Who are you rooting for in the Wildcard round?

question_marksFor fans of 20 teams (including both the New York ones), baseball season ended on Sunday. We need to find a rooting interest if we’re going to follow the playoffs instead of getting wrapped up in football or preseason hockey.

Tuesday, Sept. 30: American League Wildcard Game – Oakland Athletics vs. Kansas City Royals 

I’m ok with whichever team comes out of the American League Wildcard Game because I don’t have strong feelings about either the Athletics or Royals. I enjoyed watching the Bash Brothers and “Bo Knows Baseball” a couple of decades ago, but don’t think I could name the starting nine for either team now. Checking the rosters, the Royals have “you probably forgot he was a Met” Jason Vargas. The Athletics have “you probably forgot he was never really a Met” Scott Kazmir. Neither should factor into tonight’s game.

Wednesday, Oct. 1: National League Wildcard Game – San Francisco Giants vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

The National League game is a tougher call for me. I like Pablo Sandoval (when he’s not up against David Wright in the All-Star voting), Tim Lincecum and the injured Angel Pagan. But Buster Posey makes me crazy, given that no one seems able to decide whether he’s too valuable to play catcher or valuable because he is a catcher. I think I’ll be pulling for Pittsburgh, because let’s face it – it would be really funny if Ike Davis got to the World Series after being dumped by the New York Mets.

Assuming that your team didn’t make it, who are you rooting for in the playoffs this year?

George “Shotgun” Shuba, 1924-2014

George "Shotgun" Shuba signed photo from my collection (Photo taken circa 2008 by Bart Miller)

George “Shotgun” Shuba signed photo from my collection (Photo taken circa 2008 by Bart Miller)

Former Brooklyn Dodger George “Shotgun” Shuba passed away today at his home in Ohio, according to news reports. He was 89.

Shuba was one of the last surviving members of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers team that won their only World Series title.

Bob Borkowski, Roger Craig, Carl Erskine, Sandy Koufax, Tommy Lasorda and Don Newcombe are all that remain, and only Craig, Erskine and Newcombe appeared in the World Series.

R53PECT

(Check out more of my photos from Bobby Abreu’s final major league game at my Flickr account.)

Early endings

Jon Niese (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Jon Niese (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

There are just two games left to play after Friday’s Mets loss to the Houston Astros, but the game last night provided a strong reminder that there are more important things than baseball.

Jonathon Niese exited in the sixth inning with an elevated heart rate, the third time in his career that the issue has come up during a game.

“It’s certainly something that you can’t mess with at the time,” Terry Collins said after the game. “He said it was really racing fast, so we took him out.”

While Niese said that “it’s not really that scary,” he’s due for another round of medical testing so that doctors can make sure. According to MLB.com reporter Anthony DiComo, Niese was originally scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure to correct a problem with his heart in 2012, but doctors told him it was unnecessary and he cancelled it.

I hope that Niese is right, that his elevated heart rate isn’t a cause for major concern. But I’ll disagree with him on one point – any time we’re talking about heart issues, it’s scary. I know that I’ll be keeping him in my prayers.

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A storybook ending to a Hall of Fame career

Last night, Derek Jeter gave millions of New York Yankees fans a storybook ending to his Hall of Fame career.

You didn’t even have to be a Yankee fan to appreciate the moment.

Here’s what my friend Vinny – a die hard Mets fan – posted on Twitter last night after he got home from Yankee Stadium:

Like some of the Mets players, I tuned in to watch Derek Jeter’s final moments as a player in the Bronx once my team’s game was over.

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