REDEMPTION!!!!!

REDEMPTION!!!

Redemption…..that’s a word that stands out to me when I look back at Game 5 of the World Series for The Kansas City Royals. Redemption in so many ways. Perhaps I’m not thinking of all the ways the Royals redeemed themselves in Game 5. Three things stand out to me: two occurred in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series and one occurred all the way back in June of 2010. By redeeming these items, the Royals overcame it all, and brought home the first baseball Championship to the city of Kansas City since 2015, erasing 30 years of horror and frustration that had overcome a franchise that was once considered a “model franchise” from 1969 to 1985. 

Redemption Part 1

In order for Part 1 to occur, something had to happen in Part 2 (more on that later) but Part 1 started first so let’s go there. Going into Game 7 of the World Series, Bruce Bochy probably knew that his two best options to pitch were Jeremy Affdelt, a former failed Royals starter, turned somewhat decent reliever, turned into one of the most dominant postseason relievers ever, and of course Madison Bumgarner, no further words required. He probably knew that he couldn’t start the game with either of those two, but he probably knew that at the first sign of trouble, he would have to go get Tim Hudson and insert the now un-hittable Affdelt against The Royals. Sure enough, in the bottom of the second, after Tim Hudson had squandered the lead, Bruce Bochy went out, took the ball from Hudson and brought in Affdelt. The Royals never scored again.

I’d like to think Ned Yost knew that his best option that night in Game 7 was to make use of his biggest weapon….his bullpen. I’d like to think that Yost, and myself, knew that he could not start the game with his bullpen, just in case the game somehow went to extra innings. Since Bochy was starting Hudson, it made sense to go with Jeremy Guthrie, his scheduled starter. Up until this point, I have no problems with what occurred. Until the 4th inning. The dreaded 4th inning. What would Ned Yost do? Send out Jeremy Guthrie or unleash the fury known as the Royals bullpen. He chose Guthrie, and his decision ultimately cost the Royals the World Series in my mind. Coming up to bat in the 4th inning in a tie game for the Giants were Pablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence, and Brandon Belt. All three had reached base on Guthrie in the 2nd inning which led to two Giants runs. They were now coming up again to face Guthrie in a do or die game with a fully rested arsenal waiting in the Royals bullpen. Instead, Yost went with Guthrie who promptly gave up hits to both Sandoval and Pence. With 1st and 2nd and no out, Brandon Belt hit a high fly ball deep enough to left center to allow Sandoval to tag up and reach third base. Knowing Guthrie was in trouble, Yost summoned his bullpen. Herrera was unable to do damage control and Michael Morse singled home the game winning run in the 4th inning. Bochy countered with Affdelt in the 4th and then gave the ball to Madison Bumgarner who promptly through another five shutout innings. 

I’d like to think that maybe if Yost had started the 4th inning with Herrera that things might have turned differently. Perhaps Bumgarner would not have come into the game that quick, and the Royals might have been able to get a couple more runs and ride Herrera, Davis, and Holland to a World Series. Instead, the decision of Yost backfired, and The Giants won it all.

Jeremy Guthrie started but could not finish the 4th inning

Jeremy Guthrie started but could not finish the 4th inning

Now fast forward one year. Game 5 of the World Series and down 2-0 and facing an off day for travel, Ned Yost summoned Kelvin Herrera to pitch the seventh inning versus the Mets. Yost hesitated this time to bring Herrera in during the middle of an inning and allowed Edison Volquez to pitch out of trouble. Now it was the 7th, and the Royals, having a knack of comebacks all postseason, were still in the game and Yost was managing almost like he had a 2-0 lead at that point, instead of a 2-0 deficit. Herrera responded like he always does, retiring 5 of the 6 batters he faced through two innings and inducing one double play ground ball. He had faced the minimum through two innings. By doing that, Herrera had not yet seen the entire batting order and if the opportunity presented itself, had the ability to go out, pitch a third inning, against a different part of the lineup he had not seen. Well, because part 2 happened, Herrera did just that. Three innings, 9 batters, 1 hit, 9 outs, extra innings. Redemption….part 1

Part 2a….90 stinking feet

I think we all know enough about part 2 where I don’t have to go into great detail. 90 stinking feet separated the Royals from tying Game 7 of the World Series after former Royals OF Gregory Blanco horribly misplayed Alex Gordon’s single, which allowed Gordon to reach 3rd base. Unfortunately Salvador Perez was unable to get the job done, and the Royals season ended with the tying run on third base.

Yes, there are two parts to part 2. The first one being Alcides Escobar. Everyone knows that Alcides Escobar swings at the first pitch. It’s why Noah Syndergaard went high and tight on him in Game 3. But in Game 1, on the first pitch, Alcides Escobar swung at a fastball that drifted towards the same part of the park where Alex Gordon’s ball eventually came to rest. Yoenis Cespedes, who was playing Center Field on a bum hamstring for some reason, horribly misplayed the ball, and Alcides Escobar had an inside the park home run. Redemption….or so I thought……

Alex Gordon walks off the field after being stranded in Game 7

Alex Gordon walks off the field after being stranded in Game 7

Part 2b…90 stinking feet

Tying runner on 3rd….one out….World Series clinching game on the line….Salvador Perez at the plate…sound familiar? Instead this time there was one out and the runner on 3rd was Eric Hosmer. Inexplicably, Hosmer’s second error of the series allowed The Mets to score a second run in the 6th inning. Now, Hosmer represented the tying run. This time, Perez put the ball in play. Mets Third Baseman David Wright charged at the ball, which probably should have been played by the Shortstop Wilmer Flores. After checking off Hosmer a couple times, Wright fired the ball to first. Simultaneously, not wanting to wait on third base any longer, Hosmer took off. Like Game 7 last year, a good throw would have gotten the runner by a mile, but instead Lucas Duda uncorked a wild pitch towards home plate. The game was tied and the Royals were on their way.
Redemption…in more ways than one

Part 3…The 2010 Draft

While Dayton Moore has done a very good job drafting, signing, and developing talent, the biggest gaffe in his time in Kansas City probably is the 2010 MLB Draft. The Royals picked 50 guys and the only guy who has ever made the major league roster and had some sort of an impact was the 4th overall pick. That man is Christian Colon, a light hitting shortstop from Cal State Fullerton. As the legend is told, Royals scouts went back and forth who to pick. There was Colon…and then there was Chris Sale..a left-handed pitcher from Florida Gulf Coast University. The Royals picked Colon at four and signed him immediately. Sale dropped all the way to 13th where he was snatched up by the division rival Chicago White Sox. As everyone knows, Sale has become of the best left handed starting pitchers in the game and peaked this year with 274 strikeouts in just 208 innings. Colon, on the other hand, has seen the majority of his career bounce from starting in the minor leagues, to being on the Royals bench. 

But here it was, top of the 12th inning. A runner was on third base and there was one out. The Royals needed a pinch hitter and the only realistic option at that point was one Christian Colon. I turned to someone next to me at the bar and said “this is where it comes full circle. They picked Colon over Sale. He’s going to do it.” And he did. Colon singled to left, scored Dyson, the floodgates opened and The Royals won the World Series. I do not think it takes much of a baseball brain to realize that Sale is going to have a career that will make Colon’s seem insignificant on the stat sheet, but for one night, Colon’s impact brought home a World Series.

Kansas City Royals' Christian Colon reacts after hitting an RBI single during the 12th inning of Game 5 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the New York Mets Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Kansas City Royals’ Christian Colon reacts after hitting an RBI single during the 12th inning of Game 5 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the New York Mets Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Redemption…Part 3…Nothing else to do but go back and win it all in 2016!

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Houston Trip

Well Houston, it’s time. I feel after five years on being on Twitter it’s finally I get down and meet everyone that I have been interacting with all these years. Joining me on this trip will be Ish in Memphis (@IshinMemphis), who has already been down to Houston once to see a majority of you. Our trip will be from July 30th-August 2nd. I’ve gone ahead and created an initial itinerary of what will be going on. We are still trying to figure out what will be on the agenda for Saturday afternoon prior to the event at Greg’s . We would also like suggestions on some great hangover places we can eat at each day.

Thursday July 30th

Nick’s Place (8pm)
2713 Rockyridge Dr, Houston, TX 77063

Both myself and Ish are scheduled to arrive in Houston around 5pm on Thursday. I’m sure with traffic it will take us awhile to get our car, get to the hotel, and check in. However, we are going to need to eat, so for those who are interested, join us at Nick’s Place Thursday evening. A safe time will be 8pm, but we will show up when we can.

Friday July 31st

St. Arnold’s Brewery (2pm)
2000 Lyons Ave, Houston, TX 77020

Ish and I will be touring St. Arnold’s on Friday afternoon. The tour is at 330pm and the cost is $10. In order to see the full four, closed toe shoes are required. We are going to get there when the taps open at 2pm.

Houston Astros vs Arizona Diamondbacks (7pm)

Indications of Interest have gone out to some of you but we are going to be seeking hard commitments soon. The Astros are good, it’s Craig Biggio induction weekend, and we want to make sure we can sit all together if possible.

 

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Changes…….

I know my announcement last Wednesday to retire from my radio show caught some of you off-guard. It caught me off off-guard in a way, but I knew it was something that I needed to do. I went into my decision a little bit on my show but I felt that I needed to explain things in its entirety. I like to consider myself a private person, I do not have a facebook profile and I don’t like to pose my issues on a lot of people, but I feel now is a good time to open up a bit.

As you all know, I moved to Chicago one year ago, and what a year it has been. This entire last year has felt like a big giant vacation. I’ve done so much over the last year, including attending many baseball games, an outdoor Billy Joel concert, comedy shows, and more. I even got to watch the Royals go all the way to the World Series from a Kansas City bar in town, meeting more friends along the way. Having a job that allowed some flexibility allowed me to ease my transition into Chicago.

Now, things have changed. About two months ago, I started a new job, in the industry that I truly enjoy working in and something that I want to work in for the rest of my professional career. The job comes with more money, and more responsibilities. For one, my job requires me to be at work earlier. I no longer have that flexibility. 8 am is 8 am. Long gone are the days of sleeping in an extra hour or 90 minutes. In addition, there will be days where I will have to work late, I am not sure what those days are, it all just depends on what goes on that day. My commute is also a little bit longer as well. Prior to this new job, which was the right choice in my mind to take, I was able to continue to do my show without too much interruption.

While what I explained above was a secondary reason for my decision to stop the show, the primary reason is that I am about to embark on a little bit of a life change. This coming Thursday, April 2, I turn 33 years old. I feel at this point of my life I’ve put myself in a good position both professionally and somewhat financially. One thing that I have always battled with though is my weight. While I have had a tremendous amount of fun over the last year, it came at a bit of a price. I am not in a good position right now with my health. I feel tired and know that I am completely out of shape.

Someone close to me once told me that there are not a lot of things you can control yourself, but one of the things you can control is what you eat, what you drink, and how much you exercise. I feel more than ever as I approach the age of 33 that I need to do this. I need to start taking control of my life more than ever. I want to lose at least 33 pounds of weight during the next year. This is going to require tremendous discipline and will probably be mentally hard for me. I am going to have to spend more time at the gym, more time cooking healthy meals, and more time sleeping. I don’t want to have too many distractions and I feel at this point spending a couple nights of week devoted to my radio show is something that is going to interfere with my goals. Hopefully these changes will allow me to save more money too in the next year.

To all my friends in or out of Chicago reading this, don’t take this as a message that I am about to become shut-in, because I’m not. Feel free to still visit from Omaha or Kansas City, or shoot me a text to meet up somewhere. The daily changes I make will still allow me to have fun, and maybe have a day or two to splurge once in awhile (Royals at Cubs end of May comes to mind).

This is something that I both want and have to do, and I ask you wish me luck along the way. And to my friends in Houston, I will see you at the end of July with Ish in Memphis joining me along the way, and hopefully looking and feeling a lot better.

Take care,

Joe in Bugaha

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Simpsons Bracket

Simpsons Bracket

Men Women & Children Rare Characters/one Time Bad People
1 Homer Simpson Bart Simpson Hank Scorpio Mr. Burns
2 Troy McClure Marge Simpson Mindy Simmons Sideshow Bob
3 Ned Flanders Maggie Simpson Mr. Bergstrom Fat Tony
4 Apu Maude Flanders Herbert Powell Nelson
5 Krusty Mrs. Krabappel Stampy Snake
6 Kent Brockman Lisa Simpson The Director of the Play Mayor Quimby
7 Artie Zip Ralph Frank Grimes Nick Riviera
8 Willy Martin Gay John Jimbo and Karney
9 Wiggum Lunch Lady Doris Lurleen Lumpkin Lionel Hutz
10 Principal Skinner Agnes Skinner Belle Smithers
11 Barney Ms. Hoover Karl The Prosecutor
12 Dr. Hibbert Helen Lovejoy Little Jamshed Superintendent Chalmers
13 Otto Milhouse Jessica Lovejoy Comic Book Guy
14 Moe Mrs. Van Houten Molloy the Cat Burglar The Rich Texan
15 Grampa Simpson Patty & Selma Lyle Lanley Kang & Kodos
16 Lenny & Carl Rod and Todd The Movementarians Nelson’s Bully Friends (season 1)

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2015 Final Bracket

Bracketology 2015 (Final Bracket, Viewer Friendly)

Subject to change if UCONN comes back to defeat SMU in the AAC Final

Midwest (Cleveland) East (Syracuse)
1 Kentucky Villanova 1
16 Hampton/R. Morris Coastal Carolina 16
Louisville Pittsburgh
8 Ohio St Cincinnati 8
9 Dayton Iowa 9
5 Louisville Arkansas 5
12 Wofford Buffalo 12
Seattle Jacksonville
4 Oklahoma Northern Iowa 4
13 Eastern Washington Harvard 13
6 West Virginia Providence 6
11 Davidson Colorado St 11
Pittsburgh Seattle
3 Maryland Gonzaga 3
14 Northeastern UC Irvine 14
7 Oregon Wichita State 7
10 Texas Purdue 10
Omaha Omaha
2 Iowa State Kansas 2
15 UAB Belmont 15
South (Houston) West (Los Angeles)
1 Virginia Wisconsin 1
16 Texas Southern N.Florida/Manhattan 16
Charlotte Louisville
8 Xavier Saint Johns 8
9 Oklahoma State NC State 9
5 SMU Georgetown 5
12 Stephen F Austin Valpo 12
Portland Columbus
4 Utah North Carolina 4
13 Wyoming Georgia St 13
6 Michigan St Butler 6
11 Boise St/Ole Miss Temple/Indiana 11
Jacksonville Columbus
3 Baylor Notre Dame 3
14 North Dakota St New Mexico St 14
7 VCU San Diego St 7
10 LSU Georgia 10
Charlotte Portland
2 Duke Arizona 2
15 Lafayette Albany 15

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Thursday’s Bubble

Thursday and Friday is probably where a majority of the bubble is going to be figured out. Who desperately needs a win tomorrow?

ACC Quaterfinals

North Carolina State vs Duke (7pm et)
Miami vs Notre Dame (9pm et)

North Carolina State is likely in as they picked up another top 100 RPI win to add to the plethora they already have. This team has already beat some of the top competition and could be a tricky 8/9 seed for a 1 on the first weekend. Miami didn’t gain any points by beating Virginia Tech tonight but a win over Notre Dame would go a long way for them.

Big 12 Quarterfinals

Texas vs Iowa State (7pm et)

Texas doesn’t have any bad losses, but it lacks quality wins. They are hovering around the last four in line right now so if they want to be sure, a win over Iowa State would likely lock things up for Texas.

Big East Quarterfinals

Xavier vs Butler (930pm et)

A loss drops Xavier to 19-13 overall but their resume seems solid enough to get a bid. A win over Butler would improve their seed though.

Big Ten Second Round

Michigan vs Illinois (12pm et)
Northwestern vs Indiana (630pm et)

A loss to Michigan would probably end Illinois’ chances at an at-large bid. A win over Michigan wouldn’t be enough either. Indiana is already in dangerous territory and cannot afford a loss versus Northwestern.

Pac 12 Quarterfinals

USC vs UCLA
Stanford vs Utah?

Stanford is actually playing as of this post, so if they don’t win tonight, they are likely done. They may need one more quality win to assure themselves they won’t be sweating on Selection Sunday. The same goes for UCLA. Beating the worst team in the Pac-12 won’t help them, losing to them would kill them though.

SEC 2nd Round

Auburn vs Texas A&M

The Aggies cannot survive a loss to Auburn. A win doesn’t guarantee them anything, other than they live to fight another day on the bubble.

Mountain West

Air Force vs Boise St (3pm et)

Boise State was the Co-Regular season champ but unlike Colorado St and San Diego St, their resume needs some work. A loss to Air Force would be devastating to their at-large hopes.

 

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What to do with BYU?

BYU: In or Out?

It seems more often than not that The Brigham Young University Cougars find themselves on the bubble when it comes to Selection Sunday. Just three years ago, BYU was one of the last two teams selected in the field as a 14 seed and was forced to play in Dayton, Ohio. They took advantage of the situation by defeating an Iona squad who somehow earned an at-large bid out of the MAAC. This year, BYU may be looking at hosting a 1st round NIT game versus another trip to Dayton. Most Bracketology pundits agree that BYU is squarely on the bubble and at this point, at a disadvantage, as their regular season is complete with no more games to be played. The Cougars had an opportunity to keep their fate out of the NCAA Committee’s hands, but was unable to dispatch a Gonzaga squad for the second time in a matter of weeks.

So where does BYU stack up and what does all of this mean? Well, let’s examine:

Record: 23-9 (against Division 1 competition)
Conference: 25-9
vs Top 50 RPI: 1-4
vs Top 100 RPI: 4-6
vs Top 101-200 RPI: 10-3
vs Top 200 RPI: 9-0
SOS: 71
Non-Con SOS: 22
Road Record: 8-3

First off, the good, BYU has the #22 Non-Conference Strength of Schedule, which is strong, and last year, played a factor of SMU not making the field, and Alabama and Colorado in prior years. BYU played Utah, San Diego State, Purdue, and Stanford amongst others this year; however, it was a home win versus Stanford, another bubble team, that stands out as their best win. They also own a road win at Gonzaga, which helps out their impressive 8-3 road record.

Now, the bad, BYU has 19 of their 23 wins against teams outside the top 100 RPI. In fact, they have three losses to teams ranked outside the top 100, which includes getting swept by Pepperdine. Four wins against teams in the top 100 RPI is not very impressive and it would be pretty unprecedented for a team with that few wins against quality competition to make it. If you want to take it a step further, they have 1 quality win (vs top 50 RPI competition) against 3 bad losses……not a good ratio.

Look, I have no doubt that BYU is a good team and they certainly passed the eye test when I watched them play. But they just don’t have a very good resume and lack quality wins. That has to count for something. Now, things can break their way and other bubble teams may also struggle in their conference tournament, but right now, BYU just doesn’t scream as someone who belongs in the field of 68 when you look at their body of work.

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