The champagne goggles are very lame, but very necessary

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Anyone else feel that the post-clinch champagne celebrations feel scripted and rote by now?  Like it’s something that players feel obligated to do as opposed to something done spontaneously? Are you telling me that a guy like Nick Swisher couldn’t, if baseball’s social conventions allowed it, find a more interesting way to celebrate than by pouring bubbly on his friends’ heads?  I’m guessing he could break 50 laws of God and Man within an hour of the the game ending if given the chance.  I haven’t seen something truly spontaneous happen after a World Series since Wade Boggs got up on that horse.

But alas, we get champagne. It’s too much of a tradition now, much like the rather awkward and scripted jumping up and down in the middle of the field after the final out (note: did anyone else notice that some guys — like Posada — started doing little awkward hops before the dogpile because, well, they sort of felt they had to? Gave me a chuckle). There’s nothing that can be done about it at this point.

The best we can hope for, I suppose, is that players at least act like its spontaneous and not cover the room with plastic and put on goggles or something.  Wait, what? We can’t expect that either?

Talk to an eye doctor, though, and you’ll be converted to the pro-goggle side with the speed of one of Sabathia’s fastballs.

Champagne
has a high alcohol content, high enough to damage the surface lining of
the cornea, says Dr. Matthew Gardiner, director of emergency
ophthalmology services at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. (For
those medically inclined, the lining is called the epithelium.)

“A
corneal abrasion like that usually heals within two to three days, but
it can be extremely painful while it’s healing,” says Gardiner.

Fine. We’ll let you have your little champagne celebration.  And we’ll certainly let you have your goggles too.

Now about all of that hopping . . . 

Magic Johnson says the Dodgers will win the World Series

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Baseball, as we so often note around here, is unpredictable. Especially when it comes to the playoffs. You can be the best team in the land for six months but a few bad days can end your season once October hits.

In 2001 the Seattle Mariners won 116 games in the regular season but lost the ALCS to the Yankees, four games to one. In 1906 the Cubs won 116 games in a 152-game season and lost the World Series. In 1954 the Indians won 111 games in a 154-game season and lost the World Series. In 1931 the Philadelphia A’s won 107 games and lost the World Series.

More recently, with the advent of expanded playoffs, the chances for the team with the best record to win the World Series have been pretty dang terrible. Since the beginning of the wild card era, only five times has the team with the game’s best record gone on to win the World Series: The 1998 and 2009 Yankees, the 2007 and 2013 Red Sox and the 2016 Cubs. That’s it.

At the moment, the Los Angeles Dodgers have baseball’s best record. They’re 71-31 and sit 12 games up in their division. Their playoff chances are almost 100%. The above examples notwithstanding, if you had to make a prediction as to who might win the World Series, it would not be unreasonable to pick the Dodgers. Sure, you’d want to make sure they got Clayton Kershaw back by early September or thereabouts to make it a safer prediction, but it’d be a totally defensible pick. Maybe even the one most people make.

But it’d be the utmost in magical thinking to presume that one could make such a prediction with any degree of certainty, right? The Los Angeles Times, however, passes along some Magical thinking:

Magic Johnson called his shot Thursday night, and he wasn’t shy about it. The Dodgers’ co-owner did not hesitate when he predicted how the team would finish this year.

“The Dodgers are going to win the World Series this year,” Johnson said. “This is our year.”

The headline calls it a “guarantee.” I don’t know if I’d call it that — I think it’s more of a confident prediction — but it is a bold statement whatever you call it.

If I had to pick one team at the moment — and we could assume a healthy Clayton Kershaw — I suppose I would make them my World Series favorites too. And, yes, if I had an ownership interest in the Dodgers, I’d probably say what Johnson said.

But given the example of history, I think “field” would be a much safer bet.

Mariners trade Steve Cishek to the Rays for swingman Erasmo Ramirez.

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The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired reliever Steve Cishek from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for reliever Erasmo Ramirez.

Cishek had appeared in 23 games this season for Seattle after recovering from major offseason hip surgery. He’s 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA, with a 15/7 K/BB ratio in 20 innings. He’s a setup man right now, but he has experience as a closer, saving 25 games for Seattle last year and as many as 39 back when he pitched for the Marlins in 2014.

Ramirez has appeared in 26 games for the Rays and has started eight games. He’s 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA and a 55/16 K/BB ratio in 69.1 innings. This will be his second stint with the Mariners, having played for them from 2012-14.

Sort of a surprising deal given that both Tampa Bay and Seattle are competing for a wild card spot, but needs are needs.