Thursday, March 19, 2009

Odds and Ends

Lots of different topics in here...

The morning show I sometimes listen to on the way to work (XX 1090 AM in San Diego) had a handicapper on this morning discussing the NCAA tournament. The dude (I think his name was Brandon Lang) picked Louisville to win it all (duh) but had them beating...

wait for it....

Yep. VILLANOVA in the final. Personally I think the dude's smoking crack. Although I would probably be unsufferably obnoxious if they did make it that far. For what it's worth, I picked Xavier to win that regional, beating Duke (who knocks out my Wildcats in the regional semifinal).

Lots of interesting stuff being discussed in the UCB topics. Today it was offseason moves by management. Yesterday was the 25 man roster. Monday we considered what number would be retired next by the Cardinals (I voted for 51). I plan to elaborate on some of these topics later on, but if you're not following the blogs as discussions are posted you're missing out. See Cardinal 70 for the complete schedule of blogs posting the discussions.

Chris Carpenter pitched today and went 6 scoreless. I am a crusty old Navy man, but I am giddy - yes, giddy - about how Carp has pitched so far this spring. Fourteen scoreless innings is nothing to sneeze at. As we get closer to Opening Day, and the lineups start to feature more Major League hitters (also the WBC fniishes), we'll know better if this is for real or just a mirage; but the early returns are VERY favorable. I have put my money where my mouth is and drafted Carp for my only 'All MLB' fantasy team. Believe it or not, he's the only Cardinal on my roster. So don't let me down, Carp.

Called into the UCB radio hour last night. Good discussion. If I ever figure out how to post files here, I'll post the audio file. You should call in or at least log on to the chat room - every Wednesday night at 8pm Pacific. There is some discussion about moving the time to allow more participation, so stay tuned for an update.

Finally, there's the World Baseball Classic. As I type this (and although it won't appear until tomorrow morning on the site) the Japanese lead Cuba 3-0 after 5. In foggy Petco Park. Most of the baseball has been pretty good, with some great games. Both Netherlands/Dominican Republic contests were classics. The US' comeback last night against Puerto Rico. It's unfortunate that all of those games were on the MLB network, which virtually no one gets.

The players, most notably Chipper Jones, have raised some issues with the format. I couldn't agree more. Even this is packaged by MLB to make the most money. Let's take a look at some of the areas that cause head-scratching.

- Round Robin play. Only MLB could devise a system where there are 4 teams in a pool, and you may not play the other 3. Why don't they do Pool Play like other major international tournaments do it, like soccer's World Cup for instance? That way, instead of playing beating the Dominican, then losing to Puerto Rico, and having to play the Dominican again, you would play Panama in that third game (this would be what happened to the Netherlands).

You ask how the winner and runner-up of the pool would be determined? Try this. Winners get two points. Games that go to extra innings are a point for each team, with an additional point awarded to the winner. If you beat a team badly enough to activate the mercy rule, you get a bonus point. The two teams with the most points advance. In event of a tie, head to head result is the tie breaker.

This would also eliminate the useless 'seeding' game. It was ridiculous that Japan went 2-0 in pool play in the first round and end up the #2 seed, all because they lost the 'seeding' game to Korea 1-0. Same for the US and Venezuela.

- Rosters. The roster rules need to be more clearly defined. The Dutch manager had a legitimate point when he complained about Brian Roberts being added to the US roster 30 min before game time. MLB is meticulous about roster configuration during the playoffs, and they should show the same kind of rigor for this event.

- Venues. With all the pretty ballparks in this country, Miami's Joe-Robbie-Pro-Player-I-Don't-Know-What's-The-Name-Today-Park-Stadium was the best choice for the second round? Really? What, the Tropicana Dome busy with a Monster Truck Rally? I would have thought Atlanta, or Houston, or Phoenix would be a much better choice - and all 3 cities have a sizeable Hispanic population.

Love the choice of Dodger Stadium for the final, however. Can we park a Camaro at home plate and do a pull-away shot as part of the opening ceremonies?

- Coverage. I was in the car tonight picking up a box at FedEx, and thought I would listen to the game on ESPN Radio. So I turned it on. Turns out, the game was simulcast (which means, for those of you under 30, the same broadcast is being heard on radio and TV). Which means the guy calling the game on TV has to talk to the action so those of us listening on the radio can keep up with what's going on. The guys doing the game have no idea how to cover a game on the radio. These two bozos are chatting away on some ancedote about one of the players, and in the background you hear the crowd start to cheer. This is because Curtis Granderson just singled to right. Only after the cheering gets loud do your trusty play-by-play guys casually mention, Granderson singles to right, before continuing with their conversation.

No number of outs, no score, no count, no 'fastball for a strike', nothing. It's as if they think the audience tunes in to hear them talk about the bunions on their feet and not the game. This is why I used to mute Padres games on local TV (that and I can't stand Matt Vasgerian. Now that he's gone I might turn the volume up again).

I would have thought MLB was flush enough to spring for a second announcing team on the radio. Three years from now, call me and I'll do it for free; so long as MLB pays for my travel, accomodations, and meals.

Consider these helpful suggestions from a concerned citizen.

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