I want to try to stay away from hyperbole and superlatives here; nonetheless, I have to say that MLB is on a roll with regard to World Series excitement. Last year’s 7-game presentation plus this year’s 7-game’s worth of excitement should provide MLB with a spike in interest for next year. The Astros are the champions and the Dodgers have little if anything to be ashamed about. Here are a few quick observations:
- Baseball pundits look at the young Astros’ lineup and say they are poised to be winners for a long time to come. I agree; they are really good and exciting to watch. However, that is just what the pundits said about the Cubs 12 months ago…
- Near the trade deadline, both the Dodgers and the Astros added a top-shelf starting pitcher. Both Yu Darvish and Justin Verlander contributed during the regular season; in the World Series, Darvish had two awful outings while Verlander pitched well.
- George Springer is deservedly the MVP of the Series. I was hugely impressed also by the defensive performance of Alex Bregman throughout the playoffs.
- The Astros beat the Red Sox, the Yankees and the Dodgers on their way to this championship. Those are the teams which started the season with the three highest payrolls in MLB.
- Charlie Morton has been in MLB for seemingly forever; and until this post-season, no one would have argued with putting a “journeyman” label on him.
Last year, the Cubs completed a 4-year rebuilding to win the Series; this year the Astros completed a 4-year rebuilding to win the Series. So, which of the bottom-dwellers in 2107 will be on top once the 2021 World Series is completed? The Braves, Phillies and White Sox would be the ones to watch.
And just for the record, one of the Internet sportsbooks has already posted odds on winning next year’s World Series. The favorite is … the Los Angeles Dodgers at 3-1.
Scott Ostler had an interesting “World Series memory” that he shared with readers of the SF Chronicle recently:
“That was cute when the Dodgers sent Vin Scully to the mound for the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the World Series, and then Vinny summoned Fernando Valenzuela to do the job. Reminded me of the 2010 Series, Giants at Texas. In the press box there was a line for the men’s room. I completed my stand-up business, turned and saw that the on-deck man was Juan Marichal. I tapped my right arm with my left hand and said, ‘Juan, I’m bringing you in for relief.’
“No, he didn’t laugh.”
The NFL has provisionally reinstated troubled WR, Josh Gordon. He can be with his team – the Browns of course – and work out with them and practices and such. Later in the season he will be tested regarding the terms of his reinstatement which has to include staying sober and avoiding any run-ins with the gendarmes for anything more than a parking ticket. At that point the league will reassess his status and decide if his suspension will be lifted completely allowing him to play.
I referred to Gordon as “troubled” above. Here is a brief listing of his “troubles”:
- In 2010, he was arrested for possession of marijuana. By his account, he was then “counseled” by an assistant coach how he could detox himself to pass any subsequent drug tests.
- In 2011, he was kicked out of Baylor for failing a drug test. Then when he applied to Utah, he was denied admission because he failed another drug test.
- In 2013, he was suspended for 2 games from the NFL for – wait for it – failing a drug test.
- In 2014, he was arrested for DUI and that led the NFL to suspend him for a season.
- In 2015, the Browns suspended him for a “violation of team rules”.
- In 2016, the NFL suspended him for a failed drug test. Later that year, he admitted himself to a rehab facility.
It is fashionable today to speak in terms of “white privilege” or “male privilege”. May I suggest that Josh Gordon is a shining example of “athletic privilege”? He is immensely talented on the football field and that talent has allowed coaches and organizations to justify looking the other way and giving him multiple second chances. If Josh Gordon whiffs on this one, it ought to be his last chance…
Shortly on the heels of a video showing Tiger Woods hitting a driver with a full swing, Woods announced that he is returning to competitive golf in a tournament to be held in about 4 weeks. It remains to be seen if he can return and be competitive with the top PGA pros anymore but there is not a shred of a doubt that his return will provide golf writers and golf commentators with acres and acres of room to dissect his every swing and statement. Greg Cote summed up that situation in the Miami Herald:
“Tiger cleared to resume full activities: It isn’t that I’m pessimistic, but I hear that Tiger Woods is free to resume full golf activities and I immediately wonder when his next setback will be?”
Finally, you know that I like to have fun with players’ names; here is an observation along those lines from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald:
“Kory Cool won the Omaha Marathon. Husker football has Dicaprio Bootle and Creighton offered a basketball scholarship to Bol Bol. When did this become the all-name team capital of the world?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………