Saturday, October 29, 2011

World Series: The Unforgettable Game 6

Getty Images
Of all the memories from the 2011 World Series, the one that I will NEVER, EVER, forget is this one:

The Texas Rangers were one strike away-- I'll repeat that-- one strike away-- from winning their first-ever world championship, not once, but TWICE in Game 6. I'll repeat that-- TWICE {IN THE 9TH AND 10TH INNING}-- The Texas Rangers were ONE STRIKE AWAY from reaching the mountain top.

Can someone please wake me up from this dream because stuff like that just doesn't happen in real life. My goodness!!!!

Getty Images
....and most of the damage was single handily done by the above man. Welcome to the club Texas, we Mets fans still see the ghost of a St. Louis Cardinal (Yadier Molina) lurking around in Queens, N.Y...... My, oh my!!!!

Getty Images
If I may venture a guess, Tony LaRussa is telling Albert Pujols in the above photo, "You ain't going anywhere, young man!"


You called it Sly! See you next season....

AND FINALLY-- THERE'S THE BILLY GOAT--


Hey Billy, don't worry, your beef is only in Chicago....

World Series: CONGRATULATIONS Cardinals Nation!!!!

World Series: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers
Game 7: Cardinals 6 - Rangers 2
Cardinals win series, 4-3

Getty Images
St. Louis Cardinals: 2011 World Series Champions

Getty Images
11th championship in team history (1926, 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1964, 1967, 1982, 2006, 2011).

Getty Images
HOW SWEET IT IS!

Getty Images

Friday, October 28, 2011

World Series: Game 7: It's On!!!!

World Series: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers
Series tied, 3-3

Getty Images & Wes Craven
This is it, folks!

There's no tomorrow. Someone will be "one happy camper" tomorrow morning and someone will be having nightmares all winter long.

GOOD LUCK to both teams!

Getty Images & John Carpenter
Oh and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

World Series: The Never-Say-Quit Cardinals Nation!!!!

World Series: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers
Game 6: Cardinals 10 - Rangers 9
Series tied, 3-3

"Some say we're not good enough, but our heart is always good enough." -Tony LaRussa

Getty Images
My, oh my! What a Game 6!

Just when the Texas Rangers had their first-ever world championship at their fingertips, the NEVER-SAY-QUIT St. Louis Cardinals refused to fold up like a cheap suit.

The only words that can describe what unfolded in Game 6 are: stunned, shock and awe, stupefied, dumbfounded, blown away and finally..... speechless!

Getty Images
What a game! What a comeback!! What a team!!!

Getty Images
.... And what a DEEP FREESE!!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

World Series: The Texas Rangers Are Inches from the Mountain Top

World Series: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers
Game 5: Rangers 4 - Cardinals 2
Rangers lead series, 3-2

Getty Images
The Texas Rangers are one win away from erasing 51 years of frustration, bad luck and heartaches. It's been a journey that began in Washington D.C. in 1961 and moved over to Arlington, Texas in 1972.

For most of it's history the franchise was non-existent and pretty much never taken seriously. It wasn't until 1974 when they FINALLY drew a million fans for the first time ever but the team was still considered irrelevant in the minds of many baseball fans.

Then in the 1990's with stars like Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez and Kenny Rogers, the team became respectable and FINALLY made the post-season for the first time in 1996. The team would go on to make the playoffs again in 1998 and 1999. Unfortunately for Rangers fans, their first run in the postseason was a nightmare (to say the least) as they went 1-9, losing all three times to the eventual world champions New York Yankees in the ALDS. After that disastrous playoff run, the team (once again) disappeared off the map to the point that they had to file for bankruptcy in 2010.

But last season things started to turn around. The new Rangers, under the guidance of new president Nolan Ryan and manager Ron Washington, had a dream season despite all the financial difficulties the team was in. They won their first-ever playoff series against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS and won their first-ever pennant against their playoff nemesis, the New York Yankees, in the ALCS. They wound up losing the World Series to the San Francisco Giants but considering where the franchise had been for most of it's history, it wasn't all that bad.

Last year's success carried over into this season and here are the Rangers just one win (I'LL REPEAT THAT)-- JUST ONE WIN-- away from reaching the elusive mountain top. JUST ONE WIN AWAY from reaching the PROMISED LAND.

This is HUGE, Rangers fans. You have two opportunities to do it. I mean, just think about it-- if you play .500 baseball in your next two games, your team will be called World Champions for the first time ever. Think about that.

I hope the likes of Charlie Hough, Jim Sundberg, Buddy Bell, Ferguson Jenkins, Bump Wills, Jeff Burroughs, Rusty Greer, Toby Harrah, the aforementioned Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez and Kenny Rogers, are all watching closely because Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Nelson Cruz, Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz and the rest of the 2011 Rangers are doing this for them also. This is the culmination of 51 years. I'll repeat that-- 51 years.

And last but not least, I'm sure the immortal Ted Williams and the great Johnny Oates and Billy Martin are looking down right now and saying, "Mission (almost) accomplished".

Getty Images
GOOD LUCK TEXAS!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

World Series: Derek Holland: The Texas Tornado!

World Series: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers
Game 4: Rangers 4 - Cardinals 0
Series tied, 2-2

AP Photo
What a series so far!

A day after Albert Pujols has a magical night on offense for the Cardinals, Rangers starter Derek Holland retaliates with a magical night on defense.

Holland's night: 8.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 0 HR, 0.48 WHIP (no doubt he WHIPPED the Cardinals last night).

Getty Images
The kid has what it takes to have a masterful performance on baseball's biggest stage but he can't even grow a mustache. Go figure!

And speaking of the Texas Tornado--

Kerry "The Texas Tornado" Von Erich (R.I.P.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

World Series: Albert Pujols, Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth

World Series: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers
Game 3: Cardinals 16 - Rangers 7
Cardinals lead series, 2-1

Getty Images/AP Photos
What a historic night for the great Albert Pujols! {6 AB, 4 R, 5 H, 6 RBI, 3 HR}

Pujols became the third player in World Series history to hit 3 home runs in one game. He joined Reggie Jackson (1977 World Series) and Babe Ruth (twice: 1926, 1928 World Series) in this rarest of clubs. In doing so, Pujols helped the Cardinals CRUSH the Rangers in Game 3 and shift the momentum back on their side. Wow!

No need to write much more. All we can say about Mr. Pujols' performance is, "Oh, what a night!"

But the Rangers ain't dead yet, unless of course, Mr. Pujols continues to show the world (and the media) why he's still the king.

Hit the music!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

World Series: The Texas Revolution

World Series: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers
Series tied, 1-1

Getty Images & John Carpenter - Click on image to view larger
The war continues in Arlington, Texas. Who will be celebrating come Halloween or who will be experiencing a nightmare?

We'll soon find out....

Joe Paterno and Eddie Robinson

Getty Images
With one more win, the No. 21 Penn State Nittany Lions (6-1) and their legendary coach Joe Paterno will accomplish the unthinkable. Paterno, who has 407 career wins at Penn State, will tie the immortal Eddie Robinson (408 wins at Grambling State) for the most wins ever by an NCAA Division I coach. And what makes Paterno and Robinson so unique is that they both earned EVERY single win while coaching ONLY one school. Paterno has coached at Penn State for 46 years (1966-present) and Robinson coached at Grambling for 55 years (1941-1942, 1945-1997).

No doubt these two legends will be bonded forever and what they've accomplished at the Division I level is highly unlikely to ever be done again.

AP Photo
Personally, if someone would have told me 10 years ago that this day would someday come, I would have thought it was impossible. But here it is and the 84-year old Joe Pa is still at the helm and doing his thing.

Here are Paterno and Robinson's career stats:
  • Joe Paterno (Penn St. - 1966 to present): 407-136-3
  • Eddie Robinson (Grambling State [1941-1942, 1945-1997]): 408-165-15
For the record, the all-time leader in ANY division is John Gagliardi of Division III St. John's (MN) who is an astonishing 480-133-11 in his 62-year career-- Carroll (MT) 1949-1952 and St. John's (MN) 1953-present.

Sports Illustrated
I highly doubt anyone will break Gagliardi's record any time soon-- if ever.

Friday, October 21, 2011

World Series: Texas Ain't Joshing!

World Series: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers
Game 2: Rangers 2 - Cardinals 1
Series tied, 1-1

Getty Images
GRAND LARCENY, TEXAS STYLE!

Trailing 1-0 in the top of the 9th inning, the Texas Rangers hit two sacrifice flies to steal Game 2 from the St. Louis Cardinals. As expected, the Great One Josh Hamilton and Mr. Everything Michael Young came through in the clutch with the crucial sac flies.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the fourth time in World Series history that all of a winning team's runs came on outs. The others were, the New York Giants winning the 1905 World Series clincher against the Philadelphia Athletics, 2-0, with RBIs from Billy Gilbert (fly out) and George Browne (ground out). The Yankees posted a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1950 World Series opener on a run-scoring fly ball off the bat of Jerry Coleman. The Cardinals defeated the Boston Red Sox in the first game of the 1967 World Series, 2-1, with Roger Maris driving in St. Louis' runs with a pair of ground outs.

In the end, closer Neftali Feliz sealed the deal in the bottom of the ninth and the Rangers escaped St. Loo with the larger-than-life split in the series.

Getty Images
We've had back-to-back (low-scoring) 1-run games thus far, so it looks like the series is going to be a battle of pitching staffs.

And now the war moves on to Texas where three brutal battles will be fought. Who will prevail?

To be continued....

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to the Dominican Dandy

Juan Antonio Marichal Sanchez
Born: October 20, 1937


Quick Bio, courtesy of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum:

The pride of both the Dominican Republic and the San Francisco Giants, Juan Antonio Marichal Sanchez won 243 games and lost only 142 over 16 marvelous seasons. The high-kicking right-hander enjoyed six 20-win seasons, hurled a no-hitter in 1963 and was named to nine All-Star teams. The Dominican Dandy twice led the National League in complete games and shutouts, finishing 244 contests during his career, while fanning 2,303 and compiling a 2.89 ERA. After his playing days, Marichal became minister of sports in his homeland.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JUAN ANTONIO!

World Series: The Cardinals Draw First Blood!

World Series: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers
Game 1: Cardinals 3 - Rangers 2

Getty Images
Cardinals lead series, 1-0


Yes Sly, they may just be destiny's child!

To be continued....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

World Series Fun Fact

Getty Images
The 2011 Fall Classic is all set and ready to go. The two-time American League Champions Texas Rangers will do battle with the never-say-quit and 2006 World Champions St. Louis Cardinals.

As has always been the case, the Rangers-Cardinals World Series created an interesting fact that, I guess, only a stat freak would notice. I won't bore you with too much writing so here goes:

Since the expansion era began in 1961, major league baseball has added 14 teams. They are: Rays, Blue Jays, Royals, Rangers, Angels, Mariners, Nationals, Mets, Marlins, Brewers, Astros, Diamondbacks, Rockies and Padres. Every expansion team has made it to (at least) one World Series with the exception of the Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals.

Expansion teams have WON 9 World Series: Mets (2); Blue Jays (2); Marlins (2); Angels (1); Diamondbacks (1); Royals (1).

Expansion teams have LOST 10 World Series: Mets (2); Padres (2); Rays (1); Royals (1); Rangers (1); Brewers (1); Astros (1); Rockies (1).

So in total, expansion teams have played in 19 World Series in the past 50 years. And now with the 2011 Rangers, it's 20 World Series appearances for the expansion fraternity.

BUT!!!!

What has NEVER happened, ever, is two expansion teams meeting in the World Series.

One of the original old-school franchises has somehow figured out a way to reach the Fall Classic every year since the beginning. In other words, all 20 appearances by expansion teams have been against one of the original 16 teams since the World Series began back in 1903.

Very, very interesting!

Getty Images
As for the Brew Crew-- they missed the chance to break the streak.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Cardinals Win The Pennant! The Cardinals Win The Pennant!

NLCS: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Cardinals win series, 4-2

Getty Images
Getty Images
Getty Images
Getty Images
Mr. Pujols Neighborhood! No doubt!

CONGRATS St. Louis!!!!

The Rangers Win The Pennant! The Rangers Win The Pennant!

ALCS: Texas Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers
Rangers win series, 4-2

AP Photo
AP Photo
Getty Images
You have to feel good for Mr. Everything Michael Young and the Great One Josh Hamilton. No doubt about it!

CONGRATS Texas!!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cardinals Nation: One More!

NLCS: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Cardinals lead series, 3-2

Getty Images
Getty Images
Tony LaRussa, Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina and the never-say-quit St. Louis Cardinals are an inch away from the pennant. My, oh my! Who would've thunk it?!

Getty Images
As for Mr. Pujols....

Getty Images
Getty Images
Something tells me King Albert didn't take his last at-bats at Busch Stadium last night!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mr. Pujols and the Cardinals Soldier On....

NLCS: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Cardinals lead series, 2-1

Getty Images
What could be going through Albert Pujol's mind in the above photo?

If I were to venture a guess, I'd say: "There's no place like St. Louis for me because this team is something else. Whether we win it all or not, the fact that we've gotten this far is enough reason for me to stay." Hmmm? Could be?!

To be continued....

Murderer's Row Can't Be Stopped!

ALCS: Texas Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers
Rangers lead series, 3-1

AP Photo
Nelson Cruz and the mighty Texas Rangers are on the brink of reaching the promised land for the second year in a row and this time around it looks like they won't be denied.

Can the Rangers capture their first World Series title in the 51-year history of the franchise?

Or do AL Cy Young and MVP favorite Justin Verlander and the Tigers (still) have other ideas?

AP Photo
Things are looking mighty tough right now for Motown. I wouldn't mess with Texas if I were them.

To be continued....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

R.I.P. Al Davis

Getty Images
Al Davis (1929-2011)

The toughest Oakland Raider!

Cardinal Rule!!!!

Getty Images
2011 NLDS: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Cardinals win series, 3-2

Getty Images
CHRIS CARPENTER: THE MAN, THE MOMENT

Getty Images
His MASTERFUL Box Score: 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Getty Images
This will be the Cardinals 7th trip to the NLCS under manager Tony LaRussa.

Getty Images
For Albert Pujols, there is NO PLACE he'd rather be....

Getty Images
It's home sweet home for the great one! No doubt!

Getty Images