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How to watch postseason baseball (when you don’t really care).

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Is this you during the 2009 postseason?When I completed yesterday’s article on baseball’s lack of parity, I slipped into a coma of jaded baseball indifference. Despite having the opportunity to finally watch a live playoff baseball game, I didn’t. I popped in a library-rented copy of Ghost Town starring Ricky Gervais and sat there on the futon and stared blankly into our tiny television screen.

Now that’s fun!

As the movie droned on, I had an epiphany. I popped up and turned the movie off and immediately tuned into the Angels/Yankees game on Fox Network.

How did it get this bad? How did I become so uninterested in the sport I love so much? Was I burnt out from the 500 or so games I’d taken in during the regular season? Or did I just not care about any of the teams still involved in this year’s World Series race?

Choosing Ghost Town over October baseball left me incredibly shaken; wrestling with that questionable and hasty decision left me sleepless and anxious.

But this morning I woke up feeling revived. Despite four 2008 playoff teams making appearances in this postseason and the inherent been-there-seen-that feelings, I have decided I’m going to finish this season strong: like Ozzie Guillen’s White Sox, I’m going to take two out of three in the season’s last series. I’m going to watch as much as I can and I’m going to cheer when someone hoists that World Championship Trophy.

But once your favorite team has been eliminated and the pool is narrowed to the usual suspects, what do you do to stay interested? Here are some ways I’ve started to make the postseason a little more interesting (even if you’re not interested).

  • Root for players, not teams. Despite genuinely disliking most of the players on the New York Yankees because of their association with Alex Rodriguez, I get a little satisfaction cheering on Johnny Damon who, despite his baby-like arm, has put together quite a string of solid, yet unspectacular, offensive seasons. The Angel’s Torii Hunter is, perhaps, the game’s most exciting centerfielder and this is a chance to witness his fleet-feet on the big stage (forget about the misplay in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series) on East Coast time. Choose a few of your personal favorites and follow their game, not the team’s.
  • Admire Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Jim Thome, Joe Torre, Vladimir Guerrero, Bobby Abreu, and Pedro Martinez. In a few years, these guys will be gone and a generation of baseball will end. One has to respect all of their accomplishments and the successes they’ve had on the ball field. No matter who they play or manage for, these are guys who you should watch and revere and appreciate.
  • Learn about the next generation of superstars. Most every team in this year’s postseason has a few budding stars, players that any real baseball fan should have an interest in. The Angel’s Kendry Morales, the Dodger’s Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, and the Phillie’s Jayson Werth are among the game’s youngest and most exciting players. They are going to be household names in a few years, so watch them mature before your eyes.
  • Follow the stories instead of the games. This is just the second postseason for the Phillie’s 37-year-old Raul Ibanez in his illustrious and, up-until-2008, underappreciated 14-season career. Could this be his last chance at a ring? Will one of these next starts be the last for 15-year veteran Andy Pettitte? Could Joe Torre and his Dodgers face his long-time team, the Yankees, in the World Series? Even if the same old song and dance doesn’t seem exciting, there really is some interesting storylines.

If that seems like a lot of work, it is. But tonight I’ll weather the storm along with the Angels and Yankees and endure what it sure to be a four hour affair. And if I’m too tired at the end, my girlfriend rented Vicky Christina Barcelona. Two words: Scarlett Johansson. Unlike Ghost Town, that IS better than October baseball.

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After Cardinal’s elimination, a new battle begins.

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The Cardinals have been eliminated.Now that my beloved St. Louis Cardinals have made their not-so dramatic exit from the postseason, a new battle begins. The Battle of the Remote.

I watch baseball, any baseball, whenever I can. When the MLB Network shows classic World Series games, I’m there. When the College World Series runs on ESPN, my eyes are glued to the television. I’ll even watch the Little League World Series.

But not my husband. He’ll watch the Cardinals with me, but often he flips the channel if I walk out of the room for a mere second. Any other team, he could care less. And he certainly doesn’t want to hear about the Dodgers right now, no matter how brilliant my analysis might be.

With the American League and National League set to crown their respective champions, I’m totally captivated by the remaining teams.

The Angels and the Yankees could be an exciting series; or not. It’s really going to depend on how the Angels play and if they let the mighty Yankees just steamroll over them. The Dodgers and Phillies could be a classic National League battle. Joe Torre is a master strategist, but the Phillies certainly don’t want to end their reign as champions.

As for my allegiance, I’m almost unbiased this year.

Almost.

As a die-hard Cardinals fan, I don’t want to see the Angels win. Closer Brian Fuentes snubbed his nose at my team this past offseason when the Cardinals offered him a pretty sweet salary.

The Yankees are the reason that Major League Baseball needs a salary cap. Small market teams can’t compete for well-known free agents, especially if the Yankees are interested. The Bronx Bombers outprice everyone else and jolt ordinary, average players’ paychecks way too high.

And the Dodgers, well…two words: Manny Ramirez. Regardless of their ousting of the Cardinals, I don’t want Manny to get another ring. He disrespected the game. And himself.

That leaves the Phillies. I have nothing against them. And the bonus is slugger Ryan Howard. When in doubt, I’ll cheer on a hometown hero. It’s the closest St. Louis will get to the World Series this year anyway.

As for the Battle of the Remote, no problem. My husband can regulate himself to the small, non-HD television while I lounge on the couch shouting at the umpires as they continue to blow obvious calls.

That is a win-win situation.

Written by LS Murphy. Mrs. Murphy is an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan and is a consistent contributor to Cardinal’s Mix. She can also be followed on Twitter.

L.A. Daily News: Deal Kershaw for Halladay. World: Learn baseball!

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The Los Angeles Daily New’s Tom Hoffarth wrote a piece a couple days ago called, “Thanks for all, Kershaw, but Dodgers now need a Halladay.” In it, Hoffarth chronicles the reasons the Dodgers shouldn’t hesitate to trade off their young lefty, Clayton Kershaw, for Toronto’s former-Cy Young and bonafide workhorse, Roy Halladay.

THINK/RESEARCH BEFORE YOU WRITE!If Hoffarth were a general manager, he’d be fired.

Hell, if Hoffarth’s editors even read what he wrote, he’d be fired.

At 21-years-old, Kershaw holds a 2.76 earned run average in just his second season in the majors. In the 21 games he’s started in 2009, he’s given up four or more earned runs only three times. All of those less-than-stellar outings occurred during the first month or so of the season.

Kershaw has recently been more consistent than the man Hoffarth argues he should be traded for. Over his last nine starts, Kershaw has allowed two or fewer earned runs. He is 5-0 with a 0.79 ERA during that stretch. He leads the National League in hits allowed per nine innings.

On April 15 of this season, Kershaw struck out 13 and walked just one in an outing against the San Francisco Giants. One long-time Dodger’s fan took it upon himself to research just how many other lefties had accomplished such a feat of domination. He found just 20 pitchers in the last 55 years, among them Koufax, Carlton, Johnson, Blue, Hamels, Santana, Lolich, and Guidry; pitchers recognizable by last names only.

And while it’s always difficult to predict someone’s career based on one performance, it certainly appears that Kershaw may have a few more good seasons under his belt.

Kershaw is under control for the next two seasons at the low renewal price of approximately $400 thousand. He’s then under arbitration control for the next three, meaning he’ll be 26-years-old until he commands big money for the first time.

Roy Halladay, on the other hand, is already 32-years-old. His ability to eat innings with extreme effectiveness certainly makes him valuable to any team, but next year he will earn at least $15.25 million. It’s going to take a hell of a lot more than that to retain him any further than 2010.

For 3% of Roy Halladay’s contract, would giving up Clayton Kershaw be worth it?

1+ year of Halladay ≠ 5 years of Kershaw.

$15.25 million for a year or so.

$15.25 million for a year or so.

Cheap for five seasons.

On the cheap for five seasons.

2009 All-Underperformer team roster released by Major League Baseball.

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Aaaaaaaaand a swing and a miss.Rodriguez, Ordonez, Martin head list of former All-Stars turned flops.

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Team will play against minor leaguers in attempt to “get better,” says Commissioner Selig.

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ST. LOUIS — With the official release of the All-Star rosters, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig also released the All-Underperformers team yesterday, the lineup comprised solely of players who have plummeted from stardom to mediocrity.

The team will be helmed by Cleveland Indian’s manager Eric Wedge.

The Yankee’s Alex Rodriguez, the Dodger’s Russell Martin, and the Tiger’s Magglio Ordonez are first time selections to the team. The Ranger’s promising slugger Chris Davis also makes his first appearance, as well, after a powerful rookie campaign in 2008.

Martin, the perennial All-Star catcher who’s power seems to have vanished into thin air, will handle horrible pitches from Yankee’s hurler and All-Underperformer staff ace, Chien Ming Wang. The Red Sox’s Daisuke Matsuzaka is expected to come out of the bullpen for long relief duty along with schizophrenic Met’s pitcher Oliver Perez. If the Indian’s Fausto Carmona is not selected as part of the Minor League Baseball All-Underperformer team, he should make an appearance, pitching against the same players he’s been going against since his demotion to Siberia in May.

Sucked your way to a demotion.The first base bag will be covered by Texas’ power-hitting rookie Chris Davis. Despite blasting 15 homeruns, Davis was on pace to shatter strikeout records universe wide before he was demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City yesterday.

Second base will be the deepest position on the All-Underperformer team, with the spot being occupied by pretty much anyone not named Chase Utley. Even though it’s unknown who will start the game, it’s expected that Florida’s Dan Uggla will receive most of the playing time. Oakland’s Orlando Cabrera, who was famously quoted as saying, “I suck. For real,” last week will also receive some opportunities.

Three time All-Star and former MVP Jimmy Rollins will be Philadelphia’s lone representative at the game as the All-Underperformer’s shortstop. Rollins is batting a putrid .217 and owns the worst on-base percentage among active shortstops despite being the Phillie’s leadoff man. After the selection was brought to his attention, Rollins was ecstatic, quoted as saying, “Wow! I know I predicted we’d win the World Series in 2008, but I could never predict an honor such as this!”

The hot corner will be patrolled by the Yankee’s Alex Rodriguez. It is his first inclusion on the All-Underperformer team after a streak of nine straight All-Star selections. It’s said that his hip is still ailing him and that his recovery from surgery threw off his cycles. Behind A-Rod will be Rockie’s liability Garrett Atkins.

I hate you.The outfield will be manned by the three-headed monster of the Tiger’s Ordonez, the Angel’s Vladimir Guerrero, and the Cub’s Milton Bradley. Upon learning that they were likely to be included on the team and the Dodger’s Manny Ramirez was not, Ordonez and Guerrero got haircuts, saying that their dream of being part of the “hairiest outfield in all of baseball” was shattered. The hair they chopped off outweighs the amount of combined home runs they’ve hit this season.

The exclusion of Ramirez from the team was a surprisingly development, but one that the fans had passionate responses towards. Comments ranged from, “Manny’s a piece of [expletive removed] who can’t hold my jock,” to “Once a juicer, always a juicer. Manny can stay at home and sell barbecues for all I care. He’s not even good enough to be named to this [expletive removed] team.”

The game takes place in between the old-timer’s softball game and the actual All-Star game on July 14.

Alyssa Milano’s All-Star picks ruin many-a-man’s utopia.

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While doing research for a post about baseball players who use Twitter, I came across Alyssa Milano’s page. Milano’s a heralded Los Angeles Dodger’s fan and she also runs her own women’s baseball clothing line called Touch. There’s nothing hotter than a hot woman who knows baseball and from what I’ve heard, Milano’s a lot more than just another let’s-see-how-loud-I-can-yell-at-the-TV-to-prove-I-know-what-baseball-is fangirl. So naturally, I spent too much time on her page, ogling her words, imagining them coming out of that pretty little mouth of hers.

Kept at full size for your viewing pleasure.

Kept at full size for your viewing pleasure.

Hmmm, Alyssa Milano.

Must…keep…writing.

After browsing through countless posts about Iran, which I really don’t care about, and Tweets on some never-ending Perez Hilton saga, which I could care even less about, I came across this:

Picture 1

So, of course, I visited her blog. If Milano’s the baseball girl I’ve dreamt about for the past 24 years, she’ll certainly have similar picks to me. And if she doesn’t, using her other-womanly and superfluous baseball knowledge, she’ll have very firm reasoning for doing otherwise.

As my browser loaded the site, my heart began doing flips, recognizing that it was close to becoming an Aristophanes’ whole. The clouds separated above my house to reveal not only the sun, but a rainbow that began and ended atop my roof. My dog stopped scratching at the door, sat on the toilet, flushed, then promptly removed her fur, and began showering. It was beautiful.

Our ballots weren’t exactly similar for the American League, but Alyssa’s was far from horrible.

First, she voted Boston’s Dustin Pedroia in over Texas’ Ian Kinsler or Toronto’s Aaron Hill. Then she voted for the Yankee’s Derek Jeter over Jason Bartlett. Then for the American League outfield, she voted in Texas’ Josh Hamilton. The same Josh Hamilton who’s played in just 35 games.

Those choices are, at the very least, debatable, and I am willing to accept that she has good reason for them. Plus, she’s so hot that I can ignore an error here and there.

But as I scrolled down the page, everything came crashing down. The dreams. The Stepford Wife. The prototype. All of it gone. Gone!

You should be ashamed of yourself.

I should have known unicorns don’t really exist, for Milano’s nothing more than just another horrible woman baseball fan with a season ticket and the ability to talk to professional players.

Alyssa, I no longer have any interest in you; you don’t deserve me.

What you deserve is a Brandon Webb sinkerball to the cooter.

Arguments can be made for some Dodgers making the team (Kemp, Hudson, and Blake are pretty good), but James Loney over Albert Pujols is blasphemous, atrocious, abominable, disgraceful, and horrendous. There aren’t enough synonyms for outrageous to prove just how stupid that pick is. She also picked Russell Martin. One home run Martin.

I am crying. Tears of sorrow, tears of blue balls, tears for the many men whose lives also came crashing down on June 22, 2009.

But now we all know. We know that a man-brained woman baseball fan does not exist.

The All-Star vote’s a sham. These are what the teams should be.

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2009 All-Star Game will be in St. Louis.I love the All-Star game.

I hate the All-Star voting.

Too often, players that should receive recognition for their first half dominance are left by the wayside while big market and undeserving stars take their places. Last time I checked, known steroid cheat Manny Ramirez was sixth place in the National League outfield voting, a glaring testament to how flawed the system is.

I vote once per season for who I think deserves a spot on the midsummer classic’s roster. My votes are based on value to team, overall stats, defense and intangibles. And that’s how it should be.

This is my roster. The real roster.

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Dodgers/Grooms/Grays/Atlantics/Playoff Botchers win 10,000!

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Two years ago, almost to the day, the Philadelphia Phillies became the first franchise in MLB history to lose 10,000 games. Everyone, from Pardon the Interruption to Peter Gammons, touted up the moment, turning it into a significant event in the sport’s history.

The truth is, it wasn’t. It was just another loss.

Well last night, the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise won its 10,000th game. Sure, it’s just another win, but it’s the 10,000th win in one of the game’s most storied and heralded franchise’s history. That’s gotta mean something.

But no one uttered a word about it.

Dodgers win #678.

Robinson. Koufax. Drysdale. Duke. Wills. Hershiser. Valenzuela. Lasorda. Scully.

Nothing.

With all the buzz being about Stephen Strasburg and the MLB First Year Player Draft, a truly awe-inspiring moment in Dodger’s franchise history went away with just a whimper. If you Google it, you’ll find nothing but a few message board posts and an article by a diligent L.A. Times blogger.

Google: Phillies 10,000 losses, and you’ll find a different result.

It’s a shame. Congratulations, Dodgers.