Well, if you're reading this, you've made it out alive. There are probably some some scars that will never heal after watching that utterly embarrassing performance on the road this season, but consider yourself one of the lucky ones.
Yep, the regular season is over. Now we can ignore what's happening on the field, discuss which players should be retained and which ones should be moved, and bring the demands for changes in the front office to a fever pitch.
... Oh wait, most people have already been doing that for the last three months?
Okay then, carry on.
Patrick Saunders wraps up the season from Los Angeles. Here he has notes on both the worst road record in franchise history (21-60), which is really saying something given the track record here, as well as Justin Morneau's batting title. (More on just the batting title here)
The batting title itself is something that's pretty hard for me to get worked up about either way. First of all, any Colorado player who wins this award by a narrow margin (let's say by less than 10 points) likely only got there because of Coors Field.
Secondly, the advance of sabermetrics has severely impacted the importance of batting average in the eyes of millions of intelligent fans. It's just not a number that should define you anymore. (Tulo even talked about this a little last year where he felt it was weird to look up at every stadium and see that batting average number so attached to every player when he grades his own game by so many other factors) So it's really hard for me to get worked up about Morneau winning the award by a few points, especially with the Rockies sitting him down to start the game yesterday (he did pinch hit late) to help preserve that .319 number. It was a pretty cowardly way to back into a feat that really doesn't matter all that much.
However, what I can get excited about is the fact that Morneau was a good signing, fun to watch at the plate all year, and displayed some badly needed traits on this team including hitting on the road and using the opposite field against good pitching. It's also a pretty heartwarming comeback story considering the way concussions have threatened to end his career. He's a difficult offseason decision for the club because on one hand he's a good sell high piece that won't be this productive as the Rockies head towards the middle of their next contention window, but at the same time he's exactly the type of hitter you want to compliment the biggest bat in your lineup with and have the young guys try to copy.
Since it seems to be the topic most folks want to read about, Woody Paige has the latest "make changes in the front office" piece as he begs the Braves to pick up Dan O'Dowd in an open letter. The arguments for and against the front office have grown tiresome with both sides mostly recycling stale points and rarely even addressing the strongest stances of their opponent -- unless it's with some brand of pompous snark. More importantly, this topic has engulfed the fan base, causing people to overlook some other bigger elephants in the room, which I hope to address in another piece soon. I'm not staunchly opposed to changes, but regardless of what happens here in the next few months, there's some pretty important things that won't change (some good, some bad) regardless of what happens on this front.
Drew linked this Hochman vs. Kiszla piece yesterday where they debate if Tulo is on a path to the Hall of Fame, but I couldn't help but link it again because there's a serious omission from this discussion: games played. With Tulo, it's really the only stat that matters going forward when it comes to this topic. It doesn't matter what cap he's wearing, as Hochman tries to argue, and there's plenty of park adjusted metrics out there to combat Kiszla's point about Coors Field.
Unfortunately, Tulo's injuries have impaired the ability of many to understand just how good of a player he is when he's on the field. If you extrapolate his numbers out to where he's playing 150 games a season, he'd be on pace to be one of the three greatest shortstop of ALL TIME!!! He can't get there now unless he finds a way to magically stay off the DL for the next eight years, but when healthy this is not just a Hall of Fame type player, but a generational type of player. The only thing blocking this man's path to Cooperstown is the number of games his uncooperative groin prevents him from participating in.
Jordan Zimmermann closed out the season in style yesterday tossing the first no hitter in National's history in a tight 1-0 game. To top it all off, the contest ended on a spectacular diving catch by Steven Souza in left field. After five disastrous years where Washington only average 66 wins from 2006 through 2010, the good times are certainly rolling in this city as they've now averaged 90 wins over the last four seasons. With that, they just need playoff success to stamp their claim as a true powerhouse in the National League - Especially since an NLCS win for them (if they get that far) will go through either the Cardinals or the Dodgers.
With the playoffs about to begin, Grant Brisbee ranks the possible 25 World Series match ups. (The number of possible match ups will be cut dramatically to 16 after the single game Wild Card clashes conclude on Wednesday evening.)
Dave Cameron also has some playoff goods for you. This time, the odds of each remaining team taking the big prize. As we've seen time and time again though, postseason baseball is about as predictable as a roulette wheel. This is why it shouldn't be a surprise that no team is given greater than a one in five chance to be crowned champions at the end of October.
Paul Konerko and Derek Jeter, two of the game's greats, made their final appearances on the diamond this weekend.