criticisms nOtwithstanding

Posted in diaspOra, octOber, schadenfrOide on October 11th, 2012 by The Wayward O

Let’s not get into too much detail about what happened on field last night in Cave of Doom.


Ye Who Enter Here

Should Jim Johnson be doing better? Eh. That’s a short porch out there in right field. Ryan Flaherty found it too. Should Derek Jeter have been punched prior to RBI triple? Maybe. Should Adam Jones have taken better route? Yeahp.


Pre-game huddle

But overall — valueless hyper-critical criticisms notwithstanding — Team played great. And Team came away with unlucky loss. It’s not over and, knowing this delightful vintage, they will be back tonight with best effort.


This guy!

Overall there was little or no tension in Stadium between Fans of Team and fans of free agent mercenary former All-Stars. At times, as Miguel Gonzalez worked through Yankee lineup like a half-rack of ribs, stadium was very quiet.

“It’s a library in here,” guy in front of Blog of Team metaphor’d at one point.

There were more than a few Orioles fans about — including this fella in right field,* Cal Ripken Jr. jersey flaps akimbo, incurring ire of hundreds of upper-deckers with anti-Yankee taunts and ultimately winning free police escort to train station.

But, those Yankee fans who were not provoked were very cool and polite, and there’s a ton of security in new digs.

So come on up for your punch in the guts!

*last night Blog erroneously said on Twitter it was left field so. So correction!

shOrten up

Posted in adam jOnes, octOber, wOe is me on October 8th, 2012 by The Wayward O

Tough loss.

Didn’t like Adam Jones’s inability to move up J.J. Hardy in eighth inning. Jonesie, presumably, doesn’t get bunt sign ever. Which is arguably OK. But he didn’t shorten up and try to hit ball to right side either. He was just hacking away at balls outside of zone. Bad at-bat. No two ways about it.

Plating Hardy in eighth would have changed complexion in ninth, for sure, and key to that would have been moving James Jerry up with nobody out.

With game tied in ninth, Blog didn’t love decision to bring in Jim Johnson. It would have been better either to move to Tommy Hunter or let Brian Matusz — or somebody else — try to grind out some outs.

Even if it was wrong move, however, Johnson should have been better. He served up home run ball to Russell Martin on very hittable mistake pitch after initially appearing to have trouble finding strike zone. And he seemed to unravel from there. Not a good outing at all.

Rest of game was a tense and entertaining affair.

Maybe a little adversity will be good for ‘em. Certainly Andy Pettitte is no C.C. Sabathia. Hats off, too, to Jason Hammel for a great start and to some guys including Matt Wieters, Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis for some great defense.

incremental victOries

Posted in baltimOre, buck shOwalter, octOber on October 6th, 2012 by The Wayward O

When it came down to crunch time, Team played small ball. And Team played it well!

They were up 2-1 in 7th when Ryan Flaherty, who had fallen victim earlier to a low Yu Darvish breaking ball, appeared to learn from his mistake, fouling off that same pitch to stay alive and, ulimately, winning battle by punching breaking ball on outside corner into left field.

Flaherty pulled up at first, got fist bump from Wayne Kirby, and Darvish — who exhibited strange behavior with phantom injury in sixth inning — retrieved ball from outfield and pointed to chest as if to say “Yeah. He got me.”


The battle that won the war? TBS via MLB.com

In humble opinion of Blog, it was key moment in entire game full of incremental victories offensively for Team. It helped Buck as he sought to take control of game, starting with Buck’s move to put Robert Andino on first as pinch runner and accruing additional returns from there…

Andino took third on Derek Holland’s wild pitch. Blog thought at time “Flaherty probably doesn’t take third on that play.” It’s hard to know whether he would have — but, hey, Andino did.

Then Andino scored as Big Game Nate McLouth smacked a clutch single.

Adding that run at that moment was an immeasurable boost for Team and its chances.

Even a bullpen that had been stellar all year had to love seeing its margin for error doubled. Adding that run likely also made Buck far more comfortable sticking with Darren O’Day, one of game’s great heroes, who grinded through six of game’s most crucial outs.

Buck’s reliance on O’Day then set up Brian Matusz’ three-pitch humbling of Josh Hamilton, likely ending strange Hamilton Era in Lone Star State. After all Matusz has been through, and class he has shown, that has to have been moment (on national stage no less) to remember forever.


Big spot. TBS via MLB.com

Then it was tack-on time in ninth. When Jim Thome walked with nobody out, every person in entire world — even in INDONESIA as Adam Jones might say — figured on pinch runner.

But not Mr. Buck. He left matter in Andino’s hands and Robert, just as his counterpart Flaherty had done earlier, keyed inning with a hit in a big spot. Dino’s double moved Jimmer to third and credibly allowed Buck, with one out at that juncture, to pinch run for Thome.

Fans of Team have seen Jimmer get thrown out at home in at least one sac fly situation and move made perfect sense. Manny Machado’s single then scored pinch runner Lew Ford.

Buck’s moves from sixth through ninth encapsulated genius we’ve seen from him all year; he rarely makes moves simply because they’re obvious; instead he relies on years of thought to guide him. His moves often yield positive results that defy immediate measurement.


Bruisers. Image via MLB.com

“With our team, it’s just a bunch of guys that raised the bar, and wouldn’t give in, and still haven’t,” Buck told camera crews after game.

Maybe, but with power bats of Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Jim Thome and Mark Reynolds going a collective 2 for 17 with one walk and one sac fly between them, Buck did some bar-raising of his own.

their hOme field

Posted in 2012 predictiOns, octOber on October 4th, 2012 by The Wayward O

Birdland to edge of panic! Bud Selig’s hostage situation ends! Details are clear regarding playoff picture and

ORIOLES AND RANGERS
WOULD HAVE PLAYED
ELIMINATION GAME ANYWAY

That’s right friends: They would have played a game 163 under last year’s rules, since they each finished with 93 wins. Technically it would not have been PLAYOFF GAME under previous rules, however, and Blog of Team could not have posted cool bunting.

Anyway! Thanks Bud for making us all freak out for last week or so. Also thanks for, you know, NOT GIVING US ANY TIME TO PLAN ANYTHING! Good work Bud. No doubt all of your Yes Men are clapping you on back! Nice work.

Nevermind! Off to Texas!


Stars at night, big and bright!
MASN & Team head for Lone Star State

Joe Saunders gets start, which is safe choice, sort of. In Blog’s humble opinion, Jason Hammel could have taken ball. But Blog doesn’t know “inside details” and whatnot plus, um, Buck Showalter.

Lots of right-handed power in Ranger lineup though. Lots. Joey S. will have to be marvelous.

But Blog didn’t come here today to blather on about game, which essentially will be coin toss with small edge to Rangers on their home field. Nope. Blog came here today to GRADE BLOG’s PRESEASON PREDICTIONS. Blog is very excited about this because Blog was ridiculously prescient this year.

NL West: Blog saw Giants “cruising to playoff berth in a sort of weak division.” Check. Only real burp was putting D’Backs and Rockies ahead of Dodgers. None of ‘em made playoffs. Silly Blog thought D’Backs would be in Wild Card mix. Grade: B+

NL Central: Reds, Cards, Brewers, Pirates, Cubs, Astros was prediction. Reds, Cards, Brewers, Pirates, Cubs, Astros was order of finish. Perfecto! Six for freakin’ six. Grade A+

NL East: Not only did Blog pick Nats but unlike vast majority of prognosticators, Blog confidently said “Nats are ready. Nats are headed for October.” Blog undersold Braves, however, slotting them behind Phillies and Marlins but allowing all of those teams to be in contention. Grade: A-

AL West: Blog always bolloxes up this division. Blog saw Angels finishing ahead of Texas and As bringing up rear. Angels underperformed, Rangers blew it and As finished first. But grading this on curve because NOBODY picked As! Nobody! Grade: C-

AL Central: Blog picked Tigers first, White Sox second. Didn’t get exact order of finish for also-rans correctly but, eh, who cares? Grade: A-

AL East: Prior to Evan Longoria injury, mind you, Blog said “No idea but if you put gun to Blog’s head: Rays.” So wrong. But if you look at Game 162, and Rays’ record with and without Longo, you quickly realize Rays would likely have won division were it not for injury. Blog also had vague inkling division could be upended, refusing — or perhaps being unable — to pick order of finish. Grade: Incomplete (or A+ because Blog correctly predicted that Blog had no idea)

Overall: If you had bet all six division winners with Blog, you’d have won four of six. Factor in odds you’d have gotten and you’d have cleaned house. Grade: A-

it cannOt be taken away

Posted in octOber on September 30th, 2012 by The Wayward O

You can come out now, Wrapper, you’re in.


Image via MASN

What a crazy night! Adam “MVO” Jones going nuts on Twitter, plane making emergency landing in Jacksonville with, er, smoke wafting in galley?


Image via MLB.com

And, with Texas’ win over Anaheim, now it cannot be revoked and it cannot be taken away. TEAM IS GOING TO OCTOBER! Now go get division, fellas. Hopefully you won’t have to muck about in Wild Card mix.

ice cream Of future hits skids

Posted in 2011 predictiOns, octOber on November 5th, 2011 by The Wayward O

So Blog’s eighth-seeded playoff Team won World Series. Uncertainty! It rules MLB Postseason! It was fun post-season. Now that Tony LaRussa has hung up managing shoes, maybe he can join Randy Johnson, Keith Hernandez, etc. in Just for Men ad campaign.

But Blog has sadder news, this day. Apparently mean ol’ Regions Bank has decided IT’S NOT COOL that Dippin’ Dots owes it $11 million. As many readers may know, Blog has long been very pro-DDs and does indeed view them as ice cream of future.


Must credit WAYWARD O, Son!

Apparently, DD has figured out a way to keep operating in bankruptcy. Let’s have Christian Science Monitor take it from here:

Dippin’ Dots, which sells cryogenically frozen beads of ice cream, markets itself to stores, as well as a number of amusement parks across the country, theaters and malls.

And ballparks! Was there ever a better description? Anyway DD, best of luck squaring away your debt. Here’s to more chilled pellets for many “future” summers to come.

Blog was kind of avoiding this but here are grades for Blog’s 2K11 regular season predictions:

AL East: Blog incorrectly said Yankees wouldn’t finish in first. That was wrong. But Blog very accurately predicted an “epic pigpile with built-in playoff gravitas.” Not as bad as blog feared. B-

AL Central: Blog picked Tigers to end up in first along with Twins, who were horrible and finished last. But Twins’ injuries were brutal so that mitigates dumbness of prediction. Blog had Indians finishing last, instead they finished second. C+

AL West: Blog had Texas correctly “in playoff mix,” but saw Oakland with a surprise division win. Instead, Oakland was pretty bad. C

NL East: Blog had Phillies and Braves finishing one and two. Blog incorrectly had Marlins finishing ahead of Nats and Mets. Still a pretty good job though. Incidentally, great job by Nats! (Blog’s NL 2012 mascot team probably – sorry SF Giants) B+

NL Central: Blog had St. Louie in wild card, which was an accurate prediction. But Blog had Reds winning division and Brew Crew at pack middle. Blog also had Pirates in cellar (they had Garrett Atkins!) but Pittsburgh instead finished ahead of Cubs and Astros. C-

NL West: Blog had Giants correctly picked for second and Dodgers correctly slotted in third. But once again Blog saw Rockies coming in first and once again Colorado underperformed. Blog had no inkling of coming Diamondback success, very dumbly picking them for last place. C-

Overall: A very pedestrian showing. Lots of gentleman’s C’s and a couple bright spots. But no nails-on-head and no total flameouts, either. C Next year, Blog will try to do better.