Life isn’t always kind. Things happen. Choices are made, some terrifically gratifying,
some unexpectedly tragic as the years roll by. We have goals,
projects we dream of completing, starting, that don’t always hit the runway.
Then you see that big number 70 on the computer screen amongst the ages of
other patients, and that does not seem to be you – but an initial weight of possible
problems that an individual might have that you will be expected to encounter and solve.
Tom Petty, Rockin’ American Tunesmith[/caption]
It’s inspiring from the late Tom Petty, that he sang “You’ve got to stay in the game,
Or you’ve only got yourself to blame.” Or the Payolas singing about not playing dead
when your number is called. So we have to go on, even though the lights are getting
dimmer, time is getting shorter, who knows when the end will come, like Tom suddenly
dying from a heart attack when he was so skinny, and you thought he’d be around forever
(but then you discover that he smoked, and had had a bad acquaintance with heroin
that he’d overcome by 2005).
So, there is the day to day, when what you do and enjoy doing fulfills you, although
the world is contracting around your soul, with Trump and idiotic Republicans and
the Nazis and KKK brutes emerging out of the wormholes, rallying around the country.
America In The Time Of Trump – Manafort, Gates, Vladimir Putin Interfering In USA Democracy[/caption]
The USA. Not quite the country we’ve been sold on, not with all these morons
supporting one of the greatest con-men in history. But then there’s baseball,
our national sport (though many contend football is really America’s most popular
sport…but then there are the white people who can’t fathom what it is to be black
in America, and now hate the NFL without compassion for black Americans taking
a knee to express their fear about the lack of justice being served from the
plantation minds of those with white privilege controlling the chains of power.)
Yes, we all have our troubles, BUT it’s World Series time! Autumn in America.
And Sunday night gave us one of the most engrossing fantastic baseball games
ever played. Between the Houston Astros from their hurricane decimated city,
and the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have not been to the World Series since 1988.
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers Great Pitcher (But Maybe Not So Much In Postseason)[/caption]
Clayton Kershaw, the farmboy greatest pitcher (in the ‘regular season’) of his era
started the game versus Dallas Keuchel (pronounced Kike-ill) whom Kershaw had
bested in game one of the best of seven games series. The Dodgers get off to a
great start in game 5, garnering 4 runs,, with Kershaw on the mound, it looking
like this game was over already, and then the Dodgers would only have to win
one more game in Los Angeles on either Tuesday or Wednesday, and they would
be crowned World Champions.
Jose Altuve & Clayton Kershaw, Faces of the Franchises of Astros & Dodgers[/caption]
But these are two talented teams, and it turned out that Kershaw didn’t have his slider
working that well, and before you knew it, Jose Altuve and his Astros had tied the game,
and Kershaw was out, sitting on the bench in the dugout staring depressedly into
nothingness by inning number five, with the score tied 7-7.
Cody Bellinger, Dodgers’ Rookie Slugger First Baseman[/caption]
However, the Dodgers are the team with the best record in baseball for 2017, and they
showed us the reason for that. Collin McHugh (an ex-Met > I’m a Met fan from the
beginning in 1962 when both the Mets and the Astros were created, entering the
National League as its two new ‘expansion teams’ in that year.) had relieved Keuchel.
McHugh was rusty as he hadn’t pitched but twice since the beginning of October, and
he walked the first two batters to face him. Then up came probably the rookie-of-the-year
for the National League, Cody Bellinger, who had struck out ten times in the first four games,
but then had hit the two doubles in game four that had been the most crucial hits in a game
that the Dodgers had then won to even the series 2-2. Would he strike out again? Would
McHugh walk him to load the bases? Would AJ Hinch, the Astro’s manager come out to the
mound and yank him? The Astros bullpen not doing that well in the Series so far…? McHugh
threw a breaking ball that fooled Bellinger, making him seem off-balance as he leaned forward
and somehow launched the pitch just over the wall into the stands in right center field, and BAM!!!
the Dodgers pushed back ahead to be winning 7-4! McHugh survived the rest of the inning, relying
on his fast ball to get the job done, as he too could not command his breaking balls.
Now could the Dodgers bullpen corral the rest of the game, acting the part of the
well-hyped best relief pitching team in baseball?
The Astros were the best offensive team in baseball in 2017.
The Dodgers had brought in Kenta Maeda, who up to then had been very successful
in the post-season as a long-reliever, but the 5’ 6” 3-time batting champion Jose Altuve hit Maeda’s
most fateful pitch of the game (up to then), a 450 foot home run, to tie the game in the bottom of the 5th.
McHugh calmed down and relying only on his fastball pitched a scoreless 6th. Maeda did the same
in the bottom of the inning.
Justin Turner, Dodgers’All-Star Big Veteran Bat, Tough Out[/caption]
Then the Astros, desperate for someone else to be a reliable reliever, bring in
Brad Peacock who had just pitched almost 4 innings to save game 3. He was
not sharp, giving up a near homer to the Dodgers Justin Turner (ex-Met, who the
Mets let get away for nothing) that hit the wall about 9 inches below the yellow
home run line in right center field. Kiki Hernandez (not Keith, our greatest everyday
Met player 1983-1989) then is asked to bunt Turner over to third, after he had been
called out on a third strike that was inside and never crossed over home plate, in his
previous at bat. His bunt was too hard, going straight back to pitcher Peacock, who,
directed loudly and astutely by catcher Brian McCann, fielded the ball and fired sharply
to third, where Alex Bregman firmly applied the tag, knocking off Turner’s cap, his long red hair
flying in his face as he belly flopped behind the base.
Now up comes Bellinger again. Peacock’s breaking stuff wasn’t working, as most of the
beleaguered relievers on both sides were experiencing, so his fast ball was smartly
struck by Bellinger on a line drive into left center field that center fielder George Stringer
gravitated toward, but couldn’t catch as he dove for it, not even touching the ball. Which
rolled way behind him to the warning track where another outfielder belatedly picked it up
and threw back into the infielder. Kiki Hernandez scores from first, Bellinger ends up on
third. Making it 8-7 now, Dodgers in the lead.
After Kiki had scored, he was captured by the camera, very very happily clapping his hands,
certainly thinking he had gained retribution on the umpire and the Houston fans for that
earlier strikeout he had been charged with. Peacock managed to end the scoring there.
For the bottom of the seventh, the Dodgers bring in Brandon Morrow, who had been
the ‘set-up’ man for Kenley Jansen, the big powerful closer during the regular season,
Morrow usually pitching the eighth inning, with Jansen usually mopping up the ninth inning,
as manager Dave Roberts’ formula to help win over 100 games for the Dodgers in a 162 game
season. Alas, Morrow had never pitched three days in a row during this 2017 season and
his upper 90-miles-an-hour fastball wasn’t as electric as it should have been.
First pitch Houston’s George Springer sees, he smacks a monster home run tying the game
at 8-8. Which relieved the center fielder of much of the guilt he may have felt for the error he had
made in the top of the inning, giving the Dodgers the lead. Then 3rd baseman Alex Bregman hits
Morrow’s second pitch for a single, Jose Altuve, the probable MVP (Most Valuable Players) for the
American League, strokes a double, Morrow throws a wild pitch, giving Altuve third base, Carlos
Correa makes that moot as he blasts another gigantic Astros home run, and after a total of
just seven pitches, Morrow has taken the Dodgers from a one run lead that normally would
win the game for the mighty Dodgers via their impregnable bullpen, to an 11-8 deficit.
More weary relievers, a Brian McCann insurance solo home run, and more drama later, we are
in the 9th inning. Dodgers last chance – score 12-9 in favor of the Astros. Exhausted Houston
fans are standing expecting to have beaten the Dodgers, despite this being a game started
by the GREAT Clayton Kershaw, which most pundits had put into the Dodgers win column
before game 5 had even begun.
Yasiel Puig, Dodgers Powerful Charismatic Outfielder[/caption]
Yasiel Puig then manages another mindblowing feat of
strength, lifting the ball into the left field seats off Houston’s Chris Devenski, the Astros
usual 8th inning set-up man, with a one-hand swing, making the score 12-11. Cody Bellinger,
who had walked before Puig’s at-bat, scored run number 10.
Austin Barnes, manager Roberts’ Yogi Berra, for his doggedness and smartness as the
Dodgers’ catcher, then doubles. We get down to two out, two strikes, with the ever-battling
Chris Taylor at bat. He had had great at-bats and hits during the National League Championship
series with the Yankees, earning co-MVP status along with Justin Turner for that series. And
now…he pokes a hit right up the middle to score Barnes and the game is tied! 12-12! The inning
ends at that score. It has been the longest nine-inning game in World Series history, in terms
of time played. People were falling asleep all over the country; Astros fans disappointedly plopped
back into their seats. Extra innings!
I’m stopping here. I’ll leave you with the drama of who won the game and a few links to
watch the rest of the game right here. You may want to watch the whole game!
Or more condensed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDnfOJUfVGY
Condensed into 28 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXWp_gUSxHw
Condensed into 14 minutes, more highlights per second:
It may have been the most dramatic game ever played in the history of baseball, certainly
in the World Series, on the teeter-totter offensive front!
Justin Verlander pitches game 6 tonight for Astros[/caption]
Game 6 comes up tonight. Justin Verlander pitches for the Astros. He has not lost a
game since he came over to the Astros at the trading deadline in July. However, he
was supposed to win game 2 in Los Angeles, but that didn’t happen. So, you have
to play the game. I’ll be watching again tonight. No Mets, but I love watching both
these teams. I’m a little guy, so I am rooting for the Altuve-blessed Astros. I also love
Alex Bregman, Gifted Astros Third Baseman[/caption]
the disciplined determined quiet Alex Bregman, and his family history of escaping
Russia going back to his great grandfather, and the way he plays, and that unforgettable
play/pinpoint throw in game 7 he made to essentially earn the victory in the
National League Championship series. (Yankees on both first and third when ball was hit.)
More game 7 Astros/Yankees series 2017 with the Bregman throw
Life goes on. There are small and big joys to experience, even as the curtain begins to go down.
Baseball in Trump’s America.
George Papadopoulos, First Confessing Guilty Trump Campaign Russia-Colluder[/caption]
George Papadopoulos has pled guilty as the first colluder with the
Russians to be convicted. Paul Manafort has been indicted. More shoes will fall. Meanwhile it’s
baseball cleats tonight and another terrific game is expected in the 2017 World Series. Hope I
gave you a good heads-up to excite you to tune in at 8:20 PM eastern standard time for game 6.
It’s been a beautiful show of our national pastime so far.
P.S. We shall see how the dynamics of the managing eventuates during the next 2 games
(if there are two). Dave Roberts may have overdone his relievers, pulling out starter Rich Hill
in game 2 before the fifth inning finished and stuffing his bullpen staff onto the mound prematurely,
relying on analytics.
A.J. Hinch, Houston Astros Manager Working More With A Hunch Not Analytics To Excess[/caption]
AJ Hinch has been managing more with his eyeballs on what he sees from his
pitchers. I think Peacock has been surprisingly great, but probably not for tonight. Giles the
supposed Astros closer has been so bad, he can’t snap off any of his finesse pitches with any command.
His ERA is above 11, so Hinch said he won’t be closing. But could that change. Lefty Francisco Liriano
has not appeared in the World Series yet, so watch for him somewhere tonight. Starters tonight are
Verlander for the Astros, and Rich Hill for the Dodgers. Both have been terrific this year, at least
for the last few months . Base-a-ball has-a-been good to me!