Hi everyone. Thanks for joining me live from the glamorous DFW airport hotel I'm in!
How big of an impact do you think it was for the Giants to beat Lee in Game 1? That had to give them confidence, no?
Huge! Not just for winning Game 1, but for crushing the aura of invincibility Lee had going into the game. It helped them in the short term (by winning) and now in the long term in that they have to face only him tonight and not his reputation. They know they can beat him.
With the Giants up 2-1, should Texas have gone to Lee in Game 4? I know he's slotted for Game 5, but they're in a really tough spot now.
It's going to be a very interesting question, Paul, considering that there is a lot of talk here that Lee has consistently refused to pitch on short rest, so the conversation ended right there.
Does Texas have any shot of coming back?
Sure, Texas can come back. Lee is supposed to win tonight, not just because he's Cliff Lee but because the Rangers should win two of three at home. Now you face Cain. Game 2 was closer than it appeared. Win that, and Game 7 is where anything can happen. But losing Ogando was a big, big blow.
How surprising is it that San Franciso has dominated the Rangers' bats?
I think it is surprising because we're seeing now just how good San Francisco pitching really is. I guess in the year of the pitcher it is only fitting that the best pitching staff in baseball dominates the World Series.
Howard, do you at least get a free breakfast at the DFW hotel?
I do get free breakfast, but you have to wake up early enough to get it!
Are you surprised Texas didn't go with Lee on short rest yesterday?
Lee on short rest will be a topic for awhile. I don't think Lee would do it.
Who is your MVP of the Series so faR?
Right now, it just might be Edgar Renteria
Could this World Series get any more boring?
If you're not from San Francisco, it has been a clunker. But that's what pitching does. We had this conversation in the elevator to the clubhouse after the game and guys were talking about how horrible this Series is. I STILL say 2004 was the worst. Red Sox-Cardinals. 4-game sweep, Cardinals didn't have the lead in a single game!
Where do you think Cliff Lee winds up next year?
I think there will be a few bidders for Lee. I think the Rangers will come hard at him, as will the Mets and, of course, the Yankees. Don't be surprised by a darkhorse, like the White Sox, too.
Excellent job on your commentary during Ken Burns 10th Inning. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Thank you. It was fun to do. Ken is a great filmmaker. I was surprised how quickly I had forgotten the early 1990s!
I don't think Lee on short rest is the right play... for starters, what do you do for games 5 & 6 then? Do you pitch everybody on 3 days rest and skip Hunter? Plus, leaving Lee to pitch game 5 gives you a better chance against Lincecum
Agreed. Lee on short rest would seem like a panic move. You're at home. You finally started hitting. The real story was Vlad, Young, etc...not hitting.
Really? You think the Mets are going after Cliff Lee? That is directly counter to everything the team has said recently. They are not going to have another 20mil pitcher
True. It runs counter now, but if you think about pitchers parks, how can you not pay attention? If Lee gets beat handily tonight, losing two WS games and getting hit hard in his last one (Game 5 last vs NYY) would drop his value to the $15-18-million range perhaps. That is, if the Yankees back off...
Why have the Rangers gone silent? I thought they had a ton of pop in those bats!
I think one reason is that with the playoffs being as elongated as they are, it's hard to stay hot for a month. That, and the Giants' pitching is better than people thought.
How will this world series be remembered?
In San Francisco, quite fondly, if they win one more game. At the TV networks, it will be remembered as proof that baseball needs a major shakeup.
Is it just me or have the Rangers not even seemed competitive in some of these games?
It is not you. Part of this series looks like 2008, where the Rays beat the big dog Red Sox and that made their season - and they came out flat against the Phillies. The Rangers overcame not winning a playoff series, being the only team never to appear in the World Series, and of course, beating the yankees to do it - and they seem as though they're out of gas. It's the reason why baseball is the only sport where historically winning your league was more important than the Series...
What can the Rangers do to get their bats going?
Take advantage! They had Lincecum on the ropes in the first inning of Game 1 and let it slip. Somebody has to give them a performance...
What are your thougts on 2 additional WC teams for 2012 as Bud has brought up?
Really, REALLY mixed feelings. Okay, here's the scenario: Three division winners. One wild card, and now a SECOND wild card which will play the first in a one-game "PLAY IN." GOOD NEWS: Baseball now has a day that it can circle on its calendar as a must-see game. Nobody in a pennant race is going to tank it down the stretch because that game is a POISON GAME - to come all that way after 162 and get knocked out in nine innings.BAD NEWS: Who are we rewarding? Under this scenario: the Red Sox and Yankees would've played a one-game playoff when the Yankees finished five games ahead. Would the Red Sox deserve to advance? Doesn't seem fair...
Has anyone ever told you of your rememblance to Ryan Howard?
Hah! Never. Ever. El Duque, yes. Ryan Howard, no.
This world series is just strange. The Giants, from the beginning of the playoffs, were getting written off every step of the way, because they supposedly didn't have any hitting.If someone had told you that they'd be up 3-1 in the Series, you probably would have thought they won three games 2-1 or soemthing.
It's the bats and the fact that traditionally young teams need another year to taste it before they become title ready. Brian Sabean told me last night that these guys have been playing must games for two months. They grew up fast.
What kind of shakeup would you like to see?
Good question. My bigger question is: WHY is this necessary?
What's your take on the rumors of extending the playoffs? As you just said, they take long enough already (we're already in November) and most of the country is in football-mode. I think they should consider shortening the regular season if they want to expand the playoffs
Yeah, but next year, the playoffs end before Halloween. Season begins March 31.
When are we going to have a playoff system in college football. Here is another year with NON BCS teams doing better than BCS teams and they will not make it. This is DUMB!
Could not agree more. Down with the BCS
The Giants have scored 26 runs in this series while the Rangers have 26 hits. Uncanny!
And in the Rangers' biggest run-scoring game, they lost (Game 1, 11-7)
If they are going to expand the playoffs, they need to shorten the regular season. It's already November - the whole country is in football mode. Plus, it's not like regular season numbers mean anything anymore thanks to the steroid era
And the owners have said repeatedly they will not shorten the season. They need to reinstitute DHers, and have the season end on Sept. 28
To answer your question of "why is this necessary" - it's not! Leave it as is. More often than not, all races come down to the wire - this just happened to be one year where most were already decided
In the National League this season, the Padres and Braves would've played a one-game play in when both fell apart in September. don't like this new proposed system
How would you rate the umpiring in this series?
Horrible. Mike Winters was ALL OVER THE PLACE last night. Umpiring is horrific.
Could it be possible that Frenchy does not have a job next year with anyone? He is a FA but his plate discipline gets worse and worse every season. The Braves were smart to get rid of him.
Wouldn't surprise me at all if he was out, Ellen.
We've heard rumbles about the NBA throwing the idea of contraction around, even if it is a remote possiblitiy. Do you see the MLB talking about it as well?
MLB talked contraction years ago and then got thwarted when candidates like Minnesota and Oakland kept making the playoffs.
Does this series make it back to San Francisco?
If I book a flight home tonight for tomorrow morning, we will DEFINITELY go back to San Francisco. :*)
What can we do to improve the umpiring?
Improving the umpiring will require some real diplomacy because I don't think replay is the issue. I think the issue is these guys refusing to overturn each other. It's like a blue wall of silence. and the game suffers because of it.
Is replay coming? It seems like it's overdue
Hard to add more replay in baseball.
What the Rangers offense needs is Rickey. Rickey is the greatest of all-time
Couldn't agree more, Rickey. And thanks for giving me your grandmother's cold remedy in the dugout back in Toronto in 1998 when I had the flu. Who knew a little brandy and sugar worked so well?
I just want to say that this year's series is the first one I've actively watched since...wow, maybe 2005? I'm a lifelong Braves fan (and thus Yankees anti-fan), and it's a great feeling to be able to watch these games and kind of cheer for both teams. I like SF and their pitching; I like Texas and their...offense?; I love that neither team is from New York. Long live the 2010 World Series!
Another weird thing: This is the 7TH STRAIGHT WS that has been over or 3-1 after four games. I wonder if stretching the postseason out so long in a game where players are conditioned to play every day has affected the play on the field...thoughts?
No one will say it, but did Cliff Lee's 8-day layoff between starts really end up hurting him?
I think so, Ryan. Eight days is a loooong time for rhythm pitcher like him. Lee is all about his routine.
Has the series been that bad, or is it just not what we expected? No Yanks, Phils, Rangers not hitting well.
I think it's been a great series if you like watching an emerging team silence everyone. SFG have been told what they couldn't do all season. And now look. In a way, it's the essence of the game.
If they're going to expand the playoffs, why not something similar to the minors with a first-half and second-half champion? Maybe throw in an exception for a 2nd WC if the first-half winner doesn't finish above .500...
There was talk about the first half/second half construction. Got shot down as convoluted and a reminder of the 81 strike!
I'm actually battling a flu bug myself right now - what's Mrs. Rickey's receipe? Just brandy and sugar?
Warmed up brandy and sugar, with a little bit of lemon, I believe. Isn't that a sidecar, just warmed up?
Thoughts on Randy Moss not talking to the Press?
Omar, from Baltimore? Is that really you?
And now MN has the new ballpark and Oakland is still trying to get one.
Exactly, Mark. I tend to think contraction was a threat to force ballpark construction more than anything else.
What team(s) did you root for growing up?
I'm kinda like I am today. I always rooted for players, therefore as a kid, I was a Red Sox fan (Tiant), a Yankees fan (Rickey, Winfield, Guidry), then a Red Sox fan (Ellis Burks, Oil Can).My Boston sensibilities usually runneth over with the Patriots and Bruins and of course, the Celtics - but boy did I love watching Magic Johnson and Andrew Toney play, even when they were killing my boys.But as a professional journalist - nobody. I only root for one team: Temple University basketball.
Howard, a man's got to have a code.
Oh, indeed, Omar. But to answer your question, I think Randy Moss has every right not to talk to the press. If I covered him and he didn't want to talk, I wouldn't talk to him. End of story. Who has time for these games?
Hi Howard, I haven't seen you at the First and Ten debate desk in a while. Anyway, does it seem to you that there are Oregon fans coming out of the woodwork ? Its as though some vast secret society suddenly decided to make themselves known. Thank you.
Oregon is an interesting case, like Cal-Berkeley, of a school deeply divided between having big-time sports aspirations and preferring its academic standards speak for it.
I can see how it could be complicated...but doesn't creating a two-part season solve both the perceived problems (length of season and more playoff teams)? It also drives up interest in the dog days of summer, and conceivably keeps teams from tanking it so early to focus on the next season...
Dave, and one thing it would do it give teams that don't have the payroll to sustain a playoff run (Florida, Toronto, for example) a little more hope. But the flip side is, 162 is how you're measured. It's not a half-marathon.
How about Temple football?
Always been conflicted about Temple football because the school spent millions of dollars trying to create a big-time power with no chance of it happening all out of ego. But I did watch the UCLA game last year - and it hurt - so the Owls are in my blood.
What are your thoughts on Barry Bonds wanting to become a hitting coach?
I think Barry Bonds is calling Bud Selig's bluff.
Mark McGwire, and admitted steroid user and tainted figure, was endorsed publicly by Bud Selig when the Cardinals named him hitting coach. Selig has barely hid his contempt for Bonds, and now would be cornered to endorse Bonds as well, lest he leave himself open to a total double standard.
The difference is that McGwire had a big sponsor in Tony La Russa. It doesn't seem that Bonds has any rabbis out there willing to put their clout on the line to bring him back into the game.
We root for you too as well Howard. Thanks for the support!!
I'm with you on Facebook, Threes...Got robbed against UNLV in '88! #1 in the country!
Omar, got any Honey Nut Cheerios?
Speaking of Rivas and Vreeswyk, do you think the Owls can return to that kind of prominence again?
Different game today. They may actually have a better chance because there are so few four-year players anymore. But because the A-10 has essentially become a midwestern conference, it will be hard to compete to keep Philly prospects home.
RIP Maurice "Mo" Lucas.
the big man, the enforcer. That was a hard one.
Game 5 prediction?
I hate predictions. Really, I do. I don't know who is going to win. I do them because ESPN asks us to do them. But I think they undermine your knowledge. I don't even mean to be a jerk about it. I picked the Rays to beat the Rangers (Wrong!)I don't even remember my preseason picks, but I know it was the Phillies in the WS (Wrong!) so, I'm gonna watch like everyone else...
Thanks for joining me everyone. Time to do expense reports and head to the ballpark!