Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kell Described Baseball With Absolute Perfection

I’ve often heard soccer referred to as "the beautiful game." To me, it is baseball.
There is a certain rhythm and pace to it that cannot be easily described.
Guess that is what made George Kell so special. With that Arkansas twang of his, he described baseball perfectly.
It was never meant to be a sport played at a frantic pace. It is played more at the pace George would tell it. With pauses. With goofy catch phrases he repeated over and over for years, in a manner that we loved because it was so warm and familiar to us.
My favorite, "He hit it like a bullet, Larry." I remember playing ball as a kid and somebody would hit a line drive. George’s voice saying just that would be the first thing in my mind.
He was also the only person I have ever known who constantly used the word, "lambasted." I would have no problem if they now removed the word from the dictionary in his honor.
When George would open a game with the simple words, "Thanks Al, and good afternoon everyone," it was as if the world was OK again.
That’s the way baseball is - the comfort of knowing, that as crazy as this world gets, the game is always there to soothe our souls.
I was one of the fortunate ones. I got to know George well. Everything you’re hearing about him is true. A terrific guy.
I don’t need to pop in a CD or DVD of an old Tigers’ broadcast to hear that voice. I will never forget it.
Doubt any of us will.

Random Thoughts

- How can Curt Schilling be considered such a strong Hall of Fame candidate when Jack Morris gets bypassed annually? Morris had more wins, dominated his era to a greater degree and turned in perhaps the most epic World Series performance of any pitcher. If anything, he was more clutch than Schilling. But it’s all about the bloody sock, isn’t it? Kind of reminds me of the Ozzie Smith and Alan Trammell situation. If only Tram had done back flips...

- The Pistons are only three games up on Charlotte to miss the playoffs. This team couldn’t miss the playoffs, could it? These last dozen games could get more interesting than we could have possibly imagined.

- Forget about the posturing about it being a quarterback competition in East Lansing. There is a little doubt among those close to the program that Keith Nichol will be Michigan State’s starting quarterback. The only way that could change is if he falls flat on his face in spring practice, but given the flashes he displayed during practice last fall, that is highly unlikely.

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9 Comments:

Blogger maddog52 said...

I tell you book to this day I still here "Thanks Al, and good afternoon everyone" especially everytime the tiger game first starts. He was a definate fresh of breath air. Summer was George Kell and Ernie Harwell. Very sad day in detroit. As good as Double D and Mario and Rod are. When you watch a tiger game int eh back of your head you still here those voices.

I tell you what. I understand we are short handed, but I am personally disappointed in Stucky. I think he at times has played way out of control. It be nice to see Curry Yank him out and get his head on straight. I he is at the stage where he needs to take a lot better care of the basketball. The careless turnovers are unexcusable at this point. I think earlier on if Curry played his bench more as he did in the first handfuls of games then thsi team would be much better. Either rate the good news for this team. Is they are not far away. So they can rebound quickly.

ON the 49ers. I personally feel all the stafford talk is just that. I personally feel if he was there at number 9 Singletary would jump all over him. So though parts maybe true we (meaning lions) must be careful not to read to much into it. I see a lot of mocks having the lions get Larinitus with that first pick in teh second round. I tell you what if they can do that. Grab a Michael Oher or Vonte Davis with that 20th pick. I have no problem going stafford at number 1.

3:23 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...

Pat,

I agree with you completely about Schilling. He was only clutch in the post season with Boston; as Randy Johnson had to bail him out in Arizona for that WS win. Morris and Shilling did have similar careers though, but Morris was really better in almost every way. I know I have said this to you before, but Morris is the most clutch pitcher I have ever seen play. Whenever one of his teams needed him to win the game for them, he would; even if it meant throwing a 10 inning shutout.

-Marty

3:32 PM 
Blogger Rndlion said...

Couldn't agree more on the memories we all have of listening to the great George Kell on Tigers broadcasts.

As a kid playing baseball with my brother we often quoted George on so many occasions. Some that came to mind were "Look out" (in that twang you described) when a close pitch came into a hitter or my personal favorite "Get the married men out of the infield" when a hot shot came at a fielder.

He will be missed, but forever remembered...

4:22 PM 
Blogger Polanco Is The Man said...

George Kell, Al Kaline, Ernie Harwell. We were blessed in Detroit for a long time!

8:01 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat,

I will respectfully disagree with you and Marty about the Schilling/Morris debate. I plucked this comparison off Rob Neyer's comment section of his blog a couple of days ago.

ERA+
Schilling - 127
Morris - 105

WHIP
Schilling - 1.14
Morris - 1.30

K/BB
Schilling - 4.38
Morris - 1.78

Post Season ERA
Schilling - 2.23
Morris - 3.80

I will cherry-pick a couple other stats for both players.

Career Win Pct
Schilling - .597
Morris - .577

300 K Seasons
Schilling - 3
Morris - 1

Years Leading League in Complete Games
Schilling - 5
Morris - 1

Morris has 1 more Top 5 Cy Young finish and 1 more All Star Game start, and Schilling has 1 more All Star appearance. Does Schilling get a little too much credit for the bloody sock? Sure. Does Morris get a little too much credit for the 10 inning Game 7 World Series duel with Smoltz? I actually tend to think so. To me though, all in all, it really isn't close. Schilling was the better pitcher over the course of his career.

That's not to say that Morris has been treated fairly. I don't think he has been, honestly. However, I think a Morris/Schilling comparison is far weaker than a Trammell/Smith comparison based on the numbers, and statistics seem to bear that out.

Travis

12:07 AM 
Anonymous Marty said...

Travis,

If I had a choice between Curt Schilling and Jack Morris in their prime in a game I needed to win, I would choose Jack Morris every time. Those statistics don't bear out that he just won when his team needed him; every time. I have seen Schilling fail in the clutch far more often than I have seen him succeed. He is the anti-Morris in that regard.

His great ERA was often a byproduct of meaningless games in the regular season when his team was so far ahead of everyone else that the games didn't matter. (With both Arizona and Boston) Once he got into trouble in the postseason in games that really mattered, he usually fell apart. The only exception was in Boston, but that wasn't until the end of his carreer.

Morris is the better clutch pitcher hands down, and if you were to find statistics for clutch games (such as games where he pitched against division rivals, elimination games, and the such) you would see that too.

-Marty

10:25 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very simple, beautiful eulogy Pat. In a few words you said much.

When I attend a live sporting event, the game eventually takes on a rhythm of it's own, once I get used to the absence of play by play and color.

For me, that's what George Kell brought to a TV broadcast. He allowed the game to take on a pace of it's own and didn't interfere with it, he complemented it.

Allan

10:47 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marty,

With all due respect, what in the world are you talking about? Schilling was 10-2 career in the postseason with a 2.23 career postseason ERA. He had 120 K's in 133.1 innings in the postseason. The man pitched in 4 World Series, and he was a member of the champion 3 times. Did you see the postseason ERA comparison that I posted? I don't know how you can even remotely consider that "falling apart". You can see any of these things by looking up his stats at Baseball Reference. The man won just as many World Series MVP's as Morris did: 1. You failed provide even one concrete argument as to why Morris was better than Schilling. With all of the metrics that we have available to gauge these things, we don't have to rely on memory and recall anymore.

Your argument makes me think of the one that Jim Rice Hall of Fame supporters always used before his election: he was a feared hitter. So what? So was Dick Allen. So, Jack Morris was as "clutch" as Jim Rice was "feared." I'm sorry, but your argument simply does not hold water, and all you need to do is look at the statistics. If I had to win a single game at any time of the year, I would take the better pitcher, and that is Curt Schilling, without any shadow of a doubt.

Travis

2:58 AM 
Blogger Jim15032 said...

Why Curt Schilling over Jack Morris? Your answer: he played for the Red Sox. Period.

As for Tram, it isn't only backflips which will get a lesser player in the HoF. Phil Rizzuto is there, too.

2:42 PM 

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