1916 and 2018 World Series – Red Sox v. Dodgers: The 2018 World Series matchup is now set. The Red Sox rolled over Houston in the ALCS, winning four games in a row after losing the first. Los Angeles eliminated Milwaukee in an exciting 7-game series in the NLCS. I will miss Moose and Cain now that Milwaukee is out. The Red Sox won 108 games this season and are the likely favorites over the Dodgers who won 92. But the Dodgers were riddled with injuries during the regular season and may now be peaking. The Series pits the teams with the highest (Boston) and third highest (LA) payrolls, and the games will be played in the oldest (1912) and third oldest (1962) stadiums in major league baseball. For those of you who want to know about #2, the Giants are second in payroll and Wrigley is the second oldest stadium (1914).
How about those Milwaukee Royals (a/k/a Brewers)? Lorenzo Cain knocked in the winning run in the tiebreaker to win the NL Central. In Game 1 of the NLDS, Mike Moustakas stroked a hit for the walk-off win in the 10th inning (below, #6 Cain celebrates with Moose). In Game 2, Moose doubled and scored the first run, and then he and Erik Kratz knocked in the other three runs in a 4-0 win. Kratz was a backup catcher for the Royals in 2014 and 2015, but never made it into a postseason game. Kratz continued his success In Game 3, getting three more hits to finish with an NLDS average of .625. Kratz is the oldest player (38) to make his postseason debut since 1905. Joakim Soria had a 0.00 ERA in three relief appearances. The Brewers easily swept the Rockies – Rocktober is over and out.
Deja vu in the 2018 playoffs.
On Monday: Mike Moustakas was 1-4. Ben Zobrist, 0-3 with a walk. Joakim Soria came on in relief to get a key third out with two men on in the 6th. Lorenzo Cain knocked in the winning run. On Tuesday: Zobrist went 1-6 and showed his defensive versatility by playing RF, LF and 2B. Second-string catcher Drew Butera entered the game in the 7th and almost became the goat of the game. With two men on and two out, a batter grounded out to end the 7th – but wait. Butera’s glove had interfered with the swing and the batter was awarded first, loading the bases. Butera got off the hook when the next hitter made the third out. In the 8th, Terrance Gore came in as a pinch runner, stole second and scurried home on a hit to tie the game. Wade Davis entered the game with two outs in the 8th. He was paired with Butera at catcher, just as they were at the end of the final game of the 2015 World Series. Davis got the third out in the 8th and allowed no runs in the 9th, sending the game into extra innings. The winning run scored in the 13th on a single by the third-string catcher who had replaced Butera.
The playoffs are almost set. The Wild Card Games are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Rita and I will be watching those games in Lake Havasu City in Arizona with our friends Larry and Diana Brewer. Havasu’s claim to fame is that it is the home of the original London Bridge built in the 1830’s to cross the Thames. The bridge was dismantled in 1967, shipped in parts to Arizona, and reassembled to cross a channel of the Colorado River. I wonder if we have to drive on the left when crossing the bridge.
Warning! This is a non-baseball post. If movies are not your thing, feel free to tap your delete key. Otherwise, please stay tuned for a report on what Rita calls the “Sport of Extreme Sitting.”
This post is given the number “80” in honor of Mike Maloney and Hollis Hanover who both turned 80 this month. And yes, it also is the first post after Hot Stove #79, but don’t tell them. Fresh out of law school in the 1960’s, the three of us toiled together at the Popham firm. We now have a monthly lunch to reminisce (tell lies) about the good old days.
I am bringing in a guest writer for part of this post – my long-time law partner Tim Sear. Tim was raised in Dubuque, Iowa, and the town once had a Pittsburgh Pirates minor league team. Tim’s family made annual trips to see the Pirates play the Cubs in Chicago. Tim’s hero, to this day, is Roberto Clemente. Tim often calls me to complain if he thinks I have missed some opportunity to inject Roberto into a Hot Stove post. “Obsessive” is as kind as I know how to say it.
Rita and I have just returned from Eastern Europe. The primary purpose of our journey was to visit the homeland of my grandparents – to breathe the air of my ancestors. My fraternal grandparents (Shalton, as Americanized) were from a village near Vilnius, Lithuania, and my maternal grandparents (Lukomski) were from a village near Lviv, Ukraine. They came to the states in 1907 and 1911. They didn’t speak English and had no money or special skills. Just dreamers with a willingness to work hard and become patriotic Americans. They are my heroes.
[Hot Stove Sabbatical Note – Rita and I will be in Eastern Europe for the first half of July (Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Krakow and Lviv). So it may be August before a new Hot Stove hits your inbox.]
For the third season in a row, Rita and I signed on for a week-long bus tour of major league baseball stadiums. In 2016, we saw five stadiums on the East Coast and last year another five in California. This year, we added four in the Midwest and Atlanta. All three trips have been with Triple Crown Travel – they take care of the hotels, tickets, bus, etc. All you have to do is show up with your suitcase, and trip leader Darren Zinser takes care of the rest.
This past Wednesday was June 6. Most remember this date as the anniversary of D-Day (1944). It is also the date of my marriage to Rita (1981), and we were set to go out to dinner for our 37th anniversary.