Thursday, October 10, 2002
October has been great fun to watch in 2002. Though the new collective bargaining
agreement has not nearly kicked in and affected competitive balance yet, it seems like
parity has been reached. The four teams in the LCS are the Cardinals, the Giants, the
Twins, and the Angels. All teams with modest payrolls. No Yankees, no Braves.
Most exciting so far was the Angels knocking out the Yankees in the 1st round. After
winning the first game in Yankee Stadium in typical fashion - a late inning 3 run dinger
by Bernie Williams - the Angels victimized the Yanks with 2 comeback wins, the 2nd a
comeback from a 6-1 deficit. Then the 4th game, they knocked David Wells and relievers
for an 8 run 5th inning to clinch it. The Yankees aging pitchers had no chance against
the go go Angels. None of their starters were effective at all, and they couldn't get to
Rivera with a lead 'cause the relievers weren't much better.
So now it's Angels-Twins in the ALCS. The Angels who've never gotten to a Series. And
the Twins, almost contracted out of baseball, now with a chance to reach the Series. The
Twins are interesting because since 1970 they've reached the post season twice, and both
times they've won it all. They don't tease their fans like some unmentionable teams!
This series is 1-1 today.
In the NLCS, it's Cardinals-Giants. Great to see the Braves knocked out. Though they've
only won 1 championship on this run of 12 years, it's nice to see some different teams.
As for the Giants, it's all about Barry. Can he perform in the post season? Will he get
a World Series shot? So far, he has. 3 home runs. A two run triple in game 1 of NLCS
when they didn't walk him. This series is 1-0 Giants today.
Sunday, October 13, 2002
Tonight the Angels won a great game and beat the Twins in the series 4-1 to go to the
World Series for the first time. What a treat to see some different team than the
Yankees, and have it be the Angels who've never won anything. Today they exploded for a
10 run 7th inning to demolish the Twins 13-5. Light hitting Adam Kennedy joined people
like Reggie Jackson and George Brett as players who've hit 3 HR in a post season game.
In the NL, the Cardinals had the Giants 2-0 late in the game when JT Snow hit a 2 run
double. Then in the 8th, with 2 outs and no one on, they elect to walk Bonds (with all
the Giants fans doing the Chicken Dance!) Benito Santiago, doing it all year behind the
walks of Bonds, hits one out for a 4-2 lead. But the Cardinals don't go quietly against
worn out Rob Nenn. Nenn strikes out the first batter but the ball gets away. Vina
singles for first and 2nd. After a groundout (2nd and 3rd) Edmunds hits a hard single to
right which makes it 4-3, but they hold Vina at 3rd. I'll always remember the FOX
cameras and audio catching Edmunds shouting the F word after he saw they didn't even try
to score the tying run. Then Nenn bore down and struck out Pujols and Drew to win it.
The Giants have them 3-1 with 1 more in S.F.
Sunday, October 27, 2002
Angels Win It All!
This was a great series. Tonight the Angels took game 7 4-1 after coming back from 5-0
to take a thriller in game 6. The Angels had it all. No superstars. No one dominant
player. Just a bunch of guys who play hard and play together. The Giants had Barry
Bonds, who hit 4 home runs in the series despite being walked almost every time he could
be. They were a great team too that just fell a little short.
Baseball may have turned the corner in 2002 back to health. They narrowly averted a
strike in August with an agreement that puts the brakes on the out of control salaries
and begins steroid testing. Then the underdogs made it to the World Series. The aging
Yankees will try next year to overcome the tide, but odds are that competitive balance is
here to stay. Odds are also that storm clouds may be over the Red Sox too. High
salaries and inability to build a new ballpark are going to make it tough for the Sox to
maintain it. Nevertheless, baseball looks to be healthy again.