Game 6: Thoughts From The Commute

Two things popped into my Big Empty Head in route: anybody remember George Steinbrenners last great personnel gasp? His insistence that the Yankees trade Andy Pettitte because he just wasnt tough enough in the critical games? This, as I recall, was in. 1999 and the deal was supposed to send him to…the Phillies. The other thought: what became of the four teams that really did blow 3-1 leads in the Series? The 1985 Cards fell below .500 in 1986 but made it back to the Series in 87 and it was five years until manager Whitey Herzog left the job. The 68 Cards never recovered but skipper Red Schoendienst lasted until 1976. But the 1958 Braves would stagger into another crisis – a tie for what wouldve been a third straight pennant in 1959. But after a disturbing playoff loss to the Dodgers, manager Fred Haney was fired, Milwaukee never again seriously contended, and within seven years the franchise was moving to Atlanta. The 1925 Senators werent competitive again until 1933 and player-manager Bucky Harris was out by 28.

6 Comments

Big empty head?? I’m sitting here cracking up, now. Your head may be “big”, but it is by no means empty. :) I wish I had half the knowledge that resides in that head of yours… or even a chance to sit and converse with you one on one. I imagine it would be a great deal of fun, at least for me. I hope it would be enjoyable for you as well, but I have no idea.

As to what you wrote, I’ve always wondered about teams that get rid of managers or players after coming close to a huge win. I guess “almost there” isn’t good enough, so they have to clean house and start over? That makes no sense to me at all. It seems rather like they’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I remember when the Mariners made it to the playoffs for the first time. It was absolutely amazing. I was living in Seattle back then, and the whole town was caught up in the magic of it all – and the team itself was playing smart baseball. They did all the little things that were necessary to win the games that counted.

I’m guessing your mother hated the Mariners that year, though, and they probably weren’t high on your list either. As I’m sure you recall, they were down two games to nothing in the series against the Yankees, and behind in the third game… and then came back to win that series. Sorry about that. For us, in Seattle, though… it was a magical season. I still remember watching that third game, and hearing the announcer declare that the Yankees could relax now, as the series was “over”. For some reason, the Mariners seemed to play best when their backs were against the wall, and they managed to prove that announcer wrong. “Dewey defeats Truman!”

They lost to Cleveland in the next round, however – and Cleveland went to the World Series. But I still remember that year fondly, because the whole city seemed to come together as one, and it was beautiful to see. During the break, however, the Yankees traded for several of the Mariners, and during the next couple years, took a few more from that particular group. We took to calling the Yankees the “New York Ex-Mariners”.

I guess sometimes, for a team, it comes down to the money. I suppose Seattle needed the money more than the players, but I always regretted the trades they made that year and in subsequent years. I still wonder if we would have made the Series if they had managed to keep that group intact. There’s no way to know, but it still crosses my mind from time to time.

Anyway… thank you for bringing back so many good memories. I enjoy reading your blog, and watching Countdown, and I wish you nothing but the best. Good luck to your father, and may he be living near you soon… and doing well.

A World Series victory – such a joyous celebration for both the team and its community.

I think between tonite and tomorrow nite, tonite’s game is the best chance the Phillies have to win a game. Either way, I think in the end, the New York Yankees take it. Most likely tonite. It’s been a while since they won it all. It has for sure been a long rocky road since 2000.

What a difference between being thrilled to be in the World Series (like I was in ’67 & ’75) and EXPECTING to win the World Series, like the NYY this year. It takes its toll on everyone.

Good luck to both teams. Especially Andy & Pedro.

“When Rivera takes the mound, the other team ?is sitting in the dugout thinking, ?We?ve got no chance. It?s over.? This guy walks into the game, and they are done.? – Rich Gossage in New York Magazine (06/28/2004)

I started watching “Countdown” about a year and a half ago and really like it. Who knew politics could be so humorous? I am also a huge fan of Chris Matthews. It wasn’t until this World Series that I ever thought I would have a negative thing to say about Keith and his comments. I normally find him insightful, intelligent and almost as funny as Jon Stewart (which is a huge compliment by the way). Please Keith, give the Phillies a bit of credit. Their payroll is slightly more than half of the Yankees’ and they are still in this despite being described by some as unworthy usurpers. And after all, they are the defending World ******** Champions! Take a lesson from Chris Matthews. Wear your Yankees hat and cheer for your team but leave the making of obnoxious comments to the likes of Rush and give your Philadelphia viewers (I assume there are others), a bit of a break. Of course the Yankees are great. Can you imagine if they weren’t with all the money spent and negative headlines written about some of their illustrious players? They would just be another bunch of overpaid, morally impaired grown men wearing baseball uniforms. I know the Phils aren’t perfect but as the mother of two mostly-grown sons, I’d rather my boys look up to the likes of Ryan Howard than A-Rod any day of the week. Go Phils.

I as well would like to comment on the “big empty head” statement. The best part of baseball is its history. Just one debate between fans can last an entire lifetime. I know I’m always up for a good argument. Most of us are.

Us non-Yankee fans always feel slighted, so we fight harder to make our case against the NY media. Between the NYY, the Wall Street thieves and Donald Trump, we get tired of the NY media (especially the sports writers) always labeling the NY athletes the best, the grandest, the this, the that.
We across the nation love our teams too. And we’re just as proud of their accomplishments as the NY fans are of their team’s accomplishment. I sometimes get the impression that the New Yorkers behave as if they alone own baseball. It gets tiresome after a while. So we fight back. It’s instinctive.

Having said that, Keith Olbermann is the brightest and funniest person on tv. And it’s a thrill for us to actually watch and listen to a tv host who is smarter than his viewers, something that is rare to find in this day and age. We learn something every single night, because he spends his program dissecting the damage done all day by liars and just plain not too bright people. His job requires hard work, research, responsible reporting and dedication.

He has had a tough year personally. So I’m hoping he can take some joy out of this baseball season. I suspect that he will.

1984braves, thank you. I agree with you on your assessment of Keith. He’s a good man, and I truly appreciate what he does here and on Countdown. If not for him, it would have been much harder for me to survive the Bush years. And added to what you wrote – he treats us as valuable human beings; intelligent members of the community. He doesn’t tell us what we want to hear, but what we need to hear. He treats us like adults, and I appreciate that a great deal. Most networks seem to think we’re either too stupid to hear the real news, or that we’re so gullible we’ll just buy the lies.

I always miss Keith when he’s not on the show, but I have to admit, there is something inside me that is hoping he’s at the game tonight. He’s earned it.

Thanks for all you do, Keith.

And by the way, if I’m talking too much here, I’m sorry… but I actually feel comfortable here. It’s a good feeling. I’ll try to limit myself a bit more in the future, though. :)

@marij123 – Wow. Where to start? What “obnoxious comments” has Keith made toward the Phillies? He has only quoted statistics, and responded (mildly) to obnoxious Phillies FANS who have been flaming him to a crisp since this series began. Actually, I think he’s a shown an incredible amount of restraint, considering that the Phillies fans have been attacking him personally, rather than debating the Yankees/Phillies matchup.

As for the money, were you whining about how much the Yankees were getting paid, when the Phillies won the WS last year? The Yankees, until tonight, had become a joke, despite their highly-paid players. Your complaint should be that it’s about time they won the WS, given their highly-paid talent.

BTW, Keith doesn’t need to take any lessons from Chris Matthews. Wearing a Phillies hat on his own TV show was highly unprofessional. And a lot of people prefer the civility of Countdown or The Rachel Maddow Show to the shoutfests Matthews instigates on Hardball. Like what you like, but please don’t tell other people how they should act on their own shows. When a host’s behavior is unacceptable, the ratings will reflect that–quickly.

As for Jon Stewart supposedly being funnier than Keith? You apparently never saw Jon’s late, unlamented talk show on MTV, did you? Bear in mind that Stewart has a team of writers behind him, while Keith has written much of his own Countdown scripts, AND improvised banter for years on SportsCenter. Holding one’s own against Dan Patrick is something Jon Stewart couldn’t hope to do, even with a team of writers and a teleprompter. :)

@1948braves – You make a good point, about how the NY media (and IMHO, NY fans) tends to lionize their own, and pretend that any team west of NYC is unworthy of merit. I felt that burn a lot back in 2001, when I was rooting for the D’Backs to win that World Series. It goes without saying, that the media dumped all over the Snakes. And the visiting New Yorkers (team and fans) were so rude while in Phoenix, that we celebrated their departure every bit as much as our win. (I’ll concede that I doubt Keith would have been one of those fans–contrary to Phillies fans’ belief, he does try to be fair and stay above the fray.)

So why was I rooting for the Yankees this year? Because they and their fans have suffered more than enough…because the Phillies won last year, and it gets boring when the same team wins year after year…and because Phillies fans became even more annoying than the 2001 Yankees fans. Aside from the occasional anti-MSNBC troll, this blog was a fairly peaceful place until the Phillies fans started in with their personal attacks on Keith and other posters, including Yours Truly. The song goes, “Let me root, root, root for the home team,” not, “I will flame, flame, flame all the bloggers.”

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