Friday, October 20, 2006

Legends Of The Accordion: The Ed Spiezio Story

This is the World Series showdown which was meant to be (and the one which the Pitchfork Projection correctly envisioned last week by referencing Brandon Inge's meat-gravy-stain of a soul patch vs. Scott Spiezio's fuchsia-coloured-chinny-tail).
By this time next week, one of these teams -- Detroit or St. Louis -- will be on its way to a CHINcredible World Series triumph.
Which only goes to show ... a playoff format SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK.

In a college-football-like scenario, we'd have polls and computerized computations and, thereby, the Phillies would finish higher in the final rankings than St. Louis due to their victory over the Yankees in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and due to a "strength of schedule" quotient attached to the won-loss record.
As it was for the achy-breaky hearts of Phillie fans, all they got was ex-Phillie Placido Polanco snuggling with his ALCS MVP as ex-Phillie Endy Chavez took our breaths away by taking a homer away from ex-Phillie Scott Rolen.

It's true ... the playoff format is ridiculously flawed.
The Phillies had a better record than the Cards (85-77 to 83-78) -- and that includes the 34 games (almost one-fourth of the season) that the Cards played against those junior-college teams known as the Pirates and the Cubs (St. Loo went 17-17 in those games).

It might've been fun to see a bottom of the 9th last night which featured Adam Wainwright trying to close it out against Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.
As it was, it was kinda weak seein' Cliff Floyd takin' Strike Three and Carlos Beltran takin' a Called Third on that filthy deuce.
There's one argument that states, "Those were unhittable hooks" -- and then there's the counter-argument which states, "With twi strikes, ya gotta stay alive."
Then again, Beltran was a .224 hitter at home this year; .317 on the road. Carlos Delgado hit .226 at Shea; .304 on the road.
Those are two of those "throw-the-stats-out-the-window" stats which cannot be thrown out the window.

There can be no argument about this: The Shea Stadium crowd was too quiet in the 9th. Maybe everybody was waitin' for somebody to take the bold step of Text Mookie for that much-needed grounder through Buckner's legs.
Either way, no decibel levels were threatened.
Detroit and St. Louis won't allow that to happen -- notwithstanding Brandon Inge's chocolate-syrup-chin-smudge and Scott Spiezio's cherry-syrup-chin-splotch.

Not that this'll be a great World Series, other than the poop stain on Inge's chin vs. the bloody squirrel pelt stapled to Spiezio's lower lip.
And, nobody's going to put last night's Game 7 with the vintage Game 7's of all-time.
Although Gammons might.
Earlier on Thursday, when he was asked to name the best Game 7 ever, Gammons didn't hesitate to say, "1991."
To reiterate: That's not really Gammons talking.
It's the Gamm-eurism.

Game 7 of the 1991 World Series doesn't crack a baseball fan's Top 10 because, ummmm ... it sucked.
That is, unless you liked the 4th inning recap.
Top of the 4th -- Justice struck out. Bream flied to left. Hunter doubled to left. Olson lined to right.
Bottom of the 4th -- Hrbek was hit by a pitch. Davis popped to left. Harper flied to right. Mack popped to second.
That's right, America -- Sid Bream AND Chili Davis hit weak flies to LF ... IN THE SAME INNING!
And, in his next AB, Chili Davis grounded into a DP.
Imagine that.

The Gamm-eurism Paradigm is founded on the notion that only a 0-0, pitcher's duel is a great game.
But, 2-2 in the 8th ... 3-3 in the 7th ... yup, that'll work.
So, while America awaits Gammons' recovery from the Gamm-eurism, we can detoxify our minds by ranking Game 7 of the '91 WS well below Game 7 of the '86 WS ... Game 7 of the '67 WS ... Game 7 of the '92 NLCS ... Game 7 of the '75 WS ... Game 7 of the '04 NLCS ... Game 7 of the '97 WS ... Game 7 of the '72 WS ... Game 7 of the '73 WS ... Game 7 of the '01 WS ... Game 7 of the '68 WS.
And those are from the past 40 years.
If we look at Game 7 of the '55 World Series ...

Actually, maybe FOX will mess with our America's head and sneak in a clip of the '68 Tigers-Cards Series, particularly that moment in the top of the 9th inning in Game 5 when McCarver was standing on second base and Scott Spiezio's dad (Ed) was perched at first with one out.
McCarver had opened the 9th with a single and Ed Spiezio -- in his lone '67 WS AB -- hit a pinch single.
It could've spelled big frickin' trouble for Mickey Lolich (leading by a 5-3 score, but trailing the series, 3-games-to-1) especially with pinch-hitter Roger Maris settling into the batter's box and with Lou Brock (who was 3 for 4) in the on-deck circle.
With the season on the line, Lolich struck out Maris and retired Brock on a game-ending comebacker.
Three days later, Lolich -- pitching on TWO days' rest -- outdueled Bob Gibson in Game 7, holding the Redbirds without a run until a meaningless homer in the 9th by Mike Shannon (who has since used his broadcaster's voice to coax many a Cardinal homer over the fence with his trademark bark of "Come on! Get up, get up!").

Here's the sad part: That was Ed Spiezio's final AB as a Card. Two months after the season, he was dealt to San Diego.
The cartoon on the back of Ed Spiezio's 1970 Topps trading card tells the story: "Ed likes to play the accordion."

All anyone wants is Ed Spiezio to play "The Star-Spangled Banner" on the accordion before Game 3 in The New Busch.
That is, after Jerome Bettis throws out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 1.
After all, Jerome Bettis is from Detroit ...

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