Simple , they played the game to win …..others just wanted an invite to the dance
There were no hits or misses , as it related to the MLB season , there were simply teams who came prepared to play over the long and arduous 162 game schedule . And with today (Wednesday) being the final day of the regular season schedule , teams are now playing simply for pride , specifically those who have missed out on the postseason foray . The divisional champions have been pretty much settled within the three divisions, from each league. Albeit , that within the AL West , with both the Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers (93-68) tied with the same mark within the division , their contest today , at that the O Coliseum , now has even greater meaning than any of their previous meetings this season , as a divisional title is now on the line. The Oakland A’s, leads that series 10-8 , in their eighteen meetings to date in 2012 .
For A’s manager Bob Melvin and his coaching staff , this has been a truly exceptional season , as this team has simply risen to the occasion, and simply outshone many of their more high-profiled and high paid rivals. GM Billy Beane has been able to work miracles by being prudent in the team’s free agency acquisitions and draft decisions made over the past few seasons. In 2012, it has all borne fruit , with a number of unsung heroes stepping up to the plate and making this a year, where the A’s fans have something to be extremely proud about.
With the inaugural one-game format set to commence the 2012 postseason , these series of games, which will begin on the 5th October , with the Atlanta Braves playing host to the St Louis Cardinals in a single game elimination, winner takes all format. Suffice to say, as an avid Braves’ fan , I sincerely hope that Fredi Gonzalez and his players are triumphant in that meeting at Turner Field , in Atlanta, Georgia , this Friday ! Taking the mound for the Braves will be Kris Medlen, who will be facing Kyle Lohse , of the Cardinals. Mike Matheny, having succeeded Tony La Russa, has simply taken up from where his predecessor left off. The reigning World Series champions , may not be as dominant a team from last season , but there is enough experience on this roster to make have made a spirited return to the postseason , for an organization that has known unprecedented success. As enthralling as this addition to the playoff format is meant to be , in adding another layer to what is already an arduous postseason schedule. To my mind , all it really has going for it, is the additional lure for the viewing public by way of the television broadcast coverage. As meaningful as Bud Selig wishes to the postseason to be , this new change in essence does nothing to address the most acute issues that the game of baseball currently faces. The commissioner espouses the fact that the game has seen rise in revenues , but remains at a loss to explain why there’s a preponderance of teams who are so reliant on the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme to even eke out an operating profit . Yes, that’s baseball’s commissioner for you, full of nothing but a great deal of fecal matter and platitudes!
OK, so who would have thought that the New York Yankees(94-67) would be playing and clinging on for dear life, as they seek to avoid being in a single game elimination format ? In the past eight and half weeks the team has seen their double-digit lead within the AL East being erased to a mere one game over the fast charging — Baltimore Orioles (93-68). It is at this point that you have to wonder what the hell is going on inside of the Yankees’ clubhouse over the past two months ? However, tonight the Yankees should feel lucky enough that they will be facing the beleaguered Boston Red Sox (69-92) at Yankees Stadium in the Bronx Bombers’ final game of the regular season. In what has been a too tumultuous season for Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine , there now seems to be a sense of foreboding that this may well be his final game as the manager of a team, which he has mismanaged and sought to apportion blame elsewhere for all of the Red Sox’s woes over the course of their season. There is probably nothing that Valentine would clearly like than to seemingly pull the rug from out under the Yankees’ feet as they seek another berth in the postseason.
The MLB season, as we know, is a long an arduous schedule, spread over 187 days spanning one hundred and sixty-two games. In the AL West , the Texas Rangers led that division for an astonishing 178 days. In what has been an astonishing turn of events, the Texas Rangers fell apart in unbelievable fashion, as they succumbed to the Oakland A’s 12-5 in a game that saw Bob Melvin’s team snatch the divisional crown from the forlorn Rangers. As to what this might suggest about the defending two-time AL pennant winners , and the very fact that also in successive years they have fallen in the World Series in 2010 and 2011. Well, it is enough to indicate that this team has no real stomach for any real type of adversity. The fact that the Rangers fell apart in such a catastrophic way , leaving the fans in attendance in sheer astonishment and disbelief.
Ron Washington and undoubtedly the Rangers’ front office led by team President Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels will have seen the events of today as a tremendous disappointment and one which now places this team in a precarious position. With the loss now, comes a one game playoff against either the Baltimore Orioles or New York Yankees, dependent upon the events that unfold over the remainder of today. With the payroll, and the high-priced acquisitions sought to bolster the Texas Rangers , it is astonishing to think that ball-club is now a mere nine innings away from being an afterthought , and not actually playing in the divisional round of the postseason.
Of the high-flying teams that made the biggest splashes during the off-season and then at the trade deadline , then one would have to say that the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers would have to be two of those teams. Angels’ owner Arte Moreno simply opened up his pocket-book to commit almost $300 million to acquire Albert Pujols and C J Wilson , but the spending did not stop, there with GM Jerry Depot also making his input known to Moreno. Unfortunately, for the franchise but for the efforts of rookie phenom and sensation Mike Trout , perhaps , we would have merely looked at the Angels throughout the season as an afterthought. It would not be remiss to suggest that the Angels far short of their fans’ expectations and that of the ownership group as well. At 89-72, the best that the Angels can now do is to seal their season with a final game victory over the Seattle Mariners. Beyond that, it has been a profoundly disappointing season for the Angels.
The hoopla was there as the circus came to town , with the immediacy of the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to a consortium led by Magic Johnson , Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly, Peter Guber and Stan Kasten . The famed ball-club purchased for $2.156 billion , after the organization had been taken into a forced bankruptcy by then owner, Frank McCourt. As the league hierarchy’s handling of this sorry episode, and the fact that Bud Selig sought to interject himself in the bidding process , suggests that this whole process was not without a great deal of subterfuge and the very fact that the commissioner favored one consortium over the six other interested parties at the time , even though this whole process was presided over by a federal bankruptcy court judge . Get the feeling that this was an episode that the commissioner simply wanted to disappear because of his office’s inept handling of this whole episode ?
Don Mattingly tried in vain to get his team playing with a great deal of zeal, but with the repeated injuries to key players at varying points of the season, it was clear that this would be all in vain. In their final game of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated divisional rivals and this year’s NL West champions, the San Francisco Giants (94-68). Finishing eight games out of first place within the division and 1 ½ games out of the wildcard berth within the NL, the future of the Dodgers now lays in its future and that of the major free agency acquisitions made by ball-club. Adrian Gonzalez , Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett were never able to put together the productivity sought by front office . Next season an emphasis is likely to be placed on bolstering the Dodgers’ roster , as a clear emphasis will be made by this ball-club to succeed. Magic Johnson has clearly emphasized this, in his repeated public statements concerning his ambitions for the franchise, and that is to win multiple World Series’ titles. In their future , I am very sure that the Dodgers will be a contender for not only the division but also the NL pennant as well as a World Series but this year was never meant to be their year.
As this final day of the season filtered through, it has been clear that so many teams faltered at the most unexpected of moments , while others rose to the occasion. The postseason now waits, and the expectations will be high. The fans of the game would like nothing better than to see thrills and spills exhibited in 2011, as part of excitement by the participants in the postseason fare. As a fan , what are your expectations this postseason , and which team do you believe to be the favorite to win this year’s World Series ? Simply leave a comment on this topic and anything else you deem pertinent to the subject matter.
Baseball pieces within this site
Picture and slide show details below.
(1) Oakland Athletics’ pitcher Brandon McCarthy , left, douses a teammate with a beer as they celebrate in the clubhouse after their 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers in a baseball game , Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 in Oakland, Calif. The A’s clinched the AL West title with the win. AP Photo/Ben Margot ….
(2) Oakland Athletics players celebrate after clinching the American League West at the end of their 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers in a baseball game, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Oakland, Calif. AP Photo/Ben Margot …..
(3) Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Grant Balfour , left, and catcher Derek Norris celebrate after their 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers in a baseball game, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 in Oakland, Calif. The A’s clinch the AL West title with the win. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …
(4) Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones acknowledges fans as he heads for the clubhouse following a 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the final baseball game of the regular season in Pittsburgh Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ….
(5) San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey , right, grounds out as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Tim Federowicz watches during the fourth inning of their baseball game, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Dodgers won 5-1 . Posey became the first Giants player since Barry Bonds in 2004 and the first Giants catcher to win the National League batting title with a .336 average . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …
(6) Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly (88) gets a hug from co-owner — Mark Walter after the Dodgers’ baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Dodgers won 5-1. The Dodgers failed to make the postseason finishing a distant second to the Giants within the NL West . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …..
(7) LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 03: Juan Rivera (21) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his two-run home run with Elian Herrera (37) for a 5-1 lead over the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on October 3, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ……