Nuts And Bolts
Good Starts, Lost QBs - The Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans are NFL teams that had been struggling in recent seasons, but got off to optimistic starts this year. Coming into last week's games, Tennessee was 3-1 and Buffalo and Cleveland were 2-2.
However, the Titans came into last week without their starting quarterback, Jake Locker, who was injured in a win over the New York Jets the previous week.
Then last Thursday night, Cleveland lost its starting quarterback, Brian Hoyer, to an injury. And the game was against the Bills, who also lost their starting QB, E.J. Manuel, to an injury.
Just when things are looking up, they can quickly go down.
- - -
Making Up For Failure - In Monday night's National League Division Series game between Los Angeles and Atlanta, Juan Uribe of the Dodgers became the hero in an unusual way.
Los Angeles was trailing, 3-2,in the bottom of the eighth inning when Yasiel Puig led off with a double. That brought Uribe to the plate and manager Don Mattingly wanted him to sacrifice Puig to third base. However, Uribe's first two bunt attempts failed and so he had to swing away, hopefully hitting the ball to the right side of the infield to move Puig to third.
Instead, Uribe blasted a two-run home run to left field to give the Dodgers an eventual 4-3 win.
Mattingly must have been upset that Uribe had failed to lay down a bunt, but that was long forgotten.
A similar thing happened in Game 3 of the 1971 World Series.
The Pittsburgh Pirates were trailing the Baltimore Orioles in the series, 2-0. In the bottom of the seventh of Game 3, the Pirates held a slim 2-1 lead in a must-win game. After Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell opened the inning by reaching base and were on first and second, Bob Robertson came to the plate. Though the power hitter had no sacrifice bunts during the entire season and only one the previous season, manager Danny Murtaugh signaled the bunt sign to third-base coach Frank Oceak. Oceak relayed the sign to Robertson, who missed it. Clemente noticed it and wondered if the sign was incorrect. He tried to call time, but Orioles' pitcher Mike Cuellar was already in his windup and delivered the pitch.
It never reached the catcher's glove because Robertson deposited the ball over the right-field wall for a three-run home run that clinched the win in Game 3 and the Pirates went on to win the World Series in seven games.
- - -
They Really Were Tied - Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals broke Babe Ruth's record for postseason home runs when he hit his 16th on Sunday against the Pirates in the NLDS.
I would be the first to point out that Beltran gets to play in a lot more postseason games while Ruth only had the World Series.
But Beltran's breaking the record is impressive when you compare at bats and not games. When Beltran tied Ruth with his 15th homer in Game 1 of the NLDS, the MLB Network noted they both hit 15 in 129 at bats.
- - -
Two Former Jamestown Managers Are Unemployed - Last week after Texas was eliminated in the American League wild-card game by Tampa Bay, the Rangers announced they would not renew the contracts of bench coach Jackie Moore and first base coach Dave Anderson.
Both had been on manager Ron Washington's staff since 2009.
Moore, 74, has been in professional baseball for 56 years. He was the manager of the Jamestown Falcons of the the NY-P League in 1968 when the team was a Boston Red Sox affiliate.
Anderson was the Rangers' third-base coach from 2009-12 and switched to first base this season. He was also the first manager of the Jamestown Jammers in 1994 when they were a Detroit Tigers affiliate and they lost in the semifinals of the NY-P League playoffs.
- - -
Lots Of Bubbly - Oldtimers like me remember when successful baseball teams celebrated by spraying champagne on themselves only twice. The first time was when they won the pennant and then when they won the World Series. Now it seems like winning teams are having the bubbly celebration almost weekly.
Here is an expensive scenario. Let's say the Pirates weren't eliminated and went all the way and won the World Series. They would have celebrated after winning the wild-card game, after winning the NLDS, after winning the NLCS and after winning the World Series.
That's a lot of champagne - and goggles.