Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The MLB on TSC: The Dog Days of August Soldier On....

Time now for another edition of the MLB on TSC, where baseball's present always meets baseball's past and facts are sometimes stranger than fiction.... oh yeah, and baseball mumbo jumbo is always a fun theme.

Here goes:

CLAYTON KERSHAW AND DWIGHT GOODEN

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KUDOS to Los Angeles Dodgers ace and Cy Young candidate Clayton Kershaw (16-5, 207 K, 2.51 ERA) on his monster year thus far. In a year where drama and bickering has consumed the Dodgers (60-69) season, Kershaw has been one of the bright spots for the team out west. On Tuesday, Kershaw passed the 200-strikeout plateau for the second consecutive year. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kershaw, 23, is the first pitcher under the age of 24 to record back-to-back 200-strikeout seasons since a 19-year old phenom for the New York Mets named Dwight Gooden did so from 1984 to 1986.

However, let's just hope on-the-field numbers is the only thing Kershaw will ever have in common with my one-time idol.

THE MARINERS AND THE BIG 1-0

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You would think that asking a team to score 10 runs in a game is a tall order, but actually, in the American League (with the DH), it happens more often than we think. Well, unless of course, you're the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners scored 12 runs on Tuesday against the Cleveland Indians, ending a streak of 102 consecutive games scoring less than 10 runs. That is the longest such streak in the American League this season. Last season the Mariners also had the longest less-than-ten-runs streak in the American League with 120 consecutive single-digit-runs games. According to Elias, the 2010 and 2011 Mariners are the ONLY teams since the 1984 Baltimore Orioles to have such streaks of 100 or more games. The '84 O's had a 103-game streak making them the last non-Mariners team to do so.

Maybe the Mariners should take that freaky stat as a subliminal message as to why they are dead-last in the American League in runs scored.

ATLANTA BRAVES: FOUNDING FATHER NO. 1

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The Atlanta Braves, along with the Chicago Cubs, are the only charter members remaining from the original National League (est. 1876). I guess we can say that that makes them the "Founding Fathers" of modern-day baseball. You would think that in 135 years of Braves baseball everything by now should have happened at least once. But no, leave it to the Elias Sports Bureau to come up with their classic first-timers. The Braves recently won a 1-0 game against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the 1 run came on a home run by shortstop Alex Gonzalez. That is the first time in Braves history that a shortstop homers in a 1-0 game. Go figure!

CHICAGO CUBS: FOUNDING FATHER NO. 2

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A recent Yahoo! Sports headline read, "Remaking the Cubs begins with critical GM choice."

Remaking the Cubs?

Hold on one second! I thought we were supposed to be at the brink of ending this 103-year thing and now we're talking about remaking? Hello! The team has been in the league for 135 years-- "remaking" should be a word that has long been erased from their dictionary. How in the world do you tell people who have been waiting for a parade for 103 years that "we're in the process of remaking the team"? My goodness, so how long is it gonna take? Another 100 years? {shaking my head}

On another Cubs front--

The above player (Tyler Colvin) is STILL wearing No. 21.

For those who don't know, that's the same number that the estranged Cubs-great Sammy Sosa used to wear. And I'm sure "Say It Ain't So" Sammy is still fuming about the fact that the Cubs have had the "audacity" to keep his number in circulation.

Last year in an interview with Chicago Magazine, a livid Sosa said, “That number should be untouchable because of the things that I did for that organization. That right there shows me that they don’t care about me, and they don’t want to have a good relationship with me.”

I'm sure Sosa still feels that way today. How dare the Cubs NOT retire his number! How dare they, as he put it in the same article, "....throw me into the fire. They made people believe I'm a monster."
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I'm no Sammy Sosa defender, but my theory is this:

The dude hit a Cubs-record 545 career home runs. He holds the 3 highest single-season home run totals (66, 64, 63) in Cubs history. Whether the Cubs like it or not, his name is plastered all over their record books. And although I believe Sosa's numbers are suspect, the only voice that matters is major league baseball's-- who have NOT put an asterisk or erased any steroid-era records. So in the eyes of major league baseball, Sosa's stats are legit. And if their legit, then the dude has an argument. If MLB and the Cubs are going to recognize his stats, then the Cubs should definitely retire his number.

Now--

If the Cubs come out and say something to the effect-- we ostracized the dude because 1) his numbers are shady and even though we turned a blind-eye on the situation back then because he was filling up seats, somebody has to be the fall guy and it ain't gonna be us and 2) he threw us under the bus in 2004 and walked out of here like he was Mr. Big Shot and to this day we have not forgiven him for that-- then that's a totally different story. But until the Cubs don't come out and say that, with 545 Cub-homers, the dude has a legitimate beef.



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