It’s the time of year when all the major team sports are in competition. There are plenty of THRILLS & CHILLS throughout the sports world.
…The Biggest Chill is being felt in LA. The Dodgers sudden departure from the playoffs has raised many questions (at least from the fans) and some answers. For example, winning teams develop starting pitchers who can go deep in games. The 5 teams still alive ranked among the top 6 in innings pitched by starters. Develop pitchers to go deep into games, and you can use your best arms more often.
…Another CHILL In the playoffs came to the Dodgers—this time at the plate. LA struck out 1 time for every 3 At-Bats in the post-season, batted a paltry .227 and an even worse .147 with runners on base. The real sting for LA is that they actually beat San Diego 14 of the 19 games this year but….lost 3 of 4 in the playoff series!
…Dismayed at winning the division with by a league high 10 games-with a MLB high–111 wins. Yet they met the real CHILL when they were knocked out in a scant 4 games. After the CHILL, the LA fans & probably the management, proposed an idea that would have suited them (and maybe the entire league). They proposed that the League Winner in WINS in the regular season would start each post-season series up 1-0. I don’t think it’ll get any traction from other owners but it does push one to think.
….One has to come to grips with the idea that the best team wins the regular season but in the playoffs that’s not always the case. Sure, probably very often… the best team does win. But, the short playoff series, makes it much more attainable for the team with the weaker record to win.
…If it is simply about winning the World Series and not the regular season, compare the Dodger & the Marlins since 1993. Instantly, we’d all say “of course LA is better”. Well…if we only look @ World Series appearances vs Championships—Miami has 3 playoff years while the Dodgers show 16 playoff seasons. But, Miami has 2 World Series Championships while LA has just 1. Which franchise is better?
…After the dismal ’22 playoff results, the Dodgers may rethink their policy of spending extensively (always in the top 5 in MLB). They aren’t obligated to spend to the level that they’ve done annually for decades. Maybe….just maybe…due to the uncertainty, they’ll cut back. They could decide to use more farm players rather than importing seasoned, more pricy, experienced players. Annually, the Dodgers & Yankees are in the top echelon in payroll spending. The more the short-term playoffs are extended, the more the chance that they’ll fall short of the World Series. If so…would the results demand retention of very high payrolls? Fans might like it… but keep in mind. The owners expect to make a profit on their huge investments. They may “cut back” on the acquisitions of veteran players. I think that it would send some CHILLS to the players & players union.
…Hockey eases the disappointment for a team that has the most wins in the regular season. Even if they falter in the post season, that team is awarded the President’s Trophy. At least…it’s something!
…The biggest THRILLS this MLB season may have been in Cleveland. The Guardians, with the lowest payroll in the MLB @ $29.1m made the playoffs. (The Cards have 2 players making more than the entire Cleveland team) Granted they were in the AL Central division where the overall competition of the divisional teams doesn’t match the East or West but they still won the division. Both Central divisions seem to have many of the lowest spenders in the MLB. The Cardinals & White Sox are the only 2 Central teams in the Top 10 of MLB spending. White Sox actually out-spent the Cards but suffered though a rash of injuries to very important players in ’22.
…U of Illinois football is currently going through a season of THRILLS as they hold a 6-1 record. Head Coach Bret BIELEMA (in his 2nd year @ Illinois) is a proven Head Coach. The Illini won their 5th game in a row with 26-14 over Minnesota. He’s compiled a 13-year record of 102-65 (.611) as head coach at Wisconsin, Arkansas, and now Illinois. He’s done it in an old-fashioned way… strong defense, powerful line play on both side of the ball & use of a ground game have been his forte. Currently, the Illini are tied for 1st place in the Big 10 West division.
….Recently, there were TRILLS galore in Knoxville with frigid CHILLS in Alabama. The
Tennessee Volunteers knocked off Alabama 52-49! It was pure offense! In a wild game–Bama racked 569 total yards while the Vols had an almost identical 567 yards! With 7:49 left in the game, Bama held a 49-42 lead after the PAT. On the next drive, Tennessee tied it up @ the 3:26 mark of 4th qtr. In the OT, Tennessee’s Chase McGrath’s FG from 40 yards out wobbled through the uprights. It turned out that it had been just slightly touched by a Bama defender but not enough to really modify its course. It was the 1st Tennessee win over Alabama since 2006.
…I was CHILLED by Mizzou’s narrow victory over Vanderbilt. Vandy is clearly in the wrong football conference. It was a school built by multi-millionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt. He had little actual education himself but his wife valued higher learning. SOOO.. he THRILLED her with establishment of the Vanderbilt U. Now, they should look to “move on” to a different level of play…different league.
…Thanks for the read! As always, I welcome any of YOUR thoughts about the CHILLS & THRILLS of sports. Just post them on my Facebook page (Bob Ryan) or send to me & I’ll do it for you. If you’ve missed some of my sports blogs along the way go to www.bobryansportsblog.com to catch up. Have a super week! I appreciate that some of you are “sharing” my blog to reach new readers. Thanks! Bob