Posts Tagged ‘St. Louis’

World Series Game 7: What Home Field Advantage?

July 17th, 2010

Since 2003, the league that wins the All-Star game opens the World Series at home, which means that if a seventh game is necessary, the result of a July exhibition game determines where the deciding game of the World Series is played.

Eliminating the times that the World Series was decided by a best five out of nine series, the World Series has gone to a seventh game 35 times.

The home team has won 18 times or 51.4 percent of the time.

Comparing eras is an exercise in futility. Taking statistics out of context gives the appearance that uncontrolled variables have been controlled, but that only results in misleading conclusions.

Since the designated hitter rule (1973) and free agency have become part of the business, only the 1975 Cincinnati Reds and the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates have won a seventh game away from home.

The home team has won nine and lost only two World Series game seven's since 1973. Since 1982, the home team has won the last eight times.

How does having the World Series opening game at home affect the chances of winning the World Series? It is an insoluble problem.

The 1927 New York Yankees opened the World Series in Pittsburgh. We all know how that turned out.

The 1976 Cincinnati Reds opened the Series at Yankee Stadium. Nothing could help the 1976 Yankees.

During the 1950s, when the visiting team won the seventh game five consecutive times, there was no known explanation.

Maybe if Mickey Mantle were healthy, the Yankees would have won in 1955, but that doesn't explain Brooklyn losing at home in 1956, the Yankees losing at home in 1957, and the Braves losing at home in 1958.

Of course, Don Larsen's perfect game didn't hurt in 1956, Lew Burdette beat his former team, the Yankees, three times in 1957, and the Yankees became only the second team to trail in the World Series, three games to one, and come back to win.

The designated hitter and free agency might shed light on "recent" results.

American League teams try to structure their team to maximize having a designated hitter. National League teams do not. Does that mean the American League has an unfair advantage?

Possibly overall, but since 1982, American League teams have won the seventh game four times. National League teams have also won the seventh game four times.

The American League has dominated inter-league play. Does that mean that American League teams sign the better free agents or do they have better farm systems, scouts, statisticians, and more money?

The National League won its first All-Star game since 1996 a few days ago. Does that mean that the NL will have a better chance of winning the World Series, especially if it goes to a seventh game, this year?

The answer is if a team has a solid pitching staff, led by Tim Lincecum or Ubaldo Jiminez or Johan Santana or Chris Carpenter, and its ace starts the seventh game, they have an advantage.

There are too many variables that cannot be controlled. All one can do is speculate, which can be dangerous. Ask some investors.

World Series Game Seven Results

1909 Pittsburgh Pirates beat Detroit Tigers. Away

1912 Boston Red Sox beat New York Giants. Home

1924 Washington Senators beat New York Giants. Home

1925 Pittsburgh Pirates beat Washington Senators. Home

1926 St. Louis Cardinals beat New York Yankees. Away

1931 St. Louis Cardinals beat Philadelphia Athletics. Home

1934 St. Louis Cardinals beat Detroit Tigers. Away

1940 Cincinnati Reds beat Detroit Tigers. Home

1945 Detroit Tigers beat Chicago Cubs, Away

1946 St. Louis Cardinals beat Boston Red Sox, Home

1947 New York Yankees beat Brooklyn Dodgers, Home

1952 New York Yankees beat Brooklyn Dodgers, Away

1955 Brooklyn Dodgers beat New York Yankees, Away

1956 New York Yankees beat Brooklyn Dodgers, Away

1957 Milwaukee Braves beat New York Yankees. Away

1958 New York Yankees beat Milwaukee Braves. Away

1960 Pittsburgh Pirates beat New York Yankees. Home

1962 New York Yankees beat San Francisco Giants. Away

1964 St. Louis Cardinals beat New York Yankees. Home

1965 Los Angeles Dodgers beat Minnesota Twins. Away

1967 St. Louis Cardinals beat Boston Red Sox. Away

1968 Detroit Tigers beat St. Louis Cardinals. Away

1971 Pittsburgh Pirates beat Baltimore Orioles. Away

1972 Oakland Athletics beat Cincinnati Reds. Away

1973 Oakland Athletics beat New York Mets. Home

1975 Cincinnati Reds beat Boston Red Sox. Away

1979 Pittsburgh Pirates beat Baltimore Orioles. Away

1982 St. Louis Cardinals beat Milwaukee Brewers. Home

1985 Kansas City Royals beat St. Louis Cardinals. Home

1986 New York Mets beat Boston Red Sox Home

1987 Minnesota Twins beat St. Louis Cardinals. Home

1991 Minnesota Twins beat Atlanta Braves. Home

1997 Florida Marlins beat Cleveland Indians. Home

2001 Arizona Diamondbacks beat New York Yankees. Home

2002 Anaheim Angels beat San Francisco Giants. Home

BYU Fans Can Wish Unga Good Luck

July 16th, 2010

Several Deep Shades of Blue readers have expressed a desire to be able to wish former Cougar Harvey Unga good luck in the NFL and thank him for his contributions to BYU football. And we are happy to oblige.

Harvey was selected in the seventh round by the Chicago Bears in Thursday’s NFL Supplemental Draft. Ironically, Unga has been traveling back and forth between Utah and Chicago the past few weeks to be with his fiance Keilani Meoaki, who recently gave birth to their new son Jackson.

Moeaki, a former member of the BYU women’s basketball team, grew up in the Chicago suburb of Warrenville, Illinois. So if Unga does make the Bears roster, he will have plenty of family close by.

Although there has been talk of Harvey playing fullback in the NFL, the Bears seem to be interested in him as a tailback, the position he played at BYU and became the school's all-time leading rusher in the process.

Matt Forte is the starting running back for the Bears, who also acquired former Viking Chester Taylor via free agency this off season. So it appears Unga will be battling former UCLA Bruin Khalil Hill, Michigan free agent Brandon Minor, and diminutive veteran Garrett Wolfe for a roster spot.

One thing that may play in Harvey’s favor is the fact that the Bears have a real need for a physical runner in the red zone. Unga’s ability to catch the ball out of the back field is also a big plus in the minds of the Chicago brass, whose offensive coordinator is now Mike Martz. Martz was the architect of the “The Greatest Show on Turf” when he was with the St. Louis Rams.

Those of you that desire to wish Unga well, here is your opportunity to post your thoughts. I spoke with Harvey on Wednesday, and he will be making a point of reading everyone’s remarks.

Breaking Down the Cincinnati Reds’ Second-Half Schedule

July 16th, 2010

As we kick off the second half of the season, while the Reds endured a four game sweep at the hands of the Phillies, they played well enough in the prior two series of the 11-game road trip to keep them afloat.  Really, a 5-6 record vs. the Cubs, Mets, and Phillies on the road is something you can live with, and they are still in first place.

A six game homestand awaits, as Cincinnati hosts the Rockies and Nationals.  Following that are trips to Houston and Milwaukee.  This should be a manageable stretch of games, as the Rockies are the only team in that bunch with a winning record, and thankfully, Ubaldo Jiminez is not scheduled to start

On a side note, the series vs. the Brewers is the first time the Reds will have faced them all year.  Odd, considering we are halfway through July.

The Reds close the month against a very good Braves team, then travel to Chicago and Pittsburgh.  While I could foresee us losing the Braves series, the results should be there against the Pirates and Cubs.  With a huge showdown against the Cardinals following that, you would hate to see a mental letdown.

As we reach mid-August, I look at the stretch of games between August 9-25th to be amongst the most important ones of the year.  First place could be on the line when St. Louis comes here, and the Florida series may appear easy on paper, but a possible Josh Johnson appearance may be looming.

Then comes the dreaded west coast road trip.  Nine games in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Arizona, and probable  matchups against the likes of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Clayton Kershaw, and Dan Haren (if the D'Backs don't trade him).

September is a road-heavy schedule, with the series' versus the Cardinals and Rockies jumping out on paper.  September 10-24 is nothing but games against what will likely be sub-.500 teams.  The Padres series after that could be key, especially if they are continuing their surprising NL west run.

The regular season ends with a homestand versus the Astros and Brewers.  I'll take that over what the Cardinals have to deal with, if this NL Central race continues to be this close.  They have to host the Rockies, who may be in a dogfight for the NL West crown/wild card, to close the season in a four game series.

Of course, there are a ton of things that can change between now and the end of the 162-game marathon.  Injuries, players rising to the challenge, players slumping, and what have you. Additionally, the Reds have a few areas of the team to patch up if they want late season baseball to be meaningful.

Given that, there are a few things which I think are absolute certainties: That is, the bottom teams in the NL Central won't get much better.  We have a nice chance to fatten up on the Pirates, Brewers, Cubs, and Astros of the world.  St. Louis does as well.  How you motivate yourself versus teams that you are better than on paper is extremely crucial.

The other certainty is that no matter how you slice it, traveling out west and dealing with that is going to be very crucial for this team.  Keep in mind that the Cardinals are done with their west coast trips, whereas the Reds have yet to play an intra-league series west of the central time zone.

I remembered what happened in 2006, when what looked to be a promising season was ruined by our follies in California.  Here's hoping history doesn't repeat itself, and that the Reds are in this for the long haul.

MLB First Half All-Rookie Team

July 16th, 2010

After I was done making a Staples run (no, I didn’t scream “WOW THAT’S A LOW PRICE!!!”), I ran into my friend Tom walking on Park Ave. South.

One of the things we were talking about other than how awkward the pre-All Star Game mingle between the People All Stars and the MLB All Stars was, was the fact that not only is 2010 “The Year of the Pitcher,” but “The Year of the Rookie” as well.

He suggested that I look at the first half All-Rookie Team. Like Casey Kasem, I do take requests, so I will follow through with the first half All-Rookie Team.

This also reminds me of back in the day when I used to collect baseball cards and the top rookies from the previous year had gold cups at the bottom of their cards. Those were the good ole days when I could buy a pack of baseball cards for 50 cents. Now they are $3 a pack.


Posey made my All Rookie team

Here are the guys that would get a gold cup for the first half of the season.

C – Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants. .350/.389/.569 with five HR’s.

1B – Gaby Sanchez, Florida Marlins. .302/.365/.467 with nine HR’s.

2B - Reid Brignac, Tampa Bay Rays. .265/.329/.365 with two HR’s.

SS – Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs. .270/.333/.383 with two HR’s & three triples.

3B – David Freese, St. Louis Cardinals. .296/.361/.404 with four HR’s.

OF – Brennan Boesch, Detroit Tigers. .342/.397/.593 with 12 HR’s.

OF – Austin Jackson, Detroit Tigers. .300/.354/.403 with one HR & 14 SB’s.

OF – Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves. .251/.366/.455 with 11 HR’s.

DH – Tyler Colvin, Chicago Cubs. .263/.313/.531 with 12 HR’s.

SP – Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds. 6-1, 1.40 WHIP and a 3.53 ERA.

SP – Jaime Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals. 8-4, 1.25 WHIP and a 2.17 ERA.

SP – Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals. 3-2, 1.01 WHIP and a 2.32 ERA.

RP – Jonny Venters, Atlanta Braves. Nine Holds, 1.10 WHIP and a 1.30 ERA.

RP - Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers. 23 Saves, 1.06 WHIP and a 3.82 ERA.

Honorable Mentions – Ike Davis, Carlos Santana (tough call with him and Posey), John Jaso, Roger Bernadina, Mitch Talbot, Brian Matusz, Jonathan Niese, Wade Davis, Ryan Webb.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

The 10 Most Hated Teams in Sports

July 16th, 2010
The birth of modern free agency occurred when former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood challenged the reserve clause restricting a players movement. The clause was upheld by the supreme court 5-3 in a lawsuit by flood against MLB and commissioner Bowie Kuhn. What has gotten lost in “The Decision” and LeBron James' decision to leave Cleveland for Miami is that he was free to go wherever he wanted after fulfilling the terms of his contract. His departure for Miami has caused a ripple effect on the Miami Heat and all of sports. Cleveland is burning his jerseys and erasing any mention of LeBron downtown while talk shows are saying he might be the most hated man in sports. In addition, Chicago sports talk show has talked about printing up T-Shirts with the Miami Hate. Hating teams in Sports is nothing new. When the Yankees dominated baseball in the 1950’s, they were the most beloved and hated team in all of sports. In most cases, the teams that are the most hated are frequently the most loved. Many of these teams share the same criticisms. Their fans are too arrogant, they get every call and/or every good player, the media favors them, or they are televised too often.

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