Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 25, 2004
BASEBALL: Two Down, But Can The Sox Go?

Random Game Two thoughts:

*Speaking of Willis Reed (see below), during last night's start by Curt Schilling, I thought back to some of the great or memorable performances by injured players: Reed, Kareem in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals, Nolan Ryan pitching on a fractured ankle in Game 5 of the 1986 NLCS, Kirk Gibson's home run in 1988. What most great performances like this have in common is, they're one-day-only things. Schilling has pressed his luck twice, and there are real questions about whether he can go a third time.

*Tim McCarver said last night that Manny Ramirez is an "outstanding two-strike hitter." Well, I don't generally accept things like this on faith if they can be checked, especially concerning the two-strike hitting of a guy who struck out 124 times this year, so I looked at Manny's numbers the last three years, from

After 0-2.217.380.250630
After 1-2.221.409.283692
After 2-2.261.463.375838
2 Strikes.245.440.338778

The "Two Strikes" line adds up his 0-2, 1-2, 2-2 and 3-2 numbers. At first glance, Manny is a terrible two-strike hitter until he gets to 2-2, and only really good at 3-2. But nearly everyone is horrible on those counts; the fact that Manny slugs nearly .400 even on 0-2 and 1-2, .469 on 2-2 and over .500 on 3-2 is not bad at all, both absolutely and in comparison to his usual spectacular production. The average AL player batted .269/.431/.337 this season, but .195/.300/.266 with two strikes, a 26.3% dropoff in OPS; Manny falls off by 24.9% over a three year-period, which is visibly but not outstandingly better.

*Entering Game Three of the World Series, the Cardinals are 29-10 in postseason games at Busch Stadium since 1982, and 16-26 on the road; since 1996, the breakdown is 14-6 at home, 10-14 on the road.

*I wonder what Bill James thinks, being associated with a team that bats Orlando Cabrera second. Repeat: "I am just a consultant, I'm not the manager."

*Are the Green Monster seats now officially the cool seats now that Hollywood stars like Tom Hanks sit in them?

*I liked the way Cal Eldred went high and outside after Ortiz' foul homer; a lot of guys love to follow those up by jacking one out, and Eldred tried to get him to bite.

*Well, you get your bombs with Mark Bellhorn, and you get your boots. I still think he's worth the tradeoff as compared to Pokey Reese.

*Unless I heard wrong, Joe Buck described Jason Marquis as being "infestive" in this postseason, but then again that sounds about right.

*Buck was also doing a way-premature Sox-finally-win-the-championship victory lap in the 7th, before two wins were in the books. The announcers seem to have forgotten about the Cardinals, even after they posted the best record in baseball and dominated the National League. Coming from a crew of one guy whose dad was the Voice of the Cardinals and one who played in three World Serieses for the Cards, that has to grate on St. Louis' fans.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:25 AM | Baseball 2004 | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Agreed. this hasn't quite been a Sox love-fest (like it is with the Yankees), Buck and McCarver get their licks in on the Sox, but during these two games they hardly ever even acknowledge there's another team involved here. Yeah, the Sox had a historic route to the Series and more riding on it, but the Cardinals didn't exactly have a boring NLCS...

It also seems as if they have spent too much time broadcasting and preparing for the Yankees and the knowledge base for anybody else is dramatically smaller. The only reason they even know what they know about the Sox (which is pretty shallow) is due to the ALCS this year and last.

Posted by: Mr Furious at October 25, 2004 10:08 AM

Did McCarver call games again for the YES network this year?

Posted by: C Giddy at October 25, 2004 10:25 AM

I don't live in NYC anymore. Anybody else? Crank?

Posted by: Mr Furious at October 25, 2004 10:44 AM

I believe so, but I rarely watch the Yanks on the YES network.

Posted by: The Crank at October 25, 2004 11:00 AM

McCarver did not call games for the Yes network this year. Jim Kaat was the main color guy, with Paul O'Neil also doing some work.

Posted by: jon tenney at October 25, 2004 11:40 AM

But Buck called Cards games, so why isn't he hitting that more? Waiting to get back to St. Lou?

Posted by: David at October 25, 2004 12:35 PM

I'm not sure if McCarver ever called games on YES. For the 4 years where Fox-5 had the local Yankee broadcast rights, he did the local games on that channel.

Posted by: Dr. Manhattan at October 25, 2004 4:13 PM

And I thought it was just my own Cardinal bias. A team wins 105 games, goes undefeated at home during the playoffs and can't get any respect. And all due respect to the Sox, but for the love of Pete, stop posing for the cameras and play the games. Monday night, Ortiz has a cracked bat and takes 2 minutes to get a new one. His internal monologue:
Hm. I am not sure but I think that maybe I might have possibly cracked my bat. Maybe I should decide if I want to change it. Okay, I think I will. Hey everyone. Watch me walk as slow as humanly possible to the on-deck circle. Now see how meticulously I sand the finish, apply the pine tar with precision and test my lumber for its trueness. I'm not just a DH that can't play a position, I'm also a master craftsman. Norm Abrams wishes he had my mad woodshop skillz. Now watch how I walk as slow as I can back to the box. I swear, no man who has played this great game has ever walked to the box slower than me. I am sure of this. I have watched all the great slow walkers and I am the slowest of them all.

Yes I am a bitter, bitter Cards fan.

Posted by: SortaBluInStLou at October 26, 2004 11:12 AM
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