Posted on: November 19, 2009 10:35 am

MLB & FIFA Need Instant Replay

France's Thierry Henry blatantly handled the ball in an offside position before passing to set up France's game-winning goal in extra time against Ireland yesterday. I'll give him a pass on the first one, probably inadvertant, but it's still a hand ball. The second was completely intentional and it led to a nifty pass to William Gallas for the goal.

The baseball world watched as crews of umpires missed call after call in the month of October. Baseball won't be expanding it's use of instant replay anytime soon either, but when it was used in the postseason, it quickly and correctly made calls without slowing down the game. One of the chief arguements against baseball replay is that it will take to long. Really? Unless the camera angles aren't all that great, should be pretty cut a dry. He was out a first, the outfielder trapped the ball and the runner missed home plate. Shouldn't take more than a minute in a game where half the time is spent warming up anyway.

So I ask the great representatives of FIFA and MLB. For the love all that is great in sports, please institute a greater instant replay system. Just hire a guy in to sit in a booth and watch the ESPN or FOX feed and if there is a problem, ask the TV production guys for a replay and then relay it down to the refs. It's not hard. Everyone will love you for it. Really, they would. The players secretly will like it because they know the game is being played fair and the fans will love it because they love the game anyway.

And this goes double for soccer. I am personnally sick and tired of players trying to flop, dive and do what ever is needed to draw a foul. Anytime there's a freekick in a dangerous area, have that guy in the booth determine if there was enough flop to negate the foul. Again, shouldn't take that long, the clock doesn't stop in soccer anyway. Teams usually take 30 seconds to line up the kicks anyway and in that time a referee in a booth should have more than enough time to tell the ref on the field that it's a good call or not.

Baseball needs to expand it's calls in the field. Any close play at a base, interference, trapped catches, etc. NOT Balls or Strikes. QwestTech or whatever it is should be banned. If TV wants to show us a top-down view of the ball crossing the plate fine, I'll allow it. No more of laser-guided GPS strikezone stuff. I'm going to complain about my guy striking out anyway, I don't need to see whether the or not Blue is right, ruins the moment.

To be fair to baseball, it did take steps to solve its October woes. FIFA needs to establish some kind of replay rules for International competitions -- World Cup, Qualifyers, Confederations Cup, Regional Competitions, etc. Let the top leagues (EPL, Primera, Bundesliga, MLS) decide their own rules for replay, but maybe help with some guidelines in the international game. Review all goals, free kicks in the attacking third and potential red card offenses and flopping. Seems pretty simple. Maybe start fining teams and players who flop intentionally, clean up the game a little bit.

Either way, the nation of Ireland mourns. And while the prospect of rooting against France is great (kind of like rooting against Duke in March), I'd still rather have the Irish playing in South Africa next summer.

But it is so much fun to bring up the whole "Freedom Fries" thing again.

- Eagle
Category: General
Tags: FIFA, MLB, Replay
Posted on: May 11, 2009 7:14 pm

Settling Your Differences on the Playing Field

This has been a rather interesting week in sports. I've heard just as much talk on about playoff series as I have suspensions and steroids. Manny Ramirez, tennis player Richard Gasquet and NASCAR's Jeremy Mayfield were all suspended for positive drug tests by thier respective sports. Likewise, there have been several suspensions for on-court/field/ice actions for several players. Lakers G Derek Fisher was hit with a one-game suspension, as was Orlando's Dwight Howard and Rafer Alston and Houston's Ron Artest has been ejected twice in the last week. This also leads to the conversation of how to properly handle an on-court incident.

So? What should happen?

Well, I'm glad you asked. Let's start with baseball. If your a pitcher, and don't like someone getting plunked on your team, then your supposed to hit an opposing batter in the back/rear area. Then everyone gets warned, talks a little smack and gets on with it. See White Sox P Bobby Jenks' pitch behind the back of Texas 2B Ian Kinsler. There's nothing wrong with that in my book, except for Jenks talking to the media about it. He took offense to several of his teammates getting hit so he fired one off late in a game behind Kinsler.

Now, the batter should never, ever charge the mound for any reason, but in the heat of the moment, players let their emotions get the best of them. If a batter does charge the mound, they must leave all the hardware behind (bat, helmet, etc.). You shouldn't throw any punches and instead just engage the pitcher in some kind of greco-roman/olympic style wrestling match. Pulling a Jose Offerman and charging the mound with a bat is the dumbest thing you can do. There are unwritten rules in baseball that the umpire's warning rule has superceeded, mainly that you should warn the second team that hits a batter, not the first. That way, the offended team gets their shot in and the matter should be settled. Baseball is generally good about suspending players for unsportmanlike actions, but the same can not be said for these next two leagues...

Now, everyone remembers Todd Bertuzzi slugging Steve Moore in the back. There are also unwritten rules in hockey about fighting. Both parties agree to drop gloves, actually drop the gloves and go at it. Hurricanes' F Scott Walker droped his gloves and slugged Bruins' D Aaron Ward late in Boston's 4-0 win yesterday. Walker somehow escaped suspension and was only hit with a $2,500 fine. Ward however possibly suffered a broken orbital bone in his face and is likely done for the series.

Sadly, the NHL generally doesn't get it when it comes to fighting. Gary Bettman always talks about how he doesn't want fighting as a part of his sport anymore. Gary, get real. Fighting is just as much a part of hockey as America and apple pie. But it has to be done properly, more or less in the outline I mentioned before. Clearly, Ward didn't think he was in a fight, considering he still has his gloves on and wasn't really even looking at Walker when he got slugged. This isn't no where near the Bertuzzi incident, but it deserved a multi-game suspension, at least, from the NHL, maybe even a ban for the rest of the postseason. Once again, the NHL has it's head up it's you know what...

Now, onto the NBA, which should consider adopting NHL style fighting rules at this point. I can't remember the last time I saw so many elbows and hard fouls in one month of play. There have been so many suspensions and reviews of flagrant fouls that Stu Jackson (NBA's Exec VP of Basketball Operations) head must be spinning. The conspiracy theorists are screaming that Kobe didn't get a suspension for his elbow on Ron Artest, which lead to Artest getting two techs after the play. The ruling said that Kobe's elbow was below the shoulders and was upgraded to a flagrant-1. Last time I checked, the neck was above the shoulders, but still, there wasn't any intent, so I'm fine with it.

The NBA's problem is that they are too inconsistent with their rulings. There are too many close plays that need to reviewed or aren't called during the game properly that puts the NBA in a bad spot too many times. Had the refs tossed Dwight Howard in Game 5 for his elbow, they don't need to suspend him. Sadly, the NBA is generally know to have poor playoff officiating. And regular season officiating. Ok, the NBA refs usually screw things up, but the leagues confusing rules aren't helping much either.

(Disclaimer: Being a basketball referee is incredibly hard. The NBA refs are the best of the best, but that proves just how competitive the NBA is.)

Someday, sports won't have these problems. Athletes won't hold grudges, teams would stop having rivalries and stop hating each other, and there would never be any discrepency in officials calls. Someday, I might win the lottery and see pigs fly too. Sports isn't perfect, it's not a utopia and that's kind of what makes them great. But all I'm asking for (as well as a lot of fans) is for a little more consistency. Besides, drama is also what makes sports great. And not having anything to talk, write or debate about whould be boring. Sure the games are nice, but I honestly can't wait for the next Rangers-White Sox game, Scott Walker's next shift for the 'Canes or the Mark Cuban-Kenyon Martin dustup. Because, that is what adds that little extra to the world of sports.

And it'd be a shame if that wasn't around anymore.
Category: General
Posted on: October 30, 2008 5:55 pm

How to End a 25-Year Championship Drought

Before I get started on my October/MLB Recap, I wanted to congratulate the Tampa Bay Rays on a great season. I feel for the younger guys who might be taking this loss hard, but they accomplished a lot this year and that shouldn't be forgotten.

But onto the main reason for this entry:

The city of Philadelphia is celebrating their first pro-championship in 25 years.

Philadelphia was in one of the longest droughts of any city with four-professional sports teams, that is to say, any city that has an NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL team. And that's not surprising. Everyone focused on the Cubs and Dodgers before the NL Playoffs (including yours truly), and left the Phillies as a darkhorse, or an afterthought. But almost everyone assumed that the Phillies would make the NLCS by beating Milwaukee, and then lose to the Cubs-Dodgers winner. And then I had a revelation. I could not tell you where, or when or how I came to this conclusion, but I just knew.

Philadelphia was going to the World Series. Maybe it was after watching the Phils close out the Brewers in three games, or maybe I just knew the Dodgers-Red Sox World Series just wasn't going to happen. But somewhere along the way, I forgot what a great team the Phillies had, an oversight for a Braves fan who follows the division shouldn't have, but I somehow thought of the Phillies as the 2004 Red Sox.

Both teams had a great rotation, solid offense and legitimate bullpen. Both had been successful in the regular season for a few years before winning the title. And both gave off a vibe that just screamed destiny. And if your going to break long championship droughts, why not look to the team who went 86 years with out a title and now have 2 in 5 years.

Once the 2004 Red Sox won back-to-back games in the ALCS on David Ortiz walk-offs, you just knew that they were going all the way. After Matt Stairs clinched Game 4 on the NLCS with a pinch hit homer, I knew. The Phillies had a bad Game 3, rebounded, and handed the ball to Cole Hamels to close the door in Game 5.

After winning Game 3 on a walk-off infield single and Joe Blanton's performance in Game 4, my conclusions were more or less assumed, I just had to wait out a lot of rain to make sure of it

And Cole Hamels had the ball for Game 5 as well. With the weather rearing its ugly head, his Game 5 performance is slightly removed, but his MVP trophy is not. You don't go 4-0 in the postseason with a 1.80 ERA and not get credit for it. That MVP award could also have easily gone to close Brad Lidge, who saved 7 games in the postseason and didn't blow a save in 2008. The whole year. He closed for what might be one of the best bullpen's in my recent memory. The Phillies starting rotation of Hamels-Myers-Moyer-Blanton is also not too shabby.

But everyone has read or heard most of this by now. You've seen the recaps, listened to your sports radio station and read all the newspapers.

But I think we're starting to develop a trend to winning World Series and breaking curses. It's called player development, scouting and using younger players to accent a good team with a solid bullpen. See the Boston Red Sox in 2007. Jacoby Ellsbury, Papelbon, Pedroia, etc., were on half of a dangerous veteran hitting lineup. The Phillies featured young guns in Hamels, Victorino and Howard, who are all under-30 and may not be considered young, but young enough.

Most of these players have been drafted and developed in the minors by these teams. Other examples I can give would be the '95 Braves and the '96 Yankees, those two played for the World Series in '96.

But what about the '08 Rays? They have what appears to be a seemingly endless supply of young talent, especially pitching, and it finally came together for them this year. They went from league laughing stock and contraction talk team to the best team in the American League. They're fun to watch and Joe Maddon, who should be manager of the year if he isn't already, and the Rays front office are primed for big things in the next few years.

But back the Phillies. There are two other things that I'd like to mention quickly. Charlie Manuel's mother, June said that her son's Phillies would win the World Series. Sadly, June passed away during the NLCS and didn't get to see the Phillies win in person, but somehow I think a bottle of bubbly made it her way.

And finally, to the people and fans of Philadelphia. They've waited a long time to see a title happen, and while I sadly am only an Eagles fan, I do know some of what that city has gone through recently. That and having a dad who's a Red Sox fan. But there was one moment where I knew the city of Philadelphia still hadn't changed. Commissioner Bud Selig came out onto the field for the trophy presentation, and was giving a rounding chorus of boos. Same for when Manuel thanked the Rays and congratulated Tampa on a great season, although that was rather subdued in my opinion.

But seriously Philadelphia...

One championship in 25 years and I can't see any cars flipped over? No visible rioting? I'm kind of disappointed...

- Eagle
Posted on: October 22, 2008 10:32 pm

There's Only ONE Fall Classic!!!

Okay. If you've been following this blog for the entire month and reading closing remarks spoofing the commercial, I apologize. I'm just tired of TBS and FOX showing it during every commercial break. Just wanted to put that out there. Onto the World Series preview...

You have no idea how happy I am to finally have Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox eliminated from the postseason. I would have turned off my TV after the 5th or 6th reference to the Red Sox-Manny trade, which means I might have made it out of the pre-game show. Here we have the upstart Exorcists, I mean, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who have been riding a youth movement throughout the season. A truckload of young talent featuring Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza, Evan Longoria, and David Price just to name a few. The Rays have never sniffed the postseason before this season, and could join their in-state counterparts (the Marlins) with a World Series title in their first postseason appearance. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies have it all. Dangerous lineup featuring power (Ryan Howard), speed (Rollins/Victorino) and all around greatness (Chase Utley); Rotation with young ace (Cole Hamels), crafty veteran (Jamie Moyer) and a lights-out closer (Brad Lidge). So, how does one pick a winner in such a series? Well, how about I break it down by offense, defense, pitching and intangibles?


The Phillies lineup is one of the best in baseball. Dangerous hitters up and down the lineup, Utley-Howard is one of the best combos in a baseball lineup and I'd rival it with a Ortiz-Manny from a few years ago. Plus, the Phillies can go small ball as well, using their speed to create runs.

The Rays meanwhile have been on a tear throughout the postseason. Longoria and BJ Upton have seemingly hit every ball over the fence. They did have a little bit of a slump late in the ALCS against the Red Sox, but I don't see much of an advantage for either side.



This one I'll give to the Phillies, but on experience only. The Rays should never have lost Game 5 in Boston to extend the ALCS and a key throwing error led to the start of that comeback. Plus, this isn't the first time the Phillies have been here.

EDGE - Slight to Philadephia


I'm not sold on the back end of the Phillies rotation, and I love what the Rays have done lately. I think the Phils have an advantage with Coles in Game 1, and then, that might be it. The Rays young guns have been solid throughout the entire season. I think the Rays starters will have to do well, because once they hand it off to that bullpen...

EDGE - Tampa Bay


... it gets a little dicey. This is not even a question. Philadelphia has a dominant closer in Lidge and have the ability to get him the ball in the 9th with great set-up from Romero, Madsen and others. Tampa's bullpen has been in disarray since closer Troy Percival went down with an injury weeks ago. If it comes down to the late innings, I'm banking on the Phillies pulling through.

EDGE - Huge to Philadelphia


Tampa - Youth - How far can the kids take them? They've already accomplished more than anyone thought they could this year.
Philly - The Fans - It's been 25 years since the city of Philadelphia won a major sports title (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL). That was the 1983 76ers. The Phillies only have one title in over 100 years of playing baseball (1980). If you do the math, it's been 100 professional seasons since Philly's last title, the same as a certain cursed franchise in Chicago. It's high tide Philadelphia had a championship to be proud of (taking nothing away from the Soul and Ron Jaworski).


And now for my favorite segment, recapping my previous bracket entries from my TV, football, personal and actual picks.


Philly over Tampa Bay - Let's face it. Philly has a much larger fan base than the Rays and many more eyeballs on the upper east coast who might be interested in this game.

Philly over Tampa Bay - Again, I said (rather biased) at the beginning that the Eagles had the best football team out of all the MLB postseason teams. Discounting the fact that LA qualified twice and doesn't have a team and the Eagles have to be healthy this works.


Tampa Bay over Philly - I didn't really see the Phillies making it at the beginning of the month. I personally wanted to see the Rays make it, just for something new. Well, now they've made it and I couldn't be happier. With that said however...

Philly over Tampa Bay (in 6) - Last week I correctly picked the Rays (in 7) and the Phillies (although in 6). There was no real logic behind it, I just thought it was a good idea at the time. Now, I've stumbled on a rather successful month of baseball picks. Aside from my original World Series pick (LA Angels and the CHI Cubs), I've done pretty well for myself. With that said, I do like the Phillies. They're a veteran team with no true weakness, where you could argue that the Rays' youth could cost them (like it almost did in the ALCS). I can't trust the Rays to close out a series after their bullpen almost gave the Red Sox a shot at another World Series.

I am not a full-fledged Philadelphia fan, however, after following the Eagles since I was 6, I understand the mentality of Philadelphia fans. They are die-hard, bleed for their team fans who would be willing to give up an organ or a first born to win a title. They have a history of rather unsportsmanlike behavior (Santa) and will let you know when they are not satisfied and displeased, and this happens quite often (Ray Rhodes era...). With that said, the city of Philadelphia needs something to cheer about. The Rays are set for a number of years will all their young, budding stars. The Phillies are built to win now, and the clock is ticking for them. Somehow, I feel that they are going to win. Well let the Rays get their due down the road in a few years (or next year), but not this year. This year should belong to the city of Philadelphia and its Phillies. At least I hope so.
Posted on: October 8, 2008 1:44 pm

2008 MLB October LDS Recap

I feel like I have slighted Cubs fans. I, like many others, decided to pick the Cubs to win the World Series. I thought the Cubs would breeze through the NL playoffs and reach the World Series, possibly losing to the Red Sox or Angels. But did I think the Cubs would be swept out of the playoffs to conclude 100 years of infamy? No, not even close. The Cubs are dangerously close to being compared to my Braves in the early 2000s as teams that have fantastic regular season success, and little post season hardware to show for it. And if the Cubs are going to continue to lose in October, can Lou Pinella at least go on a few rants? Throw some bases? Drink Aquafina? Please? No, okay, on with the LCS recaps.

Boston over LA Angels (3-1)
Boston went into LA and just out-pitched the Angels when it mattered. Jon Lester was fantastic in Game 1, and J.D. Drew's homer off K-Rod in the 9th sent this series back to Boston with the Red Sox up 2-0. The Angels took Game 3 to stave off elimination but Jed Lowrie's walk-off RBI single to plate Jason Bay in Game 4 sent the defending champs back to the ALCS. Somewhere Dickie V is shouting "AWESOME BABY!!"

Tampa Bay over CHI White Sox (3-1)
One post season series, one post season victory for the Rays. A growing theme in the postseason, Tampa took the first two games at "The Trop" thanks to Evan Longoria two homers in Game 1 and Scott Kazmir's arm in Game 2. Jon Danks saved the White Sox from the dreaded sweep, but Andy Sonnanstine shut the door in Game 4 with a little power from B.J. Upton.

LA Dodgers over CHI Cubs (3-0)
I'm sensing a pattern here...The Dodgers won the first two games in this series as well. Okay, they won the only three played, but that's not the point. The Dodgers stormed into Wrigley and dominated the Cubs before closing the door in a much more competitive Game 3, but it was not enough for the tortured Cubs.

Philadelphia over Milwaukee (3-1)
In no surprise, the Phillies also won the first two games of this series as well, behind Cole Hamels' 8 innings in Game 1 and Brett Myers out dueling CC Sabathia in Game 2. Favorite stat of this series - In Brett Myers two at-bats, he saw 19 pitches from CC. CC threw about 100 pitches in the game and didn't make it deep into the game either.


See my previous October blog for my original analysis.

Boston over Tampa Bay - Originally had the White Sox here, but regardless Boston has the largest TV audience and advance.
LA Dodgers over Philadelphia - Again, had the Cubs here, and either way, Philly is getting snubbed in the TV bracket.
WS - Boston over LA Dodgers - One half of the TV bracket is alive. Thankfully, it's the winning half.

Tampa Bay over Boston - Hey! One of these things actually worked. Tampa's not sure who it's QB is, but they know it's better than Matt Cassel.
Philadelphia over LA Dodgers - Umm...LA doesn't have a football team. Do we use the Rams? Raiders? USC? Whatever, GO EAGLES!!!
WS - Philly over Tampa Bay - Give me Brian Westbrook or give me death.

Tampa Bay over Boston - This is the matchup I wanted to see. Sorry Dad, I'm going against the Sawx. It's all about the Rays Bandwagon.
Philadelphia over LA Dodgers - Wanted the Cubs, but I'll settle for Philadelphia having a chance to end a city-wide champion-less streak of its own.
WS - Tampa Bay over Philly - Wanted to see a Cubs-Rays series, but I'll settle for the Rays going 1-1 (Octobers-Championships).

Tampa Bay over Boston (in 7) - Okay, so my entire bracket is toast. My entire World Series (Cubs/Angels) is gone. I should have just lit my fake entry fee on fire because I knew it was going to happen. Why? It's me, I'm only good at March Brackets. But let's see if I can change my luck. I did pick two series correctly (Phils/Rays in 4).
Philadelphia over LA Dodgers (in 6) - I'm sick of Manny. I'm sick of the Red Sox. I don't want to see either of them in the World Series. I want something different. Ratings be damned, let's see the little guys have a chance.

WS - Philadelphia over Tampa Bay (in 6) - I'll probably be picking this again next week. But who cares. I'm looking forward to two great LCS series and I think the ALCS is destined for greatness.


Someone needs to explain to me why there isn't a playoff baseball game until Thursday and why that game (LA-PHI) is going to be a 8:22 EST start? I know that both games are on the East Coast for Friday, but is a 4:30-8:30 doubleheader the way to go? I don't like it. Somewhere, someone decided that a national audience would want to watch a baseball at 8:30 EST. I can see this making sense for the LA-Philly series, because its a West vs. East matchup. But Boston-Tampa? There's no reason any of these games should be after 7:30 EST.
If someone on the West Coast want's to watch it, they'll find a way at 4:30 PST to tune into the game. There are three East Coast markets that should take precedence over the lone West Coast market. Yet, MLB thinks it's a good idea to move the games to a West Coast friendly time. It might be time to write Mr. Selig another letter...

Enjoy the baseball everyone, and remember - There's only one Fall Classic, there's only one OCTOBER!!!

- Eagle
Posted on: October 1, 2008 12:58 pm

2008 MLB October Preview

There's always three guarantees for me in October - it starts to get colder, my allergies flare up, and October baseball. With my Braves and rival Mets and Yankees both sitting at home or playing golf, you would think that I have no rooting interest. Lies. My top three teams that I'm rooting for this postseason.

1. Boston Red Sox - This is my dad's team and my favorite AL team as well. They have a tough start facing the LA Angels and the injury bug may be biting them, but this isn't your grandfather's Red Sox team. These Red Sox are October tested.

2. Tampa Bay Rays - The Exorcists, I mean Rays are the Cinderella team of the year. I've always liked these guys and have been trying, miserably, to find a Devil Rays hat. Either way, you can't root against this team. Kind of like how you can't root against these guys...

3. Chicago Cubs - unless your from the South Side of Chicago. It's been 100 years since the Cubs last won a World Series. They are the best team in the NL. Goats, Cats, Steve Bartmans and curses aside, it's about time the Cubs got this over with.

Honorable Mention - Brewers/Phillies - Just for eliminating the Mets. Or rather, cashing in on another Mets choke job.

I'm going to give everyone several different brief previews based on TV ratings, football, personal bias and then my actual bracket. The TV bracket is basically all driven by FOX and how well the World Series will draw ratings. My personal bias bracket shouldn't happen, but I'd like to see it anyway. And then my actual bracket will be to win. Just like a March Madness bracket.


Boston over LA Angels - Boston draws a national audience and Japan would watch over the internet as well.
CHI White Sox over Tampa Bay - TV is very happy that the White Sox beat the Twins. The ratings for a Twins-Rays ALDS would suck.
ALCS - Boston over CHI White Sox - TV might be personally sick of the Red Sox winning, but they do draw ratings.

Phillies over Milwaukee - Philly could draw a decent East Coast rating, but they're not New York.
CHI Cubs over LA Dodgers - Manny is a good draw, but not as good as the Cubs national audience.
NLCS - CHI Cubs over Phillies - Again, only New York could dethrone Cubs baseball on a TV ratings scale.

WS - Boston over CHI Cubs - 100 years and counting as the Boston claims another title.

Boston over LA Angels - Umm, LA doesn't have a football team, so they forfeit.
Tampa Bay over CHI White Sox - I still can't trust Kyle Orton, despite beating my Eagles on SNF.
ALCS - Tampa Bay over Boston - Bucs look solid and the Pats are shopping for QB's

Philly over Milwaukee - We're using Green Bay, but the Eagles would beat the Pack with Westbrook healthy.
CHI Cubs over LA Dodgers - Again, LA doesn't have an NFL team.
NLCS - Philly over CHI Cubs - I don't care about last Sunday. Westbrook would punch that in from inside the one.

WS - Philly over Tampa Bay - Okay, so it's an NFC Championship game, but Philly has the best NFL team out of all MLB postseason teams. At least that's what I'm telling myself...

Boston over LA Angels - As much as I like Mark Teixeira, he's going down.
Tampa Bay over CHI White Sox - Never liked Ozzie Guillen that much, and it's the Cinderella Rays.
ALCS - Tampa Bay over Boston - Bet you didn't see that coming. I might like Boston more, but I've seen them win.

Phillies over Milwaukee - Phillies are the NL East rep, I'll root for 'em.
CHI Cubs over LA Dodgers - Again, it's been 100 years for the Cubs.
NLCS - CHI Cubs over Phillies - I'd be happy with either team, Cubs 100 years, Philadelphia sports. Someone needs a championship.

WS - CHI Cubs over Tampa Bay - Cubs end the curse.

LA Angels over Red Sox in 5 - I'm not sure about either side, thanks to a handful of key injuries, so rule of thumb is take the home team.
Tampa Bay over CHI White Sox in 4 - I like Tampa to beat an emotionally drained White Sox team.
ALCS - LA Angels over Tampa in 6 - I love the Rays, but they're young. The Angels have been here before.

Phillies over Milwaukee in 4 - With Ben Sheets hurt, CC wins only one game and the Phils move on.
CHI Cubs over LA Dodgers in 4 - Cubs have been baseball's best team and the Dodgers won the NL West.
NLCS - CHI Cubs over Philly in 6 - Philly just doesn't have enough pitching.

WS - CHI Cubs over LA Angels in 6 - No East Coast Bias here, but I'm picking the Cubs to end 100 years of futility. If significant Cubs fans wish for me to change my pick, please post below and I will certainly do so. Until then, there's only one Fall Classic, there's only one October!

- Eagle
Posted on: May 27, 2008 12:37 pm

MLB Responds - A Letter From Mr. Selig

Author's Note: The following is not a letter from Mr. Bud Selig, Commissioner of MLB. I made it up. This is in response to my previous blog entry in which I "wrote" a letter to the Commish telling him to install an instant replay system in MLB.

Dear Eagle -

After seeing the numerous disputed calls in the past week across Major League Baseball, I received numerous letters such as yours asking for instant replay in baseball. Please understand that this is a tremendous undertaking for our sport, and it could take years before a system is in place. However, we are looking into using instant replay for home runs only in this years Arizona Fall League and look to expand on this system for Spring Training in 2009. We appreciate your concern and understanding of the situation and hope that this will be a step in the right direction for the sport of baseball

Bud Selig
Commissioner of MLB

Again, I made that up. I first posted my "letter" (last blog entry) on May 19. I had to add a few bonus comments because over the past week or so there have been too many disputed home runs for me to count. Again, this is a problem. Part of the blame does go to the ballparks for having quirky ground rules and outfield walls (that would be you Houston), but most of it does fall on the umpires. I get it, they miss calls, they're human and it's perfectly understandable. But a disputed home run call should happen maybe, once a month. This is the second easiest call in the game besides safe or out. Is the ball over the fence or not? It's a simple question. There should be a simple answer, but for some reason, no one can get it right. The umpires are standing in the infield, and looking at a ball over 200 feet away trying to make a call. Maybe they should be closer to the wall? Maybe we should back up all the fans from the wall to eliminate interference and make the calls clearer. I don't know. But right now (thanks in part to me) MLB is trying to fix the problem. And the Arizona Fall League isn't a bad place to start.

- Eagle
Category: MLB
Tags: Bud Selig, MLB
Posted on: May 19, 2008 3:21 pm
Edited on: May 22, 2008 12:28 pm

Letter to MLB - It's time for Instant Replay

Dear Mr. Bud Selig,

After seeing Carlos Delgado's home run call reversed incorrectly in last night Mets-Yankees game, I feel it is important to tell you that MLB needs an instant replay system. While that particular play didn't affect the outcome of the game, that isn't the point. I have officiating experience in many sports and would admit to missing calls on numerous occasions. Umpires, referees and other officials will make mistakes, they're human and it's understandable. I am not here writing to remove the umpires from the field and just using a computer or that QuestTech balls-strikes system you use to rate the umpires. But there needs to be a safety value in place to just correct simple things. Making sure a ball is caught and not trapped in the field, checking to see if a runner touched a base or if a tag was applied and, of course, home runs and fair or foul balls. Balls and strikes are protected and can't be argued, and I don't want to change that. That's the best part of the game to me. But in the very few instances that replay needs to be used, and it's not very often, MLB needs to have a system in place make sure the call is correct. Every other major sport, the NFL, NBA, NHL and many NCAA college sports, have an instant replay system. I understand the rich and deep history of baseball, but I think that baseball needs a replay system. You could ev aen test it in the minors before implementing it in the majors. I understand the owners have a say in this, but you are the commissioner of MLB. And you need to make this change before it decides a game, a playoff berth or worse, a World Series.



5/20 - Cubs catcher Geovany Soto hit an inside the park home run yesterday (5/19) against the Houston Astros. Soto drove a ball off the center field wall. I know Houston's Minute Maid Park has a quirky outfield with the hill in center and the crazy fence. But upon further review, the ball caromed off the wall, beyond the yellow line for a homer. Now, Soto recorded the home run anyway, running all out for 360 feet, but again, just another reason to look into a replay system. That and maybe telling Houston to build a less confusing ballpark for the umpires.

5/22 - Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez should have hit his second home run of the night yesterday. However, for the THIRD time in the past week, the umpiring crew missed a home run call. A-Rod's ball ricocheted off a stair case, beyond the fence, and back into play. Again, the call did not affect the game as the Yankees routed the Orioles 8-0, but again, that's not the point. If the umpires are missing calls this often, at some point, it is going to decide a game. And I would hate for that to be the reason to implement a replay system. MLB should do it on their own. But we'll see.
Category: MLB
Tags: Bud Selig, MLB
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