Happy 30th anniversary, Lee Elia rant

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For the second week in a row we have an anniversary of a manager meltdown. Last week was Hal McRae, this week: Lee Elia. Who as Cubs manager in 1983 had what, for my money, is the absolute greatest manager meltdown of all time. This is better than McRrae. Better than Tommy Lasorda’s “what did you think of Dave Kingman’s performance” rant.  This one is the Gold Effing Standard.

And it’s the “effing” which is why. Never has a manager ever rattled off a more profane rant on tape. At least a tape that saw the light of day.  It’s such a fantastic blue streak that I don’t DARE embed it. If you want to hear it — and I am not lying, it’s about 200 F-bombs in a row, directed at Cubs fans — Google “Lee Elia rant” and listed to the first result. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle attempted to type out a sanitized version of it. He got one paragraph in before it, presumably, became too tiresome to insert the “bleeping” parts.

“I’ll tell you one (bleeping) thing, I hope we get (bleeping) hotter than (bleep) just to stuff it up them 3,000 (bleeping) people that show up every (bleeping) day, because if they’re the real Chicago (bleeping) fans, they can kiss my (bleeping) ass right downtown. And print it. They’re really, really behind you around here, my (bleeping) ass.”

Is it a coincidence that both the McRae and Elia rants happened around late April?  People ask all the time when to stop taking small sample sizes and early season results so seriously. I usually say sometime between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. But given the tension here, maybe managers start feeling it in late April. Dunno.

UPDATE: Holy moly! You can buy the Elia rant, printed out, in handsome Cubs red and blue.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).