All That Matters Is Now
Gonna be a quick one today because I’m heading to Philadelphia — well, Mount Laurel, N.J. — to spend a couple of days at NFL Films researching my new book. I’ll get to the (epic) Browns Diary tonight. And, I’ll keep an eye Game 1 of the NLCS for tomorrow.
Before I get into a bit of baseball, let’s get a few book things out of the way:
I’ll be at Park Road Books in Charlotte this Wednesday, 7 p.m., to talk baseball and whatever else comes up with my pal Tommy Tomlinson. Please arrive early if you can, as the bookstore is pretty small. Well, it’s cozy. That sounds better.
Tickets are now on sale for my Nov. 1 show with Marty Stuart at The Listening Room Cafe in Nashville, 8:30 p.m. This is going to be so much fun, I’ll tell stories, Marty will accompany me on the guitar to make me sound better, we’ll take some requests and answer some questions — if you ask, I’ll even tell some oldies like Katie the Prefect or Rulon Gardner while Marty plays — and maybe we’ll hand out some extra Halloween candy, who knows? Again, tickets are on sale here.
Thanks to Brilliant Reader James, who found the ticketing for my event in Cherry Hill, N.J. on Nov. 6. Tickets are $15 … this is part of the Festival of Arts, Books, Films and Culture at the Katz JCC.
ALCS Game 1: Texas 2, Houston 0
By Clay Davenport’s Third Order Standings — which is quite mathy, but breaks down baseball wins and losses based on underlying stats — the Texas Rangers were the second-best team in the American League, behind only the fast-starting Tampa Bay Rays. I bring this up in part because of the little section coming up about the “best teams” reaching the World Series. As you will see, the teams with the best records in each league are (of course) making fewer and fewer World Series as the playoffs expand.
But what I don’t talk about there is that best record, even over 162 games, might not necessarily mean best team. The Rangers might very well have been the best team in the American League this year had it not been for an utterly horrendous bullpen. The Rangers went 14-22 in one-run games, their relievers combined for a ghastly 4.77 ERA, they blew more saves than they completed, etc. Everything else about this team — their terrific and deep lineup, their starting pitcher (especially with the brilliant acquisition of Jordan Montgomery) is quite good, they are above average defensively pretty much everywhere, etc.
But that bullpen …
Here’s the thing, though:
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