Central Miscasting

By Chris Rewers on Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday's 4-0, no-hit loss by the Cincinnati Reds to Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, was the 10th in a row in postseason play by NL Central champions.

Since the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series in 2006, Central Division champions have lost 10 straight - the Cubs lost three straight to the Arizona Diamondbacks in '07 and three more to the Los Angeles Dodgers in '08, and the Cardinals were swept by the Dodgers in a best-of-5 series last year.

The Milwaukee Brewers were a wild-card team in '08 and lost three of four to the Phillies, making the Central's postseason record 1-13 over the last four years.

Other random thoughts while watching Wednesday's playoff games:

* The Cubs. losers of nine straight postseason games dating back to 2003, now have a team to look down to after the Minnesota Twins lost their 10th straight by falling to the New York Yankees, 6-4, in Game 1 of the ALDS.

* I find it amusing when TV cameras focus on a fan with hands folded in prayer during a crucial moment in a game like when a Twins fan was shown seeking divine intervention during a crucial Jim Thome at-bat in the seventh inning of Wednesday's game. It didn't work because Thome struck out.

I understand that many baseball fans may consider the Twins-Yankees series to be a battle of good vs. evil, but that's a stretch. I'm not a theologian but I doubt God was playing favorites when Thome was batting against Yankees right-hander David Robertson. Nor does the good lord care whether a Twins fan or Yankees fan is gratified by the result of an at-bat.

* After a regular season of watching mostly National League games, Wednesday's Twins-Yankees game reminded me of how slow-w-w-w-w American League games, especially those involving the Yanks, often times are. AL games lack tempo and it makes them more difficult for casual fans to enjoy.

* During Wednesday's Rangers-Rays telecast, it was pointed out several times that the game at Tropicana Field was a sellout and that Thursday's game will also draw a full house. Announcers Don Orsillo and Buck Martinez referenced last week's admonishment of their fans by Rays Evan Longoria and David Price because only 12,000 turned out for a Monday night game at the Trop in which Tampa Bay could have clinched a playoff berth.

Hawk Harrelson, during a White Sox telecast last week, agreed with Longoria and Price and further said that the lack of support was proof that Tampa Bay did not deserve a team.

"That team should have been placed in Orlando," Harrelson, who resides in Orlando during the offseason, said.

I'm reminded of when the Pittsburgh Pirates were far short of selling out Game 7 of the 1991 NL Championship Series at Three Rivers Stadium. I was a newspaper high school sports stringer back then and I remember one of our reporters chastising Pittsburgh fans for their lack of support.

I don't think it's right for a player or a media member to tell a fan how he should spend his money. Baseball tickets are expensive, postseason tickets especially so. If a fan would rather watch a game on TV from the comfort of his home instead of spending a small fortune on nosebleed seats, that's his right.

* Cubs TV analyst Bob Brenly will join the omnipresent Dick Stockton on TBS' telecast of Thursday night's Giants-Braves series opener (8:30 p.m.). Brenly, who two weeks ago pulled his name from consideration for the Cubs' managerial job, is rumored to be a candidate for the vacant Brewers manager's post. I get that Brenly is itching to return to the dugout but should he do so he would be sorely missed by this Cubs fan.

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