Adam from My Cardboard Mistress shot me a note last week mentioning that he had this card for me,
an Austin Jackson 2011 Topps Lineage 1975 mini relic jersey, and that he'd rather send it to me than have to put it back. That's as good a reason for a trade as any, and the result is a pretty cool Jackson hit, my first of him. AJax really, really needs to learn to cut down the strikeouts and get on base, because he definitely has the talent to be the leadoff hitter Granderson, the man he replaced, never was. Granderson, of course, only morphed into the power hitter he is after joining the Yankees, but I hope Detroit's staff can work on him and get him right--the Tigers offense would be ridiculous with a consistent leadoff hitter and stolen base artist.
Anyway, I definitely owe Adam something nice in return, and hopefully I can square us up soon. Thanks, Adam!
World Series thoughts:
Well, Friday night ended the 2011 baseball season, and I'm happy to say that the amazing Cardinals capped off one of the most unlikely title runs ever for their 11th championship. I don't mean to imply that I was specifically rooting against Texas, because I would have been thrilled especially for Nolan Ryan after all his hard work trying to revitalize the team. Still, there's the George W. Bush factor, even if he no longer actually has a hand in the team after it went to shit along with every other one of his ventures. (but that's not a discussion for a sports card blog) Besides, there's plenty to like about the incredible Cardinals run anyway. All that said, here are some of my thoughts about the Series, some of which I hope prompt discussion in the comments:
- Is there a more entertaining manager to watch than Ron Washington? I don't think I could ever root against a skipper who wears his heart on his sleeve. He does make some goofy decisions but really, what manager doesn't? He's the type of animated manager that's good for the game, not some moronic asshole like Ozzie Guillen, whom I hope loses 100+ games with the Marlins for all the shit he's pulled in his managerial career.
- I don't care for Josh Hamilton at all, for reasons I won't go into as they're also not relevant to this blog. Still, I give the guy huge props not only for gutting though an obviously debilitating and painful injury, but for overcoming it with an outstanding performance instead of dogging it and blaming the injury.
- Nobody deserves more props than the Cardinals, though, for squeezing in to the playoffs on the season's final day, then beating the two best NL teams in the playoffs, not to mention a favored Rangers team. I know they're already getting a lot of credit for this, but seriously, they earned it. And what's cool is, it's nice to see that the wild card still makes sense--I wasn't always a fan of it, but we've seen some fun teams eke out a playoff spot like this and go on to win a title. Nothing was handed to the Cardinals, but their resilience was definitely their biggest asset this year.
- Adrian Beltre was the real deal this year in the regular season and playoffs, and I was shocked because it wasn't a contract season, so I was wrong about him, at least this year. I still think the Rangers massively overpaid him, but for now the results speak for themselves, to be fair.
- The Mighty Pujols had a bit of an impact in the other games, but besides his record-setting game three, he wasn't the deciding factor. Instead, guys like Allen Craig and David Freese were the heroes who will forever be legends in St. Louis, and that's the fun of the championship being decided by a seven-game series.
- Speaking of Cardinals heroes, besides the two guys above, how about Lance Berkman? He rightfully caught some flak for comments he made before the season when he called the Rangers an average team without Cliff Lee, although based on their pitching performance in the playoffs, he was somewhat vindicated. Still, having not signed with them and then being traded to St. Louis, it looks like Fat Elvis had the last laugh. Protecting Pujols because Matt Holliday was ineffective/injured, he punished the Rangers time and again with clutch hits after Texas was forced to intentionally walk El Hombre. Hell, Berkman pretty much set up camp on second base throughout the series.
- Can you remember a more exciting World Series in the last decade? The somewhat similarly crazy Yankees/DBacks matchup back in 2001 is the best I could do. In my mind, nothing could compare to game six in which David Freese made a crucial error, (one of several between both teams) brought the team back from within one strike of losing, (which the Cards also did in the 10th) then smacked one of the most dramatic walk-offs in the history of the game. I literally sat on my couch at 12:39 a.m. EST saying "I can't believe it!" after the hometown here Freese punched St. Louis' ticket for game seven. I hope the Series' ratings improved this year.
- I definitely enjoy the games more when the pitchers bat, because sometimes they have an unexpected offensive impact, and even when they don't, the strategy of the game becomes so much more interesting. All you DH apologists can have your 300-pound .260 hitter who contributes 20 HR and nothing else to the game, I'll still with exciting matchups like this one.
- I'll admit I like to see teams win championships at home, which has happened quite a bit recently in the World Series, apparently. Because of that, I might have pulled a bit more for the Rangers had the AL won the All-Star Game this year. It just has to be 100 times sweeter for the home fans to get the instant gratification of celebrating in the stadium instead of having to wait for the team to arrive at the airport. The postgame festivities just work better that way. I understand that the Super Bowl just couldn't work that way, but football really misses out on that experience, unless a team really beats the odds and gets a home game.
And now, in celebration of the Cards, and because this post is seriously lacking in images,
I give you Fat Elvis, sans awesome facial hair and mullet, plus
two-time champion and current best player in the League, Albert Pujols.
Now begins a long offseason, though fortunately for me, one that's devoid of the NBA, which means Christmas came early. Time to focus on college and pro football, plus college hockey, as the weather turns cold and depressing. For now, may your teams find success in free agency, trades, the Rule V draft, and the excitement that is baseball's winter meetings, not to mention the upcoming awards announcements. What a season!