On the Reds Finale

Sunday night I attended Game 3 of the Reds-Phillies series – my first baseball post-season game ever. Sadly, I saw a very good Phillies team finish the Reds in a three-game sweep.

Game 1: Phillies starting pitching do what top pitchers do – keep good hitters off balance. Ray Halladay’s performance was a notch above outstanding.

Game 2: The Reds did embarrass themselves in game 2. Leading 4-0, committing 4 errors, untimely walks and hit batsmen – actually, that was more than embarrassing. The Reds had a chance to get out of Philadelphia with a split, and let it get away.

Game 3: Cole Hamels did a great job of keeping batters out of sync, noted that the Reds had very few hard-hit balls. Besides being 7-0 against the Reds in his career, Hamels followed Halladay’s lead and did what good pitchers do – take the bat out of the batter’s hands.

From my point of view as a fan,

  • Arroyo and Cueto pitched well enough to win.
  • Besides striking out too many times, Votto and Rolen went 2 for 21 in the series with double digit strikeouts.
  • The number of errors by infielders was disastrous.
  • Phillies didn’t pound the ball, but won with better pitching and defense.

From Cincinnati sportstalk host Lance McAlister.

  • 1: Hits by Joey Votto in 10 ab’s
  • 1: Number of Reds hitters with more than one hit in NLDS (Phillips, 3)
  • 4: Runs scored by Reds in NLDS
  • 7: Errors committed by Reds in NLDS
  • 7: Consecutive playoff losses by Reds (9 consecutive World Series game wins)
  • 8: Strikeouts by Scott Rolen in 11 AB’s
  • 11: Fewest hits EVER in a playoff series
  • 15: Number of times the Reds were shutout this season
  • 19: Number of Reds without playoff experience, number of Phillies with playoff experience
  • 24: Strikeouts by Reds hitters in NLDS (4 walks)
  • .124: Reds batting average in NLDS (11 for 89)
  • 2.52: ERA by Reds pitchers in NLDS

 

I’m proud of the 2010 Reds as they simply lost to a better team whose pitching was awesome. The Reds surprised me and many others to win the NL Central; and they did it fair and square. Simply put, anyone saying the Reds didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs is a baseball moron.

Good luck to the Phillies and their fans. Meanwhile, Reds pitchers and catchers report in 127 days, and Opening Day is 170 days away.

Reds logo is property of the Cincinnati Reds.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol 70

On the They’ve Earned It Rankings
Developing rankings requires time and effort – and my father’s passing took my mind away from comprehensively looking at college football for two weekends. With that in mind, I abandon that attempt for the rest of the season. However, I still maintain that pollsters and other ranking pundits continue to look away from my most important factor: who is the opponent.

On Christine O’Donnell
Sarah Palin endorses Delaware candidate Christine O’Donnell. Mrs. O’Donnell even wears her hair like her Alaskan promoter. Otherwise, Christine O’Donnell continues to demonstrate that she is nothing more than candidate who caters to a certain constituency with nothing more than populist rhetoric without substance. Then again, I’ve never heard a candidate start a campaign ad with “I’m not a witch.” I guess that beats, I am a witch or I used to be a witch.

Here are two good columns. Since Ms. O’Donnell is a Tea Party favorite, read Thomas Friedman. Since Ms. O’Donnell portrays herself as Palinesque, read Meghan McCain.

On Speech, Religion, and Privacy
Westboro Baptist Church is in an interesting case that is in front of the U.S. Supreme Court involving freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and privacy. I’m not a Bill O’Reilly fan, but this short video lays out the issue. This second link is a discussion between O’Reilly and Fox Anchor Megyn Kelly, also an attorney + more attractive and more articulate than Mr. O’Reilly.

On CNN’s Brooke
Not all that long ago I commented about CNN needing to increase Brooke Baldwin’s airtime. CNN recently fired Rick Sanchez for certain comments, and now Ms. Baldwin fills (at least temporarily, yet admirably) the late afternoon slot. A note to CNN: please don’t hire any opinionated buffoons like those on talk radio or some of the other news networks.

On MLB Playoff Shorts
Games in a divisional series every other day? Crap … just another way for MLB to milk as much money from television.

Speaking of the playoffs, a tip of the cap to Roy Halladay for a great performance. I wonder if being named to the All-Time Roys served as his inspiration?

Roy Oswalt’s career record against the Reds is off the charts – plus, when the Reds offense goes in the tank, it does so for several games. Are back-to-back no-nos in the works?

On Handbells
This weekend is our handbell choir’s first appearance of the year. Drop by tomorrow for a video of the song we are playing, which demonstrates an interesting technique.

On a Not-so-Famous Bowl that’s not a Bowl

We’re approaching baseball’s All-Star Game, yet this post is about a bowl. There are famous sports venues called bowls, such as the Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Yale Bowl, and probably others.

Certainly the Baker Bowl doesn’t fit into the celebrated nature of those venues. Heck, it’s not best known as a football venue, yet it’s certainly shaped for football and it hosted the Eagles from 1933-1935. It was a long-time baseball home that never hosted an All-Star Game, but was the venue for the first U.S. President (Woodrow Wilson) to see a World Series game.

Originally named National League Park and nicknamed the Huntington Street Grounds, the Baker Bowl served as Philadelphia Phillies home for 51 ½ years (1887-1938). Eventually named for the Phillies owner, bowl was used because Baker Field was associated with Columbia University.

The Baker Bowl was cozy and great for hitters, thus commonly referred to as a band box or cigar box. 1930 produced some unreal numbers. In the 77-game home schedule, opponents outscored the Phillies 644-543; that’s an average score of a bit more than 8-7!

This stadium had its oddities.

  • A hump in centerfield due to a railroad tunnel below
  • Using goats to keep the grass cut
  • The 60 ft right field wall and screen a mere 280 down the right field line
  • A wide, banked CF warning track that served bicycle races
  • A centerfield clubhouse known as one with just the basics

In a 1938 mid-season transfer, the Phillies shifted to Shibe Park – the new facility built just 5 blocks away to house the A’s and the home the most long-time fans associated with the Phillies. (See the Baker Bowl in the foreground?)

Watch the animated tour of the Baker Bowl.

Resources
Wikipedia
Google Images Search results

Drawing from The Pinetar Rag

Photos from Wikipedia