By Sweeny Murti
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More Random Thoughts during the World Series:
*The three home run World Series game used to be the exclusive territory of the Yankees—Babe Ruth in 1926 and again in 1928, and Reggie Jackson in 1977.
Jackson was quoted in a New York Times story by Tyler Kepner as saying, “I’m glad it was him. I’m honored it was him. He’s a fabulous representative of the game,” in reaction to being matched in the record books by Albert Pujols 34 years later.
I’m not certain how Jackson felt about his other postseason record falling in the ALCS when Nelson Cruz bashed six home runs in a single postseason series. Jackson can still claim his five home runs in 1977 as a World Series record.
And that again is sure to bring up a debate about compiling postseason records and lumping them in with the pre-Division Series and pre-League Championship Series marks. There is no perfect way to do it except to use some common sense.
We are all aware that all 18 Mickey Mantle postseason home runs were in the World Series. But we have also learned over the last 17 years that postseason baseball is pressure-packed and dramatic no matter what round you’re talking about, and establishing records in any sort of postseason play should be recognized.
Times change, and they will continue to evolve as the new format with the additional wild card team is introduced. But postseason play is what it is. We came to accept that a regular season is a season, whether it is 154 games or 162 games. We need to accept that October baseball is special, and all the records mean something.
*A pair of Yankee executives have interviewed for the vacant Angels GM job. Damon Oppenheimer (VP of Amateur Scouting), and Billy Eppler (Senior Director, Pro Personnel) have both been considered excellent baseball minds with the ability and desire to be a GM.
Neither has ever had the ability to interview for such a post in the past because the Yankees have never given permission to other teams. However, both men have expiring contracts this year, so they were granted the opportunity to interview, and so far both are still in the running.
Oppenheimer has been responsible for recent Yankee draft successes, such as the 2006 draft which has seen 10 players at least touch the major leagues, including 20-game winner Ian Kennedy, All-Star David Robertson, and highly ranked prospect Dellin Betances. Most teams are happy with 2 to 3 big league players in a draft, ecstatic when they get 4 or 5. The ’06 draft is standing out more and more around the game as a feather in Oppenheimer’s cap, which could make this the right time for him to land a GM job.
Eppler heads up the pro scouting department, which means he is part of a group that recommends free agent and trade acquisitions such as successes from this past year like Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Eric Chavez, and Andruw Jones. Eppler is considered one of the brighter young minds in the game, and Brian Cashman has said many times that he thinks Eppler will be a very good GM one day.
Also being considered for the Angels post is Kim Ng, a former Yankees and Dodgers Assistant GM, who is now working with the MLB. Serious consideration is reportedly being given to making Ng the first female GM in baseball. She has long been thought of as a keen mind with sharp negotiating skills.
And still another former Yankee executive drew some early buzz in Chicago before Theo Epstein flew into that scene. John Coppolella is the Braves’ Director of Pro Scouting, but broke in with the Yankees several years back. He is a guy some see as a GM in the near future as well.
No matter who ends up with the Angels job, it seems that the Yankee tree is now producing some talent that people around the game are starting to notice.
*Speaking of GMs, I would have found it quite comical had John Henry just told Theo Epstein, “It’s ok, you can go to the Cubs without any compensation to us whatsoever…on one condition—take Carl Crawford and the last six years of his contract with you.”
*We’re still more than a month away from the Winter Meetings, and although I don’t expect any Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth type signings, those contracts are still in the minds of many around the game. Don’t think Nick Swisher doesn’t believe a big payday awaits him if he can put up a great year in 2012.
Maybe Swisher isn’t producing the same numbers as Crawford and Werth, but it’s still a good indication why the Yankees are likely to pick up his option for next year. Getting a player with that kind of carrot dangling in front of him on a one-year deal is not a bad thing.
*I am somewhat fascinated by the Molina presence in the World Series over the last decade. Each Molina brother (Bengie, Jose, and Yadier) has played in multiple World Series, and there has been a Molina in 6 of the last 10 World Series, including the last three in a row. Jose Molina started the recent streak as part of the 2009 Yankees.
A quick glance and I saw that the Alou brothers (Felipe, Matty, and Jesus) appeared in five World Series between them, and Felipe’s son Moises made it six appearances for the family.
I’m not sure any of that’s a record, and I’m not sure anybody really cares. I just thought it was kind of cool.