That time of year already…

Well this post is risky for two reasons. Firstly, I’ve not done a baseball post for a while and I know that a lot of my new followers are probably expecting books, books and more books, so if you don’t have an interest in baseball, this post probably isn’t for you.

Secondly, I think I must post a bit too much about a certain Detroit Tiger whose name may rhyme with Dustin Berlander. A quick look at Google searches that have brought users to my website kind of confirms that:

Top search terms for the last year...
Top search terms for the last year…

But I digress. First of all, a quick mention of my beloved White Sox, who were having an unexpectedly awesome season, before fading away down the stretch to let the Tigers clinch the division in the last week. It sucks, but it sure made things exciting. Especially for what was supposed to be a ‘rebuilding’ year after losing Buehrle, Guillen, and many others last offseason.

So it came to the postseason and I had to pick a team to root for, and who better to root for than the underdog. So Nationals and Orioles it was – what a story for both teams this year. But alas it wasn’t meant to be (either that or I’m a huge jinx), and both teams were knocked out in thrilling Game 5 action. Whether the Nationals could have made it with Strasburg is a whole ‘nother blog post. So now I’m of course cheering for the AL which leaves me with either the Yankees or the Tigers – I think we all know this leaves me with really only one choice – GO TIGERS!!

Which is not too bad for me, because my favourite non-Sox player happens to be their star pitcher.

My name is Louise Radcliffe, and I do NOT post too much about Justin Verlander...
My name is Louise Radcliffe, and I do NOT post too much about Justin Verlander…

He’s pitched lights-out this season, and I think there’s a very good chance that he’ll be up for Cy Young again, as much I would like Chris Sale to win after his stellar season. Verlander pitched a complete game shutout in his last game against the Oakland A’s – the decisive Game 5 of the ALDS. He also had a 9 – 2 record with a 1.65 ERA for the season at Comerica Park, which put the odds firmly in his favour – especially opposing a Yankees team stripped of their Captain after Jeter suffered a fractured ankle putting him out for the rest of the post season.

Yes, another gratuitous Justin Verlander picture, just because I can...
Yes, another gratuitous Justin Verlander picture, just because I can…

So although I can’t stay up to watch this game tomorrow (why do all postseason games start at 8pm ET – 1pm BST?!), I’ll definitely be supporting the Tigers in spirit – at least if I’m not watching I’m not jinxing, right?

Ups and Downs of an Off-Season Monday

First, the up.

Justin VerlanderCongratulations to Justin Verlander on being crowned AL MVP 2011. If you’ve read my blog in the past, you’ll know that I have written a couple of posts about how I wanted him to win, so it’s an understatement to say I’m glad. He deserved it after the phenomenal season he had, and I’m glad that the voters put aside the fact that he is a pitcher, although it was nowhere near as much of a clean sweep as the Cy Young last week. He becomes the first pitcher since Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and the first starting pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1986 to win the MVP.

And for now, I promise to stop writing blog posts about Justin Verlander (until next season at least).

Then the down.
greg-halmanMLB is reporting the terrible news that Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman was stabbed to death at home in the Netherlands earlier this morning, and his brother has allegedly been arrested as a suspect. He was only 24, and had just finished playing 35 games for the Mariners as a rookie this season. It’s always sad to hear the death of someone so young, but even worse that it may have been caused by his brother. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends as they try to deal with this tragic news.