Halloween All Week!

Halloween is a fun holiday. Hopefully, kids dress up and are able to “go out” as a ghost, ballplayer, witch…whatever…with jokes that seem to last 50 years(I heard one last year that I had used )😊….it’s a make-believe night for the kids… it’s almost a make-believe time in the sports world also.
…the 4th game of the World Series is still hard to believe…the Dodger appeared all set to lock in win #3 and take a commanding 3-1 lead in the world Series. But…the unbelievable happened with the strangest set of circumstances. In some ways, this game was a WS classic- the lead kept changing..the Dodgers were up 1-0 after 1 inn; then 2-0 after 3 inn; still LA 2-1 after 4 inn; after 5 inn, LA up 3-2; 6th inn saw TB take the lead 5-4(this was the 1st lead change in 33 innings of WS play this year); after 7th inn it was tied 6-6; after 8 inn, LA led 7-6. Then with 2 outs and LA up 7-6, Kevin Kiermair has his bat shattered on a wicked inside fastball yet the ball barely bloops over the head of the 2b. Randy Aronzarena coaxed a walk after fouling off a great pitch by LA Closer, Kenley Jensen. Then sent up to the plate was the unlikely hero dressed as just another reserve player– Brett Phillips. Phillips was a reserve on the lowly KC Royals for much of the season before being obtained by TB. TB didn’t dress him out for the entire Am League Championship Series. He had batted just twice in the entire post season…so that means that he’d been in the batters box TWICE in the last 29 days and none since Oct 7. He’s a career .202 batter but joins a 3 man club of players who have a Walk-Off Hit with 2 outs and their team trailing in the World Series—Brett Phillips in 2020; Kirk Gibson 1988 game 1 and Cookie Lavagetto 1947 game 1! WOW… so with runners on 1b & 2b,Phillips hits a single into short right center field. Chris Taylor, who plays multiple positions for LA and had just entered the game in RF due to a muscle “pull” by CF Cody Bellinger (RF AJ Pollock moved over to CF), Taylor charged the ball with the tying run on 2nd base….he mishandled it. It bounced a short distance away. So Now the tying run scores with no play…when the ball is bobbled, Arozarena keeps running hard rounding 3b….the throw from RF Taylor is cut off by the 1b who relays it to home. Arozarena is about half way to Home Plate…sees the throw going into the plate.. stops, slips and falls… the Dodger catcher….expecting a close play… catches the ball and swings his glove around toward the 3b line expecting the runner to be there (which he isn’t)….the ball comes out and goes behind the plate. Kenley Jensen wasn’t really backing up 3b or Home Plate! …Arozarena then gets up and sprints, dives into the home plate pounding it repeatedly while still laying on the ground! Then the fun part begins…now dressed as a Super Hero, Brett Phillips is so happy that he begins running around the field like an airplane (like you did as a kid)…other players joined him….some trying hugging him with his huge, wide, unbelievable smile. Kevin Kiemaier wanted to join him … so he jumps over a still prone Arozarena at home plate. Then the entire team joined in the running around the field! It was like a movie-like ending…it had to make everyone (other than LA fans) euphoric as they watched a game that will be talked about for decades. MLB Players running around the field like airplanes? It was “A True Halloween moment!!”
…but the ghosts & goblins caught up to TB in the next 2 games as the Dodgers won their first World Series since `88. Amazingly, 18 different MLB teams have won the WS since 1988. Multiple WS winners since 1988 are: NYY 5x, Boston 4x, SF Giants 3x, StL Cards 2x, Toronto 2x, Florida Marlins 2x. I must say that I was very surprised that Snell was removed so quickly in game 6. From my view at certain points of the game, you follow your heart(experience, knowing the personality, competitiveness, endurance, etc of your player) or your brain (Analytics). Clearly TB has used the newest analytics very well and have succeeded with them. However, from my view, Snell is the ace…ya gotta go with what got you there….at least for 2 or 3 batters getting on base…not just 1 batter!
…interestingly one day later than the date of the stock market crash of 1929, the ghosts of years passed caught up to Kolton Wong. Cards released Wong due to his salary. Wong was the likely target with his buyout option. Despite Wong being a premier defender on a team that relies on run prevention (defense). In 2020, Wong also was one of the leading batters on a team that struggled in scoring. Wong was 2nd in Hits, 2nd in Batting Avg, 2nd in Runs Scored, 3rd in OBP, 2nd in Total Bases. Discarding his Multi-Player costume, Tommy Edman has been ordained the new 2b. It’s a bit of a concern when you peruse through his stats of late 2020. In Sept, Edman batted .241 with 30 strikeouts in 114 AB THAT month. A 26% strikeout rate for the month. But….almost as always…it comes down to money. Unfortunately, Wong payed the price for the signings of Fowler (16.5m), Matt Carpenter (18.5m), Miles Mikolas (17m) and some would add Paul Goldschmidt (26m). That’s $78m for these 4 players!
….Abandoning their passing-game uniforms, the MU Tigers dressed up in their run-game outfits. The Tigers played ol’ fashioned smash-mouth football against Kentucky with some deft passwork to supplement the run-game to grind out a 20-10 victory. Using running back Larry Roundtree III early & often– 37 carries for 126 yard on the ground, the Tigers gave Kentucky a taste of their own game (running the ball). Ball control was the name of the game—92 offensive plays for MU!!! MU QB Connor Bazelak completed 21 of 30 for 201 yards. MU converted 10 of 20 3rd down conversions and 4 of 5 on 4th down. Now MU Head Coach Eli Drinkwitz has really presented a conundrum for the SEC coaches…he passed for over 400 yards against LSU with multiple formations & motions. Then against Kentucky, he dressed up as plain-Jane—heavy emphasis on running with controlled passing attack with only a dash of motion and little trickery. What offense will he dress up in for the next game?
….it was a cruel joke on Rice University… with the game tied against Mid Tenn State tied 34-34 the game went to OT. MTSU missed their FG attempt in their 1st possession of OT. Needing just a FG to win, Rice kicker Collin Richitelli came on the field. His kick hit the left upright, then the crossbar, then the right upright and then back to crossbar again before falling onto the wrong side of the bar (for Rice). It hit the bars FOUR TIMES!! What kind of joke was that? It was a miss! MTSU won it in the 2nd OT with a TD….you didn’t think that they’d try a kick did you?
…Then there was the kids coming to the house dressed up….so here we go…some visitors..
…Who’s dressed up in a TB Ray uni with a sign “good to be home”. Oh, It’s Pete Fairbanks, pitcher on the Rays who attended Webster Groves High School
…Who’s dressed up as the NE Patriots? Oh….its the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
…Who’s dressed up as a Gorlock? Oh…it’s Josh Fleming (TB pitcher) who attended Webster Univ after graduating from Columbia, Ill HS…btw Webster U chose the name of its mascot because of the intersection of Gore & Lockwood close to …maybe on… the campus.
…Who’s dressed up wearing a “STOP” sign?….ohhh.. that’s me! Thanks for the read!