Maybe. I’d be pretty hard-pressed to remember a better one. I was absolutely riveted by six different games last night – the four that decided the two wild card spots, and the two that ultimately dictated the Yankees’ ALDS opponent. I also had some interest in the game where Ryan Braun validated José Reyes’ decision to pad his batting average with a first inning bunt-hit and call it a season.
First off, everybody needs to knock it off with the Reyes-bashing. Calling it a season upon, more or less, locking down a batting title is a baseball tradition. Bernie Williams did it in 1998. Derek Jeter has called it a season early to protect a .300 average, and he probably would have done it again last night if he had the chance. You’re kidding yourself if you think Braun wouldn’t have done the same thing. The main criticism seems to be “José is no Ted Williams!” Fine. You know who else is “no Ted Williams”? Every baseball player in history not-named Ted Williams. I have no doubt Reyes’ agent was very forceful in explaining the implications of a batting title to his upcoming free agency. Nobody keeps a list of guys who were #2 in the league in batting average, and all of the people who have never been in a race for a Major League batting title need to shut up. Note that does not include Keith Hernandez. The MVP (who also won a batting title) can criticize the move with some credibility.
Next, on to the Wild Cards. The St. Louis Cardinals did what they were supposed to do in absolutely drubbing an inferior Astros team. That added further juice to the Atlanta / Philly game, where it was quickly apparent that the Braves were in a do-or-die situation against a Phillies team that had nothing to gain.
Over in the American League, the Yankees, similarly with nothing to gain, put up a big, early lead against a Rays team fighting for its playoff life. Shortly after a Mark Teixeira grand slam, I tweeted this:
More on The Proctologist in a bit.
Is there a better motivator than Buck Showalter? Continue reading