Royals win game two and MSU having fun on Michigan’s campus
All knotted up going to the bay
Kansas City claimed a much needed win last night beating San Francisco 7-2 in game two and tying up the series at one apiece. Things did not look good early on when Gregor Blanco let off the game with a home run. The Royals did not go away, retaking the lead in the second inning. After the Giants tied the game in the fourth inning, the Royals blew it open with a five run sixth inning. The game seemed pretty much over after they scored on run, but with the five run cushion it seemed safe to call it a night.
That was a game that Kansas City had to have. They could not afford to go down 2-0 heading back to San Francisco. More importantly, the Royals needed that game to realize they really can play at this level. If they lost that game it could have been on its way to a short series. Last night they won playing their style. They used some speed, they got clutch base hits, and they got their bullpen the lead after the sixth inning. I said I liked the Giants at the start, and I still feel that way, but trying to predict this series now is no easier than it was two days ago. The Giants looked like the better team after game one, but Kansas City may have gotten their belief in themselves back last night, and that’s the biggest thing they thrive on. The two teams traded blows in the first two games and now head to the bay for three games where this could still shape up to be a good, long series.
The other thing that stole the show last night was the near brawl that ensued after Hunter Strickland blew up in the sixth inning. I don’t know what Strickland was doing. I do know that after he’s given up five home runs in five post season innings he appears to be a good fit for the Tigers bullpen. I also know this isn’t the first time he’s tried to fight someone in the playoffs after he did the same thing to Bryce Harper in the divisional series after Harper hit a home run. I know he’s a rookie, but that doesn’t explain what happened last night. First of all someone needs to get to that guy and let him know fighting is something you don’t do in the playoffs. Secondly, you are glaring at a guy who hit a double off you. Not a home run, a double. And on top of that it was because he knew a fastball was coming because you just bounced your slider halfway to the plate. The home run was also his fault. Everyone knows you don’t try to throw a fastball by Omar Infante.
Yes, that leads to a whole different discussion about why guys get mad on the mound and what’s acceptable and not when playing the game. In baseball, more than any other game, you have guys getting upset about getting shown up somehow. The problem continues to be exactly what was on display last night. A pitcher getting upset over nothing. He gets frustrated, and for some reason think’s it a personal insult if someone gets a hit off him. It happens several times each year, and there’s really no need for it. How to fix this I don’t know. Perhaps write down what the unwritten rules of baseball are so that everyone actually knows what you can and cannot do. But that would lead to a fight as well because I’m not sure anyone out on the field actually knows those rules and therefore everyone is playing by different rules. In my mind, all of this comes down to the minor leagues. Baseball has a bigger minor league system than any other sport and that’s where these guys learn the right and the wrong way to play the game. Perhaps baseball needs to pay a little attention to what is being taught to these guys down on the farm and provide the proper mentorship to players so they don’t embarrass themselves later on. Or perhaps it’s best to be learned at the big league level, so everyone can see you being an idiot on national TV. I’m pretty sure Hunter Strickland learned his lesson last night. Now there’s about another 100 guys who need to learn that same lesson.
Michigan State’s silly antics
It is Michigan-Michigan State week and with every rivalry there are some antics that happen during the week leading up to the game. It happens in every big rivalry. Back in the day I can remember the letters “CMU” were painted on the Bronco on WMU’s campus. A few years ago an Alabama fan poisoned the oak trees on Auburn’s campus. This stuff happens everywhere, and now Michigan got tagged by Michigan State. Someone went onto the U of M campus and painted the gold M on Michigan’s central campus green and put the letters SU after it. Michigan took care of it fairly quickly as the green was gone by late Wednesday morning.
These things are goofy to me. I understand people get into a rivalry, and going and spray painting your rival’s campus really isn’t that bad. It’s a cute and fairly innocent way to have fun with the rivalry. I really don’t see any reason anyone should get upset about this. Well anyone other than the guys whose job it is to go get that paint off, but those guys are clearly good at their jobs because they got it off pretty quick. I’m sure a Michigan fan will retaliate by spray painting Go Blue somewhere in East Lansing next year. Either that or their AD will pay to have a sky painter do it, and then deny it, and then claim it was a mistake while still not fessing up to it. Or perhaps the Michigan fans will just realize they get their butts kicked every year and decide they don’t really care to involve themselves in those types of shenanigans. Like I said, there’s nothing wrong with this stuff, because it’s really not hurting anyone and it’s not permanently hurting a longtime mark of the university.
I sometimes start with the phrase “I’m as big a fan as the next guy…” but I always stop myself because I realize I am not that type of a fan. You seem to see this type of fandom in college sports more than any other. Some of it is passion, and some of it goes to a whole different level. I’d never go try and spray paint another campus, or steal a mascot head or any other tomfoolery. Not only that, I’d never even think to do it. Just like I wouldn’t think to do that, I also wouldn’t think to take things to a whole different level and poison trees, try to fight an opposing fan or go on a social media site to tell a player what you really feel about him. There’s a separation in all of this. There’s the playful fun stuff, and then there’s the crimes. Rivalries are fun, and the tounge-in-cheek pranks are fine. It’s when things get taken to a whole different level that things turn bad. There’s no reason for Michigan fans to be truly upset at MSU about some spray paint on their campus, and if you’re one of those people who is upset you might be teetering on the edge of that bad side of rivalries. Worse yet, you might already be on the other side.
On Tap for Tonight:
Red Wings vs. Pittsburgh. 7:30