Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NLCS Has It's Phil, again

Well it's over in the National League. The Philadelphia Phillies have repeated as NL champions and will get to defend their World Series Title. As NLCS MVP Ryan Howard described it, the Phillies used a total team effort to get past the Rockies and then the Dodgers. A good mix of offense, defense and pitching propelled the Phillies back into the World Series for the second straight season. The Phillies will now await their next challenge, probably the Yankees in an attempt to repeat as champions of baseball.

Tonight, Cole Hamels wasn't great, Vicente Padilla wasn't great, but the Phils offense was. Philadelphia led the NL in homers this season, and used 4 of them tonight to beat the Dodgers and win the series 4 games to 1.

Congratulations to Charlie Manuel and his team. Charlie is a great guy. I had the chance to meet him this year, thanks to one of the Phillies broadcasters Chris Wheeler. Charlie couldn't be a nicer human being. He wouldn't end our conversation. We chatted about everything from the weather in San Diego, to Tony Gwynn Jr's batting stance at home plate. Manuel is an old fashioned manager, in the respect that he gives his players the chance to just play. No micromanaging from him. He makes decisions from his gut, and believes in his players. If you don't believe me, just ask Brad Lidge. Manuel stuck with the struggling closer and Lidge has been a big part of the Phillies success this post-season.

ALCS...
John Lackey will be the last hope for the Angels, he'll start game 5 against AJ Burnett for the Yankees. New York has a 3-1 lead in the series. I can't see how the Yankees will blow a lead of this margin, they are just too good. It will certainly set up a good matchup of similarly built teams in the World Series if the Yanks can close things out.

Manager Joe Girardi revealed today, that Derek Jeter has been sick this entire series. Battling "a bug" as he put it. Just proves that Jeter is one of the guttiest players in baseball and is a true "captain" in every sense of the word. Alex Rodriguez will be named series MVP and how could he not? 5 homers in the post season, and 3 in the ALCS, it's a lock for A-Rod.

When I mentioned what a class guy Charlie Manuel was, ditto that for Yankees manager Joe Girardi. I got to know Joe very well as a catcher for the Chicago Cubs in his second tour of duty with the team. Girardi was a hard nosed player, and expected the most out of his teammates as well. I had the unique opportunity to interview Girardi after two tragic events in baseball, and in the US. He was gracious enough to grant a request when baseball resumed after the horrible events of September 11, 2001. Girardi was a voice of reason in that interview and I can remember the look in his eyes, it was a look of yes our country is wounded, but it's our job to give them a distraction. In essence he was saying, the game must go on to help heal the USA. Girardi also was kind enough to grant me some time after the Cubs/Cardinals game was cancelled in 2002 after the tragic death of Darryl Kile. The next night the two teams played and Girardi was my pre-game guest. He had to choke back tears several times during the interview. This is a man that understands life and understands what it is to be a major league baseball player and now a manager. I always appreciated his time and just being able to talk baseball with a guy like Joe Girardi.

If it is a match up of Phillies and Yankees, there will be two classy and deserving men at the helm of their respective teams.

Umps...I'm backed up!
Thankfully there were several other national media member to corroborate my thoughts on the horrible display of umpiring not only this post season but all year long. I'll refer you to an online article written by CBS Sportsline columnist Greg Doyel who agrees completely with me, that the umpiring has been atrocious! Thank you Greg!

Valentine again?
What is it about major league baseball GM's, hiring re-treds? I mean are the Indians seriously considering hiring Bobby Valentine? To me they should be looking for a new GM instead of a new manager. Mark Shapiro was the guy that in the last two years traded away an all star team of, CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Casey Blake, Ryan Garko and Victor Martinez. Casey Stengel himself couldn't have managed the Indians any better than Eric Wedge did. Wedge had nothing. Now Wedge is out of a job, and he may be replaced by Valentine. Wow, that's sad.

Senator Please...
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is continuing his crusade for a change to the BCS system. He wrote a letter to President Barrack Obama saying "Mr. President, as you have publicly stated on multiple occasions, the BCS system is in dire need of reform," as the Senator is calling for an antitrust probe of the BCS.

Again, while I agree that the NCAA should go to a college football playoff system, is this really the time for a Senator, who's home state school was dissed by the BCS, to spend even this much time on a problem so minute to our country? I ask the question.

Esteban OchoCinco?
There has been an interesting war of "tweets" going on this week between Chad Ochocinco and players on the Chicago Bears. On a conference call with the Chicago media today, Chad began the conversation by saying "hola" , that he was now Mexican and that his name was Esteban. Ok. He did have one hilarious "tweet", according to the Chicago Tribune Ochocinco told Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, that "I'll make Lance Briggs backpedal so much that his name will become Lance Armstrong". Good stuff. Could be an interesting game as the Bengals host the Bears this Sunday.

A Little Ice Time...
Just got back from a hockey game tonight. As I'm on vacation, I took in a Chicago Blackhawks game as they hosted the Vancouver Canucks. My brother and a friend of his attended and had a blast even though the home team lost 3-2. I know hockey isn't very popular in Southern California, but it's a great sport to view in person. HDTV has certainly helped in being able to watch a game and follow the puck on TV, but being there is awesome. Go to a Kings or Ducks game and check it out for yourself. Lots of fun too!

Alright, that's it for tonight...have a great one...

Andy


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