Something’s Happening

The legend goes that Bill Stoneman was nervous in his first Expo start. He was part of the expansion draft, a promising Cubs pitcher who was left exposed and drafted to Canada and hoping for a chance.

In that first start on the mound for Montreal, Gene Mauch knew Stoneman was nervous, so nervous in fact he hit the first batter (a lefty) he faced that day.

In his next start, Bill Stoneman threw a no-hitter. The Montreal Expos were a dreadful team, but Stoneman won 11 games on a team that won 52. The expansion Expos had some legends, like Rusty Staub and Claude Raymond and Mack Jones, but for me Stoneman starting meant we had a chance.

His arm fell off about 1973 and he got into management. He was a smart guy and eventually rose to the GM job and stayed in high management for more than 20 years. In 1999 he became the GM of Anaheim and was GM when they won the World Series win in 2002.

Stoneman has decided to step aside as GM and is taking on a consultant’s role. This marks the 4th significant change in GMs already this off-season. Atlanta’s John Schuerholz and Minnesota’s Terry Ryan each have resigned within the past month, and St. Louis fired Walt Jocketty. This is the second incredible happening I’ve observed about MLB in the last week.

The other is the Rockies. I’m watching Colorado play in the LCS because I can’t believe their defense (unless they just started doing this about 1 week ago the Rockies infield defense is the best I’ve seen since Herzog’s Cardinals). I’m hoping the World Series goes to Colorado because of their exceptional pitching and defense. If it happens, it’ll be one for the ages.

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18 Responses to "Something’s Happening"

  1. Black Dog says:

    Coming home from hockey (three teams this season – yeah I’m a dummy and my wife is a saint) and caught the Rockies’ big inning.

    Wouldn’t know a Rockie if he walked into my kitchen but they are on some roll. Have to say I’d cheer for the Indians if they make it though – I have a soft soft for those old teams that haven’t won in a long time.

    Save the Leafs of course.

  2. Tyler says:

    I’m obviously cheering for Boston but I’ve got a nice insurance policy – a line on WS tickets for Cleveland.

  3. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: Yeah, I’d be okay with Cleveland winning. Especially with George stepping down (wasn’t he a Cleveland boy?) and all this front office change happening.

    The Indians were so awful for so long it is impossible to imagine them winning. You could pick any team for 30 years and find kids who would be great when they got to another team or old guys who were great somewhere else and winding down.

    No one cares, but they got the bad end of Eckersley coming and Carlton going and they did that forever. Who would trade Jay Bell for Felix Fermin?

    Cleveland.

  4. Julian says:

    Three teams Pat? Holy hell, I’m jealous. Someday I hope to reach that level of immersement.

  5. Bruce says:

    How about those Rockies? I don’t remember ever seeing a team in any North American major sport put together back-to-back 10-game winning streaks. I recall the Habs in around 1968 winning 12 straight, losing 1, and coming back with 8 straight wins, but that’s about the closest. Maybe in basketball (a sport I don’t follow closely), didn’t the Suns have two long streaks in rapid succession last season?

    The Rockies won 11 in a row to get close, lost one that put them 2 behind with 2 to play, and then put togther an even more impressive streak of must-wins and playoff sweeps that has put them in the Series. Too bad they got an 8-day break to cool off, they looked about ready to run the table.

  6. Oilman says:

    LT – I’m a big Mets fan and I haven’t been watching too much of the Rockies (my world series came with the Yankees elimination), but the best infield I’ve ever watched (admittedly biased and from a shorter time of reference than yours) was the Ventura,Ordonez,Alfonso,Olerud combination that last played around 1999. The entire infiled that year only committed 27 errors and I believe ordonez went something like 97 straight games error free (amazing considering his unbelievable range)….these Rockies can’t compare can they?

  7. Oilman says:

    EDIT: I looked it up – Ordonez went 101 straight that year with a fielding error! He broke his arm the next year and was never the same player.

  8. Lowetide says:

    oilman: Yeah, it’s a matter of taste I guess. The Cardinals team that won the WS in 1982 (iirc) had both the best SS and 1b I’ve ever seen. Ozzie’s range factors (this is from memory) tower over the shortstops of the era, and Keith Hernandez was truly unbelieveable at first base.

    Oberkfell would have been at third base and I believe Tommy Herr at second. They had a stunning CF in McGee and a guy who couldn’t stand up in LF + a pedestrian groundball pitching staff.

    But that infield was airtight.

  9. PunjabiOil says:

    I was rooting for SD. Still in shock they choked it – 3 opportunities to clinch the wild card, and they pulled a Calgary Flames.

    Even in the playoff against Colorado, they were up 8-6 in the 9th, and ended up losing.

    Heartbreaking.

    Anyways, the Rockies have won, what, 23 out of their past 24 games?

    Outrageous.

  10. Oilman says:

    LT – remember what Ozzie said about Ordonez when Rey was a rookie? First game they ever played against each other, Ordonez’s first MLB game, he makes an unreal relay throw from his knees to get the runner at home…Ozzie says “I can definitely say he is the second-coming of me.”

    That 99 season by Ordonez has been called the best defensive season by a shortstop ever…it’s too bad he couldn’t hit….and it’s really too bad how NYers turned on him a few years later after the broken arm….the guy is still only about 35 years old, but he was never the same.

    PJOil – I’ve never seen Hoffman save a big game – I don’t know how a pitcher with so many saves can blow so many big games….playoffs, pennant races, all-stars, everything….dude is lights out from April to August though…with that one midsummer blip every year.

  11. Rube Foster says:

    The Rockies are looking like destiny’s darling – Holliday scoring the winning run in the 13th inning of the wild card playoff game by sliding on his chin and NOT touching home plate with Trevor “Freaking” Hoffman on the mound?? Makes you want to rub your eyes, like you’re seeing some kind of baseball three card monty, sort of a Bartman in reverse.
    I think what makes the Rockies winning streak(s) even that much more impressive is that its been done at the toughest time of the year right in the midst of an absolutely crazy pennant race. With the d-backs gone, I’m pulling for the Rockies, they’ve got John Wayne at the helm, George Brett cheering in the stands, Leflore in center, Valentine in left, Staub on first and a bunch of Scott Sandersons on the mound and it looks like they’re playing ball at the Heritage Classic. How can you root against that?

  12. Black Dog says:

    Julian – not as crazy as it sounds – have my regular team which plays once a week and that team is in the Exclaim league which is once a month. Then I’m also an alternate Monday nights on a third team so I pick up games when I can – believe me, once you get to my age I have to bust my ass just to keep up. My legs went quite a while ago.

    Good fun though.

  13. Dennis says:

    I’ve been following the Rockies since about the middle of Sept, just reading their coverage via the web and checking out boxscores and the like and if they match up against the Sox, then I hope Col wins because Sox fans and media have turned out to be just as poor winners as the Yanks ever were.

    But if the Tribe make it, I’d have to cheer for them because I imagine there’s more than just a pocket of 60 year old’s who’ve suffered for a long time and deserve a championship.

    The thing that strikes me about Col’s defense, though, is Tulowitskzi’s arm. Has to be the strongest I’ve seen since Dunston’s.

    BTW, Lain, I’d gladly give up one of the Oilers Cup wins just to have a chance to see the Expos in the playoffs. I know it was many years ago, and I know that’s your saying;), but any ’81 memories to share? Besides the Monday game of course;)

  14. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: 1981.

    1. Andre Dawson GIDP in the Rick Monday game, first inning. Dammit, that hurt big time.

    2. Ray Burris was a MAN in the post-season.

    3. Wallace Johnson triples!

    4. Tim Raines. I cannot tell you what a brilliant player he was, you had to see it. I know he had the drug problem but lots of them did but that kid came up as a dandy and he did so many things right he was all kinds of awesome.

    5. Ron Cey’s rocket to deep left just before Blue Monday.

    6. The photo of Monday hitting the home run and then blackness. I remember turning off the TV and there was that high pitched ringing in my ears, you know when someone hits you upside the head? I wanted to throw up.

    I feel only slightly better about it now. Seriously.

  15. PDO says:

    The Rockies are just impossible to cheer against right now. It’s a real shame that the WS is already scheduled, because I don’t want this team to have a moment to cool down. In general, I hate Colorado. I hate the Av’s, I hate the Bronco’s, and the Nuggets picked up Mr. “Practice? We just played a game and we’re sitting here talking about Practice? PRACTICE? Who needs Practice!” …

    But damn, how can you not cheer for this team? They just find ways to win, and they do it on defense and clutch hitting. Beauty. Kind of reminds me of that beauty team the Oilers had a couple years ago… hopefully the Rockies deal better with 8 days off than the Oilers did.

    Speaking of the Oilers, how many games did the Oilers win after Weight’s speech? Was it 13/14?

  16. Rube Foster says:

    I watched that game at school on a tv that one of the “cool” teachers had requisitioned for an empty classroom.
    I remember thinking, but isn’t Steve Rodgers a starter?
    There is a generation of Canadians that HATE Rick Monday. My friends in the states can’t comprehend how anyone could hate Rick Monday. They don’t get it.
    It looks like LT does.

  17. Dennis says:

    Maybe it was God’s way of looking out to me;) but I can’t recall following the team all that closely until ’82 so I was spared by just one year.

    Lain, what was your routine around that time? They played five in that mini-set with Philly and then five with LA so did you drink for every game?:) Did you gather up some friends to watch? Would CBC or CTV have a pregame or was that too early in televised sports to expect such coverage?

  18. Lowetide says:

    I watched them with my Dad, except the last couple of games. I was alone for the Rick Monday game. Blue Monday.

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