Andrew Stoeten

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The row-upon-row of Rogans, Turtles and Swishers who populate 95% every single crowd shot of Yankee Stadium must still be giddy after what transpired last night– the heroics of Raul Ibanez, the all-knowing binder of Joe Girardi, and the second meltdown in three games of Jim Johnson, who had been one of the most reliable, dominant relievers in the Majors all season– as the resilient Yankees snuffed out enough of the pixie dust glow of the Baltimore Orioles to finally dim it almost to black.

The Orioles and their magical season are on the brink tonight in Game Four, and only Joe Saunders– no, really– stands in the way of the Yankees and a Saturday meeting with whoever wins tonight’s late game out in Oakland. And why not? Why not have Joe Saunders on the hill with the most improbable of improbable seasons on the line… again? Why not believe that there might still be some otherworldly good fortune still left for the Orioles?

It isn’t difficult to imagine this series being already over, with the Orioles home and resting, given how close these teams were in games One and Two, and given Baltimore’s excellent record in close, and extra-inning games this season. But surely they’ll still have some fight left.

And if you believe such empty cliches of narrative, perhaps you’ll also believe that the Yankees have something extra to play for themselves, as it’s with heavy hearts that they’ll take the field tonight, knowing that this skipper, Joe Girardi, has not only lost his father, but has been suffering in silence since Saturday, choosing not to acknowledge the news, until it became public earlier this afternoon.

Our thoughts are with the Girardi family– and unable to help but wonder whether someone was smiling down last night, when Joe made the stunningly prescient decision to pinch hit Raul Ibanez for Alex Rodriguez.

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As much as I’m sure we’d all like to (sorry, Baltimore), or to think that perhaps it’s finally time to, as they visit a Yankee Stadium in the throes of Hiroktober with Miguel Gonzalez taking the hill, it would be entirely foolish at this point to start thinking that you can ever count out these ridiculous 2012 YOLOrioles.

Indeed, before we’re entirely sure, I think we’re going to have to wait until these plucky upstarts in orange are killed dead, then wait some more just to make absolute certain that another flawed, middling club with staggering good fortune doesn’t materialize from the ether to take their place.

What? Bitter?? Me???

Yeah, I suppose you could say so. And if you’re familiar with my work from over at Drunk Jays Fans, you undoubtedly know why. Yet there’s no reason to fear my biases for the underdog-rooting among you who’ll be joining us tonight on our GIF- and graph-laden journey through Game Three. Rest assured, with the dreaded also Yankees involved, I’ll be as neutral as sugar water…

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Say what you will about the injustice of a 162 game season coming down to a staged play-in game featuring a pair of teams six games apart in the standings– and there certainly is plenty to say– it promises to be nothing if not fun. Or, in what I can only assume would be the preferred parlance of fans of the home team, a hoot.

Though, thinking about it, that’s probably more a term reserved by neutrals, as it will be all nervous tension for fans of the defending World Series champions from St. Louis, and those in Atlanta who may be facing one final opportunity to see their legendary, long-time third baseman go #yicketty.

Yes, it’s the Barves and Cardinals, fighting for their playoff lives, and the opportunity to face the Washington Nationals, in a winner-take-all battle between two excellent lineups, and two surprisingly successful pitchers– Kris Medlen for Atlanta and Kyle Lohse for St. Louis– that has all the makings of an instant classic.

As long as we put aside our concerns about the fairness of the format and the scheduling, I think every single baseball fan couldn’t possibly disagree that this is pretty seriously great.

As I’ve mentioned a couple times over at DJF, I’ll be following the entirety of this evening’s game right here, in much the same format that Parkes did earlier in the week when the Rangers and A’s squared off for the American League West title on the last day of the season. So strap in and get ready to enjoy some ridiculous MLB action…

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It’s the wee hours of the morning here in the Eastern time zone as I write this, which I think means that I’m the only person who can post on this site who is seeing what just went down between the Dodgers and the Marlins.

The two National League clubs have reached a deal that sends Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate to Los Angeles for 22-year-old starter Nathan Eovaldi and a Minor Leaguer. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports adds that the prospect in question is Scott McGough, who had been at the Dodgers’ High-A California League affiliate, Rancho Cucamonga.

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Every Thursday, the Getting Blanked crew makes a prop bet of sorts with one another having something to do with baseball games over the weekend. Of the three competitors, whoever wins the prop bet is able to dole out a punishment on the colleague of their choice. This week’s punishment was watching and recapping Monday night’s Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks game. We call this #PropHate.

The Narrative

The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies are teams in Major League Baseball, or at the very least the National League, who go through the motions of playing Major League Baseball games against each other in spite of the fact that they’re the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies. One of them even has a chance at making the playoffs this year, and they’re the ones who’ve let it be known throughout the sport that they’re looking to trade their most talented player. WTF?

Could any of this be possible? Can Mark Grace keep it in his pants long enough to provide the analysis on Fox Sports Arizona? Is Aaron Hill actually not only still in existence, but actually having a good year? Could Mr. T possibly have aged that well? Did Ian Kennedy hit a triple? And Willie Bloomquist a double?? If the whole world is watching Ichiro making his Yankee debut in Seattle is this game even happening???

The answer to all these questions–except one, I think– is, unfortunately, yes.

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The New York-Penn League Gets Hip

Nobody quite does ridiculous, awesome, or ridiculously awesome promotions like minor league baseball teams, and apparently even affiliates in ultra-hip places like New York City can get in on the stereotypically corn-fed zaniness, as the Brooklyn Cyclones seem determined to prove, year in, year out.

The Cyclones– a Mets affiliate in the NY-Penn League, and formerly the St. Catherines Blue Jays– first hit the national consciousness in 2009 when they renamed themselves the Baracklyn Cyclones for a night, honouring the 44th president, giving out Obama bobbleheads and celebrating patriotism, as they crushed the Hudson Valley Renegades 7-3. They also, according to an AM NY post, have saluted pregnancy with a centre field lamaze class in 2009, and hosted a Jersey Shore night in 2010, which was– ho ho ho– rather cleverly called “Jersey? Sure!”

This season’s outstanding promo schedule promises a Medieval Times night, “Ballet & Baseball: A History Lesson in Nine Innings,” something called “Trash Your Ex Night,” and my personal favourite, Williamsburg Night!*

Yes, on July 5th the Cyclones will pander to the denizens of NYC’s hippest enclave, bringing “Williamsburg art and music” and a Skee-ball tournament to their Coney Island-area park, and– best of all– treating hipsters like royalty by offering vouchers for food and drink discounts to anyone with a beard, and letting anyone in skinny jeans run the bases after the game, “an honor usually reserved for 8-year-olds,” as Tim Donnelly of Brokelyn puts it.

I’m so there.

 

* presented by Verizon. Because… what’s more hipster than corporate sponsorship for events catering to those that disdain corporate sponsorship, amiright?

Every Thursday, the Getting Blanked crew makes a prop bet of sorts with one another having something to do with baseball games over the weekend. Of the three competitors, whoever wins the prop bet is able to dole out a punishment on the colleague of their choice. This week’s punishment was watching and recapping Monday night’s Boston Red Sox  game. #PropHate

Pregame

While the Boston Red Sox of 2012 have continued an underachieving trend that began approximately September first of last year, the Kansas City Royals scoff at such pretensions of futility, already with an 11-game losing streak on the books this year, and coming off 16 sub-.500 seasons in the last seventeen. But that’s not what tonight was about. Tonight was about punishment– a war of attrition among my brain cells as a pair of guys who can’t stop giving away free passes– Boston’s Felix Doubront and KC’s Jonathan Sanchez– set themselves to try to bore their opponents into submission.

The notoriously slow-working Sox provided one element of what looked to– and indeed did– make this contest colossally tiresome, but the real star was Sanchez. Acquired from San Francisco for Melky Cabrera this winter, Sanchez was a kind of upside play for the Royals– a guy who might be alright if he could ever fine tune his command– y’know, despite the fact that he doesn’t throw particularly hard (averaging 89.7 on fastballs in 2011, per FanGraphs), has long exited his prospect years (he’ll turn 30 in November), and couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with an electromagnetic barn broad side hitting machine (he walked 14.9% of batters faced in 2011). But… shit, it’s Kansas City– they’ve been running Luis Mendoza out there every fifth day. How bad could Sanchez really be?

Pretty bad, actually.

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