Friday, October 26, 2007


The World Series has officially morphed into the Super Bowl of past vintage with credit going to Fox Sports, a fast-food chain which doesn't get the satisfaction of being named and the Colorado Rockies' Matt Holliday pulling a Thurman Thomas.

The Super Bowl, thinking back to the late '80s and early '90s, used to be a series of commercials and promos for the mothership's crappy shows. The wall-to-wall display of corporate ooze would occasionally be interrupted by one team scoring a lot while the team from the junior varsity conference (the AFC then, the National League now) carried on like it had just learned to play the game. That's pretty much been the first two games of this clunker of a Fall Classic. The Boston Red Sox only won Game 2 by a 2-1 margin last night, but honestly, a one-run lead at Fenway Park has never felt so unassailable.

Holliday's baserunning blunder consisted of a 235-lb. power hitter taking a Vince Coleman-sized lead and getting picked off easily by Jonathan Papelbon to end the Rockies eighth when Todd Helton was up representing the lead run. It was analogous to Thomas misplacing his helmet and missing the first couple plays in one of the Buffalo Bills' Super Bowl tank jobs in the early 1990s.

(Dan Wetzel has a full take at Yahoo! Sports.)

It didn't affect the game (Papelbon struck out Helton in the ninth and then punched out the last two hitters). It will stick in people's minds, though, more so than the fact Holliday had four of Colorado's five hits. They will probably bring it up even if Holliday is elected National League MVP in a few weeks' time.

Come to think of it, Thurman Thomas was the MVP of the NFL the year he couldn't find his helmet.

The less said about that "someone steals a base, everyone gets a free..." promotion -- and actually interviewing said fast-food chain's president in the stands -- the better. By the way, judging by where their Q rating has been over the past 15 years, are Boys II Men lining up for a free taco right now?

Also of note: Jays catcher Gregg Zaun has been praised for not being afraid to lay into players with some criticism during his turn as Rogers Sportsnet's between-innings studio analyst. Last night, he did a great job showing how the casual approach Rockies right-fielder Brad Hawpe took to fielding a hit. Hawpe's "indecision" let Boston's Mike Lowell go first-to-third, even though the slow-footed Lowell cut the bag at second like a hazmat truck making a left turn. That set up a game-tying sacrifice fly and Lowell drove in the eventually winning run his next time at bat.

Good on Zaun for picking up on that and not giving his fellow player a pass. Granted, with Sportsnet, anything well-intentioned and useful to sports fans is always followed by something amateurish. At the end of the night, Jamie Campbell noted that the Rockies would be trying to be the first team to come back from a 2-0 World Series deficit "since the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers." Really, Jamie? This obviously would come as a surprise to members of the 1996 Yankees, '86 Mets and '85 Kansas City Royals, who each had to pull off such a feat.

That's all for now. Send your thoughts to


Kevin Hayward said...

You know, it probably wouldn't have made a difference if he was standing on first base. Papelbon struck out Helton to start the ninth (under different circumstances, granted). Also, keep in mind that Holliday had four of the Rockies 5 hits.

It was a very dumb move, but I don't think it cost Colorado the game and I see no reason why he deserve the NL MVP award any less.

sager said...

Sir, if you come here to debate the utility of sarcasm and overstatement as a rhetorical device...

(As it happens, Holliday probably shouldn't be the MVP anyway. Didn't David Wright lead in the Win Shares?)

Dennis Prouse said...

I fully understand that the NL was significantly weaker this year, but having said that I find myself wondering if the Rockies aren't suffering from the same long layoff syndrome that killed the Ottawa Senators last Spring. Sticking with routine, and keeping momentum, are so important in sports, and that long layoff kills both.

After a long, gruelling season, I would also think that your body and brain go into "off-season mode" pretty quickly once afforded a break, and it would be difficult to flip the switch and turn them back on again. I am fully convinced this is what happened to the Sens last Spring after their league enforced nine day layoff.

Pete Toms said...

N, you've convinced me to go back to the Intl feed on Sportsnet just to hear Zaun's comments.

I was unaware that he had criticized Hawpe. I was watching the FOX broadcast and McCarver said nothing negative about Hawpe's play. I kinda wondered you noted, Lowell didn't go intitially go into second with any intention of going to 3rd.

That was a big play in the game and McCarver missed it. Lowell scores on a sac fly, game tied, and was 1 of only 2 runs scored by the Red Sox. Holliday's gaffe was horrid - Paplebon's only career pickoff - but Hawpe's inability to hold Lowell at 2nd was probably a bigger play.

Dennis, bang on about layoffs, Francis stunk in GM 1 and yes I think it hurt the Sens. Talk about long layoffs, how long is it since Aaron Cook pitched?