Adiós José Fernandez… MLBRT 9/29

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Adiós José…fernandez_

¡Te vamos a extrañar… béisbol te echará de menos…!

We first begin this week’s roundtable with a sad farewell to Jose Fernandez, before getting to other baseball talk…

1) The Roundtable joins all the baseball world in the mourning of Jose Fernandez, as well as the two other men, who died in an early Sunday morning boating accident along the coast of Miami Beach.
What is/are your best memory/memories or general thoughts about Fernandez?  

Archie: I listened as Don Mattingly wept during his interview about Fernandez and I think he hit the nail on the head: Fernandez was an exuberant kid out there doing what he loved best. He was always chest pumping, screaming and wearing his emotions on his sleeve when he pitched.jose-fernandez-2

Big Papi stated he could not wait to see the highlights of the game on days Jose pitched. Many fans felt the same way.

R.I.P. Jose, you will be missed.

Dan: My best memories of Jose Fernandez is his last outing, in which he struck out 12.

Overall, I’ll always remember him because he was one of the best young pitchers in the league that not a lot of people would really bring up too much in the talks about top pitching. I think he could’ve gone down as one of the best pitchers to ever play the game and been a long-term top pitcher in the league for years with multiple Cy Youngs. It’s too bad he was taken too soon. He will be missed.

It was a great honor to see the league honoring him throughout, with the Marlins all wearing number 16 and the best move of all was them retiring his number.

Earl: I’m not sure I can share a favorite memory, but, I can say that baseball was robbed of a player that was coming into his potential. There was a great career ahead of Jose Fernandez and the fact that he has passed on, I can’t help but feel like the World was robbed of seeing what he would become.

I feel sorry for his family and I feel sorry for the little baby girl that his wife is going to deliver. That little girl is going to grow up without a father. That’s sad.

Joe:  I really don’t have a best memory of him actually playing the game.  I just knew he was a damn good pitcher.  

Gordon's HR
Gordon’s HR

Probably one of the things I will remember most though is the first game the Marlins played after he died.  First inning; first batter is Dee Gordon. He bats right handed for the first pitch to honor Fernandez. He then returns to his normal left handed stance and smacks a tremendous homer run on the next pitch. And, as he trotted around the bases the emotion he displayed, the tears that flowed from eyes, and, the hugs and embraces he got from his teammates as he stumbled towards the dugout… I just thought… wow… as the goosebumps crawled over my skin. The respect these players had for this man is amazing. Plus, the fans that night with signs honoring Jose… including one that said “There is crying in baseball”… just everything about the game was just chock full of raw emotion. Even the announcers were overcome and at times just said they had no words.  

I have no idea what kind of career Jose Fernandez would have eventually had… I suspect it would have been, at the least, very good… but, I think, baseball lost a very good man both as a player and as a person and as well as an ambassador for the game.  

Steve: I was in complete and total shock when I read the headline on Sunday morning. I literally stared at my computer for about 10 minutes at the headline alone in disbelief. Jose Fernandez, was a star and a superstar in the making.MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins

This kid not only was a tremendous pitcher, but, he was a great teammate as well. You could tell during Marlins games, on games he was not pitching. He was always on the top of the stairs rooting his team on, and celebrating with his team. He loved this sport and I will always remember his excitement for the game. It was like he was in little league all over again. He played the game the right way and lived up to the saying: “Baseball is a game, and games are supposed to be fun.”

I would like to give my condolences to the family of Jose Fernandez, the Miami Marlins and all the fans of Major League Baseball. We lost a great player and a great man on Sunday morning.

Marlins honor Jose…

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2) The Los Angeles Dodgers recently clinched their 4th straight NL West title…

How will they fare in the 2016 MLB Tournament?

Dodgers clinch NL West with 10th inning HR
Dodgers clinch NL West with 10th inning HR

Archie: IMO, they will give the Cubbies a run for their money in the NLCS, however, I have Chicago in 7.

Dan: I think the Dodgers can reach the NL Championship Game, but, they’ll fall in the first round. I Don’t think they are good enough to really win it all or get past the Nationals or Cubs. They’re missing too much on the pitching front as well as the hitting front.

They’re not a fully complete team to the point of the Cubs or the Nationals. 

Earl: The Dodgers got a shot. I’m not so sure how great of a shot, but they’ve got a shot. I apologize for not knowing who the Dodgers will face in the first round, but, if, it’s the Cubs, the Dodgers are going to lose. If, it’s the Nationals, the Dodgers are going to lose. If, it’s any of the wildcard teams? They got a shot. Not a great shot, but a shot.

Joe: Any time a team makes it into the playoffs they have a chance to do damage… anything can happen. Colorado Rockies v Los Angeles Dodgers

But…seriously?  I just don’t feel it with these Dodgers. I think wherever they start the playoffs; it will be one and done. 

Steve: I have zero faith in the Dodgers getting out of the first round of the playoffs. I have made the mistake by picking them before and they choked when it came time for the playoffs.

So, while, they are not reliant on just two pitchers and hope everything else will come together, they still will come up short in the playoffs.

3) The Texas Rangers have clinched the AL West and are in MLB’s Tournament. They have never won the World Series… they have been in the playoffs 7 times and made it to the World Series twice (2011 and 2012) but lost both times.  

So… how will they fare in the 2016 MLB Tournament?

Archie: I personally don’t think they have all the pieces in place to win the ALCS. In fact, I’ll bet they are hoping they can best Boston for best record so they can host the WC team their first round. Even then, if they draw Toronto, it is not going to be a cake walk.

I still have Boston winning the ALCS. 

Rangers celebrate back-to-back AL West titles
Rangers celebrate back-to-back AL West titles

Dan: I think the Rangers are one of the best teams in the American League and they will make it to the American League Championship Series. They have a very strong team and have played well all season long. Do I think they have what it takes to the make the World Series?

Yes.

Do I think they get there? Yes, as long as they tie up some loose ends pitching wise. The Jonathan Lucroy deal was tremendous for Texas (and the Brewers) especially with some bullpen help in Jeremy Jeffress.

The only competition I see from Texas is the Red Sox. Those are the clear favorites. But, I think Texas can overcome the Red Sox and face off against either the Cubs (my pick) or the Nationals. 

Earl: Like the Dodgers, they got a shot. I like the Red Sox over them, I like whoever wins the wildcard over them. But, I think they could beat the Indians.

For some reason I’m not 100 percent sold on Cleveland, but I’m less sold on Texas.

Joe: Texas has good team and they can do damage. However, I think when they finally meet up with the Red Sox in the ALCS… it’s Boston that will walk away victorious in an exciting 7 games. texas

Steve: I picked the Rangers at the beginning of the season to win the World Series against the Chicago Cubs. I have no reason to back away from that prediction now.

I think this may be the year of the Rangers, as they have playoff experience on their side, great starting pitching, and a tremendous offense. They have been one of the most consistent teams in baseball all year, and I think they will at the very least advance to the World Series. 

4) A recent CBS.com headline read that “(The Washington) Nats Overcome cold Harper, win the NL East.”

Is that a fair headline for CBS to write?      

Archie: He was hot in April, cold in May. He warmed back up in June, dead cold again in July. He heated up again in August, cooled off again in September. His whole season has been a roller-coaster ride. The Washington community has gotten so accustomed to seeing his numbers at the top of leader boards, they really don’t know how to react when he has issues. So, I guess, they really feel he is cold at the plate, and justly so, when you compare his numbers against his record from last season when he led the NL in Runs, HRs, OBP, SLG, OPS and OPS+. Oh, and won the MVP.harper

But, how soon they forget. Harper can put them on his back and carry them through the playoffs, if he heats up again. 

Dan: I think it’s fair.

Bryce Harper hasn’t had the type of year we’re used to seeing from him and all year he just didn’t look like he was his automatic self at the plate. He was kind of “cold” all season long, yet the Nationals still played a very good season and are poised to make it to the World Series. I only have them going as far as the National League Championship Series. But, this headline is fair and fits.

Earl: Extremely fair headline. Harper did not play well this season, but the team has. I won’t say they won in spite of him, but I cannot say that he was a big contributor to their success this season either.

Joe: I got to say right off that I am sort of shocked how far he fell off from his MVP year. It’s not that his season was a total waste but considering the comparison from his year last season, it was quite a regression. 

But in his defense… if his season ended right now he will still have put up stats that read… 83 runs, 85 RBIs, 24 HRs and 21 stolen bases. Not great, but, not exactly in the toilet either. It’s just that his slash line compared to his previous years was sort of… to be kind… not so damn good. Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins

Maybe he isn’t the MVP this year, not even on the Nationals team, but, to me, that headline is not a fair headline. This year the Nats were more of a complete team and they didn’t need Harper to be his usual superior baseball self, but, they didn’t win despite him, they just won as a team. 

Steve: I think it is fair, I mean considering Harper had a season for the ages last year, and the Nationals finished a distant second to the New York Mets. This year, their pitching came together, and everyone else stepped up.

Bryce Harper is a great athlete, but he is not the make it or break it player for the Nationals. 

5) Anything can happen once the playoffs start… but, two of the hottest teams in MLB right now are arguably the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs. If, they both were to make the World Series which team do you think walks away with the title… World Series Champions?

Archie: You know, the fan in me wants to see the Cubbies win. The logical side of my brain feels the Red Sox will win it.

Cubs-Red Sox mash
Cubs-Red Sox mash

Hard to call this one, but, I think the Red Sox will win it all. (Hope I’m wrong). 

Dan: I would enjoy this type of match-up a lot. They’re two great teams, have a TON of history, and it is David Ortiz’ last season playing major league ball. While, I don’t like the Cubs and would root for Ortiz due to the fact he’s retiring, this would be a fun series for me.

But, I think Chicago would win this series in 6 games. Their team is explosive. Top to bottom of the line-up is crazy, raking hits after hits. They can dominate the best of them and they can dominate the worst of them. They have two great pitchers in Arrieta and Hendricks and the rest of their rotation isn’t bad either. They have Chapman as the closer. I think they have the better team, are still hot… as they have been all season… and will come out victorious. 

This?
This?

Earl: I really want to see the Cubs win. I’m a history guy. I studied it in school, and I have always loved it. I also love a good story and the Cubs are both of those things. For that reason alone I’m solidly in the corner of the Cubs.

Joe: I do honestly hope the Cubs make it to the World Series and that they actually win but I just think that if they get there, and they meet the Sox, it could be another sad story of futility for them. What with Big Papi playing in his final year and all. 

Having said that… I think somehow, with Joe Maddon managing that team,they pull off the win in seven games and have a party that sets Chicago on its ass. 

Or, this?
Or, this?

Steve: Well, it would have been better and more exciting in 2003, when both teams still were under the “Curse” and were just outs away from advancing to the World Series.

I think that, if, the two meet in this year’s World Series, then we would see The Chicago Cubs win the World Series for the first time since 1908. I really think that the Cubs have all the tools necessary to win the championship. They have a solid offense, a great pitching staff, and a great bullpen. The Cubs have to be the favorites going in to this, and I think if they met the Sox, they would take home the trophy.

Extra Innings…

On September 29, 1954 Willie Mays made this catch…

Willie Mays makes catch and throw off the bat of Vic Wertz in the 1954 World Series at the Polo Grounds.
Willie Mays makes catch and throw off the bat of Vic Wertz in the 1954 World Series at the Polo Grounds.

…to help the Giants win game one of the world series vs the Indians.

After the game, he gives the glove gives the glove he used to make the spectacular catch  to teammate Don Liddle’s 6-year son. When he gets older, Craig Liddle will use the piece of baseball history and World Series lore in Little League games.

Let’s just say… it was a different time back then…

 

 

 

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