With the closing of the ‘polls’ at 7:23 PM Tuesday night, a winner has been chosen for Contest #1: Make a prediction about the 2014 MLB season.
Contest #1: Make a prediction about the 2014 MLB season:
Below you will find all of the predictions the MillersTime contestants made prior to Opening Day that came true (or, in a couple of cases, almost true.).
It’s ‘every’ boy’s dream to be at bat in the bottom of the 9th with the chance to win the game and the World Series.
Alas, for Royals’ fans, the result last night disappointed.
But what a season it was for the Royals.
And it was a wonderful playoff season for all of MLB, from the wild card games, which resulted in both wild card winners making it to the World Series, thorough the Division Series and including the Championship Series.
As for the World Series, it’s always better when it goes seven games. This time either team could have won. The Giants, thanks primarily to Madison Bumgarner’s outstanding pitching, prevailed, 3-2 (for the third time in five years). But it could have easily been the Royals.
The biggest winner?
2014 MillersTime Baseball Contest #3: What will the Washington Nationals’ record be this year? Tie Breakers: Will they make the playoffs, and how far will they go?
Six contestants were close — Ed Scholl, Peter Shimm, Tiffany Lopez, Nick Nyhart, Steve Begleiter, and Nelson Romerez – missing the Nats’ regular season record by one game. Not bad.
However, four contestants got the season record, 96-66, exactly: Dan Fischer, Elizabeth Tilis, Nick Fels, and Bill Trost.
Dan said they’d lose in the NLCS. Elizabeth said they’d lose in the 1st round. Nick said they’d lose in the World Series. Bill said the Nats would lose to the Dodgers.
So, Elizabeth Tilis (that’s a ‘familiar’ name, someone, no doubt, who benefited from good parenting) wins and gets two tickets to a 2015 Nats’ game of her choice.
For the other two contests, we will have to await the conclusion of the World Series.
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Meanwhile, two more terrific articles to draw to your attention, particularly for those of you whose teams are no longer in the WS chase. MillersTime readers tipped me off to these articles:
The Dead Ball Century: Why Is Baseball Always Dying? – by Brian Curtis, Grantland/The Triangle, Oct. 7, 2014 (Thanx MWK)
Managers Are Playing Less Small Ball Than Ever – by Ross Benes, Deadspin/Regressing, Oct. 6, 2015 (Thanx BT)
Why did they lose three out of four games to the Giants after having the most wins in the National League in 2014?
It wasn’t their pitching. (Nat’s ERA – 1.23, Giants – 1.60)
It wasn’t their fielding. (Each team made one costly miscue -Nats’ Fielding Pct. – .993, Giants – .994)
It wasn’t the managing (Despite what you read or think about Game 2 & 4).
Is it me or has this October baseball already given us some of the most wonderful baseball in a long time?
KC vs Oakland – Wild Card game: Royals score in the bottom of the 9th to tie and down by one in the 12th, score two to win. Fans can hardly believe it.
KC vs LAA – First two ALDS games: Royals score one in the 11th and hold on to win the first game away. Then, in the third extra inning game in a row, the Royals score three in the top of the 11th to beat the Angels again, this time 4-1. KC fans believe it it. Angels’ fans stunned. K-C up 2-0.
O’s vs Tigers – Other first two ALDs games: Baltimore scores eight in the 8th, and the power hitting Tigers lose the first one 12-3. Camden goes wild. Then, in the second game, the O’s are down 6-3 in the 8th and score four in that inning to win 7-6. Fans go nuts, again. O’s up 2-0.
Giants vs Pirates – Wild Card game: Giants get a grand slam in the fourth (first ever by a shortstop) and four-hit the Pirates to win surprisingly easily, 8-0.
Dodgers vs Cards – First two NLDS game: Probable 2014 Cy Young & MVP winner Clayton Kershaw gives up eight runs in 6 2/3 innings, and the Cards win it 10-9 in the bottom of the 9th. Second game, Dodgers eke out a 3-2 victory, after some terrific pitching, thanks to a home run by Kemp. Series tied 1-1.
And then Giants vs Nats – Other first two NLDS games. Aging Peavy out pitches the young Strasberg, and the Giants beat the Nats 3-2 in Washington. Then, with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, after getting 20 out in a row, Nats’ pitcher Jordan Zimmerman (his previous game a no-hitter) walks a batter and is pulled. The Giants then get two hits off closer Drew Storen (remember him from two years ago not being able to hold a two-run lead in the playoffs?) to tie the game 1-1 in the bottom of the 9th. Eventually (after nine more innings), the Giants win it with a home run in the 18th inning (longest game, time wise, in playoff history). Giants up 2-0.
Ten games. Seven decided by one run. Four in extra innings. One in the 18th inning. One in the bottom of the 9th. And even the three that were not close we’re surprising victories.
And we’re only part way into the Division Series playoffs.
Maybe it’s just that my beloved Red Sox are not in it, and so I can watch and listen differently.
And another observation: So many good articles about these games, some written within the hour that a game finished.
Check out this morning’s NYTimes‘ Tyler Kepner’s In October: Exceptions Rule, Most of the Time (“Nobody knows anything…”).
Or Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell’s, Washington Nationals Discover How Tough the SF Giants Can Be in October, which begins with “Losing to the San Francisco Giants in October is like being beaten to death with wet noodles.” And it just gets better.
Or how about Boswell’s post this morning, Could Jordan Zimmerman Have Made History in Game 2? We’ll Never Know ?
You’ve probably seen other good ones (pass them on to all of us in the Comment section), but the best ones seem to take what happens and push our thinking further.
Beyond the obvious — you think you can win one of the MillersTime Baseball Contests, you’re going to see me in a few days and don’t want to be embarrassed when I refer to something I wrote, you’re looking for free tickets to a Nats’ game, you’re a member of my family and want to humor me — there is the possibility that once or twice a year I might have something useful to say about baseball.
I was reminded of this last reason this morning (Wed.) when I saw on the front page of the NYTimes the headline, “Many Strikeouts, Fewer Runs/As Pitchers Gain Upper Hand.” Having written a post on this very topic, Sluggers’ Slump: What’s Going on Here? I was curious to see if the author of the Times’ piece, John Branch, had anything new to say (or anything I didn’t say).
With the end of the regular 2014 MLB season and the beginning of the playoffs (wasn’t that a terrific game at KC last night?), I can announce three winners of this year’s MillersTime Baseball Contests. The remaining three contest winners, #1, 3, & 6, will not be chosen until the end of the playoffs.
" J.R. Moehringer, "Derek Jeter Plays Last Game at Yankee Stadium", "Hub Fans Bid Kid ADieu", baseball, Boston Red Sox, Derek Jeter, Fenway Park, John Updike, New York Yankees, Ted Williams, Yankee Stadium
On September 28, 1960, for his final at bat in Fenway Park, Ted Williams hit a home run in the 8th inning of a game the Sox eventually won. Fifty-four years later, for his final at bat at Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter hit a single, driving in the winning run for the Yankees in the bottom of the 9th.
Neither of those at bats could change disappointing seasons for the Sox or the Yankees.
Yet both of those at bats will long be remembered.
John Updike, a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, described what happened in Fenway in his superb Hub Fans Bids Kid Adieu. If you’ve never read this piece, you’re in for a treat. If you have read it and chose to reread it, you’re also in for a treat.
And although there has been massive coverage of Derek Jeter’s final Yankee Stadium at bat and retirement in general, I offer an equally wonderful and worthy essay about Jeter, The Final Walk Off, written by another Pulitzer Prize winning author, J.R. Moehringer, that was published just a few days ago by ESPN.
Last night I was looking through the submissions for the 2014 MillersTime Baseball Contests (I really need to get a life) and came across these predictions, sent in on Feb. 25, 2014 by someone named Chris Eacho:
#1 – Red Sox in last at the AS break and trade 4 of their opening day starters at the deadline.
#2 – Orioles 103-59, World Series Champs
#3 – Nationals 92-70, lose to Os in WS
#4 – Yankees 66-95, Red Sox 65-96, series split 8-8. 19th game is rained out and not made up
#5 – Chris Davis .287, 119 RBI, 43 HR
#6 – Orioles over Nats in 6 games; Chris Tillman MVP with 2 complete game shutouts
Actually, I think I know the individual who submitted these outrageous and amazingly prescient (lucky?) predictions. He’s an Orioles’ fan (obviously), a Sox and Yankee hater, and belongs to the millennial generation (I think). I hope he’s wrong about the WS, but he seems to know something the rest of us don’t.
(Jacob deGrom Ties MLB Record, Strikes Out 8 Straight. Pix-USA Today)
Have you noticed how it seems hitting has been trumped by pitching in baseball, not only this year but for a number of years now?
With Red Sox in last place, 26 games behind the AL East winner Orioles, I have had a good deal of time to think about more than just my beloved team and their miseries. While I have enjoyed the Nats’ good season, it’s not the same as rooting for Boston.
Looking at some box scores a few weeks ago, I was struck by what seemed to me to be low batting averages, even of the best players for the best teams in baseball. In fact, when I looked at the six leading teams in all the MLB Divisions, only two clubs had anyone hitting over .300 (one of those two teams just had one player hitting .301, and he is now below .300).
I began looking at other statistics, going back as far as 2000. Here are just some of the things I found when I looked at every year from 2000-2014 (being retired and having a losing baseball team allows for spending time on such matters):
(Not shown: Multiple Red Sox tickets to win the 2014 Pennant & World Series.)
The Facts: The Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles secured playoff positions last night in their respective MLB Divisions (NL East and AL East). Thus both have a shot at winning the 2014 World Series. I have been a Nats’ fan (a distant second, of course, to being a Red Sox fan) since they arrived in DC. I have rooted against the O’s for years, except when they play the Yankees. I hold two Las Vegas $10 bets. One for the Nats (payoff $110) and one for the O’s (payoff $260).
The Dilemma: Whom do I cheer for to win the World Series?
(Note: I also hold three $10 tickets for the Nats to win the 2014 Pennant. Total payoff for the three tickets, $145.)
The Facts: On my Orioles’ WS ticket, I have written the name “Nelson” in the upper right hand corner of the ticket. Nelson is a friend who roots for the O’s and rubs it in when they beat the Sox. Nelson does not know I bought this ticket with him in mind.
The Dilemma: Do I inform Nelson I have the ticket, and do I give it to him?
The Facts: I also bought a bunch (I’m embarrassed to say how many) of Sox tickets for them to win the 2014 Pennant and World Series. (If either the Nats’ or the O’s win the World Series, I can recoup the cost of most of my foolish Sox bets.)
The Dilemma: What do I do with all my useless Sox 2014 tickets.
Twenty-four hours ago I asked my wife Ellen to lock up all the sharp knives and put a barrier across the stairs to the third floor.
It was clear to me that the Sox were about to explode, that GM Ben Cherington was about to cast off, minimally, our two top pitchers and one of our top relievers.
For what? A bunch of prospects?
My well being was threatened, and I needed protection from acting impulsively.
This morning I told Ellen she could unlock the knives and take down the barrier to the third floor.
For the moment at least, things didn’t seem so dire.