Sports Jeopardy by Andy Dolich

Andy Dolich -- 2015

This Cincinnati Red carries the name of 
an Emperor and
Indian Chief

(Answer above Outlaw's Outtakes)

Andy Dolich has over five decades of leadership in the sports industry, including executive positions in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, pro soccer and lacrosse. Presently Dolich is COO of the Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) and teaches sports business at Stanford's School of Continuing Studies. Dolich is also co-author of the new book:
Outlaw's Outtakes -- 2019 World Series

11-4-2019 - MLB
The Nats' Trea Turner was called out in Game Six for running straight to first base, 
inside the base line, ahead of the ball

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
by Pete Elman

The Good: I grew up in Washington, D.C. The year was 1959.  I was seven and my Dad took me to a Senators game against the Yankees. I hated the Yankees--and still do. After the game, I waited outside the clubhouse for Mickey Mantle to give me his autograph. He snubbed me, and I never forgot it. But I always thought that had the Mick not ruined his knee on that sprinkler grate in the 1951 Series, off a ball hit by Willie Mays, he would have been the greatest player to ever play the game. We'll never know. But last Wednesday night, in Houston, all was forgiven. The ghosts of Damn Yankees were exorcised. No longer " First in war, first in peace, and last in the American League"-- my hometown team, for the first time since 1924, won it all. I feel like I've reclaimed my baseball birthright.

In one of the most riveting, unusual and compelling fall classics ever, the Nats' were the ones left standing, winning their fifth straight elimination game. The stories are many: Davey Martinez, almost fired in May, comes back from a heart procedure in September and goes with his gut to lead a group of savvy, hungry veterans to the promised land. Juan Soto shows why someday he'll be an MVP, and Stephen Strasburg, intentionally sidelined for the 2012 playoffs, becomes the Series MVP, with two of the grittiest pitching performances you will ever see. It was a great moment, and the good guys--Kendrick, Zimmerman, Suzuki, Rendon et al--won. And there is one former beloved former Athletic who stands tall today. " the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance. As much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with them, I just can't do it." Sean Doolittle, gracefully declining the team's visit to the White House.

The Bad: I feel sorry for Zack Greinke. In the midst of arguably his finest hour, his manager pulls him, after only 80 pitches. A solo homer and a bad-call walk and, like that, he's gone. AJ Hinch made not one, but two of the biggest bonehead moves ever by a manager in a Game Seven. First, he went by the almighty sabermetric bible  and decided that the "early hook" was in order. Then, inexplicably, he leaves arguably the best pitcher in the world, Gerrit Cole, in the pen, knowing that reliever Will Harris was bordering on a dead arm.

But as bad as that was, it pales by comparison to the fiasco in Game Six. I am not an advocate for robot umpires--I just want better umpires, guys who have the courage to know when they blow it, and reverse an awful mistake before it's too late, before their corporate bosses go into spin mode. As always, the cover-up is way worse than the act. To watch Joe Torre's postgame attempt to justify the disaster was painful--he looked like he was channeling his inner Mick Mulvaney. It's one thing to simply blow a call at first base (think Don Denkinger) but it's another to impulsively invoke a misunderstood rule when it was clear Trea Turner did nothing wrong. This call would have been the baseball equivalent of the Tuck Rule game, had the Nats' lost. Thankfully, they didn't. But it doesn't change the fact that replay doesn't work. And poor Will Harris, who was iced for ten minutes while the umps played with their headsets, waiting for the inevitable wrong decision to come down from New York. No wonder he gave up that homer to Rendon--and, the next game, the dinger that sealed their doom--to Kendrick.

The Ugly: There is such a thing as karma. And the Astros may have been undone by their own bad karma as much as the Nats' heroics. When they signed Blue Jay closer Rafael Osuna, suspended for a terrible incident of domestic violence against the mother of his three-year old, who was understandably terrified to leave her native Mexico, well, that was bad enough.  Then when Wall Street frat boy assistant Astro GM Brandon Taubman went off in the postgame pennant-winning locker room celebration, yelling six times  at three women reporters, "Thank God we got Osuna. I'm so f---ing glad we got Osuna!" -- that was really bad. But when the Astros GM tried to gaslight Sports Illustrated, which ran the story, calling it "fake news" corroborated by four witnesses--they crossed the line into Trumpian territory. In one of the most pathetic misogynist walk-backs of all time, the team could not even apologize directly to the reporter who they gaslighted, Stephanie Apstein of SI.

The Astros have a history of alleged cheating, double-dealing and a lot more. Lest we forget, they were originally called the "Colt .45's." Now they have to answer for not only this ugliness, but for choking a World Series everyone thinks they should have won. I, for one, am glad they didn't. Karma is a bitch...

Pete Elman, Rockridge, November 3, 2019

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From 2000-2005 I wrote a column for the late great Oakland Athletics Fan Coalition (OAFC) entitled  Elman Swings,
a play on the fact that I'm a musician. Some of you may remember the OAFC, an East Bay organization that at its peak had several thousand members devoted to keeping the A's in Oakland and guess what? They've succeeded. Perhaps one or two of you might remember my articles (more like rants) about baseball and society. So when the Ultimate Sports Guide asked me to compose regular screeds called Outlaw's Outtakes, how could I say "No?" ('Outlaw' is their nickname for me.) -- Pete Elman