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Baseball 2005


TOMMY TUNES

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Albert Pujols 3 run home with 2 outs in the ninth was one of the best partykillers i've ever seen...the Houston Astros and their fans had already moved on to the world series...only to have the rug pulled out from under them in a most dramatic way...stunning!...and yes...sitting 6o miles away from St. Louis was me...with a great big smile.

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A White Sox/Cards World Series would be fun, but I guess I'd enjoy a White Sox/Astros World Series, if it happens. As a Yankee fan, though, it would pain me to see our former rotation in action: Clemens, Pettitte, Contreras, and El Duque. The Yanks might still be around if we had guys like that pitching for us this year! Oh well--not much the Yanks could do about Clemens, because he "retired." But they could have made an effort to keep Pettitte, and could have invested a little more time in Contreras. He was madly inconsistent, but he did show flashes of brilliance.

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Speaking of the Yanks, I've seen all kinds of A-Rod bashing, and I guess I've agreed with a lot of it.... That big salary didn't match the puny performance.

But the news story that broke today makes me cut him some slack: The uncle who raised him---who was essentially a father to him---died in a hospital on Sept. 30, just before the playoffs. A-Rod didn't make the story public, but his aunt threw it out there in an interview yesterday.

I know, I know---Clemens pitched on the day his mom died late this season (and won). But everyone handles grief a little differently....

(That said, it's hard to forget A-Rod's 9th inning double-play that killed our rally in Game 5 vs. Anaheim.... Ugh.)

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Tommy Tunes--I live around 30 miles west of Boston, and I make no secret of my Yankee loyalty. I come by it honestly, having grown up in NY State and having a dad who loved the DiMaggio and Mantle Yanks. And yeah, I do wear a Yankees cap out and about--not to cause trouble, but because hey, it's just baseball. But some people around here get riled up. Most just make a good-natured antagonistic comment, so it's generally in good fun. There was a lot more hatred toward the Yankees during the 86 years prior to 2004, but Boston's title cooled off the fans a bit.

That said, I try to be sensitive about mentioning names like Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone around here.

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As for the World Series... American League guys are supposed to root for AL teams, but I think I'd like to see Houston win. I love Bagwell and Biggio. Granted, I'm still a little suspicious about Clemens' "retirement" from the Yankees after falling short in the 2003 WS, because it all seemd so contrived when he and Pettitte signed with Houston. If they had never left pinstripes, I bet we'd have a couple more rings. But it's hard not to root for them now.

Regardless of who I personally want in the WS, I do think Houston's pitching will be just enough. So... Astros in 6. And we'll likely see a lot of 2-1 games, don't you think?

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Congratulations to the Houston Astros and the Chicago White Sox on advancing to the World Series! Although I am not usually in favor of a wild card team in a championship game (when they couldn't win their division), I'm happy to see the Astros finally play in their first WS of the 44 year history of the club. Additionally, the White Sox will be playing in their first World Series in 46 years...when there were only eight teams in each league and leagues without divisions. As I understand it, back then, the team with the best record in the American League would play the team with the best record in the National League in the World Series. In my opinion, it definitely gave more meaning to the regular season.

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...The Astro fans will see very soon that Clemens is not that far away from ASLOB in a big game situation...

Here is just a sampling of Roger Clemens playoff performances for the New York Yankees...

Game 4: 2000 American League Playoffs against Seattle Mariners: pitched a 1 hit shutout in 9 innings with 15 strikeouts. He was the winning pitcher.

Game 2: 2000 World Series against the New York Mets: pitched a 2 hit shutout in 8 innings with 9 strikeouts and 0 walks. He was the winning pitcher.

Game 3: 2001 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks: pitched 7 innings, gave up 1 run & 3 hits and had 9 strikeouts. He was the winning pitcher.

Game 7: 2001 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks: gave up 1 run & 7 hits and had 10 strikeouts. The Yankees had the lead going into the ninth with Mariano Rivera pitching in relief.

As you can see, Roger Clemens pitched some terrific games for the New York Yankees in the playoffs, just as he has done for the Houston Astros. Yes, he has pitched some games that we would rather forget, but so have a lot of major league pitchers. The Houston Astros fans' opinion of Roger Clemens in big game situations is probably of their All-Star pitcher...who pitched three scoreless innings in relief for the deciding win to advance to the 2005 National League Championship Series...and the pitcher who won the third game of the National League Championship Series, that contributed to the Astros advancing to their first World Series. It is a shame that you didn't appreciate him during his years as a Yankee, but obviously you can't please everyone.

By the way, what is your opinion of Mariano Rivera?

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Granted, I'm still a little suspicious about Clemens' "retirement" from the Yankees after falling short in the 2003 WS, because it all seemd so contrived when he and Pettitte signed with Houston.

I truly believe that Roger Clemens was sincere, when he announced his desire to retire from baseball after the 2003 World Series. He stated that his sons were growing up & that he wanted to be able to attend their baseball games in Houston, and that his mother was seriously ill & he wanted to do everything in his power for her to be able to attend the ceremony for his induction into the MLB Hall of Fame (5 years after his retirement). Additionally, he had now won over 300 games, pitched over 4000 strikeouts and been a member of World Series Champions. There were not as many goals left for him to accomplish. Also, at the end of the 2003 MLB season, it still appeared possible that Andy Pettitte (his close friend) could sign a contract again with the NY Yankees.

After Pettitte signed with Clemens' home town Houston Astros, Houston offered Clemens an original deal that would allow him to skip road trips that he wasn't scheduled to pitch. Along with being able to pitch in front of his home town fans, attend his sons' baseball games and still be Andy Pettitte's teammate, his family also played an influencial factor in his continuation of his baseball career. Prior to the Houston offer, his sons publicly stated that they wanted their dad to retire, so that he could spend more time with them. Now that he would be playing the team's home games in his sons' home town (instead of New York), Roger's boys could spend more time with their dad...which the Clemens' kids approved of. Please keep in mind that by signing with the Astros, he also took a major cut in salary...a much lower salary than I think that the Yankees may have offered Clemens to sign with their team. If he had intended to continue playing baseball, it would have been financially beneficial to play somewhere else other than Houston in 2004. I believe that Clemens continued to pitch in 2005, because he wanted an opportunity to pitch with a healthy Andy Pettitte in a quest to advance to Houston's first World Series...and of course the large salary was a nice enticement.

Roger has stated that his mother's recent death has taken away some of his current desire to pitch. Hopefully, after he has some time to rest after the World Series, he will decide to continue his playing career. He is only two wins behind taking over 8th place on the all-time MLB pitching victories list. After his low league leading ERA, he obviously has the skills to compete.

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Well said. Even if Father Time has taken a little off Roger's fastball, he's still one of the best in the league. I can't count how many times this year he has given up 0, 1, or 2 runs and came away with a loss or no decision. With any luck, Roger would have won 20. Other teams were seemingly always putting up their ace against him.

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Silly boy...there is only one set of pinstripes. I was and always will be a fan of Andy Pettite. Besides being a great pitcher I admire him for his high morals and deep religious conviction. While I almost always root for the American League team I find myself rooting for the National League team two years in a row, last year for more obvious reasons. Unfortunately, I am beginning to fear similar results.

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Today's Star-Ledger newspaper reads "Book it now : Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez will be card no. 666 in the 2006 edition of Topps baseball cards. Topps officials acknowledge that the employee who assembles the company's card checklists is a Yankees fan who assigns the undesirable number to the pitcher or player on the team that knocks the Yankees out of the playoffs.That's why Keith Foulke, who got the last out of the 2004 ALCS, was number 666 in 2005 Total, and why the Florida Marlins' Josh Beckett, who beat the Yankees in the 2003 World Series finale, was 666 in the 2004 set. " You can't make this stuff up.

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