2004-10-14T02:15:25.443-08:00Well, give the Dodgers credit. They did manage to pull one game out of this season. Fitting that the Jose Lima reclamation project provided the only spark of the all too short series.
2004-10-05T23:39:27.080-08:00One team certainly looked like a World Series contender on Tuesday afternoon.
2004-10-04T22:48:26.526-08:00So, what do you do when you still have a full 12 hours before your team's first playoff game in 9 years? You read a LOT of articles. I don't mean just casual reading, either. You pour through everything you can get your hands on, from latimes.com to ESPN. You talk to other friends and sports fans online. You chat around your office. You look for reasons why your team can win the World Series. You do anything but be patient. I'd like to take a moment to thank ESPN, by the way, for putting the Dodgers-Cardinals game on first tomorrow morning. Sure, it's coming on while I should be asleep, since I'll just be coming off of a 12 hour night shift. But still, it's first. I don't have to wait. I don't have to pace. I don't have to watch other playoff games I'm less interested in, getting myself more nervous and more pumped up. I can settle in on my couch, grab some popcorn and a beer, and watch my Dodgers without suffering a pre-game nervous breakdown (this is not ruling out any during or post-game nervous breakdowns, mind you). I did find some interesting things while I was pouring through articles and through my random chats. ESPNews, handy and well timed as they are, posted the odds for each post season team winning the World Series, just as I was justifying to my friend from Maryland why the Dodgers had even a shot of beating the Cardinals. The Cards are, oddly enough, favored at 11-5 odds. The Dodgers? You guessed it. 18-1 longshots. The bright side to that? The last two World Series champs were, you guessed it, the longshots. Secondly, how did I miss that Chris Carpenter wouldn't be pitching against the Dodgers? How does something this important slip by me? Why didn't the LA Times jump ALL over this and make that a prominent story. Carpenter's been the Cardinals' ace this season. He's 15-8. He had a 3.46 ERA. Sure, his 152 K's are modest, but you'll be hard pressed to find anyone within the Los Angeles city limits with those numbers. Am I the only one asking this? So, Woody Williams is going to start in his place. Williams went 11-8, the worst won-loss record amongst Cardinals starters, with a 4.18 ERA, 131 K's, and 20 homers allowed. Then the Cards will roll out Jason Marquis, Matt Morris, and Jeff Suppan. My friend and I were a little shocked at the odds laid out on the Dodgers. Sure, they may not have the best pitching. But do odds makers even take into account the intangibles? I mean, Atlanta hasn't made a World Series since 1999, even though they've made the playoffs each year since. They're the ultimate post-season choakers. Doesn't that count for anything? The Dodgers keep looking more and more each time I look at things like the Marlins of last year and the Angels of two years ago. They're not going to overwhelm you with their stats, but they get just enough pitching, just enough hitting, and let their bullpen close games out. Why does Vegas not take this into account? It's like they're begging to lose money. Williams, by the way, pitched against the Dodgers twice this year, and the Cards went 1-1 in his starts, both being no decisions. He allowed 2 runs in each game and carried an ERA close to 4.00. Morris? 1-0 against LA, absolutely dominating them with an 11 K performance in St. Louis, allowing no runs. Marquis beat the Cardinals and posted a no decision, dominating them in St. Louis, but getting shelled at Chavez Ravine. That second game he allowed 5 runs and 3 home runs. Suppan managed to miss the Dodgers in both series this season. The Cards boast a 4-2 record against LA this season, sweeping them in St. Louis, but dropping 2 of 3 in LA. If the Dodgers can take care of business at home, stealing a game in St. Louis isn't out of the question. Thus, after a full day of doing nothing but being a geek, I'm ammeding yesterday's gloom and doom prediction. Dodgers in 5. While I'm ranting, poor choice of words by Odalis Perez yesterday, who proclaimed for all to hear that, "If we beat St. Louis, we're going to win the World Series." I don't have a problem[...]
2004-10-03T20:05:23.893-08:00Okay, so we've established that I'm fairly new to the baseball playoff excitement scene. My last two baseball playoff experiences, the 1996 and 1997 Baltimore Orioles, were laregly disappointing. In 1996, we had Jeffrey Friggin Maier. In 1997, we lost to the Cleveland Indians because Tony Fernandez, who'd hit one home run all damn year, hit a homer in the 10th to beat us. We went wire to wire that year and should've won it all, but it didn't happen. So, pardon me for looking at the state of things a little less rosy today. I went home last night still high about things. I woke up my wife to proclaim to her that Steve Finley was my new hero. When I woke up, the doubts started trickling through. Are we going to have enough pitching to beat anybody? Is our middle relief going to hold up long enough to get to Gagne? Is anybody other than Beltre and Finley going to hit? Will anyone keep Milton Bradley away from bottled water?
2004-10-03T05:33:01.143-08:00I'm still feeling the rush. It's a solid 13 hours later, and yet here I sit, still feeling the rush. Those of you that stumbled upon my humble Dodger blog know exactly what that "rush" is, and why I feel the need to comment on it. It's like friggin Christmas for me. I'm going to bed with visions of Finley's slam dancing in my head. This is what baseball is all about. It's about rivalries, dramatic home runs, 39 year old guys running like they're 20 all over again... this is why baseball is and will always be our nation's pasttime. Name another sport that has SO many dramatic images forever burned into our psyches. Go ahead. Football will fall short, and that's the only one playing on the same field. Finley's slam may not be Gibson's homer, or Mays' catch, but for someone who hasn't had a team they support within sniffing distance of the playoffs since 1997, this is as good as it gets. Even if the Dodgers get swept... that moment, against the damn Giants, I'll never forget it. It's playoff time. Check your pulse. That said, I should provide some sort of introduction. I'm Joe. Jackson. No, not that one. I'm 21 and married to a beautiful and wonderful woman, Erna. I'm from Baltimore, Maryland, where I lived for 19 years. After a failed attempt at financing my OWN way through college, I dropped out and joined the military. That took me from Baltimore to San Antonio to Biloxi, and now here to Anchorage, Alaska. I forecast the weather up here for the state, which may not seem like much... but if you consider that Alaska, counting the Aleutians, covers an area roughly 2/3 the size of the continental US, then you realize that my job is anything but easy. And I have to admit, while I enjoy my job, I was going to college to be a journalist. That's what I want to do. That's what I've ALWAYS wanted to do. Blogging was an idea that, to be honest, hit me tonight. So, here I sit, rambling about Steve Finley's home run while I should be monitoring the weather. God, I hope it doesn't snow tonight. I'm not exclusively a baseball fan. To be honest, I follow baseball, football, hockey, and basketball passionately. To give you an idea of how rabid I am, while basketball is probably my least favorite sport, I could still give you most of the NBA teams' starting lineups last year, and most of their offseason moves. I've always had a passion for it. My mother gave it to me while I was young. She took me to a baseball game before I turned one. She kept stats for her high school football team. I'm a sports lunatic, and I blame it on her. I actually have THREE teams I follow in baseball... the Orioles, Dodgers, and Reds. The Orioles I've always loved. As a kid growing up in Baltimore, watching Cal Ripken every day of your natural life, you can't help it. I started following the Dodgers in 1988. I got to watch Gibson's home run on TV, and that was it for me. If you watched that game, and you weren't from San Francisco, how could you not pull for the Dodgers that series? And if you're 5, how can you not be a lifer? My love of the Reds came much later, in 1998, for no particular reason. They were God-awful in 1998. The next year they teased me by forcing a playoff with the Mets, but they haven't been competitive since. Needless to say, the last few years have been... well, painful. Not this year, though. I can finally root for a team other than "Wait, who are the Yankees playing?" It's almost indescribable. The 13 year old kid who's baseball passion was killed by Jeffrey Maier is starting to wake from his coma. He wiggled his thumb last week during the first Dodgers-Giants series. Tonight, his eyes opened again. He's trying to regain his senses. Everything feels funny. And for some reason, the world is this pretty blue blue color. So, this is my offer. I'm going to do my best to post intelligently. I'm going to eventually mention the other teams that I like, and I may ramble a bit about how badly I loathe the Yankees, but this is primarily[...]