Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger Win Rookie of the Year Awards
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger won the Rookie of the Year Awards unanimously in their respective leagues, as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Judge, 25, hit .284/.422/.627 with 52 home runs, 114 RBI, and 128 runs scored in 678 plate appearances. He led the American League in home runs, runs scored, and walks (127). Judge made the AL All-Star team during the summer and just took home a Silver Slugger Award. He’s a major contender for the AL MVP Award as well. Judge is the first Yankee to win the Rookie of the Year Award since Derek Jeter in 1996.
Robert Mueller Can Now Close Down Russian Investigation
In May 2017, Robert Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department as special counsel to oversee the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, one of several investigations looking into the matter. Mueller can now close down that investigation because after chatting with former KGB agent and now President of Russia Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit President Trump is contradicting the overwhelming consensus among current and former U.S. officials that the Russian leader tried to manipulate the 2016 election. In a 26-minute question-and-answer session with reporters aboard Air Force One, the president managed to dismiss probes into whether his campaign colluded with Russia as an “artificial Democratic hit job,” said he believed Putin was being sincere when he insisted that Russia did not attempt to interfere in the 2016 election, and warned that the continued focus on Russian election meddling risks lives. I was worried there for a while that perhaps Russia didn’t respect us or value our way of life. So now I guess we can close down Mueller’s Russian investigation and get on with the real work of the Administration, that of giving a tax break to corporations as well as the wealthiest tax payers. And let’s create more ciaos in the health care system that will result in people paying more for health care no matter who they are.
Astros pitcher Charlie Morton got Corey Seager to send a weak ground ball to second baseman Jose Altuve, shifted into shallow right field, who made the throw to first baseman Yuli Gurriel to clinch the World Series 5 – 1.
They scored twice in the first inning and three times in the second against Yu Darvish, sustaining them over the remaining seven innings. No surprise here: Astros outfielder George Springer was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 World Series. A game seven for the World Series is always good. It’s the last winner-take-all event and is the buildup of all the series games prior to that combined with the culmination of the 162 game regular season.
It was fitting that Altuve made the final out for the Astros, as he was the most valuable player on the team and arguably in all of baseball. He finished the regular season batting .346/.410/.547 with 24 home runs, 81 RBI, 112 runs scored, and 32 stolen bases. He won the batting title and led the AL in hits. Aaron Judge led him in FanGraphs’ version of WAR (8.2 to 7.5). Baseball Reference’s version gave Altuve the edge (8.3 to Judge and Corey Kluber‘s 8.1). We’ll have to wait a couple weeks to find out if he won the AL MVP award. While my vote would have been for Judge, after seeing Jose Altuve in action over the course of the World Series, I can see why the two players are in such a close battle for the MVP vote. So the AL MVP will either be 5’6” or 6’7”. Yasiel Puig had a bad night. His Dodgers lost Game 7 of the World Series AND some yahoos broke into his house. This is a least the second time thieves have broken into his house. You think he could afford a security plan! If he is the target of a future break-in at least they won’t be stealing his World Series Ring. Catchers and pitchers report for Spring training on February 13, 2018.
David Kaplan of ESPN 1000 and NBC Sports Chicago reports that Yankees manager Joe Girardi will not return for the 2018 season. It was the team’s decision to part ways. Girardi guided a youthful Yankees core to this year’s American League Championship Series, but there had been growing chatter that a change might be coming both before and at various points during that impressive postseason run. Girardi finishes up his 10-year tenure in New York with a 910-710 managerial record and one World Series championship (2009). He’ll be a hot name on the open market if he wants to jump right back into managing somewhere else. There are a few managerial candidates out there. The Boston Red Sox hired the Houston Astros’ bench coach, Alex Cora, to be their manager on Sunday. The Red Sox announced the hire a day after the Astros eliminated the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. With two days off before Houston opened the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston had a chance to hire Cora without running afoul of Major League Baseball’s ban on major moves during the Series. He may end up being a good manager, but he has no managerial experience. While there are some people who speculate he should have been a leading candidate for the job, I disagree. You can’t come to the Yankees with no experience. I like Don Mattingly for the job, but the Yankees will have to hire him away from the total rebuilding effort planned for Derek Jeter’s Miami Marlins. Mattingly served as captain of the Yankees from 1991 through 1995. Returning to the Yankees as a coach in 2004 for manager Joe Torre, he followed Torre to the Dodgers in 2008, and succeeded him as the Dodgers’ manager in 2011. The Dodgers and Mattingly mutually parted ways after the 2015 season, and he became manager of the Miami Marlins. “Donnie Baseball” – where would you rather be – Yankees of Marlins?
World Series – Games 2, 3 and 4
A great comeback in the second game of the World Series on October 25th.by the Houston Astros to win the game in Los Angeles tying the Series
at one game apiece. The great Vin Scully was in the audience and I was reminded of another great World Series game finish in 1986, when with one strike from defeat, the Mets tie the game on a wild pitch and then, thanks to Red Sox’s Bill Buckner’s error (let the ball go through his legs) (below right), win Game 6, knotted the Fall Classic at three games apiece. This event was selected as one of baseball’s 30 most baseball memorable moments. “If one picture is worth a thousand words, you have seen about a million words, but more than that, you have seen an absolutely bizarre finish to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.” – Vin Scully, describing the aftermath of the play after a long silence. And of course the Mets went on to beat the Red Sox. Game three showed the value once again of home field. A good back and forth game with the Astros prevailing. Game 4 was moving along with some really good pitching as you would expect until the eighth inning and then the train came off the tracks. The Dodger’s first baseman Cody Bellinger‘s struggled through the first three games of the World Series. He went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in Game 3, which ran his hitless streak up to 11 at-bats in the Fall Classic. Bellinger turned his fortune around in Game 4, helping the Dodgers even the World Series at two games apiece with a 6-1 victory at Minute Maid Park. And we’re tied at two games apiece going into tonight’s game at publishing time.
I am on vacation this week! I’m not quite sure how that differs from my other weeks these days, but I’m calling it vacation.
Well anyway, I’m enjoying some time with a group of good friends, mostly old Navy guys. We spend a few days fishing, shooting at pumpkins filled with Tannerite, brushing up on our much unpracticed Texas Hold’em skills and sharing some great meals at The High Country Inn – Home. I’m sad to report no fish were harmed on our first day of fishing, but we’re picking up some today!
Friends should help you move. I can call on these friends to help move the bodies.
President Trump Moves To Decertify Iran Deal
As predicted in the previous edition of FOD (and some of those other media institutions) President Donald Trump is expected to put the 2015 Iran nuclear deal squarely in the hands of Congress, refusing to certify that Iran is in compliance with the deal but letting lawmakers decide whether to tear it up. Congress will now have to decide if they will reimpose sanctions on Iran with regard to the country’s nuclear program, or attach new conditions to the agreement. Those sanctions were lifted as part of the 2015 agreement, and reimposing them would effectively destroy the deal, known as the JCPOA. I watched his short speech announcing his actions. He focused on many actions Iran has taken over the years to destabilize nations in the region as well as their strident and continual support of terrorism around the globe. That terrorism includes state and non-state militant Moslem actions, cyber attacks, threats to freedom of navigation on the high seas coupled with their development of ballistic missiles in conjunction with their own nuclear development program. One of the big issues of concern to Tehran is how the president would treat the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the hardline military wing that had already been sanctioned for weapons proliferation under prior administrations. This is also of concern to European countries that do business with shell companies actually owned by the IRGC. According to a senior administration official, Trump intends to designate the corps as a supporter of terrorism, but will stop short of calling it a foreign terror organization. The administration is required to make the designation under legislation Trump signed in August covering sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea. Although officials had until Oct. 31 to decide, they are including the designation in today’s speech of the larger Iran strategy. Those in the administration who are worried about Iran misinterpreting or overreacting are eager to emphasize the distinction between being a supporter of terrorism and an actual terrorist organization. They also emphasize that it has no practical effect because of other existing IRGC designations, but that it could enrage the Iranians.
There were a lot of screw ups by Navy in this most meaningful game against that mountain time zone trade school on Saturday. Navy looked great in the first half, but allowed five touchdowns in the second half! It was ‘keystone cops’ in Navy’s defensive backfield and AFA QB Arion Worthman threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Bennett with 1:53 remaining to put the Falcons up 45-41. But Navy QB Abey moved the Midshipmen 75 yards in 11 plays for the go-ahead score. It was an epic drive. They were at their best when their best was needed. Most significantly was a 16-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Carmona with 15 seconds left, and the unbeaten Midshipmen defeated Air Force 48-45. The goal is always to sing second, we did! (The Alma Mater of the loser is sung first and the Alma Mater of the winner is sung last) Navy is now 5 and 0. Beat Army for the Commander and Chiefs Trophy and Beat Notre Dame. It’s always good to beat Notre Dame just because they think they deserve to beat Navy, something about they think God on their side.
Yankees Win and the Red Sox Win
Lots of parallels in both AL games today. Mookie Betts made a great catch to begin a great run by the Red Sox. And Aaron Judge makes a spectacular catch to rob Francisco Lindor of a two run home run in the sixth. Indians starter Carlos Carrasco and Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka traded zeroes in a rare — for this postseason, anyway — pitchers’ duel. Both starters were exceptional. Yankees first baseman Greg Bird proved to be the deciding factor in Sunday evening’s 1-0 victory over the Indians in Game 3 with a massive no doubter home run off Andrew Miller. Joe Girardi, who was booed at Yankee Stadium today for game two in Cleveland, then brought in Aroldis Chapman for a five-out save in the eighth. Chapman, as expected, fanned Yan Gomes and Giovanny Urshela. In the ninth, Chapman struck out Francisco Lindor, then worked around consecutive one-out singles by striking out Jay Bruce and getting Carlos Santana to fly out to left field.That staves off elimination and we move to game four. Both the Yankees and the Red Sox faced elimination today, both won in the home parks and both move to game four, another elimination game tomorrow.