Memories Are Made Of This

I know, strictly the baseball playoffs started 2 days ago, with the 2 wild card games, but in a sense the serious stuff starts tonight! Not that the 2 games so far have been dull (31 runs scored in 2 games already!), but now the maneuvering stuff starts tonight, with the American League Divisional series. Tomorrow sees the start of the National League matches, including the Dodgers, but fine, for now I’ll root for the Red Sox in the AL, given the Kansas City Royals arent there this year, but more on them shortly.

Its hard to believe now, it seems so much longer ago, but just 2 years ago, I had the thrill of watching a lot of the playoffs from a wonderful apartment in the Hollywood Hills. To say that was an amazing 4 weeks would be putting it mildly. Sadly, as I have previously reported, returning to that wonderful home from home on Verbena Drive isnt going to happen, as a mere few months later, the owners of the whole home (the apartment was a separate building, below the main home) sold the place, so never again. Not that the place I stayed in this year was bad, but it wasnt the same.

It was a series of mixed emotions for me, the Dodgers not lasting that long, but the Royals kept winning, and winning, and indeed, on my last night in that apartment, I saw them win Game 1 of the World Series, in a crazy number of innings, against the Mets, and of course, a week or so later, they won the World Series, and I really felt part of it, because in truth, I was, because I saw them live so often, which I could never have done at home in the UK.

And here we are, 2 years on, and I get to see some of the first divisional series match tonight, before bedtime, between Houston, and Boston, because it starts at 9 pm over here. Given work tomorrow, I wont see the end though, for sure. Tomorrow night, or more strictly in my time, early Saturday morning, the Dodgers will start their journey, hopefully further than 2 years ago, fingers crossed.

And oh, I kept the streak, the 1 game I saw in a stadium this year, both teams are in the play offs! Yes, that night, in about 12 (or 13?) innings, they beat Arizona! Guess who they meet in the playoffs, yes, same team!

But yes, for now, I’ll look back 2 years, to that Royals Championship, and hope that maybe this year, my NL team, the Dodgers can match them.

Yes, tonights video is black and white, and could well be from a time when the team was the Brooklyn Dodgers, just maybe?

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Baseball fans, dont stop believing

Well, not for another month at least, until the regular season gets under way, at least. Yes, baseball is back, officially the big boys start meeting up with each other in pre season tomorrow, though before then, 4 games against college teams will have taken place, yesterday, and today.

In truth, for fans of 5 teams supposedly in rebuilding mode, you probably neednt start to believe, but anyway… Yes, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Colorado, I’m looking at you. In truth, you could easily add San Diego, and Miami to that list, but just maybe? Yes, thats right, I’m writing off 7 National League teams before the season even starts! Awful, isnt it? The closest to an American League write off I could get, is a maybe, on Oakland, but I’d have more doubts on that being the case.

Yes, alright, I’ll get in my moment of pleasure, given no team has retained the title since 2000, and mention that the Kansas City Royals are the current champions. I know, sounds good, for me at least, doesnt it? Could they do it again? The team is probably strong enough, but whether, like so many before them, they fail under the badge of returning champions, who knows? One thing is for sure, and is nothing to do with baseball logic, its an even numbered year, so you have to mention the San Francisco Giants. Yes, they won in 2010, 2012, and 2014, so…

The hype team this year, seems to be the Chicago Cubs, who havent actually won it, since 1908! Yes, they’ve been spending madly, and like the Red Sox earlier this century, that streak has to go at some point. But favorites, seriously?

So, if KC cant do it again, who do I think are a decent price to go all the way? I said it as a joke, but seriously, its hard to ignore San Francisco. Not only have they got the ‘even streak’ to continue, they look a good team, and you can get 16/1 here in the UK, with one firm, too big to ignore. You have to respect the New York Mets (also 16/1) after last year, as I wouldnt be surprised to see Washington implode again. On the American League side, I wouldnt be surprised to see Houston (16/1) go further up, and with their team (and playing logic), Boston (14/1) are either going to finish bottom of their division, or go a long way. I have 2 loves who could do well, one obviously is Kansas City (14/1), and the other are Hollywood’s team, the LA Dodgers (16/1).

Whats that, you want an outsider to root for? Well, most of those I’ve said rude things about already, but if you must…the ‘under the radar’ team for me, could just be Minnesota, quietly ignored, despite not missing the play offs by a lot last year, and you can get them at 50/1

As I say, Vegas fans, these are UK prices, I’ve not really got a way to look at whats on offer in the US, so this is the best I can do.

Interesting stat, team song. 3 times in the last 4 years, and 4 times in the last 6 (thanks, San Francisco), this song has been the team song for the Champions. Yes, thats right, KC use it too, which only made it all the more amusing in 2014, as it meant Journey were going to win the World Series regardless! So yes, thats tonights video, shock horror.

Fields Of Dreams

Yes, I know, it hardly seems yesterday that San Francisco beat Detroit in the World Series, but its nearly baseball season time again! 12 days from now, we start with an all Texas, American League deby match, though given the actual distance between Houston and Dallas, I’m not if it truly counts as a local derby or not? Given the size of the US, my vote is yes. Funnily enough, its the first time this has happened, as due to the realignment over the winter, Houston is now in the American league west, instead of the National league central.

The biggest difference this will make all season long, is in inter league play. Up to now, the NL was 16 teams strong, the AL had 14 teams, and beyond a few wild weeks spread through the season, they never met, until the World Series. Most rules are the same, its just the AL dont ask their pitchers to bat (rarely a pretty sight), and use a designated hitter instead. The NL however insists on the pitcher batting, which rarely amounts to much! I cant find any other differences to be honest, so that may well be it?

But this year, with 15 teams in each league, these inter conference games will go on throughout the year. The ruling is, in AL stadiums, you play by their rules, and the same in the NL, playing by their rules. It will probably be chaos at times lol!

This year again, I wont see an MLB game live, this year I know that before I go. I will see plenty (hopefully) on ESPN America over here, and maybe 1 or 2 in the US, but that will be it. But, weather permitting, I will see a baseball game live, though one level down, in Rochester next month. The one thing I’ve really noticed, the prices! Seriously, I’ve generally paid $20-25 for one of the lower grade seats (all said though, still with a decent view) in an MLB stadium, the premium seats at Rochester are just $12! I know, its not the big names, but even so…I just hope they arent rained, or even snowed off, but that seems my only concern. Hey, at those prices, I could go twice! Oh, that is all the homes games I could go to, they are away the rest of the time I’m there.

The video, well I could do ‘Take me out to the ballpark’, but I’ve done it before. So lets pick a song that at least has ‘fields of’ in the title, and sung by a wonderful singer, not truly recognised until after her death sadly, and even then, more over here than in her native US. So for those of you who have never heard of the late Eva Cassidy, listen and learn.

Baseball changes

Its been nice tonight, been able to watch (care of ESPN America over here) the baseball tonight, quite literally a very local derby. Yes, its that strange time of year, when teams from the same cities, but different leagues, get together and play baseball. Yes, and I’ve had the chance to watch it from one of the oldest, and one of the nicest stadiums in baseball, Wrigley Field.

Yes Kate, I know, its younger than Fenway Park, but not by much. And its a place that also has plenty of old world charm too.

What is different this year, is that this, at least for now, is the last year that this will be a big event happening. With the realignments next year (and hopefully when in the division, Houston still underperform the Mariners lol), next year will have all season long inter league baseball, taking away some of the fascination I’m sure.

Dont ask me why the American league, and the National league play to different rules (pitcher bats in one, not in the other is the obvious one I know, might be the only one?), but I suspect its steeped in long distant history, before they got together? I’m sure batting practice for those poor pitchers who never normally need to bat is quite entertaining! Next year, they will have to practice more lol! And NL teams will have to get the hang of this designated hitter thing too!

The video shows bits of, and around Wrigley Field, and yes, I’ve been there, and literally got the t-shirt too! Its an amazing place, and I hope I get back there sometime in the future as well. Apologies, the sound quality of this is poor, but lets face it, Wrigley is about the look and feel, not the sound

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P5f8CO0mvw