Thursday, October 12, 2006

Thursday A.M. Quickie:
Lidle, LCS and More

Cory Lidle follow-up: It's hard to analyze the Lidle tragedy without becoming maudlin. An otherwise scary day in NYC became the sports world's biggest story, because a notable name -- a Yankee, no less -- was one of the people who died.

From all accounts, it sounds like he was a good enough guy, though I wonder if "good father and husband" is a euphemism for "can't really say many nice things about him as a player." (See the reaction of some of his ex-Phillies teammates the day after he was traded to the Yankees.)

Sure, it's possible that he was obsessed with his plane and with flying as his hobby, but how many of us have hobbies we're obsessed with?

On TV, there were the obligatory quotes from his teammates, current and former. There was a LOT of speculation and airtime filler. There were a LOT of comparisons to Thurman Munson, though I think everyone can agree that was an imperfect analogy. Mostly, there was this sense of: What do you say? What CAN you say? (Beyond: This is terrible. Condolences to his family and friends.)

I'd point you to the 40-plus comments left on the post I put up about Lidle's death by readers of this blog.

Meanwhile, there's some interesting Lidle coverage on the Web. Paul Katcher took a look at what can only be called the "eBay spike" for sports-memorabilia prices when tragedy happens. Here's the link, and it includes this detail: $318 for a $15 autographed ball?

TIGERS WIN GAME 2, TOO: If baseball managing is an overrated job, as many critics claim, someone needs to explain how Jim Leyland managed to "overrate" the idea of using little-known Alexis Gomez as his DH in place of Marcus Thames.

With 1 HR and 11 RBI – for his MLB career – Gomez became a cult hero in Detroit: He hit a HR and drove in 4 RBI to put the Tigers up 2-0 in the ALCS... and the series hasn't even played a game in Detroit yet.

It's quickly becoming cliche to say it, but these Tigers are beginning to resemble last year's White Sox: Great pitching, timely power-hitting and... yes, doubters: Savvy managing.

They also are upholding the great tradition of the Wild Card team becoming the postseason's most dangerous team -- and most likely to win the title, no matter what things look like on paper.

NLCS: Rain-Out, which sets up a new schedule that would see games on up to five consecutive days. The last notable time that happened? The 2004 ALCS, when the Red Sox used back-to-back-to-back mojo to pull the greatest playoff-series U-turn in sports history on the Yankees.

(Is "genius" Tony LaRussa thinking about shifting Chris Carpenter up to Game 2 because of the rain-out? We'll see...)

T.O.: "I do question why I'm here." No, he's not talking existentially. That was LAST week. He's actually griping about his involvement in the Cowboys offense. (Go figure: Who had Week 6 in the pool?)

Well, maybe it's that: (a) your coach hates you; (b) your QB hates you; or, perhaps, (c) defenses are simply taking you out of the offense, given that you're the top threat on the team. Hmm...

Joe Girardi talks with the Nats for a second time about the manager job. Now, is this a ploy by Girardi to drive up the pressure (and the price) on the Cubs? Or does he see the intrigue in managing where he's wanted?

Stephen Jackson might be going to jail for 3 months for violating his probation, after he was arrested yesterday and charged with battery and disorderly conduct. Apparently, he didn't satisfy the terms of his earlier probation (from the 2004 Palace melee) so the judge extended it. Jackson is a classic dumbass.

NBA Preseason Notes:
(1) Ben Wallace's debut with the Bulls was typical: 7 points and 9 rebounds. (Of course, it wasn't as impressive as his replacement Nazr Mohammed's debut with the Pistons the other night.)

(2) Rookie Rajon Rondo is for real: The Celtics PG had 29 points, again out-playing more-heralded PG import Sebastian Telfair (16 pts.)

(3) If the Nets wanted a glimpse of life without Vince Carter, it's not bad: Antoine Wright had 23 starting for VC in a Nets loss to the Pacers...

(4) ...Who also got a glimpse of life without a key player, Stephen Jackson. But summer (re-)import Al Harrington looks like he could be the offseason pickup of the year in the NBA. He had a team-high 21 pts and 9 rebounds in the win.

I remain mystified why Louisville would even CONSIDER risking re-aggravating Brian Brohm's hand injury by playing him in what should be a non-game this Saturday vs. Cincinnati. Focus on Louisville. was launched, in the attempt of making Landis' case for himself (via Power Point, no less!) and pre-empting the "official" investigation later this fall. It's a clever attempt, but Landis sealed his fate in the first days after the scandal broke, no matter how slick his Power Point skills are.

Top 25 Watch: Reader Troy Pratten sent me this clip from Kirk Herbstreit's column this week, pointing out that this is precisely the attitude I've been calling for. So let me re-print it:

"Who's No. 2?
I have been touting Michigan the last four weeks as the No. 2 team in the country. However, one thing you have to do when ranking teams -- especially when you have several unbeaten teams -- is be willing to change, if warranted, on a week-to-week basis. Michigan has done nothing wrong, but to fail to reward Florida for its victories is unfair.

"The Gators have done everything asked of them and have been very impressive along the way. Going into Week 7, Florida clearly is the No. 2 team in the country; however, ranking teams at the top of the poll should be a very fluid situation. With Florida going to Auburn and Michigan going to Penn State on Saturday, there is potential for changes again this time next week."

Kudos to Herbie, the guy I think is arguably the best "analyst" talent at ESPN, if you factor in quality of analysis, delivery and overall image.

-- D.S.


john (east lansing, mi) said...

Since this is the daily anything-and-everything post, I wanted to mention that, in light of recent vocabulary changes, this headline has been alternately amusing and upsetting me for the last 18 hours or so.

Jake C said...

Stupid rain! I was actually hoping Tony would pitch Carpenter on short rest to get him 3 starts so we could beat him up in game 1.

Side note: is a gimpy Floyd at all better than a healthy Chavez? Don't think so.

I am a Bulls fan, and I didn't want us to sign Big Ben. We HAD one of the best defenses already...that wasn't the issue. We NEEDED offense, and Ben doesn't have that skill. Dumb move (unless they hold opponents to 60 pts/game).

Hey Floyd...just go away.

Tigers are haeded to the WS...that's over with.

And hey...REAL simple here folks...we'll know if Florida is truly #2 after this week.

Anonymous said...

#2? They could be #1....but nah..I don't believe that. LSU is overrated and Florida will steamroll Auburn as well who is just as overhyped.

I've always been impressed with how Herbie does stay impartial. I remember a few years ago that he was called 'traitor' and all manner of things for picking Michigan over Ohio State.

Gary said...

Kudos to Herbie, the guy I think is arguably the best "analyst" talent at ESPN, if you factor in quality of analysis, delivery and overall image.

Dan, does this mean you have a man crush on Kirk? Is he sending you messages in his writing picking Florida? Just joking, he is probably the ladies choice for ESPN workers (so I've been told)

Matt T said...

I think that one positive outcome of the USC/OU/Auburn 'mess' a few years ago, is that we do see more fluidity (fluidness) in the polls.

Granted, there probably should be more, but it has improved.

Jingoist said...

Is it me, or can T.O. really really really not stay out of the press?

And surprisingly, this time, he was quite calm and nonchalant- oooh, stealthy.

But it still begs the question, is this simply T.O. being t.o. and not T.O. until enough time lapses since the O.D. story and he can be T.O. again?

TJ said...

All this "Florida is demolishing good opponents" hype is making me really uneasy. Look, I've been to all the (home) games, and LSU was the first in which the crowd had a positive vibe going into half-time. And that was only because we were still on an adrenaline-high from the jump pass.

No game has come too easy for the Gators this year, who lead the nation in total penalties with 59--in 6 games!--and manage to make dumb mistakes on offense (Leak's fumble, Moore's fumble, that fake field goal a few weeks ago) only to get bailed out repeatedly by the defense (goal-line fumble against LSU).

Point being, the Gators are really good. BUT, they've yet to start a game well, looking sloppy every first quarter and most second quarters. I think they're the number 3 team, but if they start slow again against Auburn... well, it's going to catch up with them eventually.

Marco said...

Herbie is by far far one of the best analysts on ESPN, but it's not to hard to look smart sitting next to Lee Corso

iamunstoppable said...

Dear Rest of the Country,

We'll make room for you.


The Detroit Tigers and their fans.

ToddTheJackass said...

This may be really strange comment, but I was thinking about it yesterday, and in some ways it had to be a relief (hear me out) when it was announced that Cory Lidle was the pilot of the plane... I mean, when you hear that a plane hits a building in NYC, immediately the thought that it could be a terrorist attack comes to mind. But when you hear that it was a MLB pitcher, a current Yankee nonetheless, the thought that it could be a terrorist attack was immediately dismissed...

The thought process goes from possible terrorist attack/wacko to just a tragic accident.

Not that it makes it any less tragic for Lidle's family or the family of the other person killed, but it was an interesting thought... nothing else.

Mega said...

The Detroit Tigers have a solid ballclub. I think they can go all the way (the Mets? they beat up AAAA opponents all year long).

The AL Central next year is going to be insane. White Sox, Tigers, Indians, and Twins will all be playoff contenders.

Jake C said...

The Tigers will fall back off next year...3rd or 4th finish.

If the Mets had any sorts of pitching left...they'd run rough shot over the Tigers.

Unknown said...

dan mega,

did you just make a predicition for next baseball season? Remember when the Indians were going to the playoffs this season? How about when the Tigers would fight the Royals for the basement in the AL Central?

I think it's a bit premature to start making predicitions about how great the AL Central will be next year. Let's get through this year first.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Jake, 3rd, et cetera -

There's nothing like 5 months of rest for ruining 3 or 4 pitchers under 25. How will the Tigers ever win 80 games?

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Oh, this just reminded me; where's that, "Isn't it kind of unfair that the best team in baseball can be eliminated in only three games?" guy now? (ironic italics mine)

Still think the Tigers couldn't manage to take 4?

(It was you, right, ndy05? You know I love you.)

Jen said...

dan mega~ I don't mind the Indians getting props...those come few and far between for those guys! HAHA

Trent said...

Focus on Louisville?

Do you mean focus on West Virginia?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I have to agree, last night's coverage and even this morning's coverage on Lidle was a bit overboard. Not because he wasn't an all-star or sports celebrity, but because there's not much to say. They just kept repeating themselves over and over because nobody knows what happened. This is the time when ESPN becomes like all those other news channels and starts rehashing the same story, it kind of makeing me sick.

Same exact thing happened when the Tigers beat the Yankees last week (not that both stories are similar). No reports were talking about the Tigers, it was all about the Yankees and their implosion. Although this may stem more from the Yankees being always a topic for discussion. But I'm starting to get tired of watching SportsCenter when they report on one big story every night every ten minutes in the show.

Anonymous said...

sigh. if alexis goes 0-4 last night and the tigers lose, then leyland is to blame right?

players execute or don't, and yet the manager is a genius or not?

whatever. like i said, i hope the tigers sweep the A's and Mets so everyone can credit joe torre with being able to win a game.

Anonymous said...

as a buckeye fan who watched herbie play and then develop as a broadcaster, I think he tries a bit too hard to be impartial.

I understand his dilemna, he doesn't want to be called a "homer" like everyone did when he was the only person to pick OSU over Miami in the NC.