I went to the Winter Meetings Trade Show and it was OK

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On an afternoon where the rumors are weak and the deals close to non-existent, I felt that a trip to the Winter Meetings Trade show was in order.

For those unaware, the Trade Show is where some 300 exhibitors hawk wares ranging from caps, blankets, foam fingers, shot glasses, sports insurance, stadium architecture, concessions, bats, stadium seats, uniforms, mascot costumes — Utility Man — and any number of other odd things. It’s geared more towards the minor leagues than the majors, so if you see fun things at you small town ballpark this summer, someone probably got the idea for it at the Trade Show.

I walked around and took in the sights. Among them:

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You like? I kinda like. The guy at the booth told me they sell them to teams for, like, $5 and they sell at the ballpark for $14.99. Just so you know.

 

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I like a racing 1983 Harold Baines costume, I just don’t know where I’d wear it.

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Wow. I thought I dreamed the ostrich thing for the Reading Phillies — er, the Reading Fightins. Guess not!

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Find the real people in this picture.  Yep, it’s the taco and the mustard!

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This is the sexiest thing of the Winter Meetings so far.

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I’d like a Fergie Jenkins for my minor league park, but I already have a Mickey Lolich and a Robin Roberts and at some point I feel like I’m just buying too much.

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But really, if anyone wants to buy me this, I’ll take it. And I’ve never even been to Eugene.

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

Astros
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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.