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Some Quick Thoughts On Day 6 Of The Playoffs

I haven't decided if I want to keep writing these posts every day, so if I suddenly come to a stop, don't be alarmed. It's either because I couldn't think of anything, or I just didn't feel like it. Or I guess it could be because I've fallen gravely ill. Then be alarmed. And please tell my mother.

  • For as long as I've been alive and watching baseball, Bobby Cox has been there, managing the Braves. I never particularly cared for them. I never particularly cared for Bobby Cox. I don't have any anecdotes, and the Cox-era Braves don't hold any deep significance to me. All I know is that, during my childhood, they were always on. It was the Braves on TBS, and the Cubs on WGN. I got both those channels in San Diego, and so if I wound up watching baseball, more often than not I'd be watching the Cubs, or I'd be watching the Braves, under Bobby Cox.

    So Bobby Cox is the first name that comes to mind when I think of Braves baseball. And as of right now, today, he's no longer with them. I don't know if he's officially retired, if he's filed all the paperwork, but he's retired, and he's not coming back. He and his wife have a cruise, and they're cruising next April.

    That doesn't make me feel happy, or sad, or anything, really, except...well not "old", but it makes me feel like I'm getting older, because the names I grew up with in the game are beginning to go away. Cox. Lou Piniella. Joe Torre, soon. Tony La Russa, not a moment too soon. And of course there are guys like Ken Griffey Jr. and Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, who are finished as players.

    The era I grew up on is ending, and a second era is beginning. An era with Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg and Carlos Santana and Joe Maddon and Jon Daniels and all these young guys is just getting started. That's really exciting, but it's also tied directly to the passing of time, which I've no choice but to acknowledge. I'm young. I'm not a kid. When I was a kid, Bobby Cox managed the Braves, and Matt Williams was a somebody. Not anymore.

    I suppose Jim Leyland's time will come sooner or later. But I've still got Jamie Moyer.

  • Yesterday, Brooks Conrad went 0-3 with three errors. Today, Alex Gonzalez went 1-4 with two errors and this:

    Down 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, with one on and one out, Gonzalez stepped in and hit a soft liner to short. He didn't bust it out of the box, instead taking a couple slow steps forward until he realized that Edgar Renteria had dropped the ball, at which point he began a moderate jog. Renteria was able to throw him out at first.

    Obviously, when you hit a soft liner directly to the shortstop, it's discouraging, and you expect him to make the play. I just don't get how this isn't a bigger deal. It's the playoffs. You'd think the media would be all over a guy who didn't hustle in the eighth inning of an elimination game. Especially when that same guy barely did anything at the plate, and made a critical throwing error in the top of the seventh that at least in part allowed the Giants to take the lead. Alex Gonzalez had a really bad day. And - at least as far as I can tell - nobody cares.

    Whatever. They're done.

  • With two down and the bases loaded in a 2-2 game, Cody Ross grounded a single into left field. The single allowed Buster Posey to score the go-ahead run, but on the same play, Matt Diaz came up and threw a strike to nail Pat Burrell at the plate for the third out. That's a really uncertain moment. On the one hand, 3-2 Giants. On the other hand, thrilling out.

    Dick Stockton actually sounded more excited about the outfield assist than he did about the base hit, and the Turner Field crowd erupted when Burrell was tagged. But I have trouble imagining myself getting really excited. I mean, Buster Posey just scored the go-ahead run. Like five seconds earlier. How do you go from mourning a devastating single to cheering a good play in five seconds? I could understand something half-hearted, but there's no way I could've put my soul into it. By the time Diaz's throw arrived at home I would've already slumped back into my seat.

    The only way it makes sense is if the fans at Turner Field finished responding to the single within those five seconds. That way, it's like two different events. You have the single, which sucked, and then you have the totally separate outfield assist, which was cool.

    Those fans adjust to things quickly.

  • Cody Ross was originally claimed off waivers by the Giants to block him from getting to the Padres. Tonight, he became one of the biggest reasons the Giants are advancing to the NLCS. The playoffs do funny things to a team.

  • On consecutive days, Eric Hinske and Brian McCann hit what could've been two of the bigger home runs in recent franchise history. They would've been linked to Rick Ankiel's shot from Game 2 as watershed moments in a tight, hard-fought series, and Hinske or McCann or Hinske and McCann could've been revered as local heroes. It isn't to be, because Aubrey Huff hit a ball off the end of the bat, Cody Ross put a grounder in the perfect spot, Alex Gonzalez made a bad throw, and Brooks Conrad let a ball go through his legs. Those stand as the true turning points. And those are some lame-ass turning points.