November Chumpservations, Part One: The World Series, arm strength and barbecue for breakfast

MLB 2009 PostseasonA-Rod redeemed: How to win a World Series in ten days

Okay… deep breath. Congratulations to the New York Yankees for knocking off the Phillies en route to their 27th World Series title. There… I said it. Now Red Sox hat placed firmly back on my head.

A particular congratulations to Alex Rodriguez who proved us all wrong by showing he could become part of a championship team. He hit .365 this post-season with 6 home runs and 18 RBI. Nice numbers if you can get ‘em.

The media’s been hard on A-Rod over the years but the golden boy is now having the last laugh. His 2009 Yankees were confident, relaxed and businesslike, even more so as the season progressed. They proved without a doubt they were the best team in the majors by out-hitting, out-pitching and out-fielding the Philadelphia Phillies.

Think back to spring training and all the A-Rod steroid controversy. He lied, then came clean, then came clean again (we think) about his drug use. But the Yankees united around him and the result was a champagne-filled clubhouse in their brand new stadium. While it was A-Rod’s, Mark Teixeira’s, AJ Burnett’s and CC Sabathia’s first title, it was Derek Jeter’s, Andy Pettitte’s, Mariano Rivera’s and Jorge Posada’s fifth. The heat is finally off Brian Cashman, the Yankees GM and person in charge of player personnel, at least for a season.

Even to the partial observer, watching the tears well up in Rodriguez’s eyes as he celebrated his first championship reminded us why we all played the game in the first place.

best-bicep-workout1Baseball’s arms race

What’s all this talk about arm strength, pitch count and short rest? Andy Pettitte has been a masterful in the post-season for New York but when Joe Girardi sent him out on three days rest, we canonized his efforts as if he were rescuing a baby from a burning building. In the opposing dugout, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel chose NOT to throw his ace, Cliff Lee, in Game Four on short rest.

Excuse me, but isn’t this the World Series? Sure, Lee was Philly’s workhorse when they picked him up in late July. He finished fifth in the league in innings pitched (231.2). But what’s one more outing with the season on the line?

As we all know, pitching in baseball has become specialized. We have middle relief, set-up men and closers. Complete games are a thing of the past. Managers are happy if their starters give them six strong innings. The last starting pitcher to throw 300 innings in single season was Steve Carlton in 1980. For the twenty years prior, whoever led the majors in innings pitched totaled at least that many. I guess the unemployment rate for middle relief pitchers is at an all-time low.

When discussing baseball’s most untouchable records, people are quick to mention Ripken’s consecutive games played (2632) and Joe Dimaggio’s hitting streak (56). But in this day and age, one record that will NEVER be broken is Cy Young’s 7354 career innings pitched. To put things in perspective, Randy Johnson is the league’s active leader in career innings pitched with 4135 IP. He’s 46 years old and has pitched for 22 seasons.

Cy Young also has 511 career wins, another record that will never be touched. No wonder they named an award after him.

pulled-pork-sandwich-1Pulled Pork: Not for breakfast anymore

I generally adhere to a strict “No Mexican food for breakfast” policy. Any time you start the day off with a sloppy burrito, it’s just not going to be a good day. Of course, this rule is void in Mexico where you don’t have a choice.

Well, I’ve recently added another cuisine to that creed. I had barbecue for breakfast the other morning, pulled pork. That’s never a good way to start a sentence… or a day.

I do my best to maintain a reasonably well-rounded diet. Well, I woke up late the other morning and was invited to dine with my folks. Although we were meeting for lunch, it was still my first meal of the day. They chose… barbecue. I hadn’t slept much the night before and I needed my caffeine fix. I would have preferred eggs and bacon, some toast and hash browns, but they were treating so I didn’t want to impose. Let’s just say that pulled pork and coffee is not part of a nutritious breakfast. I’ll spare you the details of the rest of my day.

Of course there is one exception to the ‘barbecue for breakfast’ rule, which is waking up late on a college football tailgating weekend. In that event, starting off your day with barbecue is perfectly acceptable.

I would suggest skipping the coffee, however, and going straight for the brewskis. It’s a much better mix.

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22 Replies to “November Chumpservations, Part One: The World Series, arm strength and barbecue for breakfast”

  1. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since a pitcher threw over 300 inings in a season. I would have thought that Nolan Ryan, Dave Stewart, or even Phil Niekro might have done it since then. But, no.

    BBQ will come back to haunt you when you go early. You’ve got to have that alcohol to cut the grease. Breaks it down like that dishwashing liquid commercial on TV. Did you at least make it out of the restaurant before you started rockin’ the house? LOL

  2. Han… I actually took excerpts of that ‘arm strength’ piece from a blog I wrote for Fox a while back.

    My buddy and I were down in Miami and checked out a Marlins game. Ricky Nolasco had gone eight strong and there was no reason to take him out of the game but yet they still did.

    It got us talking about complete games and how pitchers just don’t go the distance anymore.

    Look up the last time a pitcher had double digits in complete games on the season. Those numbers have fallen by the wayside considerably over the past 20-30 years.

    And yea, it wasn’t necessarily repeated bathroom trips that day. It was just a gassy, belchy type of afternoon. Coffee and bbq don’t even taste that good going down. They taste considerably worse coming back up.

  3. Chris

    Let’s see now what the Yankees’ll do as to their impending free agents ? Matsui ? Damon ? Pettite ? Who stays and who goes ?

    BBQ chicken , barbecue pork — hell barbecue anything just as long as it’s actually edible !

    Dropped this boxing piece as Britain now has another world heavyweight champion to follow in the footsteps of Lennox Lewis. It’s none other than David Haye , who went out and won a unanimous decision over the 7′ 0″ 356 lb East European Nikolai Valuev. Be sure to look at the pics as it does the disadvantage that Haye had. He was 100 lbs lighter and just under a foot shorter than Valuev. And he won the fight decisively with his speed ,lateral movement and punching power .

    Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder Oops We’ve Got Another Heavyweight Champion of The World ……

    Alan Parkins

  4. Well, it’s not like money’s an option, Al. I would probably do the right thing by Pettitte and offer him a rich, two-year deal and have him retire in pinstripes. In the choice between Damon and Matsui, I don’t see how they could side with Damon unless Matsui gets a ridiculous offer to return to Japan that the Yanks can’t match.

    Yeah, that barbecue thing I ate that day was in a taco shell with some salad. Bad choice on my part.

    I have yet to even read your Duncan piece, Al. I have some catching up to do. Y’know, it’s hard work being a slacker.

  5. How about dining on BBQ that is jammed in the fridge, and still warm from the music fest the day before?

  6. Was that barbecue or day old crawfish strewn all over the living room floor on newspaper?

    If that’s the case, I do believe we have a 20th anniversary coming up.


  7. Chris

    After Matsui’s performance in the World Series . I can’t see how the Yankees won’t choose to re-sign him. I’d say that it’s a given that he’ll return but then again I could be wrong. I hear that the Sox’s Jason Bay is said to be a free agent ? How can that be ?

    Alan Parkins

  8. Chris

    All in good time with regard to the catching up. I multi task at home as well as at work. Too much damn paperwork much of the time . And at the same time having to work within a time parameter just plays havoc all too often.

    Alan Parkins

  9. Chris

    So the Grizzlies have actually given AI a leave of absence for him to mull things over? They’re saying it’s a personal issue on his part. In other words he ain’t happy and he wants out.

    One knew that no good would come of this , as AI was expecting far too much from them. Now it looks like he’ll be bowing out with his tail in between his legs. He should’ve just called it quits to begin with ! Walking out under his own steam . Instead of being embarrassed into being on the threshold of quitting like this !

    Alan Parkins

  10. Well, I think they re-signed Victor Martinez and are looking to renegotiate with Varitek if not release him outright.

    The Sox may be looking to make a serious play. They’re going to need to if they want to compete in that division.

    I fully expect the Rays to get it together next year.

  11. I think it’s lose-lose for both parties in the Iverson case. He’s not happy. They’re not happy.

    Wilbon said the Cavs should take a shot at him. I’m not quite sure if that’s feasible but they’re not gonna win a title as is, so why not.

  12. Chris

    Sad story about Kareem don’t you think ? He’s been diagnosed with myeloid leukemia. It’s not life threatening but it can be debilitating as it saps you of your energy.

    Basketball Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Diagnosed With Cancer

    Former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, he announced Tuesday.

    Receiving the diagnosis last December, Abdul-Jabbar, 62, says he is currently undergoing treatment for the form of blood cancer, abbreviated CML, which involves checking his blood levels on a regular basis.

    While the 7-foot-2 NBA star will not disclose his prognosis, he confirms he is managing his disease, which “doesn’t impact my life too significantly.”

    As to AI , I certainly think that’s more of Wilbob wishing big , more than anything else. The Cavs haven’t really got that sort of money to spend. They owe Shaq $22.5 million for this year and LeBron is owed $15.1 million. Iverson’s salary for this year is in excess of $22.5 million. I doubt that they want to be hit with the luxury tax as it can’t be deferred as a payment back to the NBA.

    Alan Parkins

  13. That is some sad news about Kareem but I’m sure he’ll get the best of care and will be able to live with the disease.

    Al… isn’t the owner of the Cavs still Gund, a blind man? Maybe they’ll just put the checks on the table, have him sign them and not tell him how much they’re for.

    Or maybe Dallas can pick him up. That might not be a bad fit and Cuban’s okay with that luxury tax.

  14. Chris

    After this weekend’s big brawl in Nuremberg between David Haye and the Ukranian Nikolai Valuev. We Brits now have something to be proud about. We now can say that we have another world heavyweight champion in Haye (WBA). He defeated the 7′ 356 lb giant in a unanimous 12 round decision. He almost knocked him out.

    And considering that Haye was at a disadvantage in giving away in excess of 100lbs and a foot in height and several inches in terms of reach. I’d say it was a remarkable victory.

    Beauty Is In The Eye of The Beholder Oops We’ve Another Heavyweight Champion of The World ……….

    And this is the piece on Iverson.

    Man Up And Act Like You’ve Got A Pair !

    Alan Parkins

  15. I was referring to the BBQ from the Spirit of Suwanee Music Park that V brought back to your apt in the ‘Ville. There were like 8 pans jammed in your fridge.

    As for the crawfish, are you suggesting a 20th celebration roadie?

  16. Ugh… I forgot about that bbq. Crap spilled all over my fridge.

    20th anniversary sounds good. Get Moser on the phone. I’ll fire up the ‘Fear of a Black Planet’ cd.

  17. Controllin’ fear of high rollin’
    God bless your soul and keep livin’
    Never allowed, kickin’ it loud
    Droppin’ a bomb
    Brain game intellectual Vietnam
    Move as a team
    Never move alone
    But Welcome to the Terrordome

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