Unexpected Gifts

It’s that time of the year….early gifts arrive from friends, co-workers, family etc. Almost all gifts are appreciated….but….every so often….
….the Cardinals appear to be giving the SAME gift to their fans as last year. It was not well received and many had hoped….almost expected…something different. Again, this year the Cards are giving STRONG PITCHING as a gift to the fans. The LA Dodgers had given that same gift to their fans when they arrived in 1963, one year after moving out West. Sandy Koufax was 25-5, with an unbelievable ERA of 1.88; Don Drysdale was 19-17 but held a 2.63 ERA; closer Ron Perronoski posted 21 saves with 16 wins!! Now…this isn’t to say that the Cards will be able to duplicate those truly magnificent numbers or should be compared to the 63 Dodgers since it was a different era… but…. when compared to the entire league right now…Cards allowed the fewest HITS of any MLB team; was the best in the MLB in permitting the fewest baserunners left on base; faced the fewest batters of ANY MLB team in 2020; 9th in MLB in ERA. Now most fans… this one included…have focused on the weakness of our batters. Instead….let’s enjoy this gift of pitching that Mr MO has given us for 2021.
….Auburn gave Gus Malzahn a pink slip & $21.7m as his Gift. The $21.7m is the buy-out left on his contract. Malzahn is 3-5 vs Alabama in his career including 2 wins over Nick Saban. He piled up a 68-35 record in 8 seasons with most games against SEC teams. His “unique Gift” was precluded by a string of highly recruited players not living up to …or even close to….expectations. I don’t know if he’ll want to coach again….he will have $21+m to “live on” for the rest of his life…but…if he does want to coach…I think that he’d provide a winning program for most schools. Malzahn was at this best calling the offensive plays for Auburn as the Head Coach. I suppose that came from his background as a HS Head Coach. In High School, most Head Coaches call the offensive plays.
…the Big 10 gave Ohio State a gift of ignoring their earlier rule that a team needed to play 6 games to be eligible for the Big 10 Championship game. There are plenty of pros & cons about ignoring their previous ruling but…why didn’t they include a clause at the original statement that covid “may force a reevaluation of the required number of games?” The way this gift ”played out” smacked of favoritism for an ol’ time, big time Big 10 winner.
…St Louis U is giving their fans the gift of seeing the Bills face opponents from top notch leagues. Playing LSU, N. Carolina State and U. of Minnesota provides the fans with the opportunity to see the Bills compete against Power 5 teams. Congrats to Coach Travis Ford & AD Chris May for their efforts in making this work. So what if they lose…it’s Dec, as the philosopher Ric Flair would say, “To be THE man…ya gotta BEAT the MAN”.
….Lance Lynn received an unexpected gift from the lowly Texas Rangers when they traded him to the up & rising, Chicago White Sox for 2 “prospects. Lynn is a steady performer who seems to have learned the irascible attitude required by pitchers from John Lackey. Lynn IS the real thing when it comes to eating innings. In 2020, in 13 starts, Lynn piled up 84 innings that 6.4inn per start. Compare it to the Cards—Jack Flaherty 9 starts, 40.1 inn= 4.45/start; Kim 7 starts, 39 inn=5.57/start; Hudson was 8 starts,39 inn= 4.875/start; Ponce deLeon 8 starts, 32.2 inn=4 inn/start. Only the aged one… Adam Wainwright lasted longer than Lynn per start!! Waino had 10 starts for 65 inn..an easy 6.5/start. From my view, each inning that a starter can attain saves a bullpen man. Seemingly, it seems that 1 inning is the max for the vast majority of MLB relief hurlers. Soooo….each inning by the starter saves 1 of the relief hurlers having to pitch in that game. btw…Lynn is a fastball pitcher, 2 seam & 4 seam (one rises, one dips), he shuns those elbow-killing, career-ending sliders. Other pitcher should take note (especially Jack Flaherty who throws many sliders).
..Cuonzo Martin (MU’s basketball coach) has received the gift of dependability. 3 of his key players are shooting very well from the free throw line. Mark Smith is 14 of 15=93%; Dru Smith is 19 of 22 for 86% and Xavier Pinson is 18 of 22 for 82% for the season. The Tigers will win many close games if those FT percentages hold at those levels. Rated #16, the Tigers are already off to a tremendous 5-0 start with impressive wins over Oregon, Wichita State and #13 Illinois.
…Tom Brady received a box that simply had a card with the words “YOU WIN” on it. Clearly, he’s outperformed his former Coach Bill Belicheat this season. In the eyes of the fans, many picked one or the other as being the primary reason for the Pats success….. Brady is looking better right now….I mean looking better as a player 😊
…the Cardinals suggestion box should receive a note that wished that the “greens” in straightaway Center-field would be removed. Make that area part of the playing field…we’d see much more of the most exciting play in baseball—the triple. Management would not be hurt financially… no seats are being removed…. the only addition is EXCITEMENT!
…oohhhhh… I just received a text from Doc SV (one of my readers) that said “QUIT NOW”. Well… what can say?? Merry Christmas & Happy new Year to All!! Thanks for the read throughout the year. Spead the word to any of your sports friends/family. See you again on Saturday, January 2, 2021.

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