your memory bank?

With some major pennant races starting to heat up, I’m starting to think ahead to what might happen in October, and when I do that, I can’t help but think back.

It’s true that my mind pretty much goes blank to anything but baseball when October moments are playing in my personal memory bank. And the drama of the first seven years of this millennium have clogged my baseball brain so much that right now I don’t know where my car keys are and I think I might have put my drivers license in the freezer.

http://mlb.mlb.com/chc/fan_forum/y2008/october_gonzo_vote.jsp?poll_q=1In other words, let’s get on with the memories…

Did you stay up late to watch Game 7 in the emotionally charged 2001 World Series, when the Diamondbacks finally got Mariano Rivera and Arizona won a thrilling seven-game Fall Classic over the Yankees?

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Who can forget Moises Alou running over to the brick wall along the left-field line at Wrigley Field in 2003 and having a sure out botched by fan Steve Bartman?

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Were you among the millions of people who say they were sitting in 55,000-seat Yankee Stadium when Aaron Boone hit that Tim Wakefield pitch out in the 11th inning to win the 2003 American League Championship Series?

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Did you consider yourself close enough to the action last year in Colorado to really figure out if Matt Holliday was safe or out?

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So bring it. What’s in your October memory bank?

O.G.

What have we learned so far?

The countdown to the 2008 postseason began right after the All-Star Game, and we’ve definitely learned a few more things.

In case you didn’t believe it, the Angels are really for real. A home sweep of the Red Sox set that in stone, even though Boston still needs Big Papi to get rolling again. But right now, Vlad Guerrero and the boys have the best record in the Majors. This is Vlad’s shot that got things started:

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The Tampa Bay Rays got their groove back with a few wins and took back the division lead over the Sox, while the Yankees took care of the A’s in the Bronx. That means things are starting to get a little crazy in the American League East. Check out Evan Longoria’s grand slam against the Blue Jays:

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How about the Dodgers? A major comeback over the D-backs and all of a sudden we’ve got a tie in the National League West. Here’s the big ninth inning:

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There are almost too many storylines developing to blog about in one post. The Cardinals continue to surprise everybody, including me. Cliff Lee of the Indians already has 13 wins. The Mets are still on fire.

The suspense is building. Can you feel it?

O.G.

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