Tagged: MLB Network

…and we’re back…

This blog is back up and running following mlblogs.com’s migration to WordPress.  So far, I’m impressed.  I was looking at getting an account with WordPress for quite a while, so I’m glad that MLB made the move.  In the meantime, I’m going to have to get used to all that WordPress offers…

What follows is a blog I wrote over the weekend – my response to MLB Network’s 20 Greatest Games Countdown.  This first post includes my comments on numbers 20-11.  Another entry will be following with my thoughts on games 10-1.  

While there’s a break in the action, I decided to take this opportunity to respond to MLB Network’s 20 greatest games countdown.  Granted #1 won’t air until Sunday night but ads for the last episode have already let us know that it is Game 6 of the 1975 World Series – best remembered for Carlton Fisk’s walk-off home run.

As one might expect, there were a lot of recent games in this countdown.  I attribute this to younger fans and the fact that more recent games are fresher in our collective memories.  In any case, I’m impressed that some pre 1990 games made the final cut.

I think it’s important that the network stipulated that none of these be “milestone games”.  However my biggest criticism of this countdown is that several games on here are defined by a single moment, thought there are still many games on here that are what I call “top-to bottom great”.

#20 – Phils @ Cubs 45 run game.  A wacky game, not so much a great game; this game does prove that ANYTHING is possible in baseball.

#19 – 2003 ALDS Giants @ Marlins.  Definitely one of the greatest games of the 2000s.  Best remembered for the final moment when Pudge held on to the ball; with the Marlins winning on the giants final out of the game.  Of course, anytime you can see a jam-packed Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Dolphin/Land Shark/Sun Life Stadium for a baseball game, it’s a cool thing. Only now are we starting to realize how much talent was on the 2003 Marlins roster.

#18 – Phils @ Astros – Game 5 NLCS.  I’m a little young to remember this one the first time around, but I do remember how good these Astro teams of the early 80s were.  They came close to the pennant several times, but fell just short.

#17 – Yankees @ Red sox – 2004 ALCS Game 4.  I would’ve put this up higher on the countdown.  A stand-alone classic, but this game also sparked the greatest comeback in Postseason history.

#16 – Tigers @ Twins – AL Central Tie-breaker.  A great see-saw battle; but I would have preferred a different ending.  Had the Tigers won, I would have put this in my top 3.  Worth noting, this is the only Tiger game that made the countdown.

#15 – Yankees @ Mariners – ALDS 1995.  Clearly the defining moment in Mariners history.  It has been said that this game saved baseball in Seattle and paved the way for the construction of Safeco Field. And of course, it’s always fun to see someone, anyone, take down the Yankees.

#14 – Phillies @ Blue Jays 1993 WS Game 6 – Another game best remembered for one highlight:  Joe Carter’s Series winning walk-off home run.  This particular episode was hard to watch: I could see Mitch Williams squirming in his chair as they reflected on the game.  Who says these things don’t stay with players?

#13 – Indians @ Marlins – 1997 WS Game 7 – everything is turned up a notch in a game 7.  Though I had no vested interest in this game, I remember being on the edge-of-my-seat as the game went on; truly experiencing the drama that a close ball game could provide.  This should have been ranked higher.

#12 – Diamondbacks @ Yankees 2001 WS Game 4.  November baseball. The specter of 9/11  was hanging over America, President Bush threw out the first pitch and Derek Jeter was dubbed “Mr. November”.  Hollywood would have had trouble creating such story lines.

#11 – Yankees @ Red Sox AL Tiebreaker.  Three words: Bucky f@#$in’ Dent.  A great chapter in the Yankees/Red Sox feud.  Definitely belongs on this countdown.

MLB: Pull the WBC off of ESPN ASAP!

I know the Korea / Venezuela game taking place tonight is a blowout – and inevitably, baseball announcers tend to talk about other things duirng a blowout; but Jon Miller (Giants guy), Joe Morgan (players and players’ union guy) and Steve Phillips (front office guy) spending 1 1/2 innings complaining about the World Baseball Classic is totally unacceptable.  Major League Baseball needs to insist that they not be allowed to announce future WBC games; or perhaps even pull the WBC off of ESPN and instead air it the MLB Network exclusively!

First off, I like the  World Baseball Classic.  I love seeing players – both familiar and unfailiar – represent their respective countries.  Perhaps even more than that i LOVE then intensity that foreign fans bring – not only in baseball – but also in other international sporting events.

To hear Joe Morgan get on his player/union member soapbox and lament that “it’s too much” to ask American players to participate during spring training  makes me sick.  I understand that MLB plays a much longer season than any of the other participating countries; but we are talking about professional athletes who make more money per year, per season, per week, per game, per AT BAT than I make in a year!  Once a member of the players’ union, always a member of the players’ union…

Look, I don’t expect announcers to be total yes men and pimp whatever Bud Selig decides to sell. I respect each pf their opinions.  In many ways,  I agree with Mr. Morgan.  But when announcers are complaining about the format of a tournament that they are covering during the event itself, it makes me want to change the channel.

 Remember the big stink when Joe Buck said that he really didnt watch any baseball beyond the games he covered and that more American probably find “Desperate Housewives” more exciting?  That was in an interview, off season if I recall correctly.  Imagine if he had said that on-air, live, during the World Series

my take on the MLB Network

190px-MLB_Network_Logo.pngI was probably as excited about the MLB Network’s January 1 launch as the next MLB blogger when I first heard about it during last year’s post season.  When we moved into our new home in December, I made sure we’d receive the MLB Network as part of Comcast’s digital TV package ( OK, we mainly went digital so my son could watch Noggin!). 

MLB Network has promised to provided balanced coverage of all 30 MLB teams, but they have thus far failed.  I know, it’s only January this year’s hot stove is unusually cool, but do we REALLY need to see Red Sox Memories  and the ’04 and ’07 World Series replayed EVERY week???  How ’bout a special about 2008’s best story – the Rays?

I get it chowderheads, the Red Sox won the World Series in 04 and in 07 – the only team to do so twice this decade.  Fenway sells out every game and the Sox have the highest road attendance in MLB – they are clearly America’s favorite team today.  But seriously, if I wanted this much Red Sox coverage, I would put on ESPN.

On the bright side – I love the “Seasons” show (I’ve seen 86,  95 and 01).  Ken Burns’s Baseball should be required viewing, and the specials on Hank Aaron and the Negro Leagues have lived up to their names. 

I’m looking forward, of course to the WBC coverage and I’m especially pleased to hear that MLBN will be covering the Carribean Series.  This will probably be the first time most American fans get to see the game from South of the Border.  That, and MLBN will be able to finally begin broadcasting, recaping and analyzing games