Mark Wernick: My World Series Take

... AND FOR THE 3RD TIME IN 5 SEASONS!!!

… AND FOR THE 3RD TIME IN 5 SEASONS!!!

Editorial Note: Mark Wernick, a SABR colleague, is one of the brightest, most intuitive, deeply history-steeped people we have ever had the pleasure meeting in the cyber world. Upon awakening this morning to his  e-mail take on the World Series, we could not resist the urge to run what he wrote, verbatim, as The Pecan Park Eagle wrap on what we also think now stands as one the most exciting World Series of all time. The Eagle said at the start that the Royals’ chances rode on how well they handled the potential of facing phenomenal pitcher Madison Bumgarner three times in seven games and, last night, the Giants ace provided the final nail to the firmness of that prophetic guess. Lefty Bumgarner is living proof that there must be more than one 25-year old talented pitcher in the world that isn’t controlled by the 100 pitch count of today’s baseball culture, but, so far, he seems to be the only one who has shown up to prove that theory on baseball’s biggest stage. Congratulations to you too, Madison Bumgarner! Your career ERA of 0.25 is now the best of all time for pitchers who have worked a minimum of 30 World Series innings.

And thank you, Mark Wernick, for presenting us with an e-mail that was truly a spot on timely article with its own legs:

 

My World Series Take

By Mark Wernick

Mark Wernick Today's Columnist

Mark Wernick
Today’s Columnist

A friend just wrote to me to express the notion that this could be one of the top 3  of all world series.  Here is my reply:

          To me these are the top World Series played to date:   1926,  1932,  1941,  1946,  1947,  1949,  1955,  1956,  1957,  1958,  1960,  1962,  1964,  1965,  1968,  1969,  1973,  1975,  1979,  1985,  1986,  1991,  1993,  1996,  2001,  2002,  2011,  and  2014.
          There are  28  World Series on this list,  and  24  of them went  7  games.  1932  (4),  1969  (5),  1993 (6),  and  1996 (6)  went in less than seven games but were thrilling for other reasons.
          I have a hard time picking any three of these as the top three.  Both  1957  and  1958  were pretty thrilling if you were from Milwaukee or New York,  and for lots of others also.  And  1955  and  1956  were pretty thrilling if you were from New York.  I found  1962,  1965,  1969,  1996,  and  2002  pretty awesome.  I was enthralled with  1973 and  1985,  and  my heart was broken by  2001.  I was quite worked up and a bit infuriated with  2011.
          Many agree that  1960  might have to be  # 1 on any list,   including me,  even though that world series almost ruined my childhood.  And I guess I’d have to include  1986  and  1991  on a top  3  list.  So those might be my top three – 1960,  1986,  and  1991.
          But this one was definitely a great World Series.
          I kind of wanted them to send Gordon all the way because I had no faith that Cain would hit Bumgarner.  But it also occurred to me that you don’t want a World Series to end by getting thrown out at home.  I also think Yost was slightly out-managed.  I would not have had Escobar,  one of their tougher hitters,  bunt with no outs and Infant e on first in the 5th inning.  I don’t think you can afford to give away a free out – especially by a strong bat – in the 7th game of a World Series when you’re behind by a run against a pitcher like Bumgarner.
          Isn’t it great to have all the benefit of hindsight with no accountability?
          For the past  5  years,  the San Francisco Giants have been a great team.  I tip my hat to them.  Hunter Pence has two World Series rings in the last three years!
         The Kansas City Royals won my abiding admiration and respect. Before the series started I had heard of only three players on their roster, and they were far from ‘A’ list draftees. (Infante, Shields, and Gordon.) What odds were given for the Royals to make it to the World Series in spring training – 5,000 to 1?
          During the ALCS (Orioles-Royals playoff series), the broadcasters noted that Baltimore led MLB in homers while the Royals had the fewest homers in all of baseball. That is when I began to look at both teams more closely.
          I noticed that with respect to SB and SB% they could be flipped. The Royals were tops, and the Orioles were at the bottom. Apparently they were, respectively, the fastest and slowest teams in MLB. Also, while the Royals’ offensive numbers didn’t attract any attention, they were the only MLB team under 1000 Ks. A team that makes a lot of contact can enjoy a certain advantage in a short series against filthy sliders and splitters and fastballs. In almost every category, their pitching was equivalent, except for one: HRs allowed. Baltimore yielded 151, among the most; KC yielded 128, among the fewest.
         Without a lot of flash and without a superstar batter or pitcher in their lineup, the Royals did nothing to beat themselves, they had an intimidating bullpen, their speed was awesome, and their defense was impeccable.
          No one can take the Kansas City Royals for granted anymore. Their years in baseball’s after-thought bin are over.

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5 Responses to “Mark Wernick: My World Series Take”

  1. don matlosz Says:

    A great series. I was particularly impressed with the approach the Giant hitters took to the game. Hunter Pence chocking up on the bat and Sandoval’s hitting to the opposite field and when have we seen so many line drives up the middle. The Giant farm system was also showcased. Belt-Panik-Crawford-Posey-Sandoval-Lincecum-Bumgarden-Cain were all drafted and groomed in the minors. I was very fortunate to live in Fresno home of the AAA Giants and see these guys for about $8 a game

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      You got a lot of “bang for your buck,” Dr. Matlosz. I couldn’t agree more with your observations. And let’s not forget Bruce Bochy. As manager, he’s led three always a little different teams from the same franchise to three of the five past championships and also placed himself on the fast track for Hall of Fame consideration. – Bobby Cox got there with a lot of wins and division crowns, but only one World Series victory in Atlanta.

  2. Mark W. Says:

    Sheesh Bill, if I’d of known you were going to brag on me, I’d have written something better! But thanks for the props.

    I’ll add some things here. The Kansas City Royals won my abiding admiration and respect. Before the series started I had heard of only three players on their roster, and they were far from ‘A’ list draftees. (Infante, Shields, and Gordon.) What odds were given for the Royals to make it to the World Series in spring training – 5,000 to 1?

    During the ALCS (Orioles-Royals playoff series), the broadcasters noted that Baltimore led MLB in homers while the Royals had the fewest homers in all of baseball. That is when I began to look at both teams more closely.

    I noticed that with respect to SB and SB% they could be flipped. The Royals were tops, and the Orioles were at the bottom. Apparently they were, respectively, the fastest and slowest teams in MLB. Also, while the Royals’ offensive numbers didn’t attract any attention, they were the only MLB team under 1000 Ks. A team that makes a lot of contact can enjoy a certain advantage in a short series against filthy sliders and splitters and fastballs. In almost every category, their pitching was equivalent, except for one: HRs allowed. Baltimore yielded 151, among the most; KC yielded 128, among the fewest.

    Without a lot of flash and without a superstar batter or pitcher in their lineup, the Royals did nothing to beat themselves, they had an intimidating bullpen, their speed was awesome, and their defense was impeccable.

    No one can take the Kansas City Royals for granted anymore. Their years in baseball’s after-thought bin are over.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      You deserve it, Mark! – Also note that these late materials were so good that I simply had to take the editorial measure of adding them to your article, where they belong. Thanks again!

  3. Rick B. Says:

    I don’t think it was a classic World Series – though I certainly enjoyed it – but last night’s Game 7 certainly was a nailbiter and, as such, was one of the better Game 7’s that I can recall watching. While I was rooting for the Royals, since they have gone far longer without a title, I don’t begrudge the Giants their victory in the least and am glad that I watched every game so that I didn’t miss an inning of Madison Bumgarner’s performance in the Series.

    I’ve heard some people say that they are underwhelmed because the 2014 Royals weren’t exactly on a par with the 1961 Yankees, the Big Red Machine, or [your favorite offensive juggernaut here]. That’s convoluted logic, as far as I’m concerned. He allowed one run in 21 innings to the AL champions. He has been excellent throughout this postseason, which he started with a complete-game shutout of the Pirates in the Wild Card game, and, oh, he didn’t allow a run in either of his starts in the 2010 and 2012 World Series as well (both of which were against teams with far more potent offenses).

    The guy is only 25 so it’s too early to tell how his career will go (injury or a flameout along the lines of his teammate Tim Lincecum’s could occur), but I hope he keeps it up for many a year and has a Hall of Fame career merely because I enjoy watching great players ply their trade. Congratulations to Bumgarner and the 2014 San Francisco Giants (including, of course, ex-Astro favorite Hunter Pence)!

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