Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My baseball year .... the reply!

Read Pete's 'My Baseball year' with interest, and thought that maybe it was time i had a rant too ...

When i became involved with this website at the start of the baseball season, i thought it was a great idea ... and i still do! There really aren't many decent places on the internet for people to chat baseball from a UK perspective, and the blog is a nice way to link everything together

However, i have to say that it once again seems to me that lethargy rules ... baseball fans out there in the UK just don't seem to wish to get involved when anyone makes an effort ... this site was a great idea by Pete, something a little bit different from the mainstay forums out there, it's a place that isn't too formal, doesn't always take itself serious, etc, etc.

Sure, you could try posting on the five forums, that's if you can be bothered spending half an hour to log in! The place is dead and no one seems to bother even moderating it anymore ... on my last visit i noticed a rather disgusting post about Cory Lidle's death, and the poster who made the comment came back on 5 DAYS (!!!!) later to say he was amazed at getting away with the comment. Hardly the way a forum should be run. Alternatively you have the Baseballfan site ... it seems to be well run forum, but i just can't take to it, and having to scroll through big signature after big signature just to read the posts rapidly switched me off.

Therefore, when i got involved here, i tried to set up a nice looking and easy to use forum .... nothing overly fancy, but just something that was good to look at and easier to use than 5's forums and a place for relaxed posting that mimicked the Blog's philosophy ... and once again, no interest whatsoever! It was this lack of interest that made me basically exile myself from this very site, a site that i was involved in running!! Until now, that is ...

Maybe my expectations are too high, maybe i just have to face facts that Baseball in the UK doesn't really have a good enough following to give us the amount of enthusiastic fans we need to keep good websites going ... but if anyone out there is reading this and thinking 'i can do that', then i challenge you to get in touch and get involved with this site, and help spread the baseball word, rather than hoping someone else will do it for us!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

World Series '06 : St Louis v Detroit

Its been a funny ol' year with a whole host of crazy and unforeseen things happening. The regular season saw the likes of Cincinatti and Detroit duking it out with the big boys when no one thought they had the legs and the likes of Boston having an hilarious capitulation and Atlanta having a less than funny relinquishing of the NL East.

The playoffs have been no different. In the usual playoff sweepstake on the Five boards, the going has been tough to say the least. Of a possible four points all but one person are tied on one and the other guy has zero. Not good.

I pegged LA and Minnesota to make it at the beginning of the playoffs so naturally that folded like the proverbial Superman on laundry day. However, my prognosticating skills haven't been all bad. At the beginning of the season I said the Yankees would coast through the regular season and then die in the playoffs and I also predicted that St Louis would win the NL and lose the Series...sorry Cards fans but rest assured my year of jinxing surely can't end this soon.

I've said all year that Detroit would fade because of their reliance on a young staff and now I'm thinking this long lay off after dumping Oakland will definately help them so naturally they'll be blown out 15-0 in the first game.

When you look at the two teams you have to say the depth of pitching favours the Tiggers and thats usually a good measure for how a series will go but St Louis has had good showings from the likes of Suppan and Weaver that have carried the side even though Chris Carpenter can't seem to get going. Their pen has come around too of late.

Offensively the Cards have Phat Albert which is a good security blanket to suck your thumb with. The Tigers have a line-up so laden with righties that La Russa likely won't get the opportunity to tinker with his pitching as much as he usually likes to. I can easily see Pujols being the difference maker in a tight series.

The Cards of course have a lot of WS experience in recent years and they know how to lose these big games with the best of them.

This has all the makings of a great series with two storied franchises going head to head in two big sports towns with two flawed teams and plenty of pitchers with great stuff and one of the most dominant hitters of recent years. In this year of surprises there could still be a few more lurking around the corner and it all opens up tonight with two high end young pitchers with plenty of potential to be pitching in games like this for a number of years and their best years ahead of them. Justin Verlander and Anthony Reyes have it in them to spark off a 1-0 eleven inning game (oh imagine how great that would be) or the enormity of the occasion could overwhelm one or both of these young progenies and it could be a five hour blowout (hope not, I've softball to play tomorrow!) but either way the intrigue ahead of game one is palpable.

In the sweeps I've gone for Detroit in five but, lets face it, I've been terrible at this all year. Either team could sweep this series but then again it could go seven. This is the most open World Series I can remember for a long time which, if my predictive skills are anything to go by, will mean it will be rubbish. Hopefully it really will be the classic it looks destined to be.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Buck O'Neil Dies Aged 94

I won't write too much now as I am still very much in shock. Maybe I'll come back and write a fuller eulogy for this truly great man. He truly was like a kindly grandfather to baseball and always seemed to have such tremendous lust for life and an almost child like joy for the sport that helped him make his reputation despite the persecution he had to endure because of it during his playing days.

This is a man who never complained about the inequities of his situation and never bore a grudge because of it. This is a man who rose above all the ignorant bigotry and chose to simply embrace what he had.

In this age of college kids holding out for lucrative deals and players jumping from one team to another looking for the next contract it lends great poignancy to the lives of those who played simply because they just loved to do so. Buck O'Neil loved baseball and, while during his life it may not have loved him back so much, I'm sure in death baseball should love him equally as much in return and I just hope wherever he is, he's on some diamond shagging flies to Babe Ruth and rubbing shoulders with John McGraw because he deserves no less than to be amongst legends.

I wish I could better express just how special a man has passed from this world but I just don't know how my words could fully express it. The world is a poorer place without him in it.

My prayers go out to his family and friends for this is a truly sad day.