Saturday, November 29, 2003

Under examination

Richard Lederer has his latest off-season interview posted. This one is with Will Carroll, who does a great many things but is probably best known for his Under The Knife column. Head over and check it out, it's a very interesting interview.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Season in a league of its own

Tomorrow I'm going back to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving and I'm not sure if I'll be able to make any posts while I'm there (my parents have crappy internet and I'll be busy with other stuff as well). So, I'm going to leave you with a super-long (even longer than "Gleeman-length") post looking back at the 2003 season, which may have been the most exciting season since I really started following baseball about a dozen years ago.

As you can tell if you look at the column to the right, Bill Simmons is one of my favorite columnists. As they say, immitation is the sincerest form of flattery (or something like that), so I'm going to steal a type of column from him. I'm going to use quotes from a movie to look back at the season (he usually does this as a preview, but I'm stealing it and can do what I want). If you don't know what I mean by this, here's the most recent column he wrote of this type, previewing the NFL season.

Don't laugh, but I'm going to use 30 quotes from A League of Their Own, even though I know Simmons would hate that. You may think A League of Their Own is more of a chick flick, but I think it's a thoroughly enjoyable sports movie with great drama despite the fact that it's a bit corny at times. In the interest of full disclosure, however, I should admit that I generally like chick flicks and that my apartment occassionally gets a bit dusty when I'm watching the movie.

Anyway, onto the quotes.

1. "Look, sis, she's getting everybody out high. Don't swing at that pitch."
"I can hit it."
"You can't."
"I can."

The first important exchange of the movie goes to the first important exchange of the season, when a disappointing 9-10 Minnesota team went to play a three-game series against a surprising 14-3 Kansas City team. Most people expected Kansas City's bubble to burst in that series and for the Royals to immediately begin their decent back to a losing record, but it didn't happen.

The Royals took the first game 4-3 after Minnesota's ninth-inning comeback attempt fell short and the second game was postponed by rain. Kansas City then won the final game of the series 2-1 despite a solid complete-game effort from Brad Radke.

All of the sudden, the Royals were 16-3, the Twins were 9-12 and the White Sox were 12-10. People continued to doubt the Royals all year and they did eventually fade from the division race, but Kansas City did post a winning record, which nobody in their right mind would have predicted before the season.

(Has anybody else who's watched the movie recently noticed that Kit Keller looks a bit like Alfonso Soriano in that at-bat? She swings at two pitches that are way too high to hit and then she's so upset with herself that she takes a called third strike right over the middle of the plate. Maybe instead of hiring Don Mattingly, the Yankees should have just hired Geena Davis to stand around and call Soriano a mule.)

2. "In the 43 years I've been practicing medicine, I've never seen a woman throw up so much."
"Maybe it's how she entertains herself, doc."

To the fans of the New York Mets, who probably would have had more fun this year had they just thrown up every day instead of watching the team. Heading into the season, there was some talk of the Mets competing for a playoff spot, but they had already lost at least five games in a row twice by the first week of May and they never got better than four games below .500 the rest of the year.

Instead of competing for the playoffs, they finished 66-95, 16.5 games ahead of the fourth-place team in their division and just 2.5 games out of last place in the entire National League. The only thing Mets fans really had to be excited about the whole year was the arrival of Jose Reyes, but even that didn't last all that long before he missed the rest of the season with an ankle injury.

3. "Mitch Swaley likes you."
"Mitch Swaley is one step up from datin' a pig."
"But, an important step."

While we're talking about bad teams, this one goes to the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers were just one step above the worst teams in baseball history, but it was an important step. As I'm sure many of you know, Detroit's record stood at 38-110 with 14 games left to play in the season. If the Tigers lost 11 of those 14 games, they would surpass the 1962 Mets for the most losses in a season after 1900. If the Tigers lost all of those 14 games, they would have a .2345 winning percentage, which would surpass the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics for the worst winning percentage in a season after 1900.

The Tigers then went on to eight straight games, giving them an excellent shot at topping those Mets and keeping them alive for a chance to be worse than those A's. And that's when the Tigers, like Mitch Swaley, took one step up. Detroit won five of their last six games to finish the season as the happiest 119-loss team you will ever see.

4. "Hey, what are you? Stupid? You're gonna squeeze bunt with out best hitter?"
"The infield's deep. A squeeze'll work."
"Stop thinkin' with your tits, we want a big inning here."

To the Toronto Blue Jays, whose 11 sacrifice bunts were half as many as the team with the next fewest (Oakland). The St. Louis Cardinals dropped almost eight times as many sacrifice bunts (87) as Toronto did. Strangely, the Blue Jays went bunt-crazy in September. After performing just five sacrifice bunts all year, Toronto bunted six times in September. If they had followed their pattern for the rest of the season, they may have finished the year with just six sacrifice bunts.

Anyawy, how cool is it that a movie about women's baseball gives us two lines that I think SABR should adopt as mottos? I'll get to the other one later, but I think this one would be pretty effective. Any time somebody tells you a team should bunt, just tell them to stop thinking with their tits. I don't know if there's a suitable response to something like that. Most likely, they'd just stop talking. I can see it now:

Joe Morgan: "I know the A's hate bunting, but this is really a situation where you need to move the runner over and get a run on the board."
Jon Miller: "Stop thinking with your tits, Joe."

Yeah, that would be great.

5. Lord, hallowed be thy name, may our feet be swift, may our bats be mighty, and may our balls be plentiful."

With mottos like "Stop thinking with your tits" and "May our balls be plentiful," I don't see how sabremetrics could possibly fail to gain widespread support. I'm serious, I can see bumper stickers with these mottos on them adorning cars across the country. Take a moment to think about the kinds of bumper stickers you see when you're driving around and tell me people wouldn't buy bumper stickers with those two mottos on them. The SABR community is missing out on a big marketing opportunity here.

6. "Well, I'll say one thing for them. They can run."

To Carl Crawford and Alex Sanchez, whose only real value to a baseball team right now is that they can run. Crawford hit just .281/.309/.362 (.671), but he looked good stealing 55 bases in 65 attempts (84.6-percent success rate). Sanchez was even worse, hitting .287/.319/.363 (.681) while stealing 52 bases in 76 attempts (68.4-percent success rate). At least Crawford helped his team with his steals.

Also, Crawford still has some potential in that he's only 22 years old. Sanchez is 27 and was so bad that the Milwaukee Brewers decided that they don't have any use for him.

7. "Hey, hey, hey, guys, come on. How hard can it be to make out a lineup? Come on."
"Oh yeah? Why don't you do it, Oregon?"
"Yeah, you."
"Okay. Mae, center field, lead off."

While we're on the subject of speed, this one is to the infatuation most managers have with getting speed at the top of the lineup. The most important thing a leadoff hitter has to do is get on base. It's just a bonus if that person is fast too. So, you don't necessarily need to put the hitter on your team with the highest OBP in the leadoff slot, but it should certainly be somebody with a good OBP. Unfortunately, that's not what most managers do.

The highest OBP any team got out of its leadoff spot was .356. Compare that to the highest OBP any team got out of each of the other spots: .388 was the highest in the two-hole, .457 was the highest for the three-spot, .472 was the highest from the cleanup position, .397 was the highest from No. 5, .367 was the highest from No. 6 and .378 was the highest from No. 7.

The median OBP from the leadoff spot was .335 this year. The No. 2, 3 and 4 spots in the lineup all had higher median team OBP's and the No. 5 spot was very close. When you look at another statistic, it becomes very clear what manager's favor when penciling in a leadoff hitter.

The average team got 25.8 steals from their leadoff hitter. No other spot in the lineup averaged even half that many steals. The No. 2 spot came in second with 11.6 steals per team. I don't know why they do it, but almost all managers put their best basestealer in the leadoff spot instead of the person most deserving of getting the most plate appearances.

8. "I hurt my knee."
"You fell out of a hotel, that's how you hurt it."
"Well, there was a fire..."
"Which you started, which I had to pay for."

One of the funniest conversations ever about an injury goes to the sad, ongoing joke that Ken Griffey Jr.'s career has become. Griffey was always a little injury prone in Seattle, but he was a definite star and he only played fewer than 140 games there twice after his rookie season.

Then he got traded to Cincinnati, where he hit .271/.387/.556 (.943) with 40 homers in 145 games in his first season. He hurt his hamstring that first year in Cincinnati, and he tore the hamstring the next year and was only able to play 111 games. Still, he was a fearsome hitter and people were sure he would bounce back in 2002, until he tore a tendon in his knee and could only play in 70 games. Still, he was a fearsome hitter and people were sure he would bounce back in 2003, until he dislocated his shoulder.

He did return from that injury, but he suffered through other problems (bicep, groin, virus, dizziness) before an ankle injury landed him on the DL for the rest of the year after playing just 53 games. Now, people are already talking about how he might get traded once he proves he's healthy and can still hit, but I'm sure he'll just find another way to hurt himself.

9. Well I was just wondering, 'cause I couldn't figure out why you would throw home... when we've got a two-run lead! You let the tying run get on second, and we lost the lead because of you! Now you start using your head! That's that lump that's three feet above your ass!"

To Lou Piniella, who did manage to survive his first season in Tampa Bay. I didn't follow the Devil Rays closely enough to know just how spectacularly Piniella lived up to the expectations everybody had of him blowing his top every game, but he did seem to get upset an awful lot this year. Here's a list of his top five moments from this season. The main recipient of his anger seemed to be Ben Grieve, who may have gotten a Jimmy Dugan-style thrashing to check in at No. 2 on that list. After that incident, Grieve was apparently scared to approach Piniella, but at least he didn't cry. Speaking of which...

10. "Are you crying? Are you crying! There's no crying. There's no crying in baseball. Rogers Hornsby was my manager, and he called me a talking pile of pigshit, and that was when my parents drove all the way down from Michigan to see me play the game. And did I cry?

To Joe Torre, who is apparently in competition with Dick Vermeil to see who can set the record for a coach/manager crying the most times over his career. I think Vermeil is leading the race, and he certainly has many more opportunities to cry a few more times. He's guaranteed to cry at least twice in the playoffs, and he'll cry several more times if the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, plus there's no indication that this is his last year.

Meanwhile, 2004 will be Torre's last year, at least with the Yankees, and while he'll probably cry when the Yankees clinch a playoff spot (and again if they win the World Series), he may not get another opportunity after that until his number gets retired by the Yankees and he gets inducted into the Hall of Fame. Seriously, this is a stat we should be keeping track of. I would really like to know who has cried publicly more often, Torre or Vermeil.

(Also, the face Tom Hanks makes in that scene when he's mockingly saying "No, no" in response to Evelyn answering his question -- did I cry? -- is one of the all-time great faces in movie history. He's not shaved, he's got tobacco in his mouth and his eyes are all bugged out. It's just a classic, classic face.)

11. "Anyone ever tell you you look like a penis with a little hat on?"

While I'm talking about managers, this one goes to Bobby Cox, who must have said something bad to get ejected nine times this year and get a two-game suspension after one of those ejections. Compared to a lot of the other managers in baseball, Cox generally seems pretty mild-mannered, but he's always getting thrown out. It almost makes you think he gets tired of being there sometimes and just wants to go into the clubhouse and take a nap.

12. "Twenty-two! We love you twenty-two."

To Mark Prior, who is now the best baseball player wearing the number 22. Actually, this is really for Prior, Roger Clemens and Josh Beckett.

Unlike a lot of other people, I don't think Clemens is coming back. I think he's really retiring for good, and he's doing so with some amazing numbers. For his career, Clemens is 310-160 with a 3.19 ERA, 4,099 strikeouts, 4,278.2 innings pitched, 117 complete games, 46 shutouts, six Cy Young Awards and an MVP award. He became famous wearing No. 21 in Boston and he won two World Series wearing No. 22 in New York.

How neat is it that in the final season of one of the greatest pitchers who ever pitched, one young pitcher emerges for each of the numbers he wore. Prior is No. 22, and he went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 211.1 innings before posting a 2.31 ERA in 23.1 postseason innings. Beckett is No. 21, and he went 9-8 with a 3.04 ERA and 152 strikeouts in 142 innings before posting a 2.11 ERA in 42.2 postseason innings to win the NLCS and World Series MVP awards.

As disappointing as it is that an amazing career is ending (and Clemens had an amazing career, whether you liked him or not), it's equally encouraging that two such promising careers are just beginning. Beckett and Prior are both 23 years old, and I'm almost giddy thinking about getting the chance to watch the two of them pitch for the next however many years. I just hope they both stay reasonably healthy.

13. "Kid, kid. Your kid ate the lineup."

To Art Howe and Dontrelle Willis. I don't know if it's true or not, but I heard a rumor shortly after Willis' first start against the Mets this year (in which he pitched a complete game shutout with one hit, one walk and eight strikeouts) that Howe had changed the lineup just before the game started. The reason for this, according to the rumor, was that Howe hadn't realized that Willis threw left-handed and he needed to change the lineup because of that.

Like I said, I don't know if that's actually true or not, but it's funny to think it is.

14. "Wow! Avoid the clap, Jimmy Dugan."
"That's good advice"

The best medical advice of the movie goes to the biggest medical scare of the season -- SARS in Toronto. It seems so long ago that I have trouble believing it was this year, but cases of SARS were discovered in Toronto this year and it caused a lot of grief in the baseball world. Fans didn't want to go to Toronto to watch baseball games and some opposing players didn't want to go to Toronto to play the games. The Blue Jays even had a one dollar ticket night to get fannies in the seats.

Really, it was a lot of noise and concern over nothing. I went to Toronto twice for baseball games during the height of the SARS scare and had no problems whatsoever. There were not a lot of cases of SARS in Toronto and there are a lot of people living in Toronto, so the odds of catching SARS in Toronto weren't very good. Also, SARS was only really dangerous if you had a poor immune system (like older people or young children).

15. "Come on, come on. Dozens of people are waiting for the game to start."

While I'm talking about Canada, this one goes to Montreal. The Expos drew 1,025,639 fans to their 81 home games this year, for an average of 12,662 fans per game. However, 312,882 fans went to the 22 games in Puerto Rico (14,222 fans per game) and 36,879 fans went to the first game of the season that was actually played in Toronto.

So, for the 58 non opening day games that were actually played in Montreal, the Expos only drew 11,653 fans per game. In case you're curious, that works out to 971 dozen fans per game.

16. "Let me be blunt. Are you still a fall-down drunk?"
"Well, that is blunt. No sir, I've quit drinking."
"You've seen the error of your ways?"
"No sir, I just can't afford it."

To Pete Rose, who had more serious discussion this year about having his permanent ban from baseball removed than he ever had before. So, what did he do? He went out and got seen doing the one thing his reputation can't afford -- gambling.

I don't particularly understand most people's interest in seeing Rose reinstated. He's a bad person, he knew the rules and he broke the rules anyway. And it's not like he's not in the Hall of Fame. He hasn't been inducted into the Hall of Fame, but he's in there. People say we should forgive him, or that the rule is too strict or other such nonsense, but I don't see it.

Suppose there was a rule that said you get banned from baseball permanently if you swear at an umpire. That's clearly a bad rule, but you'd still be a moron if you go and swear at an umpire knowing what the rule is. Rose knew what the rule was and he broke it, so he shouldn't be allowed back in baseball.

Really though, I just want Rose to go away. If letting him go into the Hall of Fame does that, then fine. But don't let him manage a team again or take any real job with a major league team.

17. "You stink. You're lousy. You're only the best player in the league."

To Alex Rodriguez, of whom the MVP voters have pretty much been saying, "I can't vote for him. He's only the best player in the league," for years. This year, they finally got it right and gave him the MVP award even though his team stinks.

Rodriguez is 28 years old and has 1,535 hits, 345 homers, 990 RBI, 1,009 runs, 117 steals, a .308 batting average, a .382 OBP and a .581 SLG. This year wasn't his best season (it was probably his fifth-best season), but there was no outstanding competition so he won the award by default. That's not right, but if it's the only way he can get it I guess it will have to do.

18. "And how 'bout Marla Hooch? Whatta hitter."

To Barry Bonds, who has turned into a ridiculous offensive hitter while remaining a player that a very large number of people don't like at all. Well, I may not want to pal around with him either, but I have no problem enjoying what he has done on the baseball field. Like him or not, he's one of the best players the game has ever seen.

In his amazing career, he has 2,595 hits, 658 home runs, 536 doubles, 500 steals, 1,742 RBI, 1,941 runs, 2,070 walks, a .297 batting average, a .433 OBP, a .602 SLG and six MVP awards. Simply amazing.

19. "You haven't changed one bit."
"Dotti, I married a plastic surgeon."

To Rickey Henderson, who pretty much looks the same as he did when he broke into the major leagues all the way back in 1979. Rickey decided that all that time in the majors wasn't quite enough, so Rickey signed on with the Newark Bears and eventually the Los Angeles Dodgers decided that they could use Rickey's help. Rickey struggled mightily, but still managed to post a .321 OBP despite hitting just .208 at 44 years of age. If Rickey got 500 at-bats, Rickey would still probably draw at least 80 walks and not be a complete drain on an offense. Young players looking to improve their game could still learn a lot from Rickey and I hope Rickey sticks around baseball for awhile longer because Rickey sure is an awful lot of fun.

20. "What do you suggest?"
"A lot of night games."

To the Chicago Cubs and Dusty Baker. It has sometimes been said that one of the problems with the Cubs is that they play too many day games and tire themselves out. Baker took that theory and put a racial spin on it by saying that white players can't perform as well in the heat as people with darker skin. The whole thing was laughable (first that he thought that, then that he said that he thought it, then that the media made such a big deal out of the fact that he said that he thought it).

Anyway, a quick glance at Chicago's splits this year reveals that only a handful of their players performed significantly better at night than during the day. Everybody else either performed better during the day (including several white guys) or did the same whether it was day or night. That might explain why the Cubs went 51-41 during the day (.554 W%) and 37-33 at night (.529 W%) and it also shows that both theories are full of holes.

21. "Yesterday that might have been a ball, tomorrow that might be a ball, but today it was a strike."

You have to watch into the credits to see this quote, which goes to Questec. I don't know much about the Questec system, but it sure did cause a lot of controversy. The only problem I see with it is that it wasn't used in every ballpark, which creates a possibility of even more fluctuation from ballpark to ballpark than there already is. It appears Questec will be back next year, and I hope it is in every park in the majors this time.

There's one other thing I know about Questec -- Curt Schilling doesn't like it, which leads me to wonder two things. First, will there be a Questec machine in Fenway Park next year? Second, would that affect Schilling's decision on whether or not to accept his trade to the Red Sox?

22. "Nice piece of coaching, Jimmy. I especially liked that move in the fifth inning when you scratched your balls for an hour."
"Well, anything worth doing is worth doing right."
"Yes, indeed. Until you did that, I couldn't tell if you were drunk or dead."

To Pat Burrell, who looked like he was either drunk or dead all season long. A lot of players were disappointing this year, but Burrell was the best at subscribing to the idea that if you're going to go to crap, you might as well do it right.

Burrell took a big step backwards in almost every category from his 2002 production. He went from 157 games played to 146, from 96 runs scored to 57, from 165 hits to 109, from 39 doubles to 31, from 37 homers to 21, from 116 RBI to 64, and from 89 walks to 72. His batting average dropped from .282 to .209, his OBP dropped from .376 to .309, his SLG dropped from .544 to .404, his OPS dropped from .920 to .713 and his GPA dropped from .305 to .240.

In short, he went from a burgeoning young power hitter you can put in a corner outfield spot and build your offense around to somebody whose offensive production would barely be acceptable from a Gold Glove middle infielder.

23. "Marla, nothing's ever gonna happen to you. You gotta go where things happen."

To Juan Gonzalez and Rafael Palmeiro, who both decided to stay in Texas instead of going somewhere where stuff was happening. Last time I checked, neither of them had ever won a World Series ring and next time I check, whenever that might be, the same thing will probably be true.

Gonzalez could have gone to Montreal, which was in the thick of a playoff race at the time. Nobody knows if he could have helped them get to the playoffs and it might be good for the Expos that he turned down the trade because he didn't play much after that, but it would have been nice to see him take a shot at helping a team reach the playoffs.

Palmeiro could have gone to the Cubs, where he may very well have made the difference in helping them get to the World Series. There's no doubt he was better than the first base options the Cubs already had, and his presence in that lineup may have been enough to push the Cubs past the Marlins and into the Fall Classic. Alas, we'll never know, and Palmeiro will always have to live with the thought that he might have passed up a chance to win a ring. If he even cares.

24. "Okay, let's see if Jimmy Dugan gives her the green light on three and oh or gives her the take sign."
(Drunk Dugan scratches his balls, Dotti hits home run)
"Oh baby, she hit the cream cheese out of that one. Jimmy Dugan, that master strategist, had her swingin' away. Boy, he sure knows his baseball."

To Tony LaRussa, who may very well be a good manager but feels it necessary to amuse himself by doing some strange things just for the sake of doing them. Among the things that he does that annoy me -- batting the pitcher eighth, getting players whole sole asset is that they can play seven positions, bunting way too much, issuing intentional walks way too mcuch and probably some other stuff that I can't think of at the moment. When TLR does something that doesn't work out, we never seem to hear about it. When he does something weird that does work out, we all hear about how much of a genius he is. And yes, I'm bitter for no apparent reason.

25. "What if, at a key moment in the game, my uniform bursts open and, oops, my bossoms come flyin' out? That might draw a crowd, right?"
"You think there are men in this country who ain't seen your bossoms?"

Two of the best parts on Madonna goes to one of the best parts in the best baseball book of the season (in my opinion, anyway). The book would be Moneyball and the part would be during the chapter on the amateur draft right after the A's select Brant Colamarino in the seventh round. According to a coach, Michael Lewis writes, "Colamarino has titties."

Paul DePodesta got all excited about Colamarino because his titties aren't important. I wonder how DePodesta feels about Madonna and her titties? Probably pretty good if she knows how to take a walk and doesn't cost too much to sign.

26. "Excuse me. Excuse me. I've got a telegram for one of you ladies from the war department. Boy, I hate these. These are the worst. The least the Army could do is send someone personally, tell you your husband's dead."

To Dernell Stenson. It's sad when anybody dies at a young age, but it's more jarring when it happens to an athlete. They're public figures, and they're generally very good physical specimens and you never expect to hear that one of them is no longer with us. But it does happen and it's always upsetting.

Stenson's death hit me particularly hard, because he spend a lot of time in Boston's minor league system and I always hoped he would eventually become a part of the team that I spend a great deal of time, energy and emotion rooting for. He never did take the field for the Red Sox, but I still think of him as a member of the Red Sox family and I was completely thrown when I heard about his death. He was only 25 years old, not much older than I am, and he should still be with us.

27. "I just get so mad. Why do you gotta be so good? Huh?"

To the New York Yankees. I don't begrudge the Yankees their success. They're a very good organization and they've earned almost all of the accolades that are thrown their way. What really annoys me is that since the Yankees got good again, they've pretty much been a lock for the playoffs. I don't think there's been a season since 1995 when anybody really thought the Yankees might not be playing in October.

People often say that baseball is better when the Yankees are good, and I think that's true. But it's better for two reasons. One reason is that there are a lot of Yankees fans, and they're more interested when the Yankees are good. Another reason is that there are a lot of Yankee-haters, and they like rooting against the Yankees even more when the Yankees are good. The problem is that it's no fun to root against the Yankees when you know they're going to make the playoffs. Sure, you still get to root against them in the playoffs, but it'd be nice to have a September where you could really, seriously hope that the Yankees will be sitting on their asses on the outside looking in on the playoffs.

I don't think the Yankees will make the playoffs every year from now on or anything, but I do have a feeling that their playoff appearances will far outnumber those seasons in which they don't make it. A lot of people don't like the wild card, but the Yankees are the main reason I like it. How boring would the AL be if there were only two playoff spots and the Yankees were most likely going to get one of them every year?

28. "I almost forgot how beautiful you are."

To the Boston Red Sox making the playoffs. 1999 isn't that long ago, but after three years without the Red Sox in the postseason, I almost forgot how much fun it is to root for your favorite team in October. Sure, the Red Sox didn't win the whole thing and sure they added another chapter to their frustratingly one-sided rivalry with the Yankees, but I'd rather have every season end the way this one did than have every season end the way the previous three did.

When your favorite team is playing for the right to keep on playing, it's the best time to be a fan. If you can't appreciate it even if it doesn't go your way, then you're missing the whole point.

29. "Baseball is what gets inside you. It lights you up. You can't deny that."
"It just got too hard."
"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great."

To all of the baseball blogs out there. There is no better prood that baseball is the sport that really gets inside you than all of the people who decide that they'd like to spend some of their spare time writing about the game. Writing my own blog and reading so many other people's blogs has made me appreciate this wonderful sport even more than I already did.

30. "Oh! Take me home, momma, and put me to bed. I have seen enough to know I have seen too much."

Amen. This truly was an amazing baseball season, with something for just about everyone. There were surprising teams, disappointing teams and historic teams. There were breakout young players, amazing veteran players and rejuvenated forgotten players. There was even an tremendous post-season after a regular season that had some captivating races, both team and individual. And now that it's all over, I can't wait to do it all again.

And with that, I'm off to bed. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!