Hey NY Highlanders Good Bye To You

Sometimes the NY Post gets it right!

I think we will send this one out to the NY Highlanders and their arrogant fan base with the lovely Mrs. John McEnroe speaking for all of us Highlander Haters

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Eddie Yost 1926-2012

 

…….and coaching 3rd base for the Mets Eddie Yost………………

From 1968 to 1976 before the Mets would come up for their first at bat of the game, Lindsay Nelson or Bob Murphy would inform Mets fans that Eddie Yost was manning the 3rd base coaching box. Yost to most of us young Mets fans just knew Yost as a coach on the Mets (when I was a kid I never thought of Yogi Berra as a Highlander but as a Met when I got a little older and studied his career boy was I shocked!) and a guy from Queens, but Yost was as a player who lived by the baseball commandment that a walk was as good as a hit.

Yost passed away yesterday at the age of 86. Andrew Schiff and Mathew Silverman have this through biography of Yost on the SABR website that is a definite must read.

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Mets Minutia

Every year we brace ourselves here in NYC when September 11th shows up on our calendar. For many of us the events of that day never leave our minds and for some it’s a reminder of how that day has changed the way we live our lives , it’s also the day that we have to argue should the Mets wear first responders caps during the game or not. To tell you the truth, I’m tired of the argument in fact it just goes to show you what a mess the Mets organization is that they can’t even figure out how to do something so simple and admirable  as wearing the caps of the FDNY, NYPD and PAPD  could be and how beholden they are to the Commissioner for keeping the Wilpon’s in business that they won’t make waves and not dare MLB to punish them for wearing the caps. What is even sadder is that I expect this from the Mets as they are good at rolling over and playing dead. It’s a sad commentary on this organization that by not showing any defiance’s over this issue is just business as usual in Flushing.

My friend and podcasting colleague Mike Silva, made a bet with Highlander windbag announcer Michael Kay that the Mets would win 60+ games this season. Kay said the Mets were so bad that 60 wins would be a stretch. So Silva bet Kay that if the Mets win 60 games, Kay would have to wear and be photographed in a Mets jersey. If Sliva were to lose the wager, he would have to write a column on how great an announcer/talk show host Kay is, which by the way is like trying to write a column on how classy the Kardashian’s are. So the Mets have gone above and beyond the 60 win mark which means Kay must pay his debt but wait it seems that Kay is ready to add to his impressive character traits of insufferable, incompetent, uniformed and downright annoying to listen to with tag of being a welsher , in fact Mike Silva has reached out to Kay to be a guest on our Sunday night podcast, so far Kay has not responded to the request. My advice to Kay is honor your bet or as soon as Silva gives the word, I’ll go Dog The Bounty Hunter on your ass.

The NY Times has published an editorial on R.A. Dickey and his amazing 2012 season.

Andy McCullough has a piece about the possibility of trading Jon Niese over the winter. Now before you overreact, read the article then think for a moment……….it’s not a bad idea.

Chipper Jones reflects on playing in NYC and the high level of respect he has for the town. He also mentions some of his favorite moments here as well, quite surprising. Sorry I can’t be a Chipper hater.

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THE CO-EXISTENCE OF HIGHLANDERS/GIANTS AND METS/GIANTS FANS

 

 

It’s not unusual to have friends and family members with different sports rooting interest as you, I have many friends and relatives who root for the Highlanders, Knicks and the Jets,  even a couple of Devils, Islanders and Nets fans thrown in the mix as well. This week the Giants fan contingent of my inner circle have been in constant contact about what to expect from our Giants tomorrow as they take on the Patriots in Super Bowl 42 and what is fascinating  is how the dominant fan gene takes hold when we discuss the game.

The Highlander/Giants fans of the group are so super confident that the Giants will win, it has the Mets/Giants fan breaking out in a cold sweat. Highlander/Giants says the Giants front four will dominate and that between Justin Tuck and JPP, Tom Brady will be leaving Indianapolis with a toe tag on his man Uggs. Mets/Giants says “it’s Tom Fuckin’ Brady” and he not only has a score to settle with the Giants for Super Bowl 42 and he also played like shit in the AFC Championship game to where he vowed to Pats owner, Bob Kraft he feels he let him and the organization down. Mets/Giants is nervous because he fears Brady’s A game. Highlander/Giants says “Fuck Brady’s A game”.

Highlander/Giants says “ancient history “ when Mets/Giants brings up the team was 7-7 late in the season and how the  Redskins loss in Week 15 is still on my mind. Highlander/Giants then says “that was the last time the G-Men lost, they are on a 5 game winning streak looking better each time out” That when Mets/Giants says “that’s what worries me, the team is due for a bad game and a loss”, to which Highlander/Giants says “I swear to God I don’t know why I’m friends with you (Highlander/Giants family member give me the old you can pick your friends and not your relatives response)and if that wasn’t enough cruelty, Highlander/Giants pours salt in the wound by adding “and you dwell on negative shit forever, Jimmy Qualls, Mike Scioscia, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright….move the fuck on already”

I can’t help it. Fans of multiple sports teams have a dominant sports fan gene, mine happens to be the Mets fan gene.  See the Giants fan gene I have is strong when it comes to history and loyalty with pride in winning as well. The Giants have won 7 Championships (4 pre-Super Bowl NFL Titles and 3 Lombardi Trophies) same with the Boston Celtics gene that also adds arrogance from our late leader the Great Red Auerbach.  The NY Ranger fan gene runs close to the Mets fan gene in that the Ranger fan gene reacts to overpriced free agent flops and overall anger and disappointment with the team and management.

So as I get ready for tomorrows Super Bowl, a Super Bowl I will watch at a GIANTS FANS ONLY party that will feature more Mets/Giants than Highlander/Giants, my hope is that Highlander/Giants doesn’t keep up their rhetoric during the pre-game dinner as I would hate to sit down to a meal with my hands over my ears yelling “I CAN’T HEAR YOU! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!!

 

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WORST….GAME…EEEVVVVVEEEERRRRR………….

When it’s 87 degrees at 5AM you just know it’s going to be a day when putting a complete thought together is going to rough (or rougher than usual) so as I wipe the svitz off my forehead he are some thought’s for a Friday where my fingers and toes are crossed that Con Edison doesn’t fuck us over today.

Last night, I attended maybe the worst baseball game I have ever seen . It was a tilt between the Staten Island Highlanders against the Tamp Bay Rays NY-Penn League affiliate the Hudson Valley Renegades . It wasn’t bad enough that the heat and humidity in the soulless Richmond County Ballpark was suffocating, the play on the field was atrocious. Both teams combined for NINE ERRORS, the baby Highlanders account for six of them. The home plate ump Brain Miller made the night even more unbearable, allowing both teams to conducted marathon visits to the mound to the point I had to scream out to him “Blue com’on move it along” which could be heard clearly by the umpire as the stands were inhabited by about 1,000 or so sweaty ass’s in the seats and I was right behind home plate. Umpire Miller glared at me and I gave him an “are you fucking kidding me look” when he used his best judgment of the night and put his mask back on and continued the game. Asshole.

Oh by the way, the baby Highlanders won 8-7 and have an incredible 25-8 record that no one on Staten Island gives a rat’s ass about. This is one of the biggest head scratchers for me, Staten Island is Highlander country, you see about 10 Highlanders t-shirts/jersey’s to every Mets piece of apparel but for some reason the Baby Highlanders can’t draw anyone to the downtown ball park except when the Brooklyn Cyclones make the trip over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.  I get a few different reasons from Highlander friends and acquaintances on why they don’t patronize the minor league team. Some tell me they’d rather see the “real” Highlanders, some live on the South Shore of the Island and hate making the trek downtown. Some will go on the weekends when the club draws a bit better but the biggest segment of the fan base comes by ferry from Manhattan.  Manny of the fans at last night’s game were Manhattanites who live in Tribeca or SoHo and love taking the ferry over watching the game and then head back to the city.  

Give me MCU Park and the  Coney Island Boardwalk anytime.

David Wright is back tonight (as is Kevin Burkhardt on SNY) so it will be interesting to see how the offense works with Reyes lighting the fuse at the top and Beltran, Wright and Murph in the middle of the lineup. How long Beltran will be a Met is an ongoing saga. It seems from what you read Alderson is more than willing to trade your team Carlos Beltran and about $6 mil to cover his paychecks for the rest of the year for one of your prized farm hands. If you feel Beltran is the missing piece to your post season run you can have him, but he’s not coming cheap. Seems most of the GM’s who are in position to deal suffer from irritable bowel syndrome when Sandy Alderson rings the phone.  Bottom line, one of these contenders will cave as the bat of Beltran is too powerful to pass up and the Mets will get a top prospect in return.

I can’t stand the NJ Devils but I am very sad that Doc Emrick is leaving MSG and Devils play by play to be the exclusive voice of the NHL on NBC/Versus. I’m sure most of you have read the articles on Emrick on what a great guy he is and his play by play of hockey is unmatched and having met Doc I can tell it’s all true.

About 5 or so years ago, my wife and I were Christmas shopping at the Paramus Mall. As usual I had  enough of shopping and Christmas, so I told my wife to continue her spending spree while I hit the bench with a Starbucks Latte for a while.  A few minutes after I took a load off, a gentleman sat next to me, it was none other than Doc Emrick. I sat and talked hockey and baseball l with him for about a half hour when he had to leave. When he got up, he put out his hand and said to me “thank you for making this trip to the mall worthwhile for me, I enjoyed our conversation” I was like, “are you kidding, thank you for making me  glad I came here” we both laughed  and shook hands. Great guy that Doc.

(Sorry the link button is not working)

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THE BENCH MOB RULES

 

 

After a week sleeping in a tent in the woods of upstate New York listening to wolves howling in the middle of the night and having nightmares of a bear in a Highlander uniform attacking me in my tent, I can say without a doubt that it’s good to be home.

Not just because I missed my wife and daughter but I missed watching the Mets as well. I haven’t felt that way in a couple of years so yesterday it was nice to hit the couch with a cold drink and a meal without dirt and bugs in it and watch the through ass kicking the Mets administered on the Phuck Phaces.  The offense was explosive with bench mob members Scott Hairston and Nick Evans busting out and the Mighty Celtic Daniel Murphy (.349/.408/.465 RISP .383/.408/.489 RISP w/2 out) continuing his solid season but again it was the pitching of Jon Niese that stood out.  Niese has stepped up as a solid starter for the Mets not just for 2011 but for season beyond.  Niese is not an ace but he will be a good solid 2 or 3 for the Mets for years to come.

I’ll get into more stuff tomorrow as I’m still trying to get my back to straighten up again and get my system reintroduced to edible food. Even with all those drawbacks a week away with my son on a camping trip is worth every mosquito bite and bad meal and sleeping in less than ideal conditions.

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WHAT HAVE THE HIGHLANDERS DONE TO PERPETUAL PEDRO?

There were a few interesting Mets news items so while I try to wake up and start to focus on the series with the Phuck Phaces let’s take a gander:

The Pedro Feliciano Highlander/Mets feud just won’t end. The Mets, particularly Old School Dan Warthen, seem to be the most level headed in this whole deal. Warthen told the truth, that the Mets felt giving Feliciano a multiyear deal was dumb since they worked the shit out him the last three years. Now Pedro has a broken heart and had decided to take his frustrations on, Ike Davis? What the hell did Ike do to you Perpetual Pedro? Very surprised by the way Feliciano has reacted. He always came off as muy macho. I guess when you don those Highlander pinstripes in turns you into a whinny bitch.

Speaking of Old School, it seems he’s like Felix the Cat as he unveils his bag of tricks, on wheels no less.

There are still plenty of tickets left for the Friday home opener and for Saturday’s game you could get a ticket for the less than the price of a Shake Shack burger. When I clicked on the Mets website I see they have now added a coupon for a $10 credit for food or merchandise to be used the day of the game you purchase tickets for. At least there is a sign of creativity coming out of Citi.

People ask me why I’m not a big Mike Piazza fan, well read this and click on the link to the radio interview of Piazza and Roger Clemens and that should explain why.

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A BLOGGERS PARADISE

I was fortunate to be one of the bloggers  invited  to attend the Mets Holiday Party  yesterday and it was quite the experience.

From the time I arrived at the frozen tundra of Flushing (it was a bit surreal as I was the only passenger getting off at the Citi Field-Willets Pt. stop on the 7 train and the wind was whipping and there was still wisps of snow on the platform. Then walking out of the station there was not a soul around the ball park.  It felt like the kind of dream I’ve had after one too many late night slices of pepperoni pizza before going to bed) and walked into the Seaver entrance of the ball park, I had a very awkward feeling. The guard at the door asked me if I was “media” or a guest.  I immediately turned into Ralph Kramden “Aaaaaa Humm-a-na-Hummm-a-ana, I don’t know” and with that I shoved a copy of the e mail of my invite at him. The guard made a call and told me to have a seat and when the check in begins, look for your name on the “media list”. Say that again but a bit slower? Sure enough on the “media list” we’re my name and my site along with other bloggers.  After checking in, I walked to the elevator with Sweeney Murti, the Highlander beat man for WFAN. When I asked what he was doing here ( like I’m now the keeper of who belongs and who doesn’t) he told me he was covering this for the MLB Network (oh ok permission to come on board the ship) Knowing that he has mentioned he’s a one time Phillies fan, I asked him about the Cliff Lee signing and if he was happy or sad since he covers the Highlanders. It was here where I realized how much difference there is between the MSM and bloggers, Murti told be it didn’t matter to him as he has not rooting interest either way.  It finally hit me, this is the man’s job. It doesn’t matter who wins or losses or who’s a nice guy or who’s a prick, he just covers the Highlanders as that’s his assignment. WFAN could tell him tomorrow that they are going to switch it up and have Ed Coleman cover the Highlanders and him cover the Mets and it would not phase Murti in the slightest.

There’s the difference, as a blogger I have an emotional attachment to the New York Mets.  There isn’t any objectivity here. There is anger some (most) times and sarcasm and general wise ass-ness here but it stays within the Mets fandom. We can call the owner names and curse the OP and Castillo contracts for burdening the organization but if someone outside the “family” says anything we get our backs up and we stick up for the team and the organization. Now the last few years, this has been quite difficult. So my trek to Flushing yesterday was as much a fact finding mission to see what this new regime will do to cleanse the sins of the past administration as it was to try to find out if the team is headed in the right direction.

As our little group of bloggers stood around basically trying to figure out where to stand, where to leave our coats, and where the bathrooms were, we were saved by Danielle Parillo of the Mets P.R. who gave us the itinerary for the day (and for that I am grateful, Danielle) we were led to the media area and split into three groups, print, TV and bloggers. Yes, we had our own section. After the GM, MGR and players were done with the first two groups they were led to the bloggers section.

Sandy Alderson was the first to meet with us, we introduced ourselves and shook hands with the GM and then began the Q & A.  It’s hard not to be impressed by Alderson. I perceive him as a man of cool and confidence, I don’t think much rattles this man. Each question was met with direct eye contact with the inquirer and there were no one or two word answers.  The main questions were of course about pitching , Alderson made it known that was his main concern as well. He is not going to sign a pitcher just because his name is familiar with fans; this front office will do its due diligence from scouting reports to in depth analytical study on pitchers to find the right fit. Alderson’ personality is the polar opposite of most Mets fans, he’s patient.

Terry Collins was next to talk to us and if anything the man is intense. It is going to be quite intriguing to see how his high energy” if you’re not part of the solution your part of the problem” style will play in the Mets clubhouse. I explained to him my biggest grip with the team and organization over the last few years  was the “woe is us” attitude from the ownership to the front office to manger, coaches and players where losing was accepted and injuries were used as a crutch. Collins let me know that this will not happen with this team, those days are over. He also said that this will be addressed on day one of spring training.  As with Alderson, the Ollie Castillo question came up and Collins gave the same answer as the GM that both these guys won’t stay on the roster if they cannot produce.  Collins also said that Ollie is on the list of starting pitchers come spring, so if anything the Ollie Castillo question will not be answered until the end of March. Patients Mets fans, patients.

Ike Davis was the first player to talk to us, when asked about Dave Hudgens the new hitting coach, Davis said he was thrilled as Hudgens is an “ASU (Arizona State University) guy and he also very happy that Ken Oberfell will be on the big league staff telling us that playing in Buffalo for Obie was the best baseball experience he’s had.

Carlos Beltran came by and the first impression I got meeting him in person for the first time, was how big he is. He’s very broad in the chest and shoulders so you can see where his gets his power from. He told us his knee feels great and that his has been working out and is ready for spring training. He said the Mets have told him that he is the centerfielder and that he is happy about that but if there is someone in the organization that the club feels is better suited for the position, he has no problem moving to right field. I get the sense that he wants to show he’s a team guy but I can tell he wants to show the skeptics he can still man the middle of the outfield. I asked him, since the knee is feeling better will we see the speed come back, he joked and said that at soon to be 34 years old he can’t run like when he was 24 and then asked me if I can still run when I was 24 (I was the oldest of the group) I laughed and said “I can’t run like I did when I was 44”, we laughed and Carlos said “I’m only kidding with you” like I’d take offense? We bonded Beltran and I get that contract extension ready Sandy!

Jason Bay says he is headache free and has no signs or symptoms from his concussion. He looks fit.  Last season is still gnawing on him and spring training can’t come soon enough to suit him. I asked him how do the players stay below the noise and by that  I mean the extensive media coverage, the talk radio loudmouths, the many bloggers and playing in a city where baseball season is 24/7/365. Bay said that playing in Boston helps with that but he said coming from Pittsburgh to Boston was a definite shock. He said that as professionals they can’t let the outside forces take away their focus.

After entertaining the kids by playing Santa Claus (Marty Noble who was attendance really should have donned that Santa suit he has the physic for the job) David Wright came over to us. I remarked to him “is there anything you won’t do for this organization”? He gave me that patented D-Wright smile and said he will do whatever it takes to help this organization. From talking to Wright, the impression I got was, he’s happy about the regime change. He didn’t say anything specific but the word he used a lot in our conversation was “discipline”.  This is something that Matt Cerrone spoke about on my THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN show last night, the players in the last few years have felt this sense of entitlement like they didn’t have to prove anything to anyone and that playing for the Mets was like a Supreme Court appointment. That is over and done.   When asked about meeting Sandy Alderson, Wright  again mentioned the discipline aspect of Alderson and how much he respected his baseball resume and just as important his dedicated service to the country. Wright told the group,he sees a lot of his father, a police officer, in Alderson.  Wright also spoke of Collins and again this is just me speculating, I don’t think David was a big fan of Jerry Manuel . Wright mentioned how Collins is a motivator and will instill (that word again ) discipline. My take is that the clubhouse has been dominated by a bunch of players who feel they are on scholarship when all they are, are walk-ons.  From listening to Wright it seems it the Mets were overdue for this change in management.

For more on the day at Citi Field with the Mets check out the great job that Rob Castellano of Amazin’ Avenue did in putting together a great video recap of the interviews.

Back when I started doing this blog eight years ago, I was envious of the bloggers at a now defunct site Elephants in Oakland who wrote about the Oakland A’s as they were given an audience with Billy Beane.  As we all know the A’s under Alderson and Beane were the most progressive of front offices. The same thing when Theo Epstein  took over the Red Sox and Paul DePodesta ran the Dodgers. Here I was as a Mets fan stuck with Joe McIllvaine a GM who much better fitted for a head scout or head of minor league development, Al “The Empty Suit” Harrazin, Steve “Lively Libido” Phillips, Jim “Never Had A Chance” Duquette and Omar “See Joe Mcillvaine Description” Minaya running my favorite team, turning a blind eye to present and future of baseball management.  When I knew that the Minaya regime was ready for over throw, the first name on my wish list was Sandy Alderson and ownership came to its senses and hired him and not only Alderson but his top lieutenants Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi. To the average everyday Mets fan, who gets his Mets news from fish wraps and entertainers on talk radio, they don’t get the excitement of this new regime that resonates from those of us who sit on our laptops all day wondering you will manger Appalachian League Kingsport Mets but in due time they will.  All the bitching and moaning about not signing a big ticket free agent is off base, this front office may be the best free agent signings in Mets history.

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SAY IT LOUD, I’M A METS FAN AND I’M PROUD

The only team in baseball having a better October than the Mets are the SF Giants. The introductory press conference for Sandy Alderson proved a point on why the Highlander organization and fan base fear the Mets more than any team in baseball.

Highlander high strung manager, Joe Girardi was signed to a three year extension the other day and the reaction by the NY sports media was “that’s nice but did your hear? Sandy Alderson will hold a press conference on Friday”. To those too young to know this, there was a time around here that everyday was like yesterday, where folks walked around town with Mets hats and jackets and greeted one and other with “Hey, how ‘bout those Mets”. The Alderson era brings Mets fans hope and that has not been in abundance around here for a long time. Sandy Alderson also has a plan, another strategy missing in Queens as well, and most importantly he wants the same exact thing for the Mets franchise that we all want, respect and accountability.

Alderson knew just what to say yesterday. First when he talked about the NY Mets being an iconic franchise, my face was flush. I’ve gotten on my soap box time after time here about the Mets being the flagship team of the National League and how our lineage goes back to 1876 when the New York Mutuals played the first NL season and then of course in 1883 when our ancestors the New York Giants came to be. The NY Highlanders were not even a glint in Ban Johnson’s eye when NL ball was featured in NYC and for Sandy Alderson to acknowledge that made an outstanding first impression on me.

Alderson was asked about his choice for manager as Mets fans are nervous nellies because the reports and track record of Alderson’ is he goes for the weak silent type. After surviving the Dead Manger Era (Art Howe) and the Clueless Manger Era (Jeff Torborg) we waited to hear what our the new leader of free Mets world would say. When the words “I like a manager who kicks ass and takes names” rolled off his tongue, it was 1964 at the Ed Sullivan Theatre all over again. All I needed to hear was “and the Black uniforms and caps have already been shit canned” then I’d have had to been resuscitated. Alderson gets it. He knows that he not only has to build a winning team but he has to build an entertaining team and a team Mets fans want to embrace. Rooting for a losing team sucks but being a supporter of a team you can’t stand is heartbreaking.

Think about the dimension we are about to enter Mets fans. We have gone from a GM who had no time for statistical analysis of which he called “false hustle” which was really Omar Minaya verifying he was behind the times and quite frankly lazy as a GM, to a man who will use those numbers and a consensus from his staff and scouts on player evaluation for drafting, trading and free agent signing purposes. Welcome to the 21st Century Mets fans.

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EVERYBODY WAS KUNG FU FIGHTING, THOSE CATS WERE FAST AS LIGHTING

Excellent post by Mathew Cerrone of MetsBlog on how the Mets need Sandy Alderson even though Rick Hahn would be a fantastic hire as well. If the Mets were an expansion team or a team in a small market then Hahn would be the pick, put for the Mets who need to change the way they are perceived by other teams, the media and especially their own fans (a/k/a paying customers) then Sandy Alderson is the clear choice for GM.

On Tuesday’s THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN Radio Show, I spoke with Julian Levine of Splashing Pumpkins about the Giants-Phillies NLCS and how I wanted Bochy to put the Kung Fu Panda back in the lineup. He did and the Panda delivered. The Giants are one game away from the World Series. Part of me is hoping the Highlanders make a miraculous comeback and play the Giants in the World Series. If they do I’d make the trip to the South Bronx to root for the Gigantics while wearing my Johnny Antonelli throw back jersey.    

By the way, I give props to Ol’ Cholly for going with Roy Oswalt in 9th as he was the best pitcher available in the pen at that time. He was only going to use him for an inning any way and it still left Brad Lidge to close out the game. Where I do take some issue with Manuel is they way he used Jose Contreas for just one batter but hey I’m not complaining about the outcome that’s for sure.

The only part of the Rangers that worries me that they could suffer a Highlander collapse is their bullpen which is quite shaky.

I’ll just say I’m really looking forward to tonight’s Game 5 NLCS match up between The Freak and Doc Halliday and that’s all I’ll say. I feel like I jinxed yesterdays Game 5 of the ALCS so I’ll lay low with the wise ass remarks for now.

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