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National Pastime Archive: September 2008


  • KILL - Epic postseason performances

    The 2008 playoffs kicked off yesterday, and only time will tell how memorable this year's postseason will be. The storylines to this point are spectacular, from the Rays' improbable run to the Brewers' late-season comeback to the one-game playoff between the Twins and White Sox. But the question is, Will something happen during the next several weeks that will make this year's playoffs stick out in the minds of baseball fans for years to come? Only time will tell. But for now, as we anxiously wait to see how the 2008 postseason plays out, let's take a look back at some the greatest performances in playoff history. By Nick Leco. Published September 30 2008

  • KILL - Division Series predictions

    Just about every sports fan secretly believes they're Nostradamus. It's why sportsbooks thrive, millions play in fantasy leagues and crinkled $20 bills reluctantly change hands at work every Monday during football season. The truth, however, is that we watch sports because of its unpredictability; with apologies to "The Hills," sports are the closest thing to actual reality TV. So, if we're all just making educated guesses, what's the point of airing them out? Because it's fun, that's why. Before we all change our minds, here are the National Pastime staff's Division Series picks. Published September 30 2008

  • KILL - Playoff shakedown: Who's got the goods?

    With the White Sox staking their claim to the A.L. Central crown in Game 163 and earning a date with Tampa Bay, our matchups are finally set. This postseason promises to put the finishing touches on what has been a glorious year for baseball, so make sure to finagle some couch allowance from the wife or get that DVR set up. You won't want to miss the next 30 days of baseball, for "there's only one October!" So, which of the eight surviving teams has the goods to get the job done? Glad you asked. By Sean Raposa. Published September 30 2008

  • Raise your glasses ...

    Make no mistake about it: Every one of this year's playoff teams will have a legitimate chance to hoist the World Series trophy. On the flip side, none of them are immune from the possibility of a crushing first-round defeat. So now, while the ending eludes us, and while fans of all the playoff teams - and even one that'll be left out - still believe this is the year, let's offer a toast to the contenders. Reaching the playoffs earns your team that first sip; enjoy it. After that, is their glass half full or half empty? You decide. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 30 2008

  • It's football season in the Big Apple

    ... but World Series dreams are still alive for fans of baseball's seven surviving squads - and one team yet to be determined. While Hank Steinbrenner rants and raves and the Mets sit and stew over yet another September swoon, the Cubs will look to erase the pain of a century's worth of postseason heartbreak. The BoSox are looking to defend their title, while the Brew Crew is set for its first October appearance since 1982 after punching its ticket in dramatic fashion on the regular season's final day. Nobody knows what the coming weeks will bring, but one thing is for sure - it'll be fun to watch it play out. By Tom Stad. Published September 29 2008

  • KILL - Raise your glasses...

    Make no mistake about it: Every one of this year's playoff teams will have a legitimate chance to hoist the World Series trophy. On the flip side, none of them are immune from the possibility of a crushing first-round defeat. So now, while the ending eludes us, and while fans of all the playoff teams - and even one that'll be left out - still believe this is the year, let's offer a toast to the contenders. Reaching the playoffs earns your team that first sip; enjoy it. After that, is their glass half full or half empty? You decide. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 27 2008

  • Amateur Hour - 2003 draft, Part III

    It's time to wrap up our look back at the first round of the 2003 Amateur Draft by checking in on the final 10 picks. Once again, there are some diamonds in the rough, as well as a few players you've probably never heard of and never will again after you're done with this article. Five years later, the Dodgers are certainly happy with their pick, but the Diamondbacks have to be kicking themselves for giving up on theirs a couple months too early. By Tom Stad. Published September 26 2008

  • Prospect Q&A - 2008 Wrap-up

    Since National Pastime kicked off in late May, we've tried to identify some of tomorrow's brightest stars, introduce them to our readers and allow them to discuss their developing talents in their own words. In this, our final Prospect Q&A column of the year, we'll check in on the 35 players we profiled this season and see what kinds of progress they've made since we had the pleasure of speaking with each of them. We'll also single out some of our favorite quotes of the year and see what interesting categories our Q&A subjects fall into. Enjoy. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 25 2008

  • Cooperstown Bound? - Ron Santo

    For a person who was once told that his life expectancy was going to be no more than 25 years and who later had both his legs amputated, a 15-year career in the major leagues is nothing short of extraordinary. That is exactly what former Cubs third baseman Ron Santo has gone through, and accomplished, in his life. While the BBWAA failed to elect Santo to the Hall of Fame during his 15 years of eligibility, he came within seven votes of being elected by the Veterans Committee in 2005 and fell just five votes short in 2007, and is on the ballot again in 2009. So, does he deserve to get in? By Nick Leco. Published September 24 2008

  • My Five - 2008 last hurrah & awards

    One thing I have come to realize while writing for a very diverse national audience is that you can't please everyone. It's just not possible so I've stopped trying ... kind of. This week I'm offering up a unique awards presentation to close out this spectacular regular-season and my first summer of My Five columns. As a Boston fan, I walk a fine line in my attempts to utilize my passion and knowledge of that area of the country - which has some decent squads, by the way - and not turn off or neglect the rest of you clowns. So this week I'm going bi-coastal. Everybody wins! Let's celebrate. By Sean Raposa. Published September 23 2008

  • KILL - My Five - Awards & 2008 last hurrah

    One thing I have come to realize while writing for a very diverse national audience is that you can't please everyone. It's just not possible so I've stopped trying ... kind of. This week I'm offering up a unique awards presentation to close out this spectacular regular-season and my first summer of My Five columns. As a Boston fan, I walk a fine line in my attempts to utilize my passion and knowledge of that area of the country - which has some decent squads, by the way - and not turn off or neglect the rest of you clowns. So this week I'm going bi-coastal. Everybody wins! Let's celebrate. By Sean Raposa. Published September 22 2008

  • Prospect Q&A - Pat Venditte, Yankees

    Before Pat Venditte came along, the short-season Class A debut of a 20th-round draft pick had never been featured on SportsCenter. But then again, an ambidextrous pitcher and a switch-hitter had never engaged in a battle of wills in a pro game, either. The clip of the cat-and-mouse game between Pat Venditte and Ralph Henriquez will live on forever on YouTube, but lost in all the hoopla about Venditte's unique switch-pitching ability is the fact that he's actually really good. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 22 2008

  • Amateur Hour - 2003 draft, Part II

    This week in Amateur Hour, we'll continue our review of the 2003 MLB Amateur Draft's first round. The first 10 picks included a handful of promising major leaguers, with a couple busts mixed in as well. Selections 11 through 20 have enjoyed just as much success as the top 10, as well as a fair share of failure. A couple of the players I'll look at this week have some serious potential and could develop into perennial All-Stars, while others ... won't. By Tom Stad. Published September 19 2008

  • KILL - Amateur Hour - 2003 draft, Part II

    This week in Amateur Hour, we'll continue our review of the 2003 MLB Amateur Draft's first round. The first 10 picks included a handful of promising major leaguers, with a couple busts mixed in as well. Selections 11 through 20 have enjoyed just as much success as the top 10, as well as a fair share of failure. A couple of the players I'll look at this week have some serious potential and could develop into perennial All-Stars, while others ... won't. By Tom Stad. Published September 18 2008

  • Prospect Q&A - Cole Rohrbough, Atlanta Braves

    Cole Rohrbough was the last draft-and-follow player signed by the Braves before MLB instituted a signing deadline for draft picks last year, and the team is confident that they'll get a return on their $675,000 investment sooner rather than later. The 6' 3" lefty is just 21 but already mixes his three pitches - a low-90s fastball, a power curveball and a developing changeup - like a veteran, which helps explain why he was able to reach advanced Class A in his first full pro season. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 18 2008

  • Cooperstown Bound? - Dave Concepcion

    The Reds of the 1970s were one of baseball's all-time great teams. Known as the "Big Red Machine," the squad offered an interesting mix of dynamic players and personalities, many of whom left an indelible mark on the game. One player who played an integral role on that team was shortstop Dave Concepcion. While he was overshadowed by some of the other stars on that team, he was a very good player in his own right and enjoyed a long and productive career. The question is, was that career was good enough for the Big Red Machine to get one more of its members into the Baseball Hall of Fame? By Nick Leco. Published September 17 2008

  • KILL - Cooperstown Bound? - Dave Concepcion

    The Reds of the 1970s were one of baseball's all-time great teams. Known as the "Big Red Machine," the squad offered an interesting mix of dynamic players and personalities, many of whom left an indelible mark on the game. One player who played an integral role on that team was shortstop Dave Concepcion. While he was overshadowed by some of the other stars on that team, he was a very good player in his own right and enjoyed a long and productive career. The question is, was that career was good enough for the Big Red Machine to get one more of its members into the Baseball Hall of Fame? By Nick Leco. Published September 16 2008

  • My Five - Fabled finishes

    On Sunday we were treated to the Phillies completing a sweep of the Brewers to tie the N.L. Wild Card race, a pinch-hit eighth-inning grand slam by career minor-leaguer DeWayne Wise that propelled the White Sox to victory and, of course, the no-hitter tossed by Carlos Zambrano in his first start since returning from shoulder tendinitis. The action got my juices flowing once again, and while contemplating today's topic I was overwhelmed by the potential storylines that will be playing out in a few weeks. Here are My Five truly miraculous tales of triumph that could come to fruition this October. By Sean Raposa. Published September 16 2008

  • Welcome to the show, Bobby Parnell

    Bobby Parnell is a man on a mission. When National Pastime spoke to the 6' 4", 200-pound righty just a couple weeks ago, he had just made his final start with the double-A Binghamton Mets, for whom he went 10-6 with a 4.30 ERA this season. After a five-start stint with the triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs, Parnell was summoned to the majors on Sept. 1. He made his debut for the New York Mets this evening, becoming the second National Pastime Prospect Q&A subject to go on to play in the big leagues. By Jay LeBlanc. Published September 15 2008

  • KILL - My Five - Fabled finishes

    On Sunday alone we were treated to the Phillies completing a sweep of the Brewers to tie the N.L. Wild Card race, a pinch-hit eighth-inning grand slam by career minor-leaguer DeWayne Wise that propelled the White Sox to victory and, of course, the no-hitter tossed by Carlos Zambrano in his first start since returning from shoulder tendinitis. The action got my juices flowing once again, and while contemplating today's topic I was overwhelmed by the potential storylines that will be playing out in a few weeks. Here are My Five truly miraculous tales of triumph that could come to fruition this October. By Sean Raposa. Published September 15 2008