Saturday, October 07, 2006

Fleece & Flog's Playoff Recap #3

Before we delve into last night's games, Fleece & Flog would like to take a moment to remember one of Baseball's greatest story tellers, Buck O'Neil. The sadness for me surrounding Buck's death isn't that he failed to make it into the Hall of Fame; he's a hall of famer in my book and will no doubt be in the very near future. No, the sadness for me will be the absence of his smile. About a decade ago PBS made the momentous decision to air Ken Burns multi-part documentary film Baseball in its entirety. This seminal piece of glorious art detailed the historic landmark that is baseball, starting at the Abner Doubleday beginnings and finishing at what was then the present time, the early 1990's. My father, a sentimentalist as I've mentioned before, taped all 10 parts of the documentary, and we shared the viewing experience together. Of course, part of the glory of Burn's documentary was the baseball stories (my father's favorite part), which any father and son will tell you is a main cog in the allure of baseball. Bruce Springsteen captured the essence of such stories in his hit song "Glory Days", and any man, woman, boy or girl who has played baseball in whatever form can relate in spoken word the legend that baseball can carry. Negro Leaguer and resident authoritarian Buck O'Neil carried Ken Burn's Baseball. I can recall his stories more vividly than any other commentator throughout the series. He was the master of ceremonies and the story teller du jour. He was never at a loss for words and made his people proud by rising above the racism that permeated baseball's early years. And he was a class act, always a moment for children and adults alike; black , white, yellow, blue, green -- Buck O'Neil became colorblind thru the years, and today baseball has lost it's most eloquent statesman . Buck O'Neil: dead at the age of 94.

Please, check out our friend at Sox Machine Jim Margalus's heart-felt tribute to Buck O'Neil.

Wow, it's hard to get fired up after hearing about Buck's death, but the show must go on as they say...

The Oakland A's sweep the Minnesota Twinkies right out of the playoffs: 8-3.

Withstanding his shoulder pains, a noble and retiring Brad Radke, a White Sox nemesis for years, just couldn't hold it together. Eric Chavez homered, Milton Bradley homered, and before you knew it the A's were up 4-0. Torii Hunter's solo shot gave a little life to the Twinkies, but it wasn't enough. And of the two teams with putrid records in recent playoffs (the A's haven't reached the ALCS in 14 years and the Twinkies were 2-13 in their last 15 playoff games), the A's survive, or rather gorge upon the suddenly soft Minnesota pitching.

Of course the highlight of the day was Frank Thomas doing his best Willie Mays Hayes imitation sliding into home plate. This is baseball not softball, Frank; the bases are 90 ft apart, not 80 ft. I still can't believe the Big Hurt did a Reebok commercial in the mid '90s intimating that he is the Gigglesnort Hotel rounding 3rd for home and a big collision at the plate. Frank hasn't hit anyone since his freshman football days at Auburn University. Biggest.False.Advertising.Ever. But congrats to the A's anyways.

Detroit Tiggers defeat the New York Spanks: 6-0 (Tiggers lead the best of 5 series: 2-1)

In the battle of left-handed curmudgeons, the Gambler Kenny Rogers held the supposed 21st century Murderer's Row lineup scoreless. A-Rod: 0-fer; Steroid-boy: 0-fer, Benedict Damon: 0-fer. In fact the Spanks had all of 5 hits the whole game. Who said the Tiggers were slumping? Southsider Curtis Granderson had 2 RBIs as did the running version of Ms. Doubtfire, Sean Casey. The Tiggers liked home cooking and liked the Big Unit more. (There's a penis joke in there somewhere, I just don't feel like reaching for it.) They can send the Evil Empire and the smug-tarians home with a win tomorrow.

On the Saturday preview front...

Chris Young for the San Diego Padres


Jeff Suppan for the St. Louis Cardinals
(Cards lead the best of 5 series: 2-0)
12:05 PM CST on ESPN2

I'm taking the Padres in this one. Chris Young is a stud.

Jared Wright for the New York Yankees


Jeremy Bonderman for the Detroit Tiggers
(Tiggers lead the best of 5 series: 2-1)
3:05 PM CST on FOX

Momentum is a funny thing, but I think the Tiggers get destoyed in this one.

Steve Trachsel for the New York Mets


Greg Maddux for the LA Dodgers
(Mets lead the best of 5 series: 2-0)
6:35 PM CST on FOX

Two ex-Cubs battle it out in SoCal; I'll take the experienced one in Maddux and the Dodgers.


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