1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Friday. “Tom Terrific–Something Special”

Posted by on September 4th, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

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“Tom Terrific–Something Special”

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The New York Mets, once the laughingtock of baseball, when they went (40-120) under Casey Stengel in their first year, a decade later became celebrities.

The Amazing Mets of 1969 changed the history of the franchise.

New York fans will remember Tug McGraw’s dynamic work out of the bullpen.  They will recall the fabulous Ron Swoboda catch in the World Series.  They always talked about Tommy Agee and Cleon Jones, but never about the guys who pitched them that far.

But for some reason, the conversation never turned to the starting rotation, Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Jerry Koosman and Gary Gentry.

Dominance doesn’t describe how good that rotation was.

They’re now talking about that pitching staff, because the leader of that mound corps has passed away.

Tom Seaver’s life on the mound was all about power, dominance, all done in quick fashion.  He won (311) games in a Hall of Fame career.

The passing of the bulldog of a righthander was equally quick, a year after his family announced Seaver was entering private life with advanced dementia.  He went fast, just like he worked on the mound fast.

He was an ultimate power pitcher, though maybe never getting the credit tht say a Bob Gibson got.  But you go (25-7) against the hitters from the Golden Age of baseball, that’s pretty dominant.

You gave him the ball and he gave it back to you after they won.  A career (2.86-ERA)……over 3600-strikeouts…and 61-shutouts.

They remembered him better when he was gone.  First traded to Cincinnati, then in retired, a near dominant ballot for the Hall of Fame, where he got 425-votes on the 430-ballots.

They now remember him with the 1st statue ever erecged on behalf of the Mets history of baseball, at Shea Stadium, then at Citi Field.

He was thinking man’s pitcher.  He was an intellect.  His interests off the mound were diverse.

He was ‘Tom Terrific’ and he will be remembered and honored by baseball purists as a supreme human being and a superstar pitcher.

“Tom Terrific”…was something special.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Thursday. “Baseball Playoff Chase—Who Is Chasing Whom?”

Posted by on September 3rd, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

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“Possibilities in a Pennant Race”

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Just wondering, asking, thinking, rooting.

A month to go in the baseball season.  Some 24-games to go in the Padres season.

And a potential upset in the making?

The Padres won the ‘Trading Deadline Day’, with those 6-transactions.

And now the final month of the season is upon us, as teams sprint to the finish line, hoping to get a playoff spot.

For the Padres, with a rebuilt roster, comes the question.

They are hot, can they keep this hitting streak going?
They are hot, will Mike Clevinger’s pitching put them over the top to grab a playoff spot?
They have rebuilt the bullpen, is it enough?

The answers to all three seem to be in the affirmative.

If they don’t win the division, it is important for the Friars to finish in 2nd place.  That means they would be seeded 4th at the end of the year, with the divisional winners seeded 1-2-3 come postseason time.

Getting the 4th seed means all three games in the opening round of the playoffs, would be at Petco Park, against a lower ranked team from somewhere in the National League.

That is important.

Here’s a better question for you.

The Dodgers may have the best record in the National League right now, but they have a starting pitching rotation that is not what it used to be.

Yes Clatyon Kershaw, with 200,000-miles on that left arm, is the leader..
Walker Beuhler is number two in the rotation, though he has battled blister issues.
Do you really trust the young Juliu Urias as your number three starter?
Dustin May has forged his way into the rotation, learning on the job and is solid.
Can Tony Gonsolin, a minor leaguer, really be a trustworthy fourth starter?

Is that enough for the pressures of postseason play?

The wildcard in all things Dodgers right now is the rumor that veteran lefthander David Price, who opted out in spring training because of the virus, is discussing attempting to opt-in and rejoin the Dodgers.

If Price returns, LA is unbeatable.

On paper, compare the Padres rotation right now.

Mike Clevinger..Chris Paddack…Dinelson Lamet…Garrett Richards…Zach Davies.

Power pitching for sure.  Clevinger has pitched in the post-season.  Nothing scares Paddack.  Lamet quietly shows quality as a lead pitcher.  Richards and Davies are true veterans, who have been 16-game winners..

Add in the fact the Padres batting order looks stronger right now than the Dodgers.  Yes LA has Mookie Betts, but Cody Bellinger has been stuck in a season long slump, Joc Pederson hits a few homers but does not hit for average.  Max Muncy this year is not what he was last year.  Justin Turner is banged up.  Cory Seager, if healthy, is dangerous, but has been nicked up. There seems no real bench threats.

Compare where the Dodgers are right now in that batting order, to Tatis-Machado-Hosmer-Myers-Grisham.  San Diego looks as if it can hold its own in the lineup card war.

The Friars look stronger in the starting rotation, if David Price elects to stay at home rather than get back on the mound.

Maybe over the next 24-games, the Padres can make a run, not just to the playoffs, but
to finish first.

Maybe the Dodgers should be the ones concerned about losing home field advantage, not finishing first, and facing San Diego here  at Petco Park in the postseason.

Lots of possibilities in this pennant race over the next month.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Wednesday. “A Basketball Goodbye to 2-Legends”

Posted by on September 2nd, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

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“A Basketball Farewell”

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A week of mourning.
A week to remember.
A week to reflect on their impact.

Basketball is saying goodbye to two of the college games greatest coaches.

They were cut from a different cloth.  They had different personalities.  They acted and conducted business from different corners of the world.

Georgetown will never forget John Thompson.
Arizona forever salutes Lute Olson.

They both resurrected moribund college programs.

Thompson went from an inner city upbringing to Providence College and then the Boston Celtics as a player.

He became one of the first legendary black coaches in modern time, taking over a (3-23) Hoyas program and turning it into an NCAA power.

In 27-years, he led the building of the historical Big East Conference, where Georgetown and Syracuse confrontations were legendary.

Olson came from the community college ranks to take over Iowa, and then moved to the Pac 10-Conference to build Arizona into a flagship program.  If UCLA in the Wooden era was the standard-bearer back in the day, Olson made his Wildcats the modern day version of what happened at Westwood.

The influence of the two coaches is legendary.

Thompson recruited the inner city, and taught the likes of Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Alan Iverson and Dikembe Mutombo to be not only great players, but become great people.

Olson strived for academic success to compliment basketball success.  He took players no one recruited, and made them special.   Legendary NBA player and coach Steve Kerr a prime example.  Sean Elliott, Richard Jefferson and so many others became proud Wildcats.

Between the two coaches, they went to the NCAA tourney 34-times.  They dominated their leagues.  They were Final Four participants.  They won NCAA titles.  Between them they had a combined 44-seasons of 20-wins or more.

Olson brought class and stature to West Coast basketball.  He was stoic in his approach to coaching, dealing with the media and the fans.

Thompson was loud and gruff and tough.  He fought the NCAA over academic standards that worked against inner city kids.  He led his players to do charity work and graduated 97% of his players, many from low income lives.

The two were as different as day and night.  Olson, dapperly dressed daily.  Thompson hanging a towel on his shoulder, shouting, pointing, arguing and praising and looking worn out all the time..

Different strokes for different folks.  But when they were done, Thompson won 596-games…Olson 583-outings.

But the influence was more than just victories and hanging banners.

The influence of these two leaders on the game, and more importantly the players on their rosters is their legacy..

John Thompson-Lute Olson, stood for alot.  Did alot for the game, their schools and the people they crossed paths with.

Georgetown and Arizona are better places because they were on those campuses.
College basketball is better for crossing paths with those two leaders.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Tuesday. “Padres Win Trading Deadline-Can They Win Pennant”

Posted by on September 1st, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

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“Padres GM…..Not afraid of spending or takings risks”

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AJ Preller has quite a reputation, as a wheeler dealer, a guy who does his job living on the edge, and a guy not fearful of spending money or making deals.

That was the case as we got to the finish line at the trading deadline.

Preller, despite a red-hot team, made 6-trades…imported 10-players…moved 15-players and prospects, and put his team in a position to chase down the Dodgers and Cubs in post season playh.

In his historty, he has overpaid for players, made mistakes on players, and had to pay other teams to take his mistakes.  And yet ownership has let him continue to wheel and deal.

And although he may still be haunted by his mistakes on Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, James Shields, and others, and the fact he overpaid for draft picks and Latin free agents, he has the Padres positioned to make a big time run into late October.

He believes in what he just did Sunday-Monday-Tuesday.  The deals for a veteran bat like Mitch Moreland; the trade for another former closer in Trevor Rosenthal; the acquistion of an ace in Mike Clevinger; or the deals to pick up 2-new catchers this late in the pennant race.

A unique way to do business.  Preller spoke about his feelings hours after he stole all the headlines at the trading deadline:

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Padres GM-AJ Preller:

..Speaks to organization foundation to have assets to make deals

..Farm system has to be good..
..We have players lot of teams wanted
..Is not an emotional decision-this is well thought out plan
..These players will help us next couple of week and years to come
..Our scouts get to know players throughout the country-world
..Our scouts give us the capital to make moves
..This is culmination of alot work for a couple of years
..We sat down a week ago..four areas we wanted up grade
..4-rotation starters…the bullpen mix..the catching position..1-bat
..We weren’t going to do one move unless we could do others
..You have to give up good players to get good talent
..Yes parting with Quantrill-Hedges-even Owen Miller is hard
..We like the mix of the guys we got back in the deals
..I was constantly on phone with coaching staff to talk about mix
..The coaching staff invited us to make the right type of moves
..It all lined up for us quickly
..Some of this is bitter-sweet, sitting talking kids traded
..It’s a tough conversation to tell them we are making deals
..Speaks to talent in the organization we have
..We still have lots of players in system
..We have next wave of players coming in farm system
..They will be in the USD and in spring training
..We were not emptying out the cupboard
..Front office staff-former GMs..Head Scouts..we compare all time
..We compare notes all the time-all types of ideas
..Economics are different..no fans in stands..2021 budgets
..We talked about individual moves…and total cost of deals
..We actually cut some payroll in the short term
..We wanted players under control for future years

..We had seen Clevinger 10-years ago going back to JC
..Talented..great athlete..great competitor
..We knew it would take a big time deal-super competition
..We made competitive offer..twists and turns..Cleveland lined up
..Clevinger owned up to mistake he made in Cleveland
..He understood what he did..he apologized
..We talked about his background

..Confident bringing in two new catchers-mid season
..Austin Nola-very intelligent-very competition
..Jason Castro..wired right way..knows handle staff
..Yes always risk factor in these deals
..Austin is under control for five years

..Taylor Trammell-we felt he might be springboard us down the road
..He could have played here..he helped us get next deal done

..We like to check alot of boxes for new players
..Multi position..switch hitters etc
..We want to know down stretch we have guys who can defend
..At bats and outs count especially in postseason

..We like our bullpen..Rosenthal can pitch in back of bullpen
..Last 10-days-we have seen they can pitch in situations
..We now have numbers and options righthanders-lefthanders
..Not figured 100% out yet-how use them…believe in them
..We will need them this final month
..We added 4-arms we like and we will need them

..Austin Adams-we were talking to Washington about him last year
..Coming off the injury-we had interest in him even in camp Peoria
..Taylor Williams-watched him a long time-like fastball-slider combo
..Williams has been tough in back part of ball games
..They have out pitches-we have looked at for a couple of years.
..These pitchers are excited coming into a pennant race situation.

..Playoffs-best of three playoffs is different than 1-game playoff
..We evaluate our team-we can handle in a short series now
..Everybody will be in same situation to try continue the season

..We have confidence in Jayce-coaching staff meld personalities
..They have collective focus to get team into the playoffs
..There is excitement and strong leadership in clubhouse
..Jayce has been thrown alot of things as rookie manager in 7-months
..He will blend all these new faces in

..The trade market was active based on volume of calls we took
..We knew we were going to be active-were right till 1pm deadline
..Think it was happening alot of shops across the league.

..Jason Castro-Austin Nola-were playing opposing dugouts
..We got them car service from Anaheim Stadium
..Got them to Carlsbad and then on charter plane to Colorado

..Ready to challenge Dodgers for division…that is the goal
..We want team that can extend a run for years
..Dodgers have done so well for the last decade
..I told them they could go (50-10)…they have set the bar high
..We focused on ourselves to make a run into October
..We still have alot of baseball infront of us.

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1-Man’s Opinion on Sports–Monday “Padres–They Are A Player”

Posted by on August 31st, 2020  •  0 Comments  • 

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“The Padres–They Are A Player”

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You roll the dice this time of the year, if you think you are close to being a true playoff team.

You spend a little extra, pay a bit of a price, if you think you can go deep in postseason play.

The Padres are now, what they have not been for a decade or so, a player in postseason.

The Monday trading deadline is upon us, and the Friars have made two deals for short term help, that could drive them deep into October.

They gave up young talent to do the deal, but if you believe, and I know they believe, they have enough young talent still in the farm system, then you make these short term upgrades, and don’t worry about what is being traded away.

 

In the final hours before the deadline, will they overspend, strip the system to go get another pitching ace.

 

Still to come…seeing what happens with the Padres in the middle of a bidding war with Atlanta, the White Sox and Dodgers, all chasing Indians top pitcher Mike Clevinger.

 

What they have already done will have impact immediately, and there’s only 24-games left in this pennant race.

The Padres have traded for Kansas City Royals closer Trevor Rosenthal, the former bullpen ace of the Cardinals.  He has a (3.29-ERA), has been clocked at 100mph this season coming off elbow surgery, and seems to be the same pitcher he was when he rang up 45-and-48 saves in two banner years in St Louis, though that was in 2014-15.

The price was highly regarded minor leaguer Edward Olivares, who was hitting just (.179) with San Diego, though that is a small sample size in this shortened season, coming off good minor league seasons.

Rosenthal comes in to give the Friars added help to Drew Pomeranz and Matt Strahm.  The loss of Kirby Yates and the erosion of Craig Stammen has hurt what was supposed to be the Friars strength.  As of Sunday, the bullpen had a (5.24-ERA).

San Diego still have Taylor Trammell and Jorge Ona as hot prospects in the minor leagues for future delivery.

Then they went out to rent veteran 1B-DH-Mitch Moreland, having a strong (.311-11HR) season with the lowly Red Sox.  He is an 11-year veteran and a clubhouse leader, who will likely be a better DH than Ty France or anyone else.

The price tag was highly regarded Hudson Potts, a former high draft pick, who was a 3rd baseman and could play second.  But the Friars have Manny Machado and have discovered Jake Cronenworth’s second base talents.  They also have a plethora of multi position infielders waiting in the mid to low minors.

You have to ‘give to get’ , and that’s why these deals make sense.

Chasing the Angels catcher Juan Castro, good glove, with some pop would make sense if the lingering thumb injury to Francisco Mejia keeps him out.  Mejia has had a poor season, with flaws still in his game.  It’s evident the team is giving up on Luis Torrens.  But understand, Luis Campusano is a phone call away and maybe the catcher of the future.

The price was young reliever Gerardo Reyes, but then again look at the list of arms who can come out of the bullpen today and a year from today.

What all this means is San Diego, not only wants to be in the playoffs in October, they think they can put together the firepower that can stand in there and slug with the Dodgers and Cubs, both of whom have deep batting orders and veteran pitching.

The Padres may be ready to admit not all the young pitchers are ready to win in a 1st place pennant race, but if this team continues to hit home-runs, this team might be able to go a couple of rounds deep into postseason.

This lineup gives you a chance, to do just that.

Historically, AJ Preller spent truckloads of money to sign all these draft pick and Latin free agent players.  Not many of the prospects have panned out at the major league level yet.  But being so close because of some of his past trades, the arrival of Fernando Tatis, and the suddenly strong short seasons from Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers, means this team is dangerous.

Adding another bat, picking up a proven healthy reliever, gives Jayce Tingler more bullets in the gun to go fight the postseason fight beginning in a couple of weeks.

They’re hot (21-15).  They believe.  They have a definite chance to be a scary team to matchup with.  The Dodgers and Cubs will soon find that out.

The Padres….they are a player now.

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