Monday, October 25, 2010

Hey, big spender ... and other World Series musings

I've got a lot of disconnected thoughts about the upcoming World Series, so I thought I'd throw a few of them together here.

But these aren't all of my Series thoughts. I have at least two other posts prepared concerning the Rangers v. Giants. Fortunately, Major League Baseball isn't in any kind of hurry to get the World Series started, so I can get all the posts finished before the thing starts. (Here's a plus for you, Fox. You may not have gotten New York vs. Philadelphia, but at least it's not going to snow on your broadcast).

First off, even though I am a Giants hater and I want that team to die an ugly four-game death while clueless San Francisco fans puzzle over how Aubrey Huff couldn't lead them to a championship, I am enormously pleased about this matchup in one aspect.

It kills the notion that money can buy a title. Money can buy a title sometimes. But not all the time. Yet, people are always ragging on baseball because teams like the Yankees and ... well, hell, no other team is even in the same spending league as the Yankees ... throw unspeakable amounts of money at players and mourn how no one else is ever going to win a title.

Well, Rays fans, your team has managed to get the best of the Yankees two out of the last three years. And, if I remember correctly, middle-market teams like the White Sox and Cardinals have won Series titles recently. The Rockies got to the Series three years ago. The Rays two years ago. The Marlins won the whole thing in '03. The Angels and Giants played in '02.

So, yes, there is inequity and some things need to be adjusted, but I'm getting sick of the Chicken Little shit. Rangers and Giants, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your accomplishment. You have shown that money is part of the equation, but talent and the ability to perform as a team are just as important. Once again, don't confuse this sport with basketball. One multi-talented, filthy rich player isn't going to win the thing for their team every time. Not in baseball.

The Phillies are starting to get like the Yankees in the player acquisition category, so maybe this will be a lesson to them, too. Roy Halladay can't play every day. And he can't hit either.

This Series will also provide a wider audience for players on teams that I rarely get to see. Buster Posey has been a mild eye-opener for me, even as I'm tired of Buck and McCarver fawning over him already. There are other players, like Neftali Feliz, who are a joy to watch just because I NEVER get to see those players during the regular season.

Lastly, this matchup shuts out the two most obnoxious groups of baseball fans in the country. A lot of ill-behaved Yankees and Phillies fans may be satisfied with their behavior, but really it's nothing to write home about. (And another thing -- get the fans away the field of play. You want replay to determine whether a fan interfered with the ball? How about just making it so they can't interfere with the ball? Problem solved, geniuses).

So, thank goodness, those slobbering jerks aren't involved.  (Yes, I'm aware there are jerks in every ballpark, it just seems that N.Y. and Philly are so proud of their jerks).

As annoying as the other end of the spectrum is -- clueless pom-pon and hanky waving by people who don't even know what a balk is -- I can deal with that.

OK, enough crabbing, here are some of the things that I find interesting about the Series. Maybe Fox can use some of this stuff to attract some viewers.

I'm sure you probably saw this story already, But Bengie Molina may be the most fortunate player in the entire Series. He's going to get a World Series ring no matter what. He played for both the Giants and Rangers this year.

Molina is one of those players who interests me every year at this time. As I have mentioned each year since the blog started, I like to find out which players were traded away from teams within a year before that team won the World Series.

I always feel sorry for these players since they were so close to a title only to lose out. Here is the list that I have compiled since 1988 (one day I'll go back further in Series history):

1988 Dodgers: Pedro Guerrero
1989 A's: Greg Cadaret, Eric Plunk, Luis Polonia
1990 Reds: John Franco, Ron Robinson
1991 Twins: none
1992 Blue Jays: Jeff Kent, Rob Ducey, Greg Myers
1993 Blue Jays: Kelly Gruber, Darrin Jackson
1995 Braves: Tony Tarasco, Roberto Kelly
1996 Yankees: Sterling Hitckcock, Bob Wickman, Gerald Williams, Ruben Sierra
1997 Marlins: Dustin Hermanson, Joe Orsulak
1998 Yankees: Kenny Rogers
1999 Yankees: David Wells, Graeme Lloyd
2000 Yankees: Chad Curtis, Jim Leyritz, Hideki Irabu
2001 Diamondbacks: none
2002 Angels: Jorge Fabregas
2003 Marlins: Charles Johnson, Preston Wilson
2004 Red Sox: Brandon Lyon, Casey Fossum, Nomar Garciaparra
2005 White Sox: Carlos Lee
2006 Cardinals: Hector Luna
2007 Red Sox: David Murphy, Kason Gabbard
008 Phillies: Michael Bourn
2009 Yankees: Wilson Betemit

Once again, I don't consider players who were released or signed as free agents because that just doesn't seem as tragic. So even though Andruw Jones and Marlon Byrd were Rangers last year, and Randy Winn was a Giant last year, they're not part of this club because they all left via free agency.

Here are the legitimate candidates as of now:

Poor Kevin Millwood. He always seems to just miss out on a Series title. He played for the Braves not long after they won in 1995. Then he was with the Phillies a few years before they won in 2008. Now, it's the Rangers. He was traded to the Orioles for Chris Ray and a minor leaguer on Dec. 9 of last year.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia was with Texas for part of this season, which means he'll probably get a ring if the Rangers win the Series. He was traded to the Red Sox in a deadline deal on July 31.

For the Giants, it's outfielder Fred Lewis. He was with San Francisco for four years and the team didn't do squat. Then he got traded to Toronto in April of this year and the Giants go to the Series.

There might be one or two other players. Once a Series champion is determined, I'll solidify the 2010 entries to a list no one wants to join.

But what about this guy? Omar Vizquel played for BOTH the Giants and the Rangers in the last three years. They were his two most recent teams before signing with the White Sox as a free agent prior to the 2010 season. Vizquel played in two World Series with the Indians, but I'm wondering if he's kicking himself a little this time.

OK, I have a lot of other stuff, including the Dodgers connections in this Series, and who I want to win the Series (hmmmm, take a wild guess). But I'll save it for later.

Just one more thing.

This is a checklist from the 1995 Score set:

There you see some very 1990s Rangers listed.

This is the reverse side of that checklist:

Score predicted the 2010 World Series 15 years ago!

I'm impressed.


  1. The Reds have been celebrating the 1990 World Series all year. There was a game in which they had a number of the players from that team appear and speak, and Ron Robinson was among them (he was traded in June '90). He cracked that he was a big part of the win, because if it weren't for him, the Reds wouldn't have gotten Glenn Braggs.

  2. Great points. Sometimes a championship can be bought.M ost of the time it takes a good GM,one who has good scouts and a great knowledge of the game, not one with a bunch of blank checks.

    One of the things I like about the playoffs is seeing teams and players I don't usually see during the regular season. I got my first glimpse of Neftali Feliz in the NLCS. This kid is definitely a stud.

  3. I love all this Ranger talk. I really do!

  4. Rooting for the Rangers even though they beat my pocket heavy Yankees (running out of ways to say the Yankees spend a lot on payroll).

  5. That checklist is awesome! Nice write up.

  6. Chris Ray of the Giants should be getting a ring as well, since he was part of the Molina trade earlier this season.