October 28, 2002

Eric Neel, on Game 7: Hi ev...

Eric Neel, on Game 7: Hi everyone! I'm higher than Nick Noltsful World Series here before getting back to work, but first I recommend you read Eric Neel's column about Game 7. I especially liked the way he described Eckstein's first-inning baserunning goof ("so much lucky-dog enthusiasm short-circuiting his brain"), and Frankie Rodriguez's physique ("his arms hung like rubber-bands before his windup"). Also, I'm pleased he saw the humor in the Thunderstix Assault in right field, which my Angels-loving family, for one, just cackled and cackled at. Oh, man!

Posted by at October 28, 2002 04:21 PM

Matt, you and Neel almost make baseball sound... interesting!

(Not that one. Where is he?)

Posted by: Ken at October 28, 2002 05:09 PM

Thanks, Ken! The other Ken is alive and well, last I saw (Friday). I can't speak on his behalf, but I imagine he will write something on his website just as soon as the mood strikes. Which could be tonight, or next year.

Posted by: Matt Welch at October 28, 2002 06:18 PM

Welcome to the club. Now we all have to pull for Texas and Seattle. The A. L. West needs to rule.

ps- 1. Dusty should have walked Glaus when he had an open base, before Glaus hit that two-run double in game six. 2. Dusty should not have handed the game ball to Ortiz when taking him out in the 7th of game six. 3. A common line from Giant's fans after it all: "Get rid of the daycare center and manage the game." 4. Reaction from the local sports media: predictable defense of the children. 5. Christie kicked Fox's butt, twice (by the testimony of a Lakers employee on the scene as well). 6. Kobi is too good a person to be on that evil team. He doesn't fit in. 7. Basically, the Giants lost because they couldn't hit a triple-A pitcher. 8. Lackey will be in Salt Lake City by July of next year. 9. Matt Welch won't respond to this comment (because he's 'suspicious'). 10. Glaus' friend Eric Byrnes is a scary dude. 11. The franchise 'culture' of the San Francisco Giants is the most asinine in all of baseball. 12. The Angels won't repeat.

Posted by: A's fan at October 28, 2002 09:08 PM

i HOPE you weren't higher than nick nolte -- reports had him flying on roofies.

Posted by: dan truly at October 28, 2002 09:27 PM

Truly -- I'm so high, I don't even know what roofies *are*!

A's fan -- Baiting will get you nowhere. I don't think the Angels will repeat, necessarily (your ballclub, for one, may be scarier), but we've got a few reasons for optimism: 1) No one on offense really had a career year; Anderson was only slightly better than before, Kennedy & Eckstein kept progressing (and A.K. especially will progress more), Spiezio played well but reasonably so; Glaus & Erstad & Molina were way off previous levels, though I don't expect Bengie or Darin to come close to 2000 ever again. 2) The rotation should presumably be better, with Lackey up and running for a full year (and yes, he will be very good), and Mickey Calloway ready to take over for whichever one of Appier/Sele is too hurt/old. 3) Frankie for a full year. 4) Alex Ochoa replacing Orlando No-Homero as the fourth outfielder....

But much could go wrong, obviously.

I didn't see any of the Fox/Christie bidness. We did a good deal of uncharacteristic popping off in the off-season; I guess it's this year's motivational gimmick.

* I agree with the daycare stuff. Too much kissing of young boys at home plate. Not enough kissing of David Eckstein, in general.

* I will be you or anyone $100 right now that the Angels will finish with a better record next year than the Giants. They're way old, they have a fractured clubhouse that will soon lose its glue, one of the two superstars they over-rely on is likely heading out, and I don't see a single offensive player, besides maybe Aurillia, who you could reasonably expect to do better next year. I predict a third-place finish; worse if Kent signs with the Rockies in a last-ditch attempt to hit 74 homers.

Posted by: Matt Welch at October 28, 2002 09:46 PM

Yeah, they could repeat. Baseball, with the new post season round (one, obviously, added to the other two) has become like the NBA. There are first round teams (unfortunately my Athletics the last three years), and there are, obviously, teams that break that barrier. The Angels now are one of those teams that are not first-round-loser-wimps, so, theoretically, if they can just get into the post-season (not a long-shot) they will be a good bet to do something... Scioscia's got a major career in front of him too (on spelling Scioscia just think scio-scia). Make Mickey Hatcher go away though. (I half expected to see Lasorda bounding onto the field, arms held high...)

This line: "Not enough kissing of David Eckstein, in general." I didn't grasp. In the daycare center context or any context I don't grasp. I have no sexual orientation hang-ups (and for the record I vaguely recall you're married to some French blogger with a female name), but any intended meaning in that line escapes me. Maybe you are referring to a 'brush back pitch' the Giants should have thrown him, but that's a stretch on my part to find meaning. Maybe you're high.

pps- My team can win 100 games as an average season's performance. Something about elite starting pitching (which, unfortunately, seems to work against teams in the playoff [see 'Braves']...

Posted by: A's fan at October 28, 2002 10:45 PM

A's pal -- You see Randy Velarde's comments? About how the A's spend too much time walking from station to station and waiting for the three-run homer, instead of forcing the the action with a bunch of first-to-thirding & whatnot? I have half a mind that this might be a reasonable conclusion, especially in the playoffs, but as far as I know there has been zilcho evidence to support it....

Posted by: Matt Welch at October 28, 2002 11:52 PM

I didn't see those remarks, but Velarde is a wise old man, and the A's are definitely in the feast or famine mode offensively (and they have no speed, generally speaking). One of the best things I read during the playoffs this year was (and I forget who said it): winning in the playoffs involves being able to get a runner to third without having to hit a triple (probably Mickey Hatcher said it).

On another point, anybody who thinks this is a trivial subject... It all affects history and the deep memory and histories of actual people and entire regions... That may sound ridiculous, but you can't know how bad the Giants (and their fans) felt - and feel - that they have come up short once again, and now face that huge mountain once again. Actually, immediately after the loss the local Giants announcers (who are former Giants and hardcore emotionally-attached fans) used the fact that they saw the Angels as a team that was sort of a mirror of them, so it wasn't THAT horrible, meaning it wasn't as bad as if they'd lost to the Yankees or some team that doesn't historically need another WSChampionship in their pocket. They respect the Angels and it sort of lightened their woe that at least the Angels got the trophy...they also said the Angels were the better team, but just barely... Game six wasn't a choke (it didn't have that feel in retrospect) it was just one of those Yankees style (Girardi in Atlanta, Brosuis, Jeter in pick your post season) take-the-victory moments...

There's actually nothing more enjoyable than following a team that is currently in peak form. I'm right now looking forward to the Kings season probably like Angel's fans are looking forward to next year... It's like 82 great original movies are about to play in quick succession... (not to mention potential playoff games)... Great entertainment...

Posted by: A's fan at October 29, 2002 12:41 AM

"...nothing more enjoyable..." --- did I say that...? PLAYing the game would be more enjoyable... Yeah, that's what I was thinking...

Posted by: A's fan at October 29, 2002 12:49 AM
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