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Play Ball! ...and Doc Emrick Retires...
[Posted Tues. p.m., prior to Game 1 of World Series…I want to just sit back as a fan and enjoy.]
World Series MVP Quiz: Name the WS MVPs for the following Series…2016 Cubs over Indians 4-3; 2015 Royals over Mets 4-1; 2006 Cardinals over Tigers 4-1; 2005 White Sox over Astros 4-0; 1986 Mets over Red Sox 4-3. Answers below.
Fascinating World Series ahead…but first, going back to Sunday, I had posted before Game 7 of Dodgers-Braves because I knew it could run very late, and it did, but what a dramatic affair.
The Dodgers were down 3-2 heading to the bottom of the sixth when Enrique Hernandez took A.J. Minter deep to tie it, and then Cody Bellinger followed with a dramatic seventh-inning shot off Chris Martin, the game-winner, 4-3. [I have to admit I fell asleep between Hernandez’ blast and Bellinger’s right at my desk and literally woke up when Bellinger was rounding the bases. Kind of funny.]
But the real hero, aside from those two, was L.A.’s Julio Urias, the 24-year-old child prodigy from Mexico who claimed a place in Dodger lore with three lockdown innings to close it out for the win.
The guy has been a spot-starter/reliever since coming up as a 19-year-old, and just hasn’t seemed to find a permanent spot in the rotation, or the pen. He’s pitched effectively when asked, and he’s also got an outstanding postseason record now…6-2, 2.84, in 16 games.
So good for Julio.
Corey Seager was NLCS MVP with his record five home runs and near-record 11 RBIs.
And not for nothing, but there I write about Mookie Betts and his ability to be a difference maker with his defense alone, and then in Game 7 he makes another terrific play, a home-run robbing catch in right. [Justin Turner’s play wasn’t bad either…another Met that got away…drat!]
On to Dodgers-Rays…games Tues., Wed., off Thursday, then Fri., Sat., Sun. (if necessary) to get things started.
The two best teams of the 60-game regular season are squaring off…the Dodgers 43-17, the Rays 40-20. Good. Despite all the gimmicks and distractions this year, it’s the matchup baseball purists should have wanted. Since the postseason was expanded to eight teams and the Division Series was introduced in 1995, this is only the fourth time the top teams in each league are squaring off.
Granted, Astros vs. Dodgers would have been rather delicious, and I wanted Yankees-Dodgers, L.A. winning a Game 7. But this is a terrific matchup.
And tonight, Clayton Kershaw gets the nod for L.A. against Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow.
Kershaw’s postseason issues are rather well-documented, but, specifically, in two previous World Series, he has a 1-2 record, 5.40 ERA, 16 earned runs in 26 2/3, 5 home runs coughed up.
Tyler Glasnow, in six postseason starts in his young career, is 2-3, 5.47.
Who will step up the next few nights? Rays rookie sensation Randy Arozarena, he of the rookie record seven postseason home runs? Bellinger? Kershaw?
Here’s one thing we do know…either the city of Los Angeles or Tampa Bay will be celebrating a second time in about a month; one with the NBA title Lakers, the other with the Stanley Cup champion Lightning.
And it’s the battle of the big spenders vs. Dollar Tree. One team buys outrageously priced fish at a fancy farmer’s market, the other Campbell’s Soup at Dollar Tree for…a dollar!
But as the Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond wrote the other day, while much is made of the low Tampa Bay payroll ($28 million, pro-rated for the shortened season), the Dodgers, among the perennial big spenders, have won eight straight division crowns and are now in their third World Series in four years. “The Red Sox have won four titles this century, the most of any team. The Yankees have qualified for the postseason in 22 of the last 26 seasons.
“Perhaps more telling, the importance of wealth shows up in the most important category of all: championships. The Washington Nationals won last year thanks to three pitchers with contracts worth $140 million or more. The Red Sox won in 2018 with the highest budget in the majors. All told, teams that finished in the top half of payrolls have won 18 of the last 20 World Series, including 14 from the top 10, according to data compiled by Baseball Prospectus. No team so close to the bottom of the payroll rankings as the 2020 Rays has come away with a title in decades, if ever.
“That reality enables the Dodgers to enter each season all but knowing they will contend.
“ ‘Everybody was expecting us to get to the World Series,’ said Dodgers utility man Enrique Hernandez, who hit a crucial home run in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday. ‘We were expecting to get to the World Series.’”
If the Rays win, however, that would rock the baseball world.
“A Rays win – juxtaposed against yet another Dodgers loss – would only reinforce that belief, no doubt inspiring owners to wonder how Tampa Bay can win with so little when they cannot. Why commit $365 million to Betts, like the Dodgers did in July, when the Rays prove that the key actually stems from improving their analytics and player development departments instead? A Dodgers title, which would be their first since 1988, would emphasize the power of superstars like Betts to carry a team over the hump.”
Monday night, Dallas fell to 2-4 at Jerry World in a miserable 38-10 loss to visiting Arizona (4-2). The Cowboys were playing their first game without Dak Prescott, who had started 69 straight since Dallas selected him in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. His replacement, Andy Dalton, was “Bad Andy” Monday, throwing two picks, while Ezekiel Elliott was awful, 12 carries for 49 yards, but, most importantly, two lost fumbles on two consecutive series in the second quarter. He has now lost four fumbles in six games after losing two all of 2019.
For the Cardinals, Kyler Murray was just 9 of 24 passing, but he threw two touchdown passes, including an 80-yard bomb to Christian Kirk, and rushed for 74 yards and another score, while Kenyan Drake rumbled for 164 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
This is not the way Dallas coach Mike McCarthy wanted to start out his debut season.
Earlier Monday, the Chiefs moved to 5-1 with a solid 26-17 win at Buffalo (4-2). The Chiefs outgained the Bills 466-206, a total team effort, as K.C. ran for 241 yards (Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushing 26 times for 161), while Patrick Mahomes was a rather efficient 21/26, 225, 2-0, 128.4.
For Buffalo, quarterback Josh Allen had his second straight poor performance, both losses, as he was just 14/27, 122, 2-1, 73.4.
But the Bills, and Allen, have a chance to get back on the winning track when they meet the Jets next Sunday.
--Speaking of the Jets, us fans have nothing to worry about. We will finish 0-16 and win the Trevor Lawrence Sweepstakes! No way…absolutely no way…will we win a game.
Granted, as Archie Bunker would have said from his home in Queens, while reading about the Jets and the league in general, “Edith…there is a lot of crapola in the NFL these days…”
L.A. Chargers 1-4
Well, if you have this much (garbage), that means there is also some fine wine….
Kansas City 5-1
Chicago 5-1…shouldn’t be in this group
Green Bay 4-1
Anyway, the Jets are getting Trevor.
However, not so fast, Sheriff! Dr. W., who hails from down Clemson way, says the scuttlebutt in town (Greenville) is that Trevor is angling for an Eli Manning way out of playing for the Jets. The Good Doctor hastens to add, though, that he believes Lawrence has too much class to pull that kind of stunt. But Jets fans have been warned.
On the other hand, yes, the Jets are an amazingly dysfunctional franchise, but we will have a new coach, who will be selected on his ability to mold Lawrence into a superstar, Trevor is too smart not to know of all the opportunities that can accrue his way by being in the New York media market, and the general manager, Joe Douglas, is not the reason for the current mess.
Plus, we have so many future picks, we’ll just keep drafting Clemson players! You know, send a regular supply of delicious New York pizza down to Dabo for his famous pizza parties. And he’ll tell his boys, “Men, you know, I think Trevor is gonna like it up there, and you will too.” [Understand, there will be some cash and prizes in each box for Coach, though I’m really not supposed to say this.]
Yup, Jets fans…that’s how it’s all gonna break down the rest of this season and in years to come. We’ll turn the Jets into Clemson North.
One more…of course Dabo is too smart in his own right…there will be no talk of trying to woo him to Gotham. He’s got it darn good staying right where he is.
--I’m kind of shocked that the 3-3 Dolphins announced (or rather as I go to post it’s supposed to be announced) that Tua Tagovailoa will be the starting quarterback, replacing Ryan Fitzmagic after a bye week.
--Johnny Mac notes that receiver Robby Anderson, who the Jets let walk, is second in the league in receiving yards, and with a sterling 78.4 catch percentage, with Carolina.
As in so Mets-like.
It sucks being a Mets-Jets fan, like Johnny, Phil W., Dr. W., my big Bro, and countless others are. As a child there was a fork in the road…Mets/Jets one way, or Giants/Yankees the other. It should go on my tombstone. “Here lies the Editor…took the wrong fork in the road…drank Coors Light…” [I mean you gotta get some product placement on your tombstone, people.]
The Big Ten and Mountain West start play this weekend and the most intriguing game, at least on paper, is 18 Michigan at 21 Minnesota, though rankings for both conferences are rather ludicrous when we haven’t seen them. You can safely conclude, though, that Ohio State is a top five team. The Buckeyes host Nebraska.
17 Iowa State is at 6 Oklahoma State, a biggie, and 9 Cincinnati at 16 SMU has definite Group of Five, New Year’s Six implications.
--So Jason Kokrak won for a first time in 233 starts on the PGA Tour Sunday at the CJ Cup, but consider the run Xander Schauffele is on. Schauffele, who moved up to No. 7 in the world rankings with his runner-up finish, can’t buy a win the last two years, though his play has been outstanding.
In the 2019-20 season he appeared in 18 events and had 16 top 25s, with three seconds, finishing second in the FedEx Cup rankings, and for the 2020-21 season, he has two top 10s in his two events.
This week we have the Zozo Championship at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. This one has been played in Japan as an official PGA Tour event, and Tiger Woods won it last year. But with the pandemic, like the CJ Cup, the tour did an outstanding job in scrambling to reschedule both for the U.S.
Tiger is thus back to defend and it’s an outstanding field. Should be fun.
--We had the announcement Monday that Mike “Doc” Emrick was retiring as NBC’s play-by-play man.
“I hope I can handle retirement OK, especially snice I’ve never done it before,” Emrick told the New York Post. “But I’ve just been extremely lucky for 50 years. And NBC has been so good to me, especially since the pandemic, when I was allowed to work from home in a studio NBC created.
“Now, into my golden years, this just seemed to be the time that was right.”
Emrick, 74, has been the preeminent voice of the NHL for NBC and NBC Sports for 15 years. He also served as the play-by-play announcer for the New Jersey Devils for 21 seasons.
Emrick called 22 Stanley Cup Finals and won eight Sports Emmy Awards for play-by-play, including seven straight from 2014 to 2020.
Like I’ve said many a time over the years, Emrick was simply the best play-by-play announcer of all time, all sports…if you held a gun to my head and said pick one. Sure, some of us grew up with No. 2 Marv Albert, the Mets’ Gary Cohen is also outstanding…Los Angeles fans had Vin Scully….
But calling baseball is pretty easy (to do it well is admittedly a different story). But calling hockey? I don’t know how the good ones do it. It’s just a phenomenal skill. And none was ever better than Doc.
In 2008, Emrick was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and in 2011, he was the first announcer inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Emrick “didn’t just master” announcing hockey, “he transformed it into art.”
“In the 103-year history of the National Hockey League, nobody has ever conveyed the sights, sounds, passion, excitement, thrills and intricacies of our game better. …the game, of course, goes on. But it never again will sound quite the same.”
Emrick, who earned a Ph.D. in broadcast communications from Bowling Green, called an estimated 3,750 games during his career.
Phil Mushnick / New York Post, who broke the story:
“Emrick rose from calling college and minor league hockey radio broadcasts to develop an enthralling style that emphasized superior, often mesmerizing play-by-play: original on-the-fly, bull’s-eye descriptions; a great knowledge of the game; current and past anecdotal info, timed to perfection; strong, warm relationships with his color analysts; and a modest charm that radiated as real. He forced nothing. He just know how to know….
“There is nothing Emrick hasn’t done on behalf of hockey, including becoming the founder of the NHL’s increasingly valued NHL [players’] Pronunciation Guide, and never turning down an interview request including – and especially – from high school kids who aspire to careers in broadcasting….
“On a personal, off-air basis, Emrick is the ultimate mensch. A deacon in the Methodist Church, his gentle sense of humor and unyielding patience and respect for all creates envy for a life well-lived, with plenty left to give….
“Sam Flood, executive producer of NBC Sports, put it very well: ‘Doc is a national treasure. Simply put, he’s one of the best ever to put on a headset.’”
As for who will replace Emrick, Kenny Albert, 52, is NBC’s No. 2 NHL play-by-play man currently, with a ton of experience, plus he does Fox NFL football, and is the radio voice of the New York Rangers, among other gigs.
But many are talking about Mike Tirico, the face of NBC Sports overall these days. Tirico is a hockey guy who has called games for the network over the years. He’s the host of the Olympics, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” studio show, the Triple Crown and the network’s golf events. And he calls Notre Dame football. He is scheduled to replace Al Michaels full-time on “Sunday Night Football” broadcasts after the 2022 Super Bowl.
But the NHL has a big issue ahead…when to start the new season, which won’t be before January, which will impact the playoffs, which could run into the Olympics (which would impact Tirico).
--I’ve written a lot over the years on Steve Dalkowski, the minor league pitching sensation of the late 1950s, early ‘60s, who had a blazing fastball but control issues (and other things) that kept him out of the major leagues, and Brad K. said he came across a Connecticut PBS station promoting a book soon to come out on Dalkowski, who was born and died in New Britain, CT.
Brad said it was an amazing half hour, including a moment with a farm team fellow player who recalled how he bet Dalkowski $5 he couldn’t throw from home plate over the outfield fence. No warm up, just one throw left Steve $5 richer.
And wouldn’t you know, it’s on YouTube….thanks, BK! Just watched the opening minute…looks terrific.
Top 3 songs for the week 10/23/65: #1 “Yesterday” (The Beatles…heard of them…) #2 “Treat Her Right” (Roy Head…love this one…) #3 “A Lover’s Concerto” (The Toys)…and…#4 “Get Off Of My Cloud” (The Rolling Stones) #5 “Keep On Dancing” (The Gentrys) #6 “Hang On Sloopy” (The McCoys) #7 “Just A Little Bit Better” (Herman’s Hermits) #8 “Everybody Loves A Clown” (Gary Lewis and The Playboys) #9 “Positively 4th Street” (Bob Dylan) #10 “You’re The One” (The Vogues… A- week…)
World Series Quiz Answers: Series MVPs….
2016 – Ben Zobrist, Cubs
2015 – Salvador Perez, Royals
2006 – David Eckstein, Cardinals
2005 – Jermaine Dye, White Sox
1986 – Ray Knight, Mets
Next Bar Chat, Monday.
Enjoy the World Series!