Bits and Pieces: The Baseball Edition

Baseball season is now officially over and that means I'm counting the days already until the next Spring Training.  Here some baseball thoughts to tide us over until then.

1. Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals for their dramatic World Series victory.  Their 11 championships are second only to the 27 by my own New York Yankees.  It's good to see another franchise extend its winning ways, although I was rooting for the American League's Texas Rangers who have never won a World Series before.  The history of the Rangers is an interesting one, starting in 1961 as the replacement Washington Senators (after the original Senators became the Minnesota Twins) and then moved to Arlington, Texas.  Owner Nolan Ryan, one of the true legends of the sport, has turned the team into a winner, but that final objective of being the ultimate Major League Baseball champs.  Other teams who have never won it all are: the Houston Astros, the Milwaukee Brewers, the San Diego Padres, the Washington Nationals, the Seattle Mariners, the Colorado Rockies, and the Tampa Bay Rays.  If the Yankees don't win, I would like to see any one of those teams final enjoy the taste of championship victory (and it would be nice to see the Chicago Cubs finally end their long drought.)

2.  Manager Tony LaRussa announced his retirement from baseball.  He has had an amazing career, bringing two World Series rings to the St. Louis Cardinals and one to the Oakland Athletics.  It's great to see him go out while still on top.  Now we can speculate about who will replace him.  Bobby Valentine, anyone?

3.  The Washington Nationals hired Davey Johnson to be their new manager.  Best known for leading the New York Mets to their exciting 1986 World Series win, the guy is 68 years old, but still one of the sharpest minds around.  It will be interesting to see what he can do with the franchise.  The only other open managerial positions in baseball now are the ones for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox.  Other interim managers may also get replaced.  (Hey, guys, Bobby Valentine is available.)

4.  Pitcher C.C. Sabathia had the option to get out of his contract with the New York Yankees if he chose.  Other teams were ready to pounce and make an offer for the ace, but Sabathia agreed to stay -- thanks to a contract extension by the Yanks (an extra year and an extra $30,000,000).  The Bronx Bombers definitely couldn't risk losing him since he is the only solid, reliable part of their starting rotation.

5.  Across town, the New York Mets are hoping to forget the last few miserable years.  They will "shrink" the dimensions of Citi Field with new walls that are less deep and less tall.  While some might see this as a desperate act by a floundering team, others will see it as a possible boon for one of their stars, David Wright, who has struggled ever since the Mets replaced Shea Stadium.  It may also assist his fellow teammate Jason Bay and others.