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 Post subject: The tightest of sweeps
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:23 pm 
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Location: New Jersey
In a few years, people will glance at this World Series in the history books, remember that it was a sweep, and think it must have been dull. And the early ratings reports confirm that the interest may have been a record low.

And that is a damn shame. All four games in this Series were close and all four games were intense. Game 1 featured late-inning defensive brilliance, Game 2 ended with a walkoff homer by a player who never went yard during the regular season, Game 3 was an extra-inning classic (the longest World Series game ever), and Game 4 was a 1-0 duel.

Not only that, Chicago's overall margin of victory was only six runs, tying the 1950 Yankees (over Phillies) for the smallest net margin of victory in a World Series sweep.

It's hard for a 4-game Series to sustain intensity all the way through. This one pulled it off.

Thanks to both teams for giving us some great baseball to watch.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:32 pm 
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Location: Champaign, Ill.
Congratulations, White Sox. The funniest thing I've seen so far is a picture of the Wrigley Field sign with those words on it.

Now, to starting counting all those "Sweep home Chicago" headlines ...


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 Post subject: Quality baseball
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 9:25 am 
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Location: Chicago, Ill.
As a northsider, I thought I'd be only marginally interested in the series. But I got sucked in by the intensity and the quality of the play by both teams.

In game 3, when the Sox were down by four, my wife (also a long-suffering Cubs fan) got disgusted and wanted to change the channel. "You can't count these guys out," I told her. "They aren't the Cubs."

Dang what a game.

After the steroid-fueled long-ball excesses of the past decade, this series featured the fundamentals that make the game great in the first place. Good pitching. Situational hitting. Baserunning. Crisp defense.

Sigh. Crain's has it that the TribCo is looking to sell off some assets to boost its stock price. I'm hoping the Cubs get sold to someone who gives a damn about winning.


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 Post subject: Re: Quality baseball
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:05 pm 
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Location: Baltimore
Wordherder wrote:
Sigh. Crain's has it that the TribCo is looking to sell off some assets to boost its stock price. I'm hoping the Cubs get sold to someone who gives a damn about winning.


The second time I worked for TribCo (it bought the paper after I was hired) we used to ponder how many copy editors it would take to equal Sammy Sosa in salary. And when Sammy quit on the Cubs at the end of the 2004 season, we suggested nominating him for Employee of the Month.

So TribCo traded him to our city, giving the paper a spring 2005 boost before his and the Orioles' season turned dismal. And TribCo paid the bulk of his salary as part of the deal.

Wait until next year.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 3:43 pm 
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The lads at Second Guessing on ESPN's Page 2 take a quite different view than mine. David Schoenfield goes so far as to call this the third-worst World Series of the last 25 years.

Personally, I couldn't disagree more with his statement that "the games were close, but they weren't exciting."

I'm also mystified by their silent collective assumption that last year's World Series was more exciting than this one. The only thing that made last year's World Series exciting was that the winning team was the Red Sox -- had a less storied team prevailed, it would have ranked as an unwatchably dull non-contest. The Cardinals were never in the lead, and they were never not trailing except when the score was 0-0. It was probably the dullest World Series in 40 years to anyone not a member of Red Sox Nation.

This year's World Series was also a sweep that saw a team named the Sox win its first World Series since World War I -- but there the similarities end. Every game of this Series was close and the Astros were very much in it all along, unlike last year's Cardinals. And there were the specific qualities I mentioned in my first post in this thread.

So really, wasn't the 2005 World Series by any objective measure a better one than the 2004 World Series?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 5:03 pm 
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You're absolutely right, Matthew. It was a fantastic World Series. Four great games. And the spectacle of the White Sox pitching staff throughout the playoffs was something to behold. The action was an exhibition of the beautiful basics of baseball.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 7:40 pm 
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I'm a member of Red Sox nation and I thought the '04 series was dull. Thank God--since we were all spent from the Yankees series. I barely remember it . . . except for the final play.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 8:43 pm 
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Location: New Jersey
The AP wrote:
NEW YORK -- The Chicago White Sox's first world championship in 88 years was also the lowest-rated World Series ever.

Chicago's four-game sweep of the Houston Astros averaged an 11.1 national rating with a 19 share on Fox. That's down about 7 percent from the previous low, an 11.9 with a 20 share for the 2002 World Series between the Anaheim Angels and the San Francisco Giants.

While the 2002 World Series, which went seven games, rated higher overall, it was only averaging an 11.0 through four games.

This year was a drop of almost 30 percent from last year's series, in which the Boston Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals for their first title in 86 years. That had a 15.8 rating with a 25 share.

Wednesday night's 1-0 Chicago win had a 13.0 preliminary national rating with a 21 share. It was the highest-rated prime-time show on Fox since the final of "American Idol" in May, but still not enough to save the series from being the lowest-rated.

Despite rating so low in comparison to other World Series, the four games of this series were each the highest rated prime-time network programs on their respective nights.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 8:55 pm 
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I note, with no intimation that it is meaningful, that this is the first time since 1997 that the World Series winner was neither the New York Yankees nor the team that eliminated the Yankees.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 9:40 pm 
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The Onion wrote:
HOUSTON, TX—In a historic development in the 2005 Major League Baseball postseason, Fox executives announced that the Chicago White Sox, who defeated the Houston Astros in four games after a 1-0 victory Wednesday, must now play the New York Yankees in the best-of-seven 'Real World Series' beginning Saturday night at 8 p.m., in order to determine the actual world champions. "The White Sox must complete one final challenge before they may be crowned true champions," Fox president Peter Liguori announced over Minute Maid Park's PA system, interrupting the White Sox's celebration. "The Yankees are the keepers of the Real World Series trophy, and in order to win it, the White Sox must travel to New York and beat Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and the other formidable, marketable stars who await their arrival." Liguori added that, in the event that the White Sox decline the challenge, the Red Sox have been scheduled to stand in for them.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:38 am 
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The TV networks count on many lukewarm fans watching the playoffs. So, this season's wouldn't attract as many as usual of those who watch only to see their hometown team, that cute guy in commericials or on talk shows, or the Yankees/Red Sox/Dodgers/Cubs.

This year's games tended to be close, but I didn't think the quality of play was great. When relief pitching and bad umpiring are among the highlights, you have a problem. Much of the suspense occurred as teams struggled to bunt along runners who'd been walked or hit by pitches.

There were terrific at-bats, such as Pujols' blast in Houston and other game-winning homers, but they occurred after midnight or even 2:20 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, when many people have given up on watching.

Still, I thought this year's Series was more entertaining than last's, and that's coming from a confessed Red Sox fan.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 7:39 pm 
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Matthew Grieco wrote:
The only thing that made last year's World Series exciting was that the winning team was the Red Sox -- had a less storied team prevailed, it would have ranked as an unwatchably dull non-contest.


I don't think the Cardinals are a less storied team than the Red Sox. In fact, with the second-most world championships in history, they're probably much more storied.

Quote:
The Cardinals were never in the lead, and they were never not trailing except when the score was 0-0. It was probably the dullest World Series in 40 years to anyone not a member of Red Sox Nation.


The Cards and Sox were also tied in Game 1 at 9-9, before Damon hit one down the right-field line in the eighth inning. And I didn't find it too dull. Neither did the 40,000 people at Busch, the 3.2 million in St. Louis, and the countless others in the Midwest. Horrid? Yes. Disgusting? Yes. Dull? Nah.

Quote:
Every game of this Series was close and the Astros were very much in it all along, unlike last year's Cardinals.


The Cardinals and Red Sox traded blows throughout Game 1 last year, with a final score of 11-9. It seemed that the momentum wasn't going away from the Red Sox after that, especially when the Cardinals' bats decided not to show up (a problem I noticed was repeated this year). And everyone else in the country was so caught up in the Red Sox momentum (thanks to 50,000,000 promos and "cursed" previews from Fox) that the score didn't matter. So I think you're partially right -- last year's series was all about who won, not what the scores of the games were. But I don't think it was dull.

(Sorry. I'm pretty much required by contract to post about thing like this.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 1:23 pm 
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ndugan1 wrote:
Matthew Grieco wrote:
The only thing that made last year's World Series exciting was that the winning team was the Red Sox -- had a less storied team prevailed, it would have ranked as an unwatchably dull non-contest.


I don't think the Cardinals are a less storied team than the Red Sox. In fact, with the second-most world championships in history, they're probably much more storied.


To be clear, I didn't mean the Red Sox are more storied than the Cardinals. I meant that had a team less storied than the Red Sox beaten the Cardinals in the same manner that the Red Sox did, few people would have had any interest in that Series.

Also, I meant "storied" literally, as in, "having an interesting history." It's not synonymous with "good." Winning nine world championships is one way to become storied. Going 86 years without a championship and losing four 7-game World Series along the way is another.

You're right to correct me about last year's Game 1. But that said, it was only Game 1. A Game 1 has to work extra hard to get traction (which is why I've always found it puzzling that some people call Gibson's homer in 88 the greatest World Series moment; if you're a Dodgers fan, I suppose it might be, but it wouldn't crack my top 10). This year's Series was better down the stretch.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 5:26 pm 
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I've been a Dodgers fan for 40 years, and Gibson's homer is my top baseball moment. But to say it's the top moment would be just silly.

Also, I can't remember anything else about that Series. Of course, I was still drinking in 1988.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:59 am 
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Matthew Grieco wrote:
The only thing that made last year's World Series exciting was that the winning team was the Red Sox -- had a less storied team prevailed, it would have ranked as an unwatchably dull non-contest. The Cardinals were never in the lead, and they were never not trailing except when the score was 0-0. It was probably the dullest World Series in 40 years to anyone not a member of Red Sox Nation.

What Mr. Grieco said. My reading of my fellow RSN citizens is that the '04 series was objectively dull (clinching on the road! sheesh!) -- for which everyone was extremely grateful, so that we could concentrate ever more on savoring the historic playoff victory over the Yankees, which was the real meat of last year. The Red Sox may win other World Series, but that victory over the Yankees will lead its category as long as there is playoff baseball.

For additional evidence (and to back up Niko): I have met exactly zero other locals here who can remember the scores of any of the Series games (which are imprinted in my mind because the Cards managed exactly three runs in the final three contests). Or who can name the author of the winning homer in Game 1 (um, Bellhorn, I think).

I realize that this is probably not the type of support the commenters mentioned above had in mind, but they're still right.


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