posted 8 years ago
One of the best stories in baseball entered another chapter Monday, as the Tampa Bay Rays - with shortstop Jason Bartlett, a St. Mary's High and Delta College product - advanced to the American League Championship Series with a 6-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. The Rays' worst-to-first success story proves that anything is possible with the right combination of persistence and motivation, like these random thoughts for a Tuesday:
» Another century of waiting begins for Chicago Cubs fans after their dismal three-and-out with the Dodgers in the National League Division Series. The team with the best home record in the N.L. saved its worst performances at Wrigley Field for the playoffs. "Wait until next year has become such a cliché," former Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti told ESPN. "This was the biggest shock of all because so much was expected."
» It should not come as a surprise that Dodgers manager Joe Torre is in the postseason for the 13th consecutive season, the previous 12 as skipper of the Yankees, who failed to make the playoffs without him.
» Stagg High graduate Dallas Braden, who recently completed his second year pitching with the A's, is one of six current major-league players with Stockton ties. Braden, who's well on his way to having a nice career, hasn't forgotten where he came from, telling Record reporter Jason Anderson, "I value the friendships I've developed here at home. ... I think we all have a sense of where we're from, what we're doing and what we're trying to portray."
» The Raiders' ugly underbelly was on display for all to see in the person of owner Al Davis airing his dirty laundry in a farcical news conference to announce the firing of coach Lane Kiffin last Tuesday. After discrediting Kiffin for 45 minutes, Davis was overheard asking who would introduce his new puppet, err, coach, Tom Cable, to the media because he didn't know a lot about the guy.
» The 49ers are not ready for prime time, not even close, as proven in their past two games. New Orleans and New England shredded a defense that couldn't get off the field. Mike Martz's high-risk "sacks for scores" offense has yielded too much of the former to be consistently effective. And their schedule offers no breaks with Philadelphia coming Sunday to Candlestick Park with a trip the following week to the Meadowlands for a meeting with the currently unbeaten and defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
» Saturday's Red River Shootout should be a dandy and will have national championship implications with No. 1 Oklahoma facing arch-rival and fifth-ranked Texas at the Cotton Bowl. And it should be a shootout between Sooners quarterback Sam Bradford and Longhorns slinger Colt McCoy.
» Congratulations to owners Ed Marszalek, and Brian, John and Ren Nakashima for 50 years at Pacific Avenue Bowl, a 32-lane fixture for fun at the corner of Swain Road and Pacific Avenue.