Results tagged ‘ ALCS ’

Watching as the Ryan Express Whistles Past Me

 
 
You have to wonder if sometime during the off season in the Winter of 2009 if Texas Ranger Team President Nolan Ryan did not take a secret mission trip to the Middle East, near the site of the old empire of Persia and possibly found a very generous Genie in a lantern during a desert trek. To some within the baseball hierarchy that is the only way this Texas team could have changed their destiny so drastically in the last 365 days. You have to immediately consider an outside influence, or maybe even a few “wishes would have been granted for such a grand unexpected Rangers rise to prominence .

How else could the Rangers have had this purely magical season transpire in 2010 without three huge changes in the team karma, and we are not talking about Rangers pitching Ace Cliff Lee either. There has to be some other form of metaphysical reasoning that the final stamp of approval for change of ownership in the fire sale for the Rangers would have ever levitated towards the Ryan group of investors.

The big bets were placed firmly on the big money mob headed by NBA millionaire Mark Cuban, not Ryan’s posse` If you were a big wheel within the circles of Major League Baseball, or even a judicial member in charge of this millionaire’s garage sale, you had to see the fat and bulging wallet in Cuban’s back pocket and summarize immediately the endless possibilities of another Cuban led success story in sports.

Ryan and his group seemed on the outside like just another smart Texas born “Good Ol’ Boys” network compared to the flashing and high profile Cuban conglomerate that wanted to push the image of this team skyward in a New York minute. There had to be some sort of wishing, praying and possibly rubbing of an old lantern to facilitate such a change of rationale towards the soft spoken Ryan finally getting the final approval to taking over the Rangers.

 

The second item rubbed out by the new Ryan group might have further cemented this Rangers franchise into the MLB bright spotlight for a long, long time right after Ryan announced from the podium of a economic epiphany by the local Fox Sports Network affiliate (FSN Texas) to a thunderous Rangers broadcast package that could be valued as high as $ 3 billion dollar over the length of the deal. It would essentially push a huge wheel barrel load of cash of possibly over $ 80 million a year into the coffers of the Texas club to use as they see fit, or generally guarantee themselves a secure payroll foundation just a touch under the cusp of the “Big Boys”.


That figure would give them a bit more fiscal stability to possibly resigning Starter Cliff Lee, or even the thought of possibly entertaining a secure long-term deal with a player like Josh Hamilton. Heck, that kind of extra chicken scratch could make someone like Rangers catcher Bengie Molina put off his recent retirement chatter and suddenly decide to play one more season, adding some extra large pieces of cheddar to his retirement nest egg. The revenue could do wonders to solidify a roster that could contend for years based solely on the extra coinage.

Ryan’s third wish by the genie in the bottle might have been the best one of all. It would have centered around Ryan’s new troops getting a chance to showcase their style of pitching and hitting to the baseball World. Because you know Ryan wished for this talented Texas squad to go against the “mighty ones” in the postseason.

Ryan as a pitcher was never afraid of pitching a bit close in on the eyeballs or even dusting you with a 100 mph fastball in the ear hole. With that same reasoning spewing out of his heart for his Rangers wranglers’, you knew that Ryan did not want to skirt taking on a huge challenge in the postseason, and got this wish with flying colors.


 

Ryan’s squad was considered the fourth best option in the American League by most people around baseball even days before the Major League Baseball season ended. For some unforeseen reason, his Texas team was never seen to stand a chance in the postseason or somehow earned the respect due to a team that won the American League Western title. The same Rangers team who initially celebrated before the two major players (New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays) his team faced in the ALDS and the ALCS.


His Texas team firmly sandwiched 5-1 victories between three additional games against the Rays and came away with a Game 5 victory that further established them as the team to watch closely this postseason. Even as their National League Western Division second cousin, the San Francisco Giants were taking their own bit of revenge on some of MLB’s elite, this Rangers squad began to show signs of being a Ryan inspired team that could never be counted out until the 27th out.

Even during their current match-up against the high and mighty New York Yankees, there have been moments over the first 5 games of this series, that showed this young Texas squad was as ornery and feisty as the vintage Ryan to take it to the Bronx set and dish out their own forms of Western justice. But Ryan’s third granted wish did not ends here, it is still evolving and transforming.

There is still another plateau to ascend to yet. Another stage for Ryan and his band of urban cowboys to step onto and accept its challenges. It is a pristine spot where Ryan himself only ventured once during his Major League career. Back in1969 when Ryan was a young pup reliever with the New York Mets was the only other time he has ventured this close to the Fall Classic. Even his bulging resume` of an MLB leading 5,714 punch-outs or his 7 No-Hitters, Ryan could not seem to get him back to this final stage. Another trip at this juncture in his new role running his favorite franchise would just be magical.

The sudden escalation of this Texas franchise in such a short period of time might not even have a single Persian influence after all. It might not come from wishing on a brass lantern or even praying to a higher power for the chance to again dance and celebrate on the green grass of the Ballpark at Arlington with his team. It might just be heralded by so many as just another chapter written in the never ending saga that is Ryan’s baseball World. But his fingerprints and nuances are all over this Texas team. Ryan is the behind-the-scenes sculptor that has molded and kneaded this piece of formed pottery into a cherished Texas heirloom.

I do not know about you, but I am definitely excited to see what transpires as the Rangers and Yankees change their focus from the bright lights and big city environment of New York back to the slower and more cherished home-style cooking of this Texas 25 as they two-step towards America’s heart. Where the mannerisms of claw and antlers will make up the backdrop, and increasing sounds of the homestead crowd should push them towards checking off another item on Ryan’s “Wish List”.

 

Ryan might have dusted off and spit polished his old competitive moniker of “The Ryan Express” and again became the lead conductor on this epic journey towards baseball’s promised land. Ryan has done almost everything imaginable as a player, including his 1999 induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Maybe it is that time in baseball history for Ryan and his charges to also write their names upon the roll of baseball’s greatest surprises and shed that title of “underdogs” forever.


I am pulling inside for Hamilton, Lee and Ryan to get that special gift of moments in the baseball World’s spotlight. To thrust themselves firmly into the minds of all baseball fans around the World, and to possibly bring home a new Tiffany masterpiece for their stone fireplace mantle sitting just under that monstrous 15-point bucks huge antlers. Some say that baseball is entering into a closer version of parity than every before, but I do not see it that way. I think it is just time for some home cooking…Texas style.

First Acknowledgment by Rays of the Playoffs


 

Leave it to the Tampa Bay Rays to make me look like a fibber. For some reason I was given the end-around, double clutch fake woohoo babied about the Rays Post season ticket packages. This is not the first time the Rays have tried to swerve my judgment or even taken me down the path least followed, but this time I thought the source was secure. So it was a total surprise today that I got a treasured packet within my mailbox today from 100 Tropicana Drive. And when I opened it, I swear a heard a chorus of rowdy angels singing off in the distance.


For today was the day I was to hold within my sweating fingers the first acknowledgment by the Rays that we might wander into the Playoff territory again in 2010. So it was no wonder that I quickly tore that white envelope’s end off and gathered in the dark blue folder with Rays icons Jeff Niemann. Matt Garza David Price and James Shields on its cover. I find ot kind of ironic that the four pitchers posed on this folder’s cover might just be the Rays starting four in the postseason.

But what was more remarkable was the inserted invoice for the Postseason in my little seat in Section 138 was going to cost me $950 little George Washington’s with a $ 25 Service Fee…..Really a service fee that high? In the end, getting a seat not even 7 feet from the playing surface for less than $ 1,000 is extremely rare, and one of my cherished possessions in life. And I like how being a Rays Season Ticket holder has gotten me almost a 20 percent discount for the ALDS and ALCS game, but no such luck getting a discount for the MLB-controlled World Series tickets.

But still, it is pretty cool that the possible 10 games (plus 2 possible tie-breaker games) the Rays could play in the 2010 post season will once again be mine and all mine for its entirety. And again we have been given the double fingers crossed promise by the Rays of additional seats in the 300 sections of the stadium with the number of seats granted equaling our normal Season Ticket seats. For me, that would be one additional seat for $ 590. But as in 2008, the deadline for my little George Washington’s to wander into the Rays money safe is by the deadline of Wednesday, September 8th, which is less than 19 calendar days from today.

Why couldn’t the Rays have had a longer period to get our funds deposited into their bank like say by Friday, September 24th when the Rays begin their final home stand with the Seattle Mariners in town. It would still give the team time to place their fingers on their keyboards and print and mail the post season ticket strips to their fan base, plus they could open the general public seating tickets on that Monday, 27th, still during the Rays final three game of their home schedule against the Baltimore Orioles.

But the Rays were more than adamant in their postseason packet that if you fail to register or send your full payment in by Wednesday, September 8th, you might be lost in the Rays general public ticket system trying to buy a seat for a playoff series. This is their quote straight out of the packet:

In order to purchase your postseason ticket packet, full payment must be received no later than Wednesday, September 8th,2010. After that time, the location of your invoice will no longer be available and the opportunity to purchase postseason ticket packages can no longer be guaranteed. Commemorative postseason ticket stock will not be available for accounts paid after the deadline.

But on a happier note, I do have the dates of the postseason games in the American League and will post them below so we all can request the day off, or re-schedule that dentist appointment or whatever. Starting times will be announced at a future date.

 

The American League Divisional Series :


Game #1 will be held on Wednesday, October 6
Game #2 will be held on Thursday, October 7th.
The teams will have Friday, October 8th as a travel day to the opposing team’s city.

Game # 3 will be held on Saturday, October 9th

Game #4 (If needed) will be played on Sunday, October 10th.
If a fifth game is needed to finish the ALDS, The involved teams will have Monday, October 11th as a travel day.

Game #5 will be held on Wednesday, October 12th,2010 to finish the series.

The American League Championship Series:

Game # 1 will start on Friday, October 15th
Game #2 will be played on Saturday, October 16th.
The teams will have Sunday, October 17th as a travel day between cities.

Game #3 will be played on Monday, October 18th
Game #4 will be played on Tuesday, October 19th

Game #5 (if needed) will be played on Wednesday, October, 20th

If one team has not garnered a series advantage by this point, the teams will have Thursday, October 21st as a travel day.

Game #6 will be played on Friday, October 22nd

Game #7 (If needed) will be played on Saturday, October 23, 2010 to determine the American League participant in the World Series

The 2010 World Series:

Game #1 will be held on Wednesday, October 27th

Game #2 will be held on Thursday, October 28th

The teams will have Friday, October 29th to fly to the American League city

Game #3 will be held on Saturday, October 30th

Game #4 will be held on Sunday, October 31st

Game #5 (If needed) will be played on Monday, November 1st
If the World Series is not decided by the October 31st date, the teams will again have Tuesday, November 2nd as a travel day back to the National League city.

Game #6 will be held on Wednesday, November 3rd

Game # 7 (If needed) will be held on Thursday, November 4th to determine the 2010 World Series Champion.

Hope all this information is helpful to Rays fans who will want to also be included in the 2010 Rays playoff fun. Hope to see all of you at the ballpark, and look forward to cheering for our Rays this postseason.

 

 
 

Calling Dr. Rivera……..Dr. Rivera to the mound Stat!

10/21/09 Blog Note: 

For some reason, the originator of the Mariano Rivera video clip has removed it from the Youtube.com files. Hopefully this was not done because of  a overpowering amount of pressure thrown at him by New York Yankees fans. But since a second angle did not make the video’s evidence conclusive, he might have decided to pull it down.
Have to admit, if I had a video I felt strongly about it would take a court order to pull it off my site. But that is the world we live in today. Sometimes things are not what they seem, and pressure can make you change your own strong will and integrity. I am still leaving the video up on the blog on because I feel if you post it, you believe in it. Plain and simple.

 

There is photo evidence of a “doctored” pitch by Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera during his relief appearance in Game 3 of the ALCS in Anaheim, California. Now this is not so shocking to me since every pitcher who  has ever graced a mound in the MLB might at times have a dark secret under their caps. And this would not be the first time a pitcher has ever stepped beyond the realm of the rules to vex his own “alleged” spit towards the small white sphere.

But  the immediate outrage might be a bit subdued compared to some stories that have broke during the 2009 season. For this is no “steroid” usage article, but this  was a high visibility pitcher who might have been caught with video evidence that Major League pitchers sometimes do things outside the boundaries of their perfect job description.

From an extra bit of sticky rosin residue on their caps, pant legs or maybe even a hidden smudge spot of pine tar situated somewhere on their gloves, this is not the first time, or the last time a MLB pitcher will  have their mound integrity called into question.

It is more a case of who got caught in this instance than why it was done in the first place. If it had been Angels reliever Jason Bulger or Kevin Jepsen, we might not even have a simple comment voiced.  The evidence and the story are going global because a big fish got caught in the net this time.

Rivera has been the Major Leagues closer icon and a Yankee legend for so long that people forget he is also a pitcher who might sometimes enjoy an extra zippy edge on his cutter from time to time.

And he might have got caught yesterday by a camera using an extra slippery substances that can only be proven by DNA samples. But seriously here, are we going to even go there. Not only do the Angels and MLB not have the ball in question, but it also doesn’t show a camera angle from behind the mound towards Home Plate.
 


www.halosheaven.com

This angle would produce beyond a shadow of a doubt that the “spit” in question actually landed on the ball and  did not miss it and proceed downward to the mound clay. And even with a high definition video in hand, it is still missing the other single camera clip image from a Fox Television camera in HD completely proves guilt here.

Who is to say that when an MLB pitcher goes to his backside and then to his glove, then comes off the mound and rubs a baseball during a game he is not applying a substance? You have to assume on every pitch that the pitcher on the mound is doing it right, and by the rules. So why is it automatically taken as a proof par excellence that a website, www.HalosHeaven.com might have the only evidence in the world of this “alleged” doctoring of the baseball by Rivera.


www.halosheaven.com


Now if there is a reverse  camera angle video, or a  single frame shot taken from the Visitor’s dugout that shows that Rivera did indeed provide some extra swerve to his cutter, than you can expect a MLB investigation and possible further action quickly. And you can bet that Fox right now is also scouring those tapes and looking for their own brand of either condemning or absolving Rivera.

With the advent of sites like Youtube and Twitter, such information is relayed as quick as our nimble fingers can pop it onto our screens.  And sometimes those videos and photos do not show all the truth.  Videos are always made that show a doctored view of someone’s world.

In this case, the video is taken directly off the network feed, and doesn’t show any evidence of being altered. But without that one definite camera angle, this video is just that…… a video right now.  If Fox or anyone else can come up with additional angles or even a Home Plate to the mound shot that shows that spit “halo” above the ball, then the course of action will change 180 degrees and the Yankee spin doctors will work long into the night.

Balls have been doctored before in games, and people have been caught. If the evidence provided by the website does lead to more close investigation of the situation, and if it is indeed an action that can be validated, then MLB will be swift with its sword. But until then we have to keep an open mind that Rivera might be both innocent and guilty at the same time. 

No matter what the result of any further investigation or video footage will bring out in the coming days, you either feel he is innocent or guilty. And with that you will have an opinion and a comment to make. My personal thoughts might be that he might have done the action, but since it did not play into the final result of the game, it should be logged, looked at and if no action is warranted….forgotten. So, what do you think?

Celebrity Sighting down in Playoffs


David J Phillips / AP

Maybe it is just me, but it seems like the celebrity baseball fans are not straying into the  ALCS/NLCS ballparks yet. Oh, there have been a few  A and B-list sightings of the famous both from the entertainment field,and some current or former sports stars sitting in the seats near the field. But it might seems to be a bit, well empty compared to some recent seasons. 

But since I am not sitting in either Yankee Stadium, or Dodger Stadium during these games, maybe I am out of the sight lines to glancing upon or just  visually missing the boat on the celebrity onslaught that seems to follow a “winning” team as they head towards a possible World Series berth. Maybe it is just too nice weather-wise in Los Angeles right now. And we know that the Arctic winds have dampened only the seats in Yankee Stadium in the first two games of the ALCS.

But then again, maybe the weather is a bit……..well, chilly for the celebrity style folks to flock outside the confines of the Hard Rock Cafe or even a Club Level Suite right now at Yankee Stadium. But it can be such great  public relations coupes and established city cred to see or be seen in the masses wearing the blue pinstripes. But then again, I am not hoping for a huge explosion of celebrity sightings to increase when the Phillies open their home set of the series tomorrow, but then again, it is home to a lot of very unique people.


Chris O’Meara / AP

I am not really trying to complain about the lack of the celebrity mobs not flocking to the ballparks, it just seemed like there were more visual sighting in 2008 when Boston and Tampa Bay played at Tropicana Field. But then again, they were in a controlled environment where the temps never reached far above 78 degrees either even with a full house screaming at the top of their lungs. I remember bumping into comedian/minor league baseball team owner Bill Murray near the Food Courts on the First Base side while he was buying some cinnamon encrusted almonds for the game ( great taste in edibles Bill). 

Or even catching a photo op with  WWE superstar John Cena at a Rays after party following Game 2 of the ALCS up in the Cigar Bar at the Trop. It was a invitation only event mostly for the Rays employees, but I snagged a pass and shook many a hand of friends within the Rays organization that wondered how I could have wrangled such an invite. But they forget, where there is a will, there is a way with me.

And there have been some nice sightings so far in this round of the playoffs. It was great to see that Miley’s dad could make it out to Chavez Ravine for Game 1 of the NLCS.  With strands of his well coiffed  mini mullet swaying the breeze, his southern twang ringing through the PA system, he offered a fantastic rendition of the National Anthem.
 


Mark J Terrill / AP

It must an ever increasing problem for Billy Ray Cyrus to always been seen as “Miley’s Dad” by people under 18, but as “Doc” or the “Achy Breaky Man” to the rest of us. But it is awesome to see he still loves the game, and I hoped he stayed and watched it that day because even with the Dodger loss, it was a great game to watch in person.

Then on Friday, there was a glance of Los Angeles Laker guard Kobi Bryant sitting with Dodger Team owner Frank McCourt and Tommy Lasorda down near the field level for Game 2 of the NLCS game. We know Bryant has a huge love of all sports, even if his second choice of sports teams tend to range to a certain soccer team in Spain. But by the pictures, it seemed like he got into the flow of the game and had a great time. Hopefully he can again be coaxed to attend another game soon and become a lifetime Dodger faithful. 

Also during that Friday game fans in attendance got to see members of the boy band, The Backstreet Boys as they performed “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch. You can bet that there was a bevy of fabulous harmonies and a few great vocal scale moves that kept the crowd either looking towards the big screen or towards the field during their performance.


Mark J Terrill / AP

Now we move eastbound into the big stadium in the Bronx for a Friday night game to begin the 2009 ALCS in some chilly weather that had more than a few people bundled up looking more like a cocoon. I think we might have had sightings of even more celebrity or famous ballplayers in the stands if not for the sweeping chill produced by the wind swirling in the stadium. For some reason, extreme conditions and celebrities only go along in their movie roles.

But we did get a picture of the  spinal cord and backside of former Yankee great Tino Martinez sitting up in one of the enclose suites chatting and talking with a table full of people. Fox made sure to focus in on the table and sit there for about a minute, with Tino finally looking towards the field a few times, so we know it was Tino and not some fake sighting. And that might also be a problem. Sometimes in conditions like that everyone can look like someone else when wearing a  wooly ski cap and a big jacket.


Elise Amendola / AP

But the person who seemed to have gained the most photo ops during the last months of the season is the “alleged” girlfriend/BFF  Kate Hudson who again had those primo seats just beyond the top of the Yankees dugout on the Third Base line.  I am not going to rouse the rumor mill again if she is or is not even dating a certain Yankee player.

In neither of the pictures posted the last few nights do we see anything hot in her hand, or even a head covering, but we hope that the thin blond one did not catch a head cold or even a glimpse of the sniffles. But it is rewarding to see she is facing the elements like the rest of the Yankee faithful and enjoying the game amongst the regular fans. Let’s hope that our own MLBlogs “Confessions of a She-Fan” can make it out to a game or two in Anaheim to throw her mug up there to compete with the “Kate Hudson’s” of the world. I would be blown away to see Lady Jane on the television screen, but not surprised in the least.


Elise Amendola / AP

But also during the Friday night game in the Bronx, they invited one of their own back to throw out the First Pitch before the game. David Cone, who pitched for the Pinstr
ipes from 1996-2000 and produced 55 victories in his time with the Yankees threw a perfect strike across the plate before Game 1 of the ALCS.  And Cone, who owns a great eating establishment in Oldsmar, in the Tampa Bay area looks like he could still pull spot duty in the Bullpen.


Kathy Willens / AP

And even if a bunch of the ex-players and celebrities were not in plain sight, you have to guess that there were more than a dozen hidden up behind the frosted glass enjoying the game either by television or sitting near the windows enjoying CC Sabathia’s dominance in that first game. And we all know of a few out in L A who enjoy seats up in the Club Level and are usual visitors to the games, and might not be considered “event-based” celebrities by the loyal Dodger fans

So hopefully tonight when the NLCS proceeds in Citizens Bank Park the Philly celebrity faithful  will come on down and represent their town and cheer for their boys. Let’s just hope that Darryl Hall and John Oates are not the only ones we see in the seats tonight during the game.
This city has a bevy of talented celebrities. We all know that Kevin Bacon is a proud member of the “City of Brotherly Love”. But did you know comedians David Brennan, Tina Fey and Bob Saget call the city their own. And something I never knew before, 2/3rds of the “Three Stooges”, Larry Fine and Curly Joe DeRita came from this Pennsylvania town.


Matt Slocum / AP

I  am personally going to be searching for someone dressed up in a powdered wig and bi-focals and trying to present a “Where is Ben Franklin” moment in CBP. Seriously, I know the economy is tight, and even Nicholas Cage is said to be broke as an old clock right now, but this is the time that these cities need to see their famous brethren basking in the glow of another successful season.

So as the venues swap this week, it is going to be interesting to see if any celebrities will be in attendance
 in Los Angles/Anaheim this week when the Yankees come to town. There might be a few wearing Yankees gear, like Hudson, but let’s hope some of the Anaheim faithful also come out and support the teams resurgence into the ALCS. 

Maybe we will see Bobby Hatfield  who was a part of the “Righteous Brothers”, or maybe even Gwen Stefani of the group “No Doubt” singing the National Anthems or during the 7th Inning stretch. For this region of California also has its special and famous people who will hopefully come out and support the Angels. But I guess we will see.


RRCollections

But just seeing some of these  special people enjoying the sport we love so well, and cheering along with us seems to boost the energy and the vibe in a stadium. And you know the camera people are forever seeking out these elusive personalities either in the suites or stuck among the thousands in the stands. Hopefully someday a few of us writing on MLBlogs.com could be featured on the big screen as a sports journalist, or even a novelist by our own “Confessions of a She-Fan” Jan Heller.

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