Random Thoughts About the World Series (and other stuff)
October 24, 2011

I know there are baseball fans out there, but World Series ratings are way down. Games one and two were both decided by one run. Yes game three was a blowout, but Albert Pujols became only the third player (Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson) to homer three times in a Fall Classic Game. Derek Holland pitched a gem for Texas in Game Four, and the Rangers just pulled out a dramatic win in game five. According to Nielsen, game one drew 14.2 million viewers—the second smallest ever for a World Series opener (2006 Tigers-Cardinals). Game two was bad, game three was worse (the second worst of all time), but game four was better. One TV executive did note in an online report that Fox won all four nights against the other networks. Fox has two more years remaining on their current television contract with Major League Baseball.

It's too bad Derek Holland couldn't complete the two-hit shutout in Game Four, but at least Texas Manager Ron Washington let him start the ninth. I was getting upset watching Neftali Feliz warm up in the eighth, especially since Rangers President and all-time strikeout king Nolan Ryan had said earlier that he wanted his team to get away from pitch counts.

Tonight's visit with Holland may be the best in-game player interview ever. Holland even did play-by-play for a couple of pitches while impersonating Harry Caray, and went to break as Arnold Schwarzenegger. You gotta love those crazy lefties.

I seem to remember Washington as a Dodger shortstop, either in spring training or as a September call-up. I looked it up and I was right. He made his major league debut with Los Angeles in 1977 at the age of 25. He only played 10 games but batted .368 (7-for-19). He landed back in the minors the following season, but was back in the bigs with Minnesota in 1981. He played six seasons with the Twins before a year each with the Orioles, Indians, and Astros.

Its fun to watch Washington manage. Maybe he should be his own third base coach so he can wave runners in and do his jogging in place on the field. Maybe if I practice, I could do “The Wash” at my cousin Andy's wedding next month.

It's been pointed out that Rangers game one and game five starter C.J. Wilson has become the first in MLB history to lose an All-Star game, League Division Series game, League Championship Game, and World Series game in the same season. Like an NBA coach that has over a thousand losses, you have to be pretty good just to put yourself in that situation.

I hate to say it, because he's a player you like to dislike, but A.J. Pierzynski has done a good job as the guest studio analyst.

It was starting to seem that Fox and its shameless self-promotion had abated somewhat, but that was before Game Four. Zooey Deschanel, star of the new series New Girl, sang the national anthem, followed later by a shot of her with some of the Glee cast members (a good shot in about the sixth inning of their empty seats). The latest American Idol winner sang the anthem before Game One, but we've all come to expect that. The other national anthems have been great, especially Trace Adkins before Game Two. Can I have his voice for Christmas?

Major League Baseball escaped a public relations nightmare by allowing Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Game Three in Arlington. According to reports, Nowitzki, who is from Germany, was banned at first because Baseball said he didn't have enough “worldwide appeal”. MLB relented after media and Texas fans saw through the charade as an attempt to show some sort of solidarity with the owners in the NBA lockout.

One good thing about the earlier start to the baseball season and subsequently an earlier playoffs—Fox's The Simpsons annual “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween show is actually on Halloween weekend this year instead of uh, like, November 7.

McCarver moments: Worst (but funniest)—Joe Buck was talking about Cardinals pitcher Marc Rzepcynski's nickname, which is “scrabble” because of all the letters. Rzepcynski was pitching well, which prompted McCarver to say, “I can think of a five-letter word right now: S-T-R-I-K-E.” Uh, that's six letters, Tim. McCarver corrected himself after the break. Best—Buck in Game Three when Albert Pujols hit three home runs, “He's hot right now.” McCarver, “He's been hot for eleven years.”

He's not THAT bad: There actually is a, filled with quotes sent in from viewers around the country. It doesn't look the site has been updated in a few years, though.

Best Observation: I believe McCarver gets credit for this as well. He noticed Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa always takes his glasses off before making a pitching change.

Other sports: On the day that Carson Palmer was dealt to the Raiders, it was the other trade in the NFL on Wednesday that is one of the most incredible sports stories of the year. The Detroit Lions sent running back Jerome Harrison to the Philadelphia Eagles, but the deal was voided when a routine physical revealed a brain tumor. That physical may have voided the trade, but it also may have saved Harrison's life.

There's been so much talk over the past few years (not as much lately fortunately) about the length of baseball games, when it's college football that has a problem. Thursday's UCLA debacle at Arizona took 3 hours and 45 minutes.

It's too bad the NHL Center Ice free preview is during the baseball playoffs or I would've watched more hockey. I did see the Los Angeles Kings home opener against the St. Louis Blues, though. It was good to hear Bob Miller's voice again.

No one cares but me: I was in two fantasy baseball leagues this year and I won them both. My first championship in either league with different players and very different formats. Fantasy year, good. Reality year? Maybe not quite so much.

Nothing to do with anything: My quick trip south last weekend also included my first ever visit to the Hollywood Bowl and President Clinton's “Decade of Difference” concert. I had cheap seats but it was a great show with headliners Usher, Lady Gaga, and Bono and The Edge (I can't remember the last concert I'd been to). My question is this—now that I've seen Lady Gaga perform live (she rocked the house by the way), does that officially make me one of her “little monsters”?

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