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The Bleacher Bums: October 18, 2005 Archive

What a finish

Posted at 9:13 AM on October 18, 2005 by Ben Tesch

I started watching the game pretty late, and mostly because I feel obliged to see people win a series. I don't like watching the hours long rehash and celebrating and talking to players, but I at least like seeing the closure and the fans having a good time.

Needless to say, I saw none of that. The Cardinals rose from the ashes with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, down by two runs. After two swinging strikeouts by a dominating reliever, the scrappy David Eckstein gets up and somehow puts the fact that their season is on his shoulders behind him and gets a hit. Jim Edmonds draws a walk from some very close pitches (particularly at that moment in time). Albert Pujols gets up and hits a monstrous home run. Wow. Talk about great timing in all aspects.

Yawn II

Posted at 2:19 PM on October 18, 2005 by Bob Collins

Everyone around here is talking today about Albert Pujols and last night's game ending (OK, they're not, they're actually talking about Norwegian plays and the dangers of not cleaning your barbecue grill, but work with me here!).

Nobody's talking about last night's first inning and it's too bad because it helps explain why I went to bed early.

Is someone actually expecting us to be bedazzled by a baseball game where a manager calls for a sacrifice bunt with nobody out and a man aboard in the first inning?

Chris Burke got the lucky call in last night's game. Most of us had no sooner got a chance to sit down when we were treated to the magnificent splendor of a guy with a .309 OBP laying down a bunt.

First, what's a guy with an OBP of .309 doing batting second in the first place?

And if you're a Major League manager, are there things you would do before you give the other team a free out? Biggio was the runner on first; he's not the fastest guy anymore, but he still stole 11 bases and was caught once (although Pettite has always had a great pickoff move).

But this was an act of desperation, which is not unusual unless it's the second batter to come up in the first inning. And then it's, well, desperate. You're trying to stay out of a double play. Period.

Dan Agonistes (and I have no idea who he is), has an interesting blog item about the value of bunting. It's based partly on an interview with Bill James. James defends the practice of bunting. And so do I. But the second batter of the game? You're kidding me.

The Astros, by the way, did not score in the inning. And by the end of that inning, I switched sides. I hope the Cardinals win the series and Houston spends the winter bemoaning its bunting ways.

Serves 'em right.

Bird on the wire

Posted at 4:42 PM on October 18, 2005 by Ben Tesch

Two stories involving the Twins on today's sports wire:

Molitor turns down offer as Twins hitting coach
Paul Molitor has turned down an opportunity to be the hitting coach for the Minnesota Twins, he said Monday.

Molitor, Seattle's hitting coach in 2004, said the time commitment that comes with the job was a factor in his decision.

"I spent a lot of time thinking about it," Molitor, 49, told the Star Tribune for a report in its Tuesday editions. "I decided to allow myself more flexibility in my personal time with my family and other issues. I took a lot of time and went back and forth, trying to go through the schedule and try to make it work. Then I started thinking about things I wanted to get done."

Gov. Pawlenty, top MLB officials discuss Twins ballpark
Major League Baseball's top officials, including commissioner Bud Selig, reached out to Gov. Tim Pawlenty in recent days about the stalled proposal for a new Minnesota Twins stadium.

On Monday, Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung confirmed the discussions, which included a call between Selig and Pawlenty over the weekend. McClung said Pawlenty listened to concerns about lack of progress on the Twins stadium plan but he wasn't given an ultimatum or deadline for action.

The Twins have been seeking public subsidies for a new ballpark for a decade. They contend the Metrodome is ill-suited for baseball. They currently have no lease binding them to the Dome, a stark contrast from 2001 when a use agreement prevented baseball from folding the team.

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