Great Moments in Musical Numbers Involving Baseball

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Due to a misunderstanding with the wonderful Ms. Markie Post and a restraining order that is totally bogus, my contract with NBC specifically forbids me from talking about “Night Court.”  But I think I can talk about other NBC entertainment programming without running afoul of the contract.

Well, “Quantum Leap” may be off limits too, but that’s Dean Stockwell’s fault and HE KNOWS WHAT HE DID.

Anyway, a new show debuted on NBC last night. Because I really don’t watch much TV I hadn’t heard of it until, like, yesterday. It’s called “Smash” and it’s a musical and the very fact that I’m explaining it when all of you have probably already heard of it just underscores how out of touch I am with these things. It’s OK.

The reason I mention it is that there was a musical number about baseball in it. I gather that the overall plot of the show is pretty people making a musical about Marilyn Monroe, and that the baseball number is about her meeting Joe DiMaggio.  Anyway, this is it if you’re into that sort of thing.

Look, I realize that musicals in general and “Smash” specifically aren’t intended for the same demographics as the sports blogs are. But really, would it have hurt NBC to throw in some HardballTalk product placement here? Like, have Debra Messing hold up an iPad with HBT on it?

Synergy, people. Gosh.

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.