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A weblog of baseball news and analysis

Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Cubs beat Braves behind Wood's arm, bat. (Yahoo!)

Cubs fans invade Atlanta.
What Cubs fans would give for the Braves' postseason record, let alone that many postseason appearances. When Cubs fans learned that tickets were selling slowly in Atlanta, they jumped at the chance to watch the Cubs in the playoffs. Heck, plane fare to Atlanta, a couple of tickets to a game and a night in a hotel could be had for around $350 a person -- far less than the price ticket scalpers are asking for playoff games at Wrigley Field.

"Cubs fans are here, they're everywhere,'' said Braves reliever Ray King, who played briefly for the Cubs in 1999. "It's the lovable Cubs.''

Notice, he did not say "lovable losers.''
(Chicago Sun-Times)

Giants' Schmidt shuts out Marlins 2-0. (Yahoo!)

Crasnick: Schmidt simply splendid.
Schmidt, 30, doesn't project the swashbuckling, staff ace-air of a Roger Clemens or Pedro Martinez -- or, going back in time, a Tom Seaver or Jim Palmer. Schmidt is a native of that baseball bastion, Lewiston, Idaho, for goodness' sake. He's balding, gangly, and sort of mumbles more than he talks.

But the picture looks different on game day, when you're standing behind him with a glove or 60 feet, 6 inches away holding a bat. Schmidt has always been perceived as a pitcher with the talent to develop into a staff ace. Now he's officially embraced his No. 1 status, to the point that teammates expect him to be dominant. You watched him against Florida and saw October power pitching in the mold of a Jack Morris or Curt Schilling or a younger John Smoltz.

Twins beat Yankees 3-1 in ALDS opener. (Yahoo!)

Alex Belth: "Shannon Stewart made the catch of the game, robbing Godzilla of a double, but probably saving the Yankees from a lot of embarassement. Directly behind Stewart, in the first row of the left field seats, was a shmuck fan, leaning onto the field with his glove, ready to catch a ball that was in play---the photo is splashed all over the papers today. If Stewart doesn't come up with the ball, this dumb ass probably does. But he wasn't sly like J. Maier. It wasn't a night game, it was the middle of the afternoon. No way he would have gotten away with it. Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if this putz cost the Yankees an out?" (Bronx Banter)

Playoff Prospectus: Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland Athletics. "Oakland's chances rest with Boston's righty-filled rotation, and a defense that has the potential to implode. If Boston makes some miscues, gets a poor performance in Game 1 from Pedro, and Macha can spot his bench guys perfectly, Oakland has a chance. But more likely, the A's suffer another first-round exit. To some extent, this is a showdown of great hitting versus great pitching. Unfortunately for Oakland, the team with great hitting also has Pedro." (Baseball Prospectus)

High five. Gordon Edes on Bill Mueller, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Kevin Millar and Trot Nixon. (Boston Globe)

Art Martone:
Score one for the stat geeks.

They caught a lot of grief in the offseason. "You've got to re-sign Cliff Floyd!" "How can you not even offer a contract to Brian Daubach?" "Rey Sanchez hit .286, for goodness sakes; whaddya mean he stinks?" "You better not even think of trading Shea Hillenbrand!!" Remember?

And the players they brought in!

"Kevin Millar? He hit 16 home runs last year. Let him go to Japan!" "This Bill Mueller character has never hit more than 10 home runs a year in his life!" "David Ortiz?? The Twins don't want him!!"

Seems kind of quaint now, doesn't it?
(Providence Journal) (free reg. req.)

Mariners GM Pat Gillick resigns. (Yahoo!)

Derek Milhous Zumsteg: "Kim Ng is my number one choice [to replace Gillick]. It's a gutsy, sharp move, which means the M's won't even think about it. She's way smarter than Gillick, she's worked with M's-style budgets, we're after Matsui, she's handled large contract negotiations for foreign players, she's a geek about exactly the stuff Gillick sucks at and have crippled the team the last couple of years." (U.S.S. Mariner)

David Cameron: "My number one choice is Chris Antonetti, currently the Assistant General Manager for the Cleveland Indians, having been promoted from director of player development last year...He is a well spoken man who can articulate his thoughts, avoiding the worry of a Dan Duquette-like mutiny. The Indians have built a player development machine under the Shapiro/Antonetti/Huntington regime, and it is only a matter of time before the trainees of Mark Shapiro begin to branch out much like the underlings of John Hart have made their way across baseball." (U.S.S. Mariner)

Joe Sheehan previews the playoffs. "I might be overthinking this, but coming into this series, the Braves sure look like an updated version of the recent Houston Astros to me. The '98 Astros led the league in runs scored (in the Astrodome!), but got victimized by Kevin Brown (who started Games One and Three of the extended series) and the last good start of Sterling Hitchcock's career. They scored one run in each of their three NLDS losses. In '99, the same team returned to be shut down by Greg Maddux, Kevin Millwood, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. (The Astros scored 15 runs in the four games, but eight of those came at the end of games off the Braves' pen or in blowouts.) In 2001, the Astros scored six runs in three games and were swept out of the playoffs, again by the Braves." (Baseball Prospectus)

Playoff Preview - National League Divisional Series. "It’s brutally obvious that the Cubs have far better pitching, and I always like to to say that, while over a season, performance is judged widely, but when you hit the short series, it becomes about matchups – Ace against Ace and whatnot. In this series, the Cubs simply have more guns than the Braves – and they are big guns. The Cub starters have gone and can go deep into games. They are conditioned to throw more pitches than the Braves starters, and the Braves bullpen, with the exception of John Smoltz, isn’t good, Will Cunnane notwithstanding." (Baseball Primer) Best Sports Blogs. "Sports blogs, i.e., Weblogs--Internet journals that give their creators and visitors a soapbox to air ideas--are few and meager." Congratulations to Replacement Level Yankees Weblog and Off Wing Opinion for making the top 5.

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