With the start of the 2009 World Series tonight, let's take a trip back in time...to the 1994 World Series.
Ah, what a series it was. The powerful New York Yankees versus the lesser know, but more powerful, Montreal Expos.
Experts worldwide gave the Yankees far more, and the Expos far less, credit than they deserved.
While many called for a Yankees white-wash of the 'Spos...in the words of ESPN's Chris Berman...that's why they play the games.
GAME 1 New York @ Montreal - After a blistering rendition of O Canada by Celine Dion, the series kicks off with a bang. Bernie Williams homers off Expos starter Pedro Martinez to lead off the game and the rout is on...not quite. Martinez settles down and proceeds to limit the Yankees to 3 more hits while striking out 12 over 8 innings. Moises Alou and Larry Walker go back to back in the 6th off Jimmy Key and the Expos take game one 2-1.
GAME 2 New York @ Montreal - Yankees pinch hitter Jim Leyritz steps to the plate with the bases loaded in the top of the 7th and rips a curveball from Jeff Shaw for a double down the left field line. Alou boots the ball letting all 3 runs score. Alou somewhat redeems himself with a 2 run homer in the bottom of the 7th but the damage is done. Yankees win 5-4.
GAME 3 Montreal @ New York - Rain delays the start of the game for 1 hour but that time apparently gives Yankee pitcher Jim Abbott time to figure out each Expo hitter. He baffles the Spos for 6 innings, yielding one hit. Fighting a blister on his left index finger, he yeilds to Paul Gibson. Bad move. Gibson hits Mike Lansing with his first pitch and things just get worse from there. The Expos bat around in the 7th, hilighted by an upper deck homer by Larry Walker and the Expos win going away 7-1.
GAME 4 Montreal @ New York - With no stolen bases in the first three games, both teams go nutty on the basepaths. The Expos swipe four (Grissom, Walker, Lou Frazier with two) while the Yankees take six off of a bewildered Darin Fletcher (Williams and Luis Polonia 2 each, Mike Gallego, Randy Velarde). The Yankees play some "NL small ball," get a monstorous homerun from Danny Tartabull and teriffic pitching from Jimmy Key to take game four, 4-0.
GAME 5 Montreal @ New York - The series is tied two games a piece and tensions run high. In the 6th inning, after Cliff Floyd launches a 3 run bomb, surprise game five starter Scott Kamineicki throws behind Wil Cordero and both benches empty. No punches are thrown but both sides are warned. In the bottom of the inning, Expos starter Ken Hill drills Bernie Williams and is ejected. The Expos bullpen can't get it done and gives up four runs in the inning. Yankees win 6-4.
GAME 6 New York @ Montreal - The series returns to La Belle Province and no one is happier than Youppi! The Expos mascot has to be carted off the field on a stretcher in the top of the first after he falls off the Yankees dugout while dancing with excitement. Despite the bad omen, the Expos bring their A game and crush 4 home runs (Alou, Grissom, Rondell White, Sean Berry) while Jeff Fassero, Mel Rojas and John Wetteland silence the Yankees bats. Expos win 9-0.
GAME 7 New York @ Montreal - Nothing like a game seven! The Big O is jammed to the rafters and Pedro Martinez and Jimmy Key each take to the mound for the third time in the series. Both pitchers struggle with command early, but stellar defence (including an sensational rug-burn inducing sliding catch by Marquis Grissom) keep the score close. They both turn things over to the bullpen. As has been the case all year, Mel Rojas and John Wetteland are unhittable, while the Yankees bullpen can't get it done. Expos backup catcher Tim Spehr pulls a line drive homer down the right field line in the bottom of the 8th of Bob Wickman. Then, soon to be named World Series MVP Moises Alou follows with his third home of the series to ice it. Expos win the game 4-3, the series 4-3, and their first, and only, World Series.
*Editors note: The preceding games actually did take place, in BrockTalk's mind only. DREAM ON BUDDY!
Speaking of DREAM ON...if you've never seen this piece by ESPN...you can thank me now. Simply amazing.
First off, let me state that I am not a hardcore hoop-head. I watch it now and then, cheer for the Memphis (Vancouver) Grizzlies and can pretty much live off the highlights. But with the new season starting tonight, I thought I should at least give it a little acknowledgment.
So, tonight's the tip-off of the latest edition of the Kobe vs. Lebron League...aka...the NBA.
No matter how much the NBA wants to talk about the bevvy of stars that run their courts, for the casual fan, it always comes back to Kobe and Lebron.
Again, from the casual fan's perspective, will you tune in to see players like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Kevin Garnett or Chris Bosh? Unless you have a vested interest in the teams that they play on, not likely.
Will casual "court surfers" tune into an NBA game if Kobe or Lebron are on the floor? It's a helluva lot more likely.
I know there are millions of fans who are absolutely bursting at the seams with excitement because of the start of the season. And don't want to take anything away from the rest of the NBA players, but unless 24 or 23 is on the court, I'm not terribly interested.
Further, when it comes to basketball, is there really any reason to watch anything but the final two minutes of a tight game? (which, admittedly, can be incredible viewing, especially in the playoffs)
Anyhow, four games tonight, with Cleveland (Lebron and Shaq) taking on Boston (Garnett and Rasheed Wallace) as the marquee event. Should be a good tilt, but I'll just wait for the highlights.
Now if you want some REAL basketball action...
Or a great track to get you pumped for the b-ball season...
As tempted as I am to talk about the continues woes of the Toronto Maple Laffs, I can't do it because I'm enjoying their slide so much and I don't want to jinx anything (cue the Laffs winning their next game because I wrote this!)
So I'll turn my attention to baseball again.
Game six of the ALCS goes tonight in the Bronx (weather permitting).
By the end of the evening, it's possible that the Yankees could be off to the World Series, or, the Angels could have forced a game 7 (my personal choice).
The way October 25th has shaped up in the past, I expect something magical to happen tonight for a few different reasons.
October 25, 1923, Bobby Thompson was born. Ever heard of him?
October 25, 1971, Pedro Martinez was born. Ever heard of him? (Showing love for the Expos!)
And oh ya, October 25, 1986, Mookie Wilson hit a little roller hit up along first...
A couple of pretty significant birthdays, and one of the most memorable moments in sports history...October 25 has been a pretty big day in baseball history.
Will the Yankees and Phillies add to the legend of the day? We'll find out tonight.
As a former official, I tend to be a bit lenient when it comes to the guys and gals who wear the stripes, carry the whistles and don the mask.
But the more I watch the MLB playoffs, the more comical the officiating has become. I can't defend them anymore!
This post season, it's been blown call after blown call after blown call. And these aren't just "close calls"...they are blatant screw ups. Errors that are so bad that you honestly, truly wonder, if the umps really do need glasses.
How else can you explain Phil Cuzzi's foul call on a drive by Joe Mauer that was not only touched in fair territory, but it landed in fair territory. And Cuzzi was RIGHT THERE!
It's not like he was 200 feet away, look how close to the play he actually was.
And how about Tim McClelland? Talk about wearing some large goat-horns!
First he calls Nick Swisher out for leaving the bag early on a sac fly (while not even looking at Swisher during the play) and then the grand-daddy of all blown calls (currently being referred to as the "worst call of all time")...missing the obvious double play at 3rd by Angels catcher Mike Napoli.
Again, the ump was standing RIGHT THERE.
For a great video breakdown on the game 4 umpiring madness CLICK HERE.
At least McClelland manned up and admitted his mistake after the game, and was obviously upset and embarrassed...but guys...come on!
So MLB has now decided to break with tradition and use only experienced umpires during the World Series. In the past at least one ump in the six man crew, would be doing the Classic for the first time.
"Good," you may say. "They should have the most experienced umps doing the playoffs!"
Sad thing is, Cuzzi has been an MLB umpire for 19 years and McClelland 26 years.
Maybe it's time for MLB with younger eyes, not older.
I can only imagine how ole Earl Weaver would have reacted if he was managing during this year's playoffs...probably a lot like this (caution...BAD language! And why aren't officials and coaches mic'ed up every game? This stuff is priceless!!!)
You're parent team has just lost their leading goal scorer for 4-6 weeks.
You're being called up and immediately being placed on the first line.
You're Michael Grabner.
It's the opportunity that every young hockey player waits for. You play your game, put up some numbers, and wait for your chance to play on the big squad to make a name for yourself.
Most young players would make their debut with the third or fourth line. MAYBE, you get to play on the second line.
But Michael Grabner gets to make his NHL debut playing on the Vancouver Canucks first line...talk about an opportunity.
That's like a 16-year-old being handed the keys to a new BMW.
"Have fun, just don't wreck it kid."
He was terrible in the pre-season...management and fans were both disappointed in Grabner's production (or lack thereof)...but now thanks to an injury to Daniel Sedin, Grabner gets his 'big break.'
It's not a 'produce or you're done' situation. If he plays five games and gets zero points, it won't be the end of the world. But, he sure won't endear himself to Mike Gillis and Alain Vignault, and his next chance, may be a long time coming.
It's time for Michael Grabner to make some hay and get it done.
For years people have found a way to do just a little bit of work and pass it off as a fully thought out and complete piece.
Television writers have the clip show.
Musicians have the greatest hits cd.
Heck, even retailers have the clearance rack.
So I present to you, my first edition of BrockTalk Bites...a collection of a whole bunch of things happening in sports, and I'm just too lazy to write full articles about them! Must be the tryptophan.
-If you missed the Monday Nighter between the Dolphins and the Jets...you missed a doozy! I was incredibly impressed with the 'Fins wildcat offence...how do you stop it?? The two headed monster of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams (I'll call him BROLLIAMS!) was uber-impressive. Also Chad Henne looked great. And that Tony Sporano sure does sweat a lot!
-ESPN's "C'Mon Man!" feature before the Monday Night Game is brilliant!
-Vancouver Canucks Sami Salo, out 4-6 weeks with a knee injury. Salo is injured? Oh yes, and this just in, the world is round.
-Those were some serious meltdowns in the MLB playoffs by the guys who are supposed to come through in the clutch...the closers. I'm talking Raiders of the Lost Ark 'melt your face off' meltdowns. Nathan, Papelbon, Street...GAG!
-I've entered 3 hockey pools...I have no idea who I have anymore.
-Denver Broncos are 5-0. WFT? I thought the Chargers were supposed to run away with the AFC West...it's now a must win for the Bolts vs. the Broncos on Monday Night. A 'must win' in October? It's true.
-Derek Anderson goes 2 for 17 passing for the Browns versus the Bills, and he's KEEPING his job this week! Speaks volumes about what the Browns think of Brady Quinn.
-Toronto Maple Leafs start the season 0-5-1. Everyone outside of the GTA (non-Leaf Nation members) is loving this.
-Calgary Flames blow a 5-0 lead and lose to Chicago Monday night. If Kipprusoff can't get it done in net...they always have Curtis McIlhanney (yikes!)
-From the 'well, DUH!' category...Tiger Woods, he's pretty clutch.
-JaMarcus Russell's play is making a lot of people compare him to Ryan Leaf. Ugh. Not exactly what the Raiders envisioned when they drafted him #1 in 2007. It's time to put that experiment to bed. Paging Jeff Garcia...Jeff Garcia...please report to Oakland immediately.
-Still can't believe that Allen Iverson will be in Memphis this year.
-Sportsnet's new website is terrible. Horrendous actually.
-Great to see Paul Kariya back and playing with the skill we're used to!
-We should do all that we can to ensure Betty Fox lights the Olympic torch.
-Happy Thanksgiving...and Bob Dylan has just released a Christmas album.
The International Olympic Commitee has recognized the need to give more exposure to the props, locks and wings of the world. They have added rugby to the 2016 and 2020 Olympic games.
Good on ya!
Rugby, while a big sport around the world, has suffered from immense under-exposure in Canada. It's considered a niche sport but anyone who has played the game, understands that it is quite possibly the quintessential 'team sport.' No helmets or padding (okay, extremely limited for some players), cauliflower ear, broken everything, it's all part of playing rugby.
Hopefully, the exposure the sport will gain will help generate more interest and, in the end, more funding for the national programs.
But at the same time as making a wonderful decision to let rugby in, the IOC has also decided to give more exposure to the hundreds of men and women who make thousands and millions of dollars playing golf on the PGA and LPGA tours.
Oh who am I trying to fool, they just want to get Tiger Woods into the Olympics!
For the love of...okay cue the rant...
The professional golf season runs for about 51 weeks of the year. By the time it ends, the next season is only a fairway (or trip to Hawaii) away. The golf audience is then subjected to 51 weeks of "how is Tiger doing? Did you see Tiger's shot? What spot is Tiger in?" On and on it goes.
I love watching Tiger Woods. He's a phenomenal player...the best in history (sorry Jack and Jack's fans)...but I don't need to see him in the Olympics.
The same goes for all the other professional golfers on tour. Will a professional golfer really see an Olympic gold medal as a pinnacle of their career? I bet dollars to doughnuts that they'd give up five gold medals for one green jacket.
Maybe the IOC will deem that the only players that will be eligible will be, GASP, amateurs. Somehow I doubt it.
We've seen Jordan, Gretzky and Federer in the Olympics...I'm sure Woods is next.
So in 2016 when you see Tiger strolling the course wearing his Nike gear, his Rolex watch, sipping Gatorade and counting the millions he's made just from endorsements...make some time to cheer on those Canadian men and women on the rugby pitch who need to return all of Tiger's Gatorade bottles, just to make ends meet.
And if you need just one reason to watch some rugby during the Olympics...
I'm a long-time card carrying member of Canucks Nation.
Ever since my dad took me to my first Canucks game back in the late 70's (versus Phil Esposito's New York Rangers) I've bled blue and green...and for a while yellow, black, and "salmon" red.
Also, for the past year, I have lived outside the greater Vancouver area...and followed the team from a distance.
That distance has given me pretty good perspective on a number of things. I don't miss Vancouver bridge traffic, I do miss being by the ocean and mountains, and a disturbing number of Canuck fans are complete IDIOTS!
How on earth can you call yourself a Canuck fan, if you are sitting in the stands during the Canucks home opener and you are booing Roberto Luongo and cheering when he is pulled from the game for the backup goalie Andrew Raycroft?
If you were one of them, then you are one of those idiots.
Yes I know that Luongo flamed out in game six versus the Blackhawks last year, and I know that at that home opener, he looked awful and the Canucks were on the way to an 0-3 start, but please...GET A FREAKIN' GRIP!
You were booing the greatest goalie in Canucks history, and when you cheered for Raycroft, you were giving the verbal finger to Luongo and telling him to get "the eff" out of town.
"We don't need you Roberto. We have Andrew Raycroft." Think about what you were saying.
Sure an 0-3 start is ugly, but in case you were unaware, they play 82 games in the NHL.
0-3 start in the NFL, you are sunk. 0-3 in the NHL, unless you lose all three games 12-0, then who gives a crap?
Of course, after last night's 7-1 win over Montreal, it's all lollipops and rainbows once again in Canucks Nation. I'm sure those fairweather fans that were booing Bobby Lou a couple of nights ago, are today singing his praises, building a monument and once again planning the parade route.
So bandwagon Canuck fan, prepare yourself. The Canucks are going to lose some games. Edler is going to fall down. Dan-rik Sedin will go a few games without scoring. Luongo is going to give up some bad goals.
You don't have to be Nostradamus to see that coming.
Canuck Nation, save your breath, and if you're going to boo, remember to boo people who ACTUALLY deserve it.
For great blog regarding "premature evaluation" by TSN's James Duthie, CLICK HERE.