October 4, 2006
Why I Hate the Playoffs
Hello again. I do have to write a few things about the Twins 3-2 loss yesterday to the A's. It was a frustrating game to watch, but that is not unusual. Fact is that many Game 1's are low scoring because there are good pitchers. First, Barry Zito deserves a lot of credit. He is a good pitcher. Yesterday, he was effectively wild. He threw nothing down the middle of the plate. His curveball was sharp and breaking big. His fastball was up and the Twins swung at a lot of bad pitches.
Johan Santana was excellent. He made the mistake to Thomas, allowing a changeup to sit perfectly over the middle of the plate. But, he did go eight innings and was on.
The Twins made a lot of mistakes. If you believe that Luis Castillo tried to steal second in the first inning by himself, that was dumb. Castillo also did not get a bunt attempt down late in the game, hanging Jason Bartlett out to dry.
There are many reasons that I hate the playoffs, and I want to discuss a few. The primary two are:
1.) It's a short series. The best team does not always win. That's a given, but the media talks about the team that wins as if they were the better team. That's just not always the case.
2.) Everything is completely blown out of proportion.
And #2 is what I would like to briefly discuss today.
There is only one game going on at a time. In a given day, there will only be two or three games, so the shows will have too much time allotted to discuss games. Here are some of my generalizations with some specific examples.
1.) It is sad that I missed listening to Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven. Although I think they are not great, it is good to at least have a couple of guys that have a clue of what is going on.
2.) Specifically, I get tired with how the announcers and the Baseball Tonight types keep talking about the Twins as this team that does the little things right. When Luis Castillo didn't get the bunt down in the 8th inning with Jason Bartlett on 2nd base, that's all they talked about. In that case, I agreed that Castillo definitely should have kept bunting. However, Joe Morgan and Jon Miller kept saying that the Twins have 'done the little things' all season. Seriously... have they? Do the Twins use the sacrifice bunt very often? I don't think so. I get tired of hearing "That's the way the Twins play ball." I just keep thinking... how many Twins games did you watch this season? Two? Three?
3.) Jason Bartlett made a bad error on a tailor-made double play ball. In the end, Santana was able to pitch out of serious trouble that inning without allowing a run. However, it still cost Santana about 15-20 pitchers. Without those extra pitches, maybe he comes out for the ninth inning instead of bringing in Jesse Crain. This is a perfect example of over-analysis. Errors happen in the game of baseball. They happen all the time. We don't want them to happen, but they do. Even on easy plays. So, move on!
4.) Miller, in particular, was tough on Bartlett. He talked about the error too much. He talked about how he was almost picked off of second base on Castillo's bunt attempt, like it was Bartlett's fault. That's the bunter's fault, especially if he jabs at the ball. Later in Castillo's at bat, Miller bashed Bartlett for stopping between 2nd and 3rd on a ground out to 2B. It looked a bit weird, however, for Miller to not understand at all what he was thinking was just dumb. It is easy to tell that Eric Chavez put up his glove to 2B Mark Ellis. Bartlett obviously thought that the ball was being thrown to 3B, so he was going to stay in a rundown. The worst part is that the whole game, Jon Miller was calling Jason Bartlett, Josh Bartlett. Like I said, at least know what you're talking about. Spend a minute or two looking at the rosters.
5.) Johan Santana is amazing. He lost the game yesterday. I should say, he was the losing pitcher of record. The media's apparent shock that the Twins could possibly lose a game that Santana starts, at home no less, was disgusting. First, Santana pitched very well, but Barry Zito is a good pitcher too, and for this one game, Zito was a little bit better. Geez, Santana threw eight innings and gave up just two runs.
6.) Baseball Tonight liked to point out that the M&M Boys combined to go 0-7. Mauer had a rough day with two bad ground outs to 2B. But his fly out to left later in the game was caught so easily just because Jay Payton had him played perfectly. Morneau is an even more infuriating situation. He went 0-4, but he flew out to the warning track twice, and he lined out to right field in his final at bat. So yes, it is a fact that they went 0-7, but to just say that is so misleading.
Maybe I sound bitter, and maybe it's because the Twins lost game 1. I really don't think that is it. I think we can all agree that the media's portrayal of all the teams (except the big market teams) is a bit suspect. When I listen to these guys talk, and when I realize that many people out there think they are experts, I get really frustrated. Like I've said numerous times, the playoffs are a bonus for me. What happens in the playoffs will in no way affect how much I have enjoyed following this team. I just wish that coverage would be better.
Maybe the networks, ESPN and FOX, should work with the teams to have one representative from each team's TV broadcast to work the game. At least there will be real knowledge from guys who really understand what is going on.
Game 2 is at noon again today (which is a whole other scenario that teams not in New York have every right to have). It will be Boof Bonser against Esteban Loaiza. Twins fans can hope that the A's show up a little flat, that they came to Minnesota to win just one game. I hope for a big ,lopsided win for the Twins, but I have the feeling that the A's will come ready to play. Hopefully it will be another good game!
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, the A's, Game 1, Game 2, the media, Jon Miller or Joe Morgan, send me an e-mail, or leave some Comments below. Thanks for listening! I do feel better!
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