flwyd: (Vigelandsparken heels over head)
For the first time since I've followed baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals are world champions.

The whole post season was very dramatic for the redbirds. Underdogs the whole way, the stars were not the big names. Perennial sluggers Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds were hardly a factor at the plate while the big offensive weapons were Scott Rolen (most notable for Gold Glove awards), David Eckstein (shortstop MVP of all things), Yadier Molina (a catcher batting 7th), and So Taguchi, a part-time outfielder in for defense. Their starting pitchers were phenomenal. They were able to take advantage of Tiger mistakes at critical moments and recover from their own mistakes without too much damage. They played old-fashioned baseball where home runs are a surprise, defense is a premium, and the team which makes the most key bunts wins. They didn't dominate; they just won. Ty Cobb would be proud.

Smart money before the playoffs was on a New York subway series. A Mets/Yankees series also would have been exciting, averaging three or four homers per game. But I can watch sluggers any day at Coors Field. Given the choice, I'll take the on-edge excitement of a series where errors on the pitcher lead to more runs than shots out of the park.

Go Cards!

Go Cards!

Friday, October 20th, 2006 03:45 am
flwyd: (baby stare)
Baseball has everything.

It's got precise placement. It's got discrete states.

Minute movements make all the difference. The pieces have infinite possible paths.

It's got foregone conclusions. It's got decisive victories.

Anything can happen, even at the last moment. A good game isn't decided until it's over.

It's got dominant players. It's got people you can write off.

Pujols got one RBI in the series. Molina hit two homers.

It's a game with perfect information. It's a game of numbers.

There are lots of surprises. The most likely outcome doesn't always happen.

In an era when football, basketball, and hockey are all dominated by a particular ethnic group and about two body types, baseball's got a lot of physical diversity. Small and quick shortstops, big bulky first basemen, and everything in between. Carribeanos, Central Americans, Venezuelans and Columbians, black guys, white guys, and a growing number of Asians well represent the legacy of Number 42. After a hundred and fifty years, nobody's found the one ultimate pitching style.

21 years ago I was a six-year-old very interested in baseball birds. The Blue Jays faced the Royals in the ALCS while the Cardinals faced off against the Dodgers. I rooted for the winged teams and decided if they both made the World Series I wouldn't care who won. As fate would have it, the Royals won and went on to defeat the Cards in seven games, but I became a St. Louis fan for life. Could be worse, I could be hoping for the Rockies to win it all...
flwyd: (smoochie sunset)
In an interesting example of storytelling, NBC likes to build up major Olympic hype and then do a story at the end about how events didn't live up to the hype.

The Americans have never been strong in Alpine skiing, but NBC commentators were prognosticating that Bode Miller had a chance win all five events. And then to prove them wrong he proceeded to only finish two races. To his credit, Bode didn't make as big of a deal out of it as the network. He frankly said that he's out to ski his hardest and have fun and that sometimes that gets a little sloppy.

For the last two Games, the American media has given the impression that short track speed skating is a sport invented to showcase a cute young American. The little logo would pop up in the bottom corner of the screen saying "Apollo Anton Ohno, coming up in 13 minutes." Does nobody else like to watch two Koreans and two Chinese skate as much as two Koreans, an American, and a Chinese? Fortunately Ohno is humble in defeat and gracious in victory. His "monastic life at the Olympic training center" has helped give him a Zen-like mindset that fits well with the sport.

On the flip side, Chad Hedrick could learn a thing or two about humility. Statements like "I didn't come here to win bronze, I came here for the gold" displays a lack of understanding of the Olympic spirit. Olympic Bronze is a great honor for a person and a country, and an amazing accomplishment for someone who picked up the sport three years ago.

Daily Words 2/23/6

Saturday, March 4th, 2006 09:46 am
flwyd: (cartoon abi-station.com/illustmaker)
After watching two weeks of the Olympics I find that I walk down the hall to the bathroom in strides that push my legs from side to side. When I round the corner I lean to the side. However, I'm not going 30 mph, so my hand doesn't reach the ice.
flwyd: (spam lite)
By playing disco and '80s American pop during the opening ceremony, the Italians are demonstrating that they love the international tradition of prominently displaying the worst American exports.
flwyd: (black titan)
The sign of a great football team is making a championship-winning drive look just like a first quarter score in October.
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