Tag Archives: baseball

Weekend musing – Australia’s Test woes, Ireland defeats the All Blacks…amazing!

Sfan OB6Last week I wrote that Australia had got off to a great start in the first test match in Perth, but that was about it as far as Australia was concerned as South Africa dominated the rest of the game even without their best bowler. The Australian batsmen did not show the resilience required to win a test match, although they did do better in the second innings lasting nearly 120 overs. In fact if they had made 360 in the first innings, the result may well have been different.

This is the first time in 28 seasons that Australia has lost the first test match on home soil, but it also must be one of the only times testthat there has only been one round of Sheffield Shield matches before the first test. By contrast the South Africans had a warm up match in Australia after two first class games in South Africa. International sides have often been criticised for only having one lead up game before the first test and yet the home side falls to the same lack of preparation here!

Well we thought the Chicago Cubs 108 year drought breaking effort
the-amazed-international-media-reaction-to-ireland-beating-the-all-blacksin the World Series was a significant milestone and then, coincidentally in Chicago, Ireland beats the New Zealand All Blacks in the rugby union for the first time in 111 years. What am amazing year we are having in sport around the world.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Spring Carnival, Kieran McEvoy, Chicago Cubs, First Test…….

Sfan OB6While I did not back the winner of the Victoria Derby, Prized Ikon, it was a great story for the Cummings family. Four generations of the one family training a winner of such a prestigious race would beprized-icon unparalleled not only in racing, but probably in sport generally. There has been a number of father/son combinations and even grandfather/father/son’s in various sports, but I cannot think of any to equal this effort. Three generations of the Aitken family played for Carlton and three generations of the Hird family played for Essendon. Perhaps one of James Hird’s sons could make it a fourth generation for the Bombers.

Keeping with the family theme Kieran McEvoy won the Melbourne Cup on Almandin and he is the brother-in-law of last years winning almandinjockey, Michelle Payne. Almandin is the third son of Monson to win the Cup in the last four years. The other two being Fiorente and Protectionist. When you think about it, racing produces probably just as many family associations as AFL football. A lot of jockeys had fathers that were jockeys and a lot of trainers had fathers that were trainers.

The biggest story in sport this week was the Chicago Cubs breaking a 108 year drought in the World Series. Even if the Cleveland cubsIndians had of won they would have broken a 68 year drought. This continues a wonderful year for drought breaking title wins. The Cubs also did it by winning the last three games, with the last two away to Cleveland. This was somewhat reminiscent of the NBA when the Cleveland Cavaliers took the title in an away game to Golden State.

A good start in the Test cricket yesterday and it further proves the testvalue of good bowlers. Australia struggled in the recent one-day series in South Africa with a second string attack, now with more like their front line attack in place they were a lot more effective. If we can get James Pattinson and Pat Cummins back playing consistent cricket with Mitchell Starc, the Australian attack will be formidable. Bowlers win matches.

Have a great weekend

Some sports teams keep making dumb decisions

meIn September 2011, the Miami Marlins appointed Ozzie Guillen as their manager on a four year contract. Guillen brought a .524 winning record from his seven year stretch as the Chicago White Sox skipper. Whilst not setting the world on fire in his first season Unknown-2with the Marlins, he could have reasonably expected his tenure was not in jeopardy. What Guillen didn’t plan on was the intervention of Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria who fired Guillen and appointed Mike Redmond.

Redmond, who last year had his contract extended to 2017, had his managerial appoinment terminated yesterday after a 16-22 start to the season. He was replaced by Marlins’ General Manager Dan Jennings. Jennings has no Big League or managerial experience.

Due to prior questionable decisions, the Marlins now find themselves with three managers on the payroll being Guillen, Redmond and Jennings. What a waste of money!

That is not the worst of it. There is every possibility that the Marlins will have four managers on the payroll before the season is too much imagesolder. I say this as owner Loria has not shown any patience with his managers and if Jennings doesn’t win games, he’ll be the next casualty.

Aside from the managerial sackings, the decision to appoint a person with no managerial experience is a stunner. Would you employ a person who hasn’t flown a plane as a pilot? How about a person with no medical degree as a doctor? Whilst I wish Jennings well, the cards are certainly stacked against success.

Given the recent decisions, is it is surprising that the Marlins are equal last in the NL East?

MLB playoff moneyball selections

baseball16With the MLB playoffs having commenced, I thought it might be interesting to re-visit team payrolls and look at the teams still vying for a World Series spot.

The division pennant winners (with 2014 payroll in brackets) were:

American League

East – Baltimore Orioles ($107.5 million)
Central – Detroit Tigers ($162.3 million)
West – LA Angels ($155.7 million) * best record in the AL for wins/losses
Wild card entry – Kansas City Royals ($92.1 million) and Oakland A’s ($83.5 million)

National League

East – Washington Nationals ($134.7 million) * best record in the NL for wins/losses
Central – St Louis Cardinals ($111.1 million)
West – LA Dodgers ($235.3 million)
Wild card entry – San Francisco Giants ($154.2 million) and Pittsburgh Pirates ($78.2 million)

The American League has already played its Wild Card game with the Royals coming out on top over Billy Beane’s A’s. The National League plays today with the Giants and Pirates playing in a winner take all game to advance in the playoffs.

The ALDS sees the Orioles play the Tigers while the Angels take on the Royals.

In the NLDS, the Cardinals play the Dodgers while the Nationals play the winner of the Pirates/Giants game.

Going on strength of payroll alone, it should be a Dodgers v Tigers World Series, however, given many teams with high payroll haven’t even made the playoffs that clearly isn’t the sole determining factor.

I likebaseball17 the Royals to continue their fairy tale run to play the Nationals in the decider.

One thing for certain, Billy Beane knows that even $83.5 million per year wasn’t enough to get the A’s over the line in 2014!

Wednesday rant – MLB and buying wins

baseballpicIn what endeavour would you be responsible for spending in excess of $203 million, have little or nothing to show for it results wise and still be in a job? In baseball that’s where. How does Brian Cashman, General Manager and Senior Vice President of the New York Yankees retain his job? The Yankees, who have all but been eliminated from post season play, have currently won 81 games. When viewed against their payroll (second highest in MLB), they pay about $2.5 million per win. The concept of ‘buying wins’ was adopted by Billy Beane and brought to the public’s attention in the book and film, Moneyball. By comparison, the other New York team, the Mets get better value for money as they pay about $1.17 million per win spending less in payroll and winning nearly as many games as the Yankees.

Probably the best result in 2014 has been returned by the Pittsburgh Pirates, who baseball17have qualified for the post season winning 86 games spending $908,000 per win. As for the Oakland A’s, they spend a little more than the Pirates at $970,000 per win and are still in the wildcard chase. The bottom line is getting value for money and the Yankees haven’t whilst the Pirates and A’s have. Maybe Mr Cashman and the Yankees need to re-think the strategy.

Friday musing – Premier League, AFL, MLB……..

Chris Barwin HillsNot much has grabbed me this week on the sporting front although I must say that the Gunners have left me feeling a little flat after a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea and a draw at home with Swansea. With a game coming up against Manchester City I will just have to focus all my attention on the FA Cup.

One thing that has piqued my interest is how the AFL pundits are prepared to make prognostications about various teams seasons on the back of one performance. Some people had North Melbourne finishing in the top four and now they are gone, Carlton’s recruiting is all wrong and they are destined for mediocrity, the Bombers were in for a poor season, but they could finish in the top four. I think the reality is that you cannot make a judgement based on one performance. Essendon had a good win last week, but they get the reality check this week against Hawthorn. The Kangaroos played badly last week, but should bounce back this week against the Bulldogs. Carlton also played well last week and if they had kicked straight should have won the game with a number of their first picked players not available. One game does not define a season and you need to wait until at least half way before you can write someone off.

I didn’t get to watch any of the Major League baseball from Sydney last week, however, the ground looked amazing and as I understand it, the game was a success so it will be interesting to see if more Major League games come to Australia.

Have a great weekend!

The Professor’s rant #1

ChipperPoor form by Braves players who refused to catch the ceremonial first pitch from Chipper Jones. By the way Chipper just happened to play 19 seasons with the Braves, 8 time All Star, 1999 NL MVP, his number retired by the Braves and no doubt a first round Hall of Fame entrant when he is eligible.

The petulant players sent out the Brave’s mascot instead to catch the ball.

Chipper’s crime? His forecast to the media that he thought the Dodgers would beat the Braves 4-1 (which they did).

Me thinks the Braves as an organisation need to take a good hard look at themselves! A terrible way to treat a former champion.

Braves……you have struck out!

Sportzfan Radio show #291 highlights

dan-butterlyThe Professor talks to Dan Butterly on US sport including Palace Malice winning the Belmont Stakes result 130609_121408 the NBA playoffs – he still thinks Miami will prevail 130609_121550 – in Major League Baseball he looks at the Mets and Yankees series and thinks the Mets just got hot for four games 130609_mets but he didn’t name Serena Williams as the best African American athlete representing the US 130609_serena

With Mark Fiorenti out of State the Professor and the Panel talk soccerferguson2 including Melbourne Heart’s signing of Harry Kewell 130609_kewell and whether Sir Alex Ferguson should be approached to head up Australian soccer 130609_ferguson.

The Professor also talks to Paul Dalligan about State of Origin 1 130609_origin1 and round 13 action in the NRL 130609_NRL round 13.

 

 

Sportzfan Radio show #267.1

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!14 October 2012 267.1 – David Coutts (Coutta) joins the Panel with the Gambler, Daniel Eade and the Professor. Daniel suggests that there is a moment of silence for Paul Dalligan’s multi which went west when the Washington Nationals lost. Dan Butterly comes on to talk US sport and kicks off with the Lance Armstrong story. He also looks at the MBL playoffs and discusses Yankees player Alex Rodriguez being benched. He feels the St Louis Cardinals will play Detroit Tigers for the World Series. He believes the NHL is in mortal danger if it can’t resolve the lockout. The Gelding talks racing and the Spring Carnival with racing at Caulfield yesterday. He also discusses the revelations that Damian Oliver allegedly bet $10,000 on a horse in the same race he was riding in. The Gelding awards S-hit rides to Nash Rawiller for his rides on More Joyous and Pierro. Dr Leslie’s CSA makes a return.