Two Games

The Phillies did Charlie Manuel a favor

Posted by Paul Caputo on August 19, 2013
Baseball, Phillies / 2 Comments

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals

My first reaction upon hearing that the Phillies had fired manager Charlie Manuel last week with 42 games remaining in the final season of his contract was, “Oh dear God, are there really still 42 games left season? Someone please make it stop.” My second reaction was that it seemed uniquely cruel and pointless not to let him manage the final few weeks and go out to much-deserved thunderous applause on the last day of the season.

My third reaction, after watching the Phillies continue to flounder under interim manager Ryne Sandberg, was that the team did Charlie Manuel a huge favor. Immediately upon his firing, Manuel went from being, at best, an innocent bystander to a train wreck of a season to someone whose larger body of work as a manager was suddenly fully appreciated. He was once again our beloved Cholly who brought our city its only major championship since the Pleistocene age, and who memorably shouted “This is for Philadelphia!” while celebrating the 2008 World Series.

The moment his tenure with the Phillies ended shortly after his 1,000th win as a Major League manager, Cholly went from being a helpless old man who had lost his ability to motivate an aging core group of players to being yet another victim of the man who Phillies fans blame (rightly, most would argue)  for the downfall of the franchise—general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., known for the last several seasons as “Ruin Tomorrow, Jr.”

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World Baseball Cluster: Korea rallies to get eliminated in dramatic win

Posted by Paul Caputo on March 06, 2013
Baseball / No Comments
I don't know what the heck is going on...

I don’t know what the heck is going on…

I’m going to admit to something here: I downloaded the World Baseball Classic app on my iPhone. I think I have a little bit of a sickness, because I really like the World Baseball Classic, if for no other reason than I love waking up in the middle of the night and knowing there’s probably live baseball on TV.

I’m guessing that I’m one of 50 people worldwide (including fans in the stands a the stadium in Taichung) who were actually following yesterday’s game between Chinese Tapei, who won both of their first games, and Korea, who had split their first two games. Our Dutch friends (#neditude!) had already advanced out of Pool B after putting the Australian team out of its misery earlier in the day (or wee hours of the morning, depending on your time zone), so Korea and Chinese Tapei were playing for one spot in the next round.

We lost!

We lost!

I had to leave my house for work with Chinese Tapei holding a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning, and was surprised when I got to work and checked the WBC app (again, I have a sickness) to learn that Korea had rallied to take a one-run lead with three runs in the 8th inning. I was more surprised to learn that this dramatic win for the Koreans clinched a spot for Chinese Tapei in the next round.

Without going into too much detail, Korea, one of the tournament’s early favorites, needed to beat Chinese Tapei by six runs in order to advance out of the opening round. Because Korea was the home team (for reasons that are not at all clear to me) in their game against Chinese Tapei, and because they were leading after eight and a half innings, the game ended with Korea winning and Chinese Tapei celebrating. I imagine that the game between Korea and Chinese Tapei would have been a lot less dramatic to watch if I had realized that one team had basically started with a six-run head start.

Even with all of the World Baseball Classic’s quirks and problems (not least of which is that it’s Bud Selig’s baby, and Bud Selig is a frigging rat), I really do enjoy it. I like watching different styles of games, I love watching countries like Australia and Denmark field teams, and most of all, I love watching baseball that actually means something to someone in the wee hours of the morning.

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Nine Reasons Baseball Is Slightly Less Than Perfect*

Posted by Jeff Waggett on April 16, 2012
Bloggers To Be Named Later / 3 Comments

The only Designated anything I'll ever support in baseball.

BTBNL posts can sometimes be…less than clear…about what we do and do not like. Paul, in particular, can be a wilting flower, and I often cannot express firm opinions on serious space-time continuum level issues.

For that, Paul apologizes.

So, Dear Reader, before proceeding any further, BTBNL would like to avoid potential confusion on a core issue related to this post:

We like baseball. We like baseball a lot.

Having said that…. As a group of reasonable men and one pink-hatted-slightly-less-crazy-than-usual-unless-you-provoke-her-and-then-whoa-nelly-look-out woman, we recognize that nothing is Perfect, not even baseball (yet).

Duh. We know cloning will some day allow every team a Designated Alyssa Milano, but until then here are nine things about baseball that make the game slightly less than 100% wonderful for now.

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Wait! Did I miss Opening Day?

Posted by Paul Caputo on March 29, 2012
Athletics, Baseball, Mariners / 3 Comments

For roughly 28 out of every 30 Major League Baseball fans, the season opens next week! Can you feel the buzz in the air? No? This is because for two teams the season opened while your team was still playing Spring Training games. This is also because the first games on the schedule took place in the wee hours of the morning more than 5,000 miles away from the home team’s actual home.

The Mariners and the Athletics played a two-game series this week in Tokyo—actual games that count in the actual standings (and your fantasy league)—while the rest of baseball continued with Spring Training. Then after these actual regular-season games in Japan, Seattle and Oakland will play more Spring Training games.

On April 4, a full week after the A’s and Mariners opened the season, two of the remaining 28 teams (Marlins and Cardinals) will open their seasons with a one-game series in Miami. The Red Sox, Tigers, Braves, Mets, Phillies, Pirates, Nationals, Cubs, Blue Jays, Indians, Reds, Dodgers, and Padres open their season the next day. And if you’re a fan of the White Sox, Rangers, Twins, Orioles, Yankees, Rays, Brewers, Rockies, Astros, Giants, D-backs, Royals, or Angels, your opening day is nine days after the season officially opened.

This begs the question, What the hell is going on here?

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