Headlines from around the Continuum: October 21, 2014

A sampling of baseball-related headlines from the Newseum, with the occasional note from me on what they are talking about:

(Note that I try to copy the style of the paper as well, hence why some are in ALL CAPS while others aren’t. Also, I ignored extremely basic-and extremely common- headlines like “World Series Preview” or “Game tonight”. I’ll occasionally make an exception for the team’s “home” newspapers)

Headline: World Series starts tonight!

San Francisco Chronicle: Tight-knit pitchers give Giants a Southern accent

San Francisco Examiner: Winning Formula: Giants tap red-hot ‘MadBum’ for Game 1

Kansas City Star: KC: A BASEBALL TOWN

TimesDaily (Florence, AL): SHOALS IN THE SERIES (Sergio Romo and Josh Willingham, both in the World Series, had played for the Florence-based University of North Alabama in the past)

Bakersfield Californian: DYNASTY VS. DESTINY

Merced (CA) Sun-Star: Giants-sized gear purchases (On the demand for San Francisco Giants gear)

Modesto Bee: S.F. Fans getting geared up (On Modesto-area Giants fans)

Oakland Tribune: Giants’ toughness starts at the top (On Brian Sabean, Giants GM)

The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, CA): VETERAN BULLPEN EYES THIRD RING

Orange County Register: WILD-CARD WORLD SERIES

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: THEY’VE HIT IT BIG (On Eric Hosmer and Michael Morse, who played high school ball in Broward County, FL)

Des Moines Register: Loyals to the crown (on Iowa fans of the Royals)

News-Gazette (Champaign, IL): Series business (I had to include this simply because of the bad pun)

Redeye (Chicago, IL): LOVABLE LONGSHOTS (On the Royals- there’s a picture of a container of barbecue sauce with them on it)

Lawrence (KS) Journal-World: ROYAL FEVER

Ottawa (KS) Herald: WORLD APART (on how a Ottawa native’s brother lives in San Francisco, leading to the two of them rooting for different teams in the World Series)

Wichita Eagle: Royals fans in Wichita are living a dream

Joplin (MO) Globe: Royal Rhythm (On how Missouri Southern’s drumline will be performing in Kansas City for World Series festivities) Also on the front page: LONG WAIT ENDS TODAY

News-Leader (Springfield, MO): Hopping on Royals bandwagon?

McDowell (County, NC) News: Down to Earth in the World Series (on Greg Holland, who went to High School in McDowell County, NC.)

Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, SD): MOST UNLIKELY WORLD SERIES

Yankton (SD) Daily Press: SERIOUS SERIES (on local fans of Royals and Giants)

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Former TCU ace could be factor as World Series opens tonight (The ace is Brandon Finnegan)

USA Today: Royal underdogs vs. Giant legacy

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: NED YOST DOESN’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK

Hamilton (Canada) Spectator: 2014 WORLD SERIES: The party crashers vs. the old pros

Vanguardia (Saltillo, Mexico): BUSCAN HACER HISTORIA! (“Looking to make history!”)

El Nacional (Caracas, Venezuela): Siete venezolanos en play (Seven Venezuelans Play)

 

 

Check back throughout the World Series for more headlines!

 

 

 

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Quick Aside/Update on the Curse of the Colonel

Aside

The one team standing between the Hanshin Tigers and the end of the Curse of the Colonel will be the Softbank Hawks, who won the Pacific League title earlier today (Eastern Time)/last night (Japan Time).

Continuum Baseball Rankings Update (Oct. 20, 2014): Asian Games moves some stuff around, but nothing drastic

The Asian Games occurred late last month. Seven of the eight teams had a talent-level good enough to have it count for them in the Continuum Rankings (Korea, for example, sent KBO players, while Taipei sent players from the Affiliated Minors. The one team that didn’t qualify for Continuum Rankings was Japan, which sent amateurs and semi-pros, which isn’t enough to count). Korea won.

Now, despite all of this, there wasn’t too much movement. While Taipei lost a small amount of points and Korea gained over 19 points, those weren’t enough to cause any changes in the top 10. Instead, there were minor changes down the board, with China and Germany flip-flopping, South Africa and Hong Kong doing the same, and Finland and Mongolia switching places down near the bottom.

Anyway, look below the jump for the full rankings.

 

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Is this the end of the Curse of the Colonel?

Okay, jump into your nearest Wayback Machine, DeLorean, TARDIS, or George Carlin-approved Phone Booth, and go to the year 1985, to the Kansai Region of Japan. The Osaka area, to be exact. The Hanshin Tigers have just beaten the Seibu Lions, 4 games to 2, to win the Japan Series. It’s the first time they’ve won the NPB championship, and the first time the team has been Japan’s champion since 1947, three years before the founding of NPB.

In celebration, fans of the Tigers* gathered near a local river, with fans shouting out the names of star players followed by people who resembled the player then jumping in. However, there was one problem: The team’s star player, Randy Bass, was not Japanese, but instead a bearded American named Randy Bass. With nobody around who resembled him, they instead grabbed a statue of Colonel Sanders from a nearby KFC and threw it in instead.

The following year, they fell to third in the Central League. The year after that, they were last. The year after that, they were last again. In fact, they would prove to generally be asecond-division team every year until 2003. In that time, an explanation was come up with- it was a curse. A curse from Colonel Sanders.

Visits to the Japan Series in 2003 and 2005 ended in defeat, and four playoff appearances since had seen them go out in the first stage of the “Climax Series” (the first stage of the “Climax Series” is roughly analogous to the LDS round of MLB, although the fact it pits the 2nd and 3rd best teams in each league make it a bit similar to the Wild Card Play-In).

But then, this year, they got through the first stage of the Climax Series (defeating Hiroshima) and got to Stage 2 against their rivals, the Yomiuri Giants. Now, Stage 2 of the Climax Series is a weird thing to American eyes. While it essentially is a LCS round, it’s a best-of-6. Yes, you read that right: best-of-six. The team with the better record/home field gets a 1-game advantage to start the series, meaning that they only need to win 3 games, while the other team needs to win 4.

The Giants are winners of 35 Central League titles and 22 Japan Series titles in their history. When you consider that the modern NPB was founded in 1950, you can see why they are called the “Yankees of Japan”. And this year, they again had great success, winning the Central League by 7 games over Hiroshima and Hanshin and racking up the best record in Japanese baseball.

But, what do you know? The Tigers swept them 4-straight, winning game four by a 8-4 score, with home runs by Matt Murton, Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Kosuke Fukudome and a late 2-run double by Mauro Gomez. You can see highlights here.

Their fans celebrated, of course, by jumping into the river:

So, now, the Tigers head to the Japan Series. They will face either Soft Bank or Nippon Ham. Will they win? I don’t know. But there is something to be noted here. Something that is different from the last few post-curse times they reached the Japan Series.

You see, a few years ago, a good chunk of the Colonel Sanders statue was found. This will be the Tigers’ first appearance in the Japanese Series since the Colonel was recovered. And so, it won’t be long until the world learns… whether the Colonel’s Curse lives.

Stay tuned.

 

*You may remember the Hanshin Tigers from my discussion of a Pokemon baseball episode.

Mr. Octobers of Last Night (October 16, 2014)

The Mr. Octobers of last night are Madison Bumgarner and walk-off HR hero Travis Ishikawa.

Standings (PP= Position Player, P= Pitcher, * means eliminated from playoffs):

PP Alex Gordon 13

P Madison Bumgarner 11

PP Travis Ishikawa 10

PP Mike Moustakas 8

P Andrew Miller 8*

P Yusmeiro Petit 8

PP Nelson Cruz 6*

PP Matt Carpenter 6*

P Wade Davis 5

PP Pablo Sandoval 5

PP Kolten Wong 5*

P Pat Neshek 5*

P Jeremy Affeldt 5

P Greg Holland 5

PP Lorenzo Cain 5

P Kelvin Herrera 5

PP Buster Posey 5

P Kevin Gausman 3*

PP Delmon Young 3*

PP Joe Panik 3

P Jake Peavy 3

P Yordano Ventura 3

PP Eric Hosmer 3

P Jered Weaver 3*

PP Brandon Belt 3

P Zack Greinke 3*

PP Matt Kemp 3*

P Bud Norris 3*

P James Shields 3

P Doug Fister 3*

PP Wilson Ramos 3*

P John Lackey 3*

PP Matt Adams 3*

P Trevor Rosenthal 3*

PP Bryce Harper 3*

P Ryan Vogelsong 3

PP Brandon Crawford 1

PP Brandon Moss 1*

P Brandon Finnegan 1

Last Night’s Mister Octobers (October 15, 2014)

Yesterday’s Mr. Octobers:

Orioles/Royals: Kelvin Herrera (the whole bullpen for the Royals was fantastic, but Herrera went longest) and Alex Gordon (simply for that amazing catch, if anything. I mean, jeez, I thought he’d get killed doing that.)

Cardinals/Giants: Yusmeiro Petit and Buster Posey.

 

Standings (PP= Position Player, P= Pitcher, * means eliminated from playoffs):

PP Alex Gordon 13

PP Mike Moustakas 8

P Andrew Miller 8*

P Yusmeiro Petit 8

PP Nelson Cruz 6*

PP Matt Carpenter 6

P Madison Bumgarner 6

P Wade Davis 5

PP Pablo Sandoval 5

PP Kolten Wong 5

P Pat Neshek 5

P Jeremy Affeldt 5

PP Travis Ishikawa 5

P Greg Holland 5

PP Lorenzo Cain 5

P Kelvin Herrera 5

PP Buster Posey

P Kevin Gausman 3*

PP Delmon Young 3*

PP Joe Panik 3

P Jake Peavy 3

P Yordano Ventura 3

PP Eric Hosmer 3

P Jered Weaver 3*

PP Brandon Belt 3

P Zack Greinke 3*

PP Matt Kemp 3*

P Bud Norris 3*

P James Shields 3

P Doug Fister 3*

PP Wilson Ramos 3*

P John Lackey 3

PP Matt Adams 3

P Trevor Rosenthal 3

PP Bryce Harper 3*

P Ryan Vogelsong 3

PP Brandon Crawford 1

PP Brandon Moss 1*

P Brandon Finnegan 1