Sawx in Six; Baseball Over
November 4, 2013

I only attended one Dodger game this season. It was a Sunday night. National television. Possibly even a World Series preview involving two teams that made a mega-trade with each other the year before. The Los Angeles Dodgers against the Boston Red Sox.

By then, the Dodgers had ended their incredible 42-8 run. They had a commanding lead in the National League West, and were facing one of the only teams on the schedule for the remainder of the year with a winning record. They also had bottom-of-the-rotation starter Chris Capuano on the hill that night. It seemed quite possible that the Dodgers would lose, and they did.

No bad feelings against the Boys from Beantown, though. Former Padre and Dodger-killer Jake Peavy got the win, and only allowed three hits. If the Dodgers did get to the World Series, they certainly wouldn't have Capuano on the mound, and if somehow that did happen, Capuano-Peavy might be the pitching matchup for Game Four, and considering Kershaw and Greinke, maybe the Dodgers would be up two games to one.

The Dodgers didn't get to the World Series of course, but not having any way of knowing at the time, the Red Sox did provide a little bit of a prelude to the Fall Classic. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Shane Victorino homered for the Red Sox off Chris Withrow, and Mike Napoli hit a shot off of Brandon League that still may be on its way to the International Space Station. The only thing missing was Big Papi. Because it was an interleague game in a National League park, the Red Sox chose to play Napoli at first base instead of using David Ortiz like they did in the Series in St. Louis. Ortiz batted .733 (11-for-15) in the first five games against the Cardinals, while the rest of his team hit .144.

Sure, the Dodgers got pushed aside by the Cardinals and didn't get to face Boston in the World Series, but even though I only got to see one Dodger game in person this year, I can say I got to see them play the Champs.

A nice respite: I'm ready for a nice off-season, not caring about the NBA or who wins the Super Bowl, but I'll be ready for baseball in March, when the Dodgers open the regular season in Australia against the Arizona Diamondbacks—138 days from now.

McCarv(er)ed in stone: Sure, he has a tendency to point out the obvious sometimes, but it will be difficult to watch a World Series without Tim McCarver in the broadcast booth. McCarver did 23 World Series, the last 18 with Joe Buck on Fox. His farewell piece on Fox was nice, but I was hoping to hear more personal anecdotes. McCarver lives in Napa, and reportedly isn't ready to completely leave the business yet, so maybe he'll pop up somewhere in the next year or two. By the way, his first World Series as a player was in 1964—the year I was born.

Nothing But Ambivalence: My feelings toward the professional basketball season, which tipped off Tuesday night. I listened to the Laker-Clipper game, having it on TV while I was lying down in my bedroom. I did get up a couple of times to see who some of those guys were, but otherwise I don't really care. I didn't know Xavier (that's zah-vee-A) Henry was a Laker, and I didn't remember that J.J. Reddick was a Clipper. Oh well.

It's not a precaution: Media, and sports media in particular, have several phrases that they throw around that have become meaningless. One phrase that has got to go is when someone is taken to the hospital “as a precaution”, or “for precautionary reasons.” Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak collapsed on the sidelines of Sunday night's game against Indianapolis, and was rushed to a local hospital. Team officials used that phrase, which NBC reiterated. The Texans public relations department insisted that Kubiak did not suffer a heart attack (they aren't doctors, but that's good news if true), but the reason he was taken to the hospital was because they didn't know what happened to him. Look, the dude collapsed on the field. You better to take him to the hospital. That's not a precaution, that's what is supposed to be done.

And while we're at it: The word 'bullying' keeps coming up in the bizarre story unfolding in the NFL and the Miami Dolphins, with two grown 300-plus pound men in the center. Established veteran lineman Richie Incognito has been suspended indefinitely after reportedly sending racists voice messages and tweets to second-year player Jonathan Martin. Martin left the team and filed a complaint. This is clearly harassment and misconduct on Incognito's part (and possibly others) but we should be careful about using the word 'bully' or 'bullying'. That's a serious social issue involving children who can't defend themselves, which can lead to serious mental health issues and even suicide.

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