Monthly Archives: March 2017

AL MVP Candidates Announced

Announcing the final candidates for the American League Most Valuable Player Award.

Harold Baines, Dwight Evans, and Rickey Henderson were the three players named as possible winners of the award.

Team BA HR RBI
Baines CHW .345 14 46
Evans, Dw BOS .309 12 53
Henderson, R OAK .355 8 30

Baines led the American League in OPS (1.059) and Slugging (.647) as well as Triples (9) and Runs Created (61).

He also placed 2nd in Batting Average (.345), On-Base % (.412), Total Bases (150) and Total Average (1.113) while finishing among the league’s top 10 in Home Runs, Hits, Runs Batted In and Extra Base Hits.

He struck out just 32 times against 27 walks, appearing in 58 games for the White Sox.

Evans was one of just 14 players in the AL to play in all 64 games, finishing among the league leaders in several offensive categories while also playing Gold Glove-caliber defense in right field.

He placed 3rd with 53 Runs Batted In and 2nd in Extra Base Hits (37) and Runs Created (55).

He was also among the American League’s top 10 in Slugging, OPS, Total Bases, Hits, Doubles, Triples, and Home Runs.

On the down side, he grounded into 12 double plays – also among the league’s highest marks.

Evans is the sole candidate to come from a team which had a winning record.

The charismatic Henderson led the league in Batting Average (.355), On-Base % (.441), Stolen Bases (34) and Total Average (1.242).

He finished 10 points above Baines in Batting Average and 29 in On-Base %.

Like Evans, he may be in line for a Gold Glove award for left field in a few weeks from now.

His .994 OPS was 2nd only to Baines, and he was also among the league leaders in Slugging %, Runs Scores, Hits, Doubles, Walks and Runs Created.

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Music Flashback: Talking Heads, “Stop Making Sense”

October 15th, 1984, saw the release of Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense” – a live soundtrack to the Jonathan Demme-directed concert film which had been released that April.

I’ve watched a fair share of concert films and music documentaries and “Stop Making Sense” is right up there at the top for me.

It doesn’t hurt that I enjoyed Talking Heads when I was a teen and have developed an even greater appreciation for David Byrne and Company as I’ve gotten older.

I won’t soon forget the opening 10 minutes of that concert film – Byrne entering the stage and playing “Psycho Killer” on acoustic guitar over a pre-recorded beat while the rest of the band enters throughout the set and the stage is gradually built behind them.

Great stuff.

The original 1984 release of the soundtrack was not an exact reproduction of the concert film – it contained only 9 tracks and even those were edited down to make them fit into a single album release.

It spent over two years on the Billboard Hot 200 chart.

Both Rolling Stone (#345) and Slant Magazine (#61) have put it on their list of All-Time Best Albums.

NL Cy Young Candidates Announced

The top three candidates for the 1984 National League Cy Young Award were announced today.

In alphabetical order, the nominees were Dwight Gooden, Mario Soto, and Rick Sutcliffe.

Team W-L ERA SO
Gooden NYM 10-2 1.95 150
Soto CIN 10-5 2.56 100
Sutcliffe CHC 11-3 2.44 132

Gooden – the teenage rookie phenom – went 10-2 with a 1.95 ERA and an astounding 150 strikeouts.

He finished 2nd in the National League in ERA, Wins, Win-Loss% and Strikeout/Walk ratio.

It was no surprise that those 150 strikeouts led the league – a full 18 above the next closest mark. His 11.7 K/9 was 2.5 higher than anybody else.

Gooden completed 8 starts and tossed 3 shutouts.

Soto won 5 of his final 6 starts to end up 10-5 with a 2.56 ERA, striking out 100 on the nose.

He led the NL with 137 innings pitched, 10 complete games and 6.2 hits allowed per 9 innings of work.

His 1.04 WHIP was just 0.03 below the league-best mark.

Sutcliffe went 11-3 with a 2.44 ERA to lead the NL in Wins.

He led the league with 6 shutouts and was among league leaders in K/9 (2nd), innings pitched (2nd), strikeouts (2nd), complete games (2nd), H/9 (3rd), ERA (8th), Win-Loss% (3rd), K/9 (2nd) and CG (2nd).

Three great candidates.

While the American League Cy Young Award has been a foregone conclusion for some time now, this is a real head-scratcher.

Music Flashback: Stevie Wonder, “I Just Called To Say I Love You”

despise this song.

Always have.

This isn’t to disparage Stevie Wonder and I’ll go ahead and agree with the masses that Songs in the Key of Life was a very good album.

I’m not sure I’m putting it in my Top 100 of all time as so many music journalists would… But it’s good.

Okay, it’s fine.

“I Just Called To Say I Love You”, however, off of the Lady in Red soundtrack, is an absolute train-wreck of musical history.

It easily makes my Top 100 list of “Songs That I Must Turn Off As Soon As They Come On The Radio”.

Still, it somehow reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the weekend of October 13th, 1984, and remained there for three weeks, begging the question of where America’s tastes went that month.

It runs 6 minutes and 16 seconds in length and I promise that you will feel every. freaking. second of that time.

Wonder’s ballad goes on and on and on and on and manages the impressive feat of taking so long to never actually get anywhere.

I’m going to go ahead and refuse to post a YouTube link to this one.

AL Cy Young Candidates Announced

The top three candidates for the 1984 American League Cy Young Award were announced today.

In alphabetical order, the nominees were Storm Davis, Jack Morris, and Phil Niekro.

Team W-L ERA SO
Davis, S BAL 13-1 1.51 57
Morris DET 12-2 2.90 67
Niekro, P NYY 10-2 2.76 87

Davis has appeared to be the front-runner for most of the season. He went 13-1 for a Baltimore Orioles team that finished just 33-31, ending up topping the American League in ERA (1.51) and Wins as well as Win-Loss% (92.9) and Shutouts (3).

His 1.06 WHIP, 6.9 hits allowed per 9 innings, 125 innings pitched and 6 Complete Games were also among the AL’s Top 10.

Davis finished his season with wins in 8 of his last 9 starts.

Just behind Davis in Wins was the Detroit Tigers‘ Jack Morris, who finished 12-2 with a 2.90 ERA.

Morris also finished in the top 10 with Win-Loss% (85.7), hits allowed per 9 innings (7.1) and innings pitched (121).

Niekro was a dark horse, coming on strong at the end of the season by winning his final 5 decisions for the New York Yankees.

The veteran knuckle-baller finished 10-2 with a 2.76 ERA, good enough for an 83.3 Win-Loss%.

Among the group of nominees, he was the only one to finish among the AL’s best in strikeouts totals, sitting down 87 (4th in the AL) and 6.3 per 9 innings (9th).

His 124 innings of work were also among the league’s top marks.

Strong seasons for all three pitchers.

We’ll see who takes home the hardware after the World Series.

Movie Flashback: Teachers

Hope everybody enjoyed those League Championship Series.

The two runner-ups from the real life 1984 postseason have advanced to face each other in a “What If…” variation.

Should be good stuff.

Those Royals sort of shocked everybody jumping out to the early 2-0 series lead, but the Tigers were game and just about made the rebound.

The Cubs had some of that late-game magic as they had throughout the regular season and pulled it off, including an absolutely insane Game 5 that had me often taking a step back from the score book and inhaling before rolling the next plate appearance.

That was intense stuff.

Today we present yet another movie that I neither saw nor recollect.

This will least surprise my wife, who has uttered the phrase “HOW DID YOU NEVER SEE THAT MOVIE?!!” at least 87 times in our 13-plus years of marriage.

But here we are.

I asked my bride for her reviews on 1984’s top films and, for this one, she just wrote the following:

Are you sure you don’t mean “Summer School?” I like “Summer School.”
– The Blogger’s Wife

“Teachers” became the #1 film at the box office for the weekend of October 8th, 1984, and remained there for three weeks.

A “satirical comedy-drama” starring Nick Nolte, Ralph Macchio and Judd Hirsch, I just read the plot summary on Wikipedia and still have no idea what the hell I just consumed.

Let’s take a look at the trailer and see if that helps…

Nope.

It’s currently at 62% on Rotten Tomatoes which is… okay. Not great, but a solid C.

NLCS Game 5: Cubs Win National League Pennant

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 R H R
HOU 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 4 11 2
CHC 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 5 10 1

Believe it.

For the first time in 39 years, the Chicago Cubs are headed to the World Series.

It took 12 innings, but the Chicago Cubs pulled off a 5-4 comeback victory over the Houston Astros to win game 5 of the National League Series, 3 games to 3.

Bob Dernier led off the bottom of the 12th, reaching on an error by Craig Reynolds, who had moved to play third base as part of a double switch in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Dernier stole second base and then scored on a walk-off base hit by Ryne Sandberg, sending the Wrigley Field faithful into a frenzy.

It was the 3rd stolen base of the game for Chicago and 5th attempt as they took advantage of light Houston arms behind the plate.

It ultimately made a huge difference as both the game-tying and game-winning runs were set up by swiped bags.

For Sandberg, it was his 3rd hit of the game, joining Gary Matthews as the big hitters on the day.

While relief pitching hasn’t been their strong suit this season, the Cubs were bailed out by Lee Smith and Tim Stoddard today, with both relievers tossing a pair of shutout innings and combining to allow just one base runner in their 4 innings of work.

The Cubs will now take on the Kansas City Royals in the World Series.

Phil Garner had three hits including a home run and double for Houston.