The Spectacle Blog

Twins Fire Ron Gardenhire

By on 9.29.14 | 2:50PM

The Minnesota Twins have fired manager Ron Gardenhire after 13 seasons. Only Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels has had a longer active managerial tenure in MLB.

Gardenhire succeeded Tom Kelly as the Twins' skipper in 2002 and guided the team to the AL Central title. The Twins would win five more AL Central titles under Gardenhire, the most recent being in 2010. That season Gardenhire won AL Manager of the Year.

However, the Twins had trouble in the post-season. They advanced to the ALCS in '02, but were eliminated in the ALDS in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2010. On four of those occasions, they were bounced by the New York Yankees.

But at least they were winning back then. The Twins have had four consecutive losing seasons and have finished in last place in the AL Central in three of those seasons including 2014. The Twins finished 20 games back of the Tigers this season.

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My 2014 MLB Post-Season Predictions

By on 9.29.14 | 12:29PM

The 2014 MLB post-season gets underway tomorrow with the AL Wild Card matchup between the Oakland A's and Kansas City Royals. Without further adieu, here are my post-season predictions for 2014:


AL Wild Card - Oakland A's vs. Kansas City Royals

Winner: Royals

ALDS #1 (Best 3 out of 5) - Kansas City Royals vs. Los Angeles Angels

Winner: Angels in four

ALDS #2 (Best 3 out of 5) - Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles

Winner: Orioles in four

ALCS (Best 4 out 7) - Baltimore Orioles vs. Los Angeles Angels

Winner: Orioles in five

ALCS MVP: Steve Pearce, Baltimore Orioles


NL Wild Card - San Francisco Giants vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

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Four Observations of Obama’s Latest 60 Minutes Interview

By on 9.29.14 | 12:15PM

I did not watch President Obama's latest interview with 60 Minutes. However, I did read the transcript this morning and would like to make the following four observations:

1. When I Walked Into Office We Were in Two Wars. Well, Guess What!

Although Barack Obama has been President for nearly six years, he acts like he took office six months ago. When Steve Kroft asked if Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and Ebola were the most significant challenges of his presidency, Obama replied, "But if you think about what I walked into when I came into office, we had not only two wars still active....

Let's stop right there.

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Hong Kong Protests: Now This is an Occupy Movement I Can Support

By on 9.29.14 | 10:05AM

For the past four nights there have been massive protests in Hong Kong. Residents of the former British colony are angry that open elections will not be permitted in 2017. All candidates running must have Beijing's approval (re: they must be members of the Communist Party). Authorities in Hong Kong have used tear gas to dispel the protesters, but instead they have only grown in numbers.

When London returned Hong Kong to Chinese control in 1997, the Chinese promised "one country, two systems". Hong Kong has a degree of autonomy unknown in mainland China, but now Beijing is encroaching on that autonomy.

As with Tiananamen Square, this began as a student protest movement. But it has quickly grown into a broader movement. It has been dubbed the Umbrella Movement as umbrellas have been utilized as a means of protection from tear gas. It has also been dubbed by Occupy Central. Now this is an Occupy movement I can support.

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A Thought for Paul Konerko

By on 9.28.14 | 11:39PM

Tomorrow I will have an article up on Derek Jeter.

Over the past few weeks, Jeter had been praised as a credit to the game.

While all of this is true, Jeter isn't the only player who retired today who conducted himself in an exemplary manner. 

Today, Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko called it a career. There were no dramatic base hits, but White Sox fans bid him well just the same. After brief stints with the Dodgers and Reds, Konerko found a home in Chicago  in 1999 and became a fixture  on the South Side. Konerko probably won't get into Cooperstown, but he was named to six AL All-Star teams, drove in 100 or more runs six times, collected over 2,300 hits, belted  over 400 HR and won a World Series ring in 2005. Any way you look at it he had a very good career. 

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Tigers, Cardinals win AL/NL Central; A’s Hang on for Wild Card

By on 9.28.14 | 9:36PM

The 2014 post-season is all set.

The Detroit Tigers clinched the AL Central with a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins. David Price pitched a gem for the Tigers. It is their fourth consecutive AL Central title. 

The Tigers were favored to run away with the AL Central, but went back and forth all season with the Kansas City Royals. However, the Tigers went 13-6 against the Royals this season and that gave them an edge. Detroit will face the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS. 

As for the Royals, they will host the Oakland A's in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday. The A's beat the Texas Rangers 4-0 on a brilliant outing by Sonny Gray. The A's have gone 22-33 since trading Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox. Cespedes drove in 33 runs for the Red Sox. When you consider that 14 of their 33 losses were by one run, the A's might not have been in such a predicament had they held onto Cespedes. But they are in the post-season nonetheless.

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Jordan Zimmermann No-Hits Marlins on Final Day of Regular Season

By on 9.28.14 | 7:47PM

Jordan Zimmermann ended the 2014 regular season with a no-hitter against the Miami Marlins. 

The Nationals beat the Marlins 1-0. Their only run was a HR by Ian Desmond. Christian Yelich made the final out when defensive replacement Steven Souza made a spectacular catch in left to end the game.

The losing pitcher was Henderson Alvarez. On the last day of the 2013 season, Alvarez no-hit the Detroit Tigers.

Zimmermann's no-no was the fifth of the 2014 season. All of them were tossed by NL pitchers - Josh Beckett, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum as well as Cole Hamels and the Phillies bullpen. 

Zimmermann might be the most underrated pitcher in all of MLB. That ended today.


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“Praise Allah!!!” Shouted by Muslims in OK After Police Press Conference on Beheaded Woman

By on 9.28.14 | 1:00PM

As if the beheading of a woman in Oklahoma wasn't disturbing enough. 

After the conclusion of a press conference on Friday by local authorities concerning the beheading, a group of Muslims surrounded police and some of them chanted "Praise Allah!!!"

President Obama can say Islam does not condone these killings all he wants. The fact is there are Muslims on American soil (some of whom may have been born here) who are every bit as prepared to publicly delight in the death of an American as Muslims on the West Bank were following the attacks of September 11, 2001. This is a global problem and we are not immune from it. But as long as President Obama isn't prepared to acknowledge the problem, it will only continue to grow and our capacity to resist the problem will diminish. In time, it could diminish to the point where we no longer can fight back. 

Of course, how can President Obama acknowledge the problem if he, as of this moment, isn't prepared to make a statement about the beheading of Colleen Hufford? 

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Royals Will Make First Post-Season Appearance Since 1985

By on 9.26.14 | 11:42PM

The Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1 and with that victory will make their first post-season appearance in 29 years. It is the longest such drought in any of the four major professional sports. 

Their last post-season appearance occurred when they won the World Series in 1985. That year the Royals beat the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

Like the 1985 Royals, the 2014 edition have strong pitching and defense with an anemic offense. Their ace is James Shields and their bullpen is anchored by the one two punch of Wade Davis and Greg Holland. However, their best offensive player is Alex Gordon who hit a modest .265 with 19 HR and 74 RBI this season. 

Despite their lack of offense, the Royals are only a game back of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central and could still win the division. If not, the Royals will either face the Oakland A's or the Seattle Mariners in the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday. 

After the Royals clinched, the TV cameras turned to a smiling George Brett. 

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D’Backs Fire Kirk Gibson

By on 9.26.14 | 11:06PM

Six months ago I picked the Arizona Diamondbacks to win the World Series.

The D'Backs will finish the 2014 season with the worst record in MLB.

Today, the D'Backs fired manager Kirk Gibson.

In 2011, Gibson led Arizona to the NL West title, but the D'Backs have underachieved ever since. 

The writing was on the wall the moment back in May when  the D'Backs hired Tony La Russa to be Chief Baseball Officer. 

Earlier this month, Kevin Towers was dismissed as GM. It was only a matter of time before Gibby would follow him out the door.

Yesterday, the D'Backs named Dave Stewart their new GM. Stewart, of course, was La Russa's ace on those great Oakland A's in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Could firing Gibson be La Russa and Stewart's way of getting back at him for taking Dennis Eckersley deep in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series?

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