THE BOYS OF AUTUMN, OCTOBER 2017 – by GARRY ARMSTRONG

THERE’S A LOT OF DENIAL IN BASEBALL … BUT OPTIMISM IS IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT


I am feeling melancholy. Melancholy, angry, frustrated and, as the whip cream atop my cake,  the rheumatism is beating my body like a drum.  I bet many of you feel the same way.

Yesterday, someone complained to Marilyn about the lack of good news. That’s part of my problem. So much bad news everywhere.You can’t escape it!!  People who complain about the lack of good or happy news on TV are too familiar to me. During my working years, strangers would confront me — face to face — and demand I put happy news on TV newscasts. They blamed me for their depression.

“How come you can’t put nice stories on the air, Garry…stories with happy endings?”.  The question dogged me for more than forty years in the biz. Yesterday’s complainant was bummed by the current lack of  happy news.  A network newscast devoted itself entirely to the Las Vegas tragedy.

Hey, how about a funny, quirky, “Charlie Kuralt” type of story? There must be some bizarre stuff out there not counting the White House occupant. Maybe.

Through the years, I’ve always turned to baseball in times of crisis. It’s my life long passion, beginning as a kid in 1940’s Brooklyn. However, I’ve also used baseball as my retreat from reality.  Many folks do the same thing. No prescription medications needed. No weed or booze required to shut out the bad stuff.

This year, baseball has come to the rescue again. Right on time.


It’s the post season!  Let the games begin!

The series that will eventually take one team — maybe our team — to the top of the world, Ma!  A World Series championship!!

It’s already underway.  The Yankees (“The Baby Bombers”) took the wild card and moved on to play the Cleveland Indians after defeating the upstart Minnesota Twins in the American League Wild Card one-game-takes-all, while in the National League, Arizona took the wild card 11 to 8. Tonight, the real play-off games begin for the American League and next up, the National League hits the field.

This current wild card format — a single game and an entire season goes down the drain for the loser — is grossly unfair.  Baseball isn’t a “one game takes all” kind of game. At least they should have a three-game series. As usual, it’s all about the money. TV revenue puts more dinero into the pockets of baseball owners.

Next up are the Division Series first round. In the American League,  the Yankees will play the Cleveland Indians while the Boston Red Sox face the Houston Astros. In the “Senior Circuit”, the Wild Card winner meets the Washington Nationals — while last year’s heroes, the Chicago Cubs, go to La-La land to play the Dodgers.

It’s kind of like the old “64 Thousand Dollar” quiz show except no one knows the answers (excluding the 1919 Chicago “Black” Sox). The league championship series will follow. Best of seven when the two league winners meet for the World Series. Hopefully, baseball’s new champion will be crowned before the snow begins.

The Boys of Summer are now the Boys of Autumn as the temperatures drop. It’s a time that evokes so many memories on my baseball time line through life.  A time line that began when Harry Truman was in the oval office, baseball played 154 regular season games and two (out of 16) teams went directly to the World Series.

Marilyn and I have a friend who’s also a die-hard baseball fan. Sophie or “Soph” as I affectionately call her just exchanged emails about post season predictions which included my remembrance of days as a young reporter and time spent with the legendary Casey Stengel. I’ve excerpted a bit from 1962 when the Ol’ Perfesser was managing the fledgling New York Metropolitans.


“Soph, Casey Stengel (And, Perry White) used to say “Judas Priest” a lot. I usta ask Casey how he put up with the “defense” of Marvelous Marv, Elio Chacon, Choo Choo Coleman and the other original “Amazin’ Mets.” Casey would look at me, tousle his full head of white hair, squint and say, “Judas Priest, young fella. You got a glove?”

One day, I brought my authentic Duke Snider mitt with me and showed it to Casey. He says, “Judas Priest, young fella, can ya hit a little?”.

I laughed. Casey cackled.”


On with my post season predictions.  The Yankees beat the Twins after our email exchange.  So, we are in the present.

  • My heart is with the Boston Red Sox, but my brain says otherwise.
  • I think the Indians will edge out the Yanks in the ALD series.
  • Houston will beat Boston in their ALD series.
  • The Indians will outlast Houston in the ALC series and repeat as American League Pennant champions.

My Swami brain is swirling faster than a three-card monte dealer.

The Cleveland Indians will beat the NL pennant winner (Washington? L.A.?) in the World Series.

Cleveland will win its first World Series in 69 years. The ghosts of Larry Doby, Bob Feller, Early Wynn, Al Rosen, Al Smith, Vic Wertz, Bobby Avila, Herb Score, Bob Lemon, Al “The Gay Senor” Lopez, etc. will celebrate on their field of dreams.

I predict Cleveland’s Cory Kluber will get the AL Cy Young award while his teammate Jose Ramirez ( 2nd-3rd baseman) will get the MVP. Mike Trout, still the best in baseball, will get votes but he couldn’t drag his team into the post season. Jose Altuve, Houston’s “Peewee Reese” slugger, will also get a lot of MVP votes as will Aaron Judge.

Aaron Judge is probably the new face of baseball.  Even if you’re a lifelong Yankees “hater,”  you have to love this young slugger who is the perfect face for the “Breakfast of Champions” picture. Judge’s 52 home runs as a rookie is mind-boggling!! Judge will be a no-brainer for “Rookie of the Year.”  The Red Sox newest hero, Andrew Beintendi will also get a few votes.

Manager of the year will be either Tito Francona or Paul Molitor.  Tito has the great team. Molitor managed the long shot Twins into the post season after losing 100 games last year.

I think the ALCS will be the real World Series. Houston and Cleveland are terrific teams.

LeBron James will proclaim Cleveland as the sports hub of the nation.

45 will disinvite WS MVP Jose Ramirez from the White House celebration.

Tito Francona will tell 45 what he can do with his golf trophy.

Take 2 and go to left …

10 thoughts on “THE BOYS OF AUTUMN, OCTOBER 2017 – by GARRY ARMSTRONG

  1. So tonight they play the National League wild card and then … first round play offs. Meanwhile, “Our Guys” get a couple of days to breathe and relax or whatever these guys do at moments like this. I know we are not overly optimistic about our chances, but they are scrappy players. They might surprise us.

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  2. The sports columnists were noting that this was one of those weird years where the teams that were supposed to be good were not only all good, but were great. All six division winners were no surprise, which is shocking in that there’s almost always one or two preseason favorites who stumble over the course of the season. If Arizona is the weakest team in this tourney, then it should be an excellent postseason. I’d love to see it come down to Cleveland and Houston in the ALCS, and think it will, and not care which team went to the WS. I see the Nats getting another early exit to continue their deserved curse after not allowing Strasburg to pitch the postseason 5 years ago. The D’backs are the one team who has had the Dodgers number all year, so it could very well be them and the Cubs in the NLCS. It would actually be kinda funny to see the Cubs fans come down here next year rubbing a second straight championship in the face of Cards fans who have bragged about their superiority over their rival for years…

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    • Hey, Mr. Bill Brown (Is that your stage name? Just kidding!!). Marilyn says you’re either a Cards or Brewers fan? Which one is your team, Squirrel? I prefer Squirrel to Bill Brown. Yes, I think the best teams did make the post season. As of this writing, Minnesota and Colorado are out. My AL rankings right now would be Cleveland, Houston, New York and Boston. I’d be right as rain if Boston does well but my brain says otherwise. It should be Cleveland and Houston du-king it out for the pennant with (I think) Cleveland prevailing. As I said in my piece, this really will be the “world series”. Cleveland and Houston both have complete teams that can do it all. Long ball, small ball, pitching, running and DEE-fense. I’m less sure about the National League. The Dodgers have been Jekyl-Hyde. The Nationals have that “hinky” playoff history. The Cubs aren’t as good as last year’s edition. Arizona looms as a dark horse. The starting pitchers have been hammered in the WC card games, leaving it to the pens. We’ll see how it goes. I just wish we could get Vin Scully back to call the World Series. DEUCES WILD!!

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      • General baseball fan here, I have no rooting interest in any team. I’ve always been an anti-homer my entire life (Even for my school teams!) which explains why a born and raised St. Louisan doesn’t care for the Cardinals. Can’t wait to see how this postseason unfolds. The smart money is on the ALCS winner, but the NL has been notorious in the wildcard era for having mediocre teams surprise everyone…

        And please, Squirrel is just fine! I wish I could get it put on my name badge at work…

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    • Squirrel, it’s Friday now with lots of beisbol on tap. Red Sox and Yanks, as predicted, are already down by one in the division series. Gonna be a long day’s journey into night.

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    • Covert, Sorry to say (I know, never apologize, it’s a sign of weakness..) I’m not a hockey fan. Never have been. Can’t explain why. I did grow up rooting for people like Gump Worsley of the N.Y. Rangers but, frankly, never really got the game. Ironically, I’ve gotten to know folks like Bobby Orr (very nice guy) but I’m still a dummy when it comes to hockey. I once did a TV voice over saying “..the Garden went wild as Orr put the BALL in the net..”. The phones immediately lit up in the newsroom………

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      • lol @ the garden went wild. My brother was fab. at hockey and we went to school with a couple of the greatest net players there were.I used to know their stats even, mind you there were far fewer teams back in the day. I quit watching when Canadian players went to the States. I knew the cup wasn’t coming back to Canada so that was that! But I loved a lot of players, Orr, Lamieux, Howe, Messier, Hull Rocket Richard, Bellveau, Brodeur, Mikita,Esposito, went to school with Andy Moog. So many great players! In those days hockey was hockey! end to end sports. A fight didn’t break out every 20 mins. It was edge of the seat time when it hit the playoffs. woot

        Liked by 1 person

        • Covert, I introduced #4/Bobby Orr to Marilyn. He smiled, gave her a friendly kiss on the cheek and then walked away. Marilyn asked, “Who was that guy?”

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          • LOL. Those were the days, my friend, hehe Seriously cool! He was a great player. You need to write a novel about all the delightful experiences you’ve had. It would be a best seller (the offshoot being $ to burn)and who can’t use that! these days. Not to mention, it would be an incredibly delightful peek into some profound, special and unique experiences and moments you’ve enjoyed. Win win!

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