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Let us talk more about baseball in London


Since we talked about British stuff in the last post, let’s keep that ball rolling and link to the Boston Globe’s story about how Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts is distantly related to Meghan Markle, who is going to marry Prince Harry a week from Saturday. It’s an interesting article if you’re into genealogy, the history of slavery and everything tied up in that.

Oh, and I learned by reading it that Mookie Betts‘ dad and my dad are the same age even though I’m 19 years older than Betts. I’m trying now to picture my dad raising kids in the late 1990s and early-to-mid-2000s and the picture is an exhausting one. My dad was bragging about getting AARP discounts when Betts was still in diapers. If he had to raise me then he’d have keeled over and died, I’m sure of it.

Obviously, though, the story has little to do with actual baseball, apart from Betts wondering if Markle is a baseball fan, so let me use this post as a platform to muse a bit more about that London Series next year. Randomly:

  • MLB should definitely, immediately, print up posters with Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge on them with the words “Bangers and Mash.” They’d sell a million of them;
  • As I’ve written about before, baseball was not invented. Rather, it evolved from a number of different bat-and-ball games from England, including rounders, cricket and bat-and-trap. Worth noting that they play bat-and-trap at pubs and the players drink beer while they’re doing it. Just throwing that out there, Rob Manfred.
  • A commenter on the London Series post said that we shouldn’t send the Yankees and Red Sox to the UK because they’re good and their games matter. He said we should send the Reds and Marlins instead. Can you imagine that? I know the NFL sends the Jaguars to London all the time, but I’d like to think Rob Manfred is too smart to send two of our absolutely crappiest teams on a mission to create interest in baseball across the pond. Making Brits watch Homer Bailey pitch probably violates all manner of international humanitarian treaties. It’d risk the biggest rift in US-UK relations since The Trent Affair;
  • In the London Series, Aaron Judge and Mookie Betts play left field, Brett Gardner and Andrew Benintendi play right and everyone runs the bases clockwise. The bullpen carts don’t have right-hand drive, though, because bullpen carts are dumb and no one uses them;
  • If we ever have a team over there permanently, the new hit milestone will be 2222.25, due to the exchange rate;
  • John Sterling has a little over a year to come up with a home run call that involves “Brexit.” yes, I know that may alienate half of the British population, but Sterling alienates a lot of Americans too, so it’ll put everyone in the proper mood for a Yankees game;
  • If Aaron Boone and Alex Cora come out to argue with an umpire, they are required to start off with “Wot’s all this, then?”

Finally, let us circle back to this whole “Mookie Betts is related to future royalty” thing. From what I understand this Meghan Markle is a nice woman and I wish her the best of things in life. That said, while I’ve got some English blood in my veins and while I’ll cop to being something of an Anglophile, I can’t abide monarchy, and especially can’t abide it infiltrating our National Pastime.

The only royalty I want in baseball is King Felix, Prince Fielder, Duke Snider, the team from Kansas City and an occasional reference to a curveball as “Sir Charles.” The only ancient, anachronistic relic I will tolerate in the game is pitchers batting. The only people I’ll abide being elevated to positions of prominence due to nothing other than accident of birth are play-by-play announcers. In fact, the only connection to the British monarchy in baseball that I approve of is the Reggie Jackson “I. Must. Kill. The. Queen” scene in “The Naked Gun.” My God, does that still hold up.

Ok, that’s all I got right now. I am — for real — leaving for the UK a week from today for my delayed honeymoon and will be there for like nine days. While I’m gone I’ll make a point to soak up more British culture so I can properly traffic in British stereotypes and find more fuel for sone anti-monarchy rants, as I know that’s why you come to this website.






Dodgers look to join the Red Sox in the World Series

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One team has punched its ticket to the Fall Classic. Two teams are looking to join them, with the Dodgers carrying the distinct advantage. Los Angeles needs only a split in the final two games of the NLCS while Milwaukee needing to win both games at home. Doable? Absolutely. But to do it, the Brewers are going to have to wake up their sleepy bats.

NLCS Game 6

Dodgers vs. Brewers
Ballpark: Miller Park
Time: 8:39 PM Eastern
Pitchers:  Hyun-Jin Ryu vs Wade Miley

The Dodgers will give the ball to left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, who tossed seven shutout innings in Game 1 of the NLDS but allowed two runs and tossed 72 pitches, failing to get out of the fifth inning, in Game 2 against Milwaukee. Even if he again turns in a short outing Dave Roberts should feel pretty confident, however, as the Dodgers’ bullpen — considered a question mark coming into this series — has allowed only three runs in in 21 and two-thirds innings of work.

For Milwaukee it’s once again Wade Miley, who was the Game 5 “starter,” but who pitched to only one batter. I suppose it’s possible that Craig Counsell will burn him like that again, but it seems more likely that Miley will actually pitch in this game rather than be used as a decoy.

As I noted the other day, though, the Brewers’ pitching gamesmanship has not really been a factor in this series. The real problem for them has been their offense. They’ve scored only 16 runs in five games while batting .219. That’s actually identical to the Dodgers’ run total and average overall, but L.A. has been better at distributing that meager offense. Milwaukee has been cold at the worst times, too, going 5-for-35 with runners in scoring position in the series, including one for their last 11. If that doesn’t change, their season ends tonight.