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Articles Tagged Ron Gardenhire 

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Going through the Swanson Showdown for baseball's three Ron's.

There is very little room for debate: Ron Swanson is one of the best characters on television right now and may well be one of the best characters of the past 10 or 15 years. If you aren't lucky enough to know who Ron Swanson is already, let me briefly explain. Swanson is a character on the series Parks and Recreation, a show created by Michael Schur, more popularly known as "Ken Tremendous" on the defunct blog "Fire Joe Morgan". Swanson is the mustachioed, meat-eating, meetings-hating, library-loathing, libertarian Director of the Pawnee, Indiana, Parks department. He's opinionated and gruff, but easily likable. His only cares in life are real, hearty American food (a turkey leg wrapped in bacon is called a "Swanson"), strong, successful women ("your Steffi Grafs and Sheryl Swoopses"), and dealing with as few fellow civil servants and members of the public as possible.

A two sentence description of Ron Swanson does not do him justice, though. For that, you need to either watch the show or, at the very least, read through some of his best quotes. Sufficed to say, Ron Swanson is the type of man every manager should strive to be.

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Before all the IBA ballots are counted, staff picks give a hint as to what hands the awards may find themselves in.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Travis Hafner posted the highest OBP in the AL while nobody noticed, while Neifi Perez ended up getting playoff PT. The young guns had their day and then some. Jermaine Dye gave a lengthy spanking to his 90th percentile PECOTA projection (PECOTA's .288/.359/.516 versus an actual .315/.385/.622). The crop of AL rookies included a guy with a 0.92 ERA finishing third, and rooks like Jered Weaver (105:33 K:BB) and Francisco Liriano (144:32) threatening to be Johan Santana's biggest challengers in 2007. The National League featured tighter races, including a four-way brawl for the Pitcher of the Year and another impressive crop of newbies.

Eight staff members weighed in on the season that was, casting their ballots for the Internet Baseball Awards. We summarized their findings below, and then let them have their individual say.

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The exploding gas tank that is interleague play just toasted one team's playoff hopes, launching a less successful team into the post-season.

Passenger liners didn't customarily feature enough lifeboats for all passengers and crew until newspapers made a stink about the loss of so many well-connected people on the Titanic. The idea of trained, competent airport security workers who earned more than poverty wages, had mastery of English as a second language and had no felony convictions floundered in free-market triumphalism until 9-11. McDonald's resisted installing thermostats on coffee makers through hundreds of customer visits to burn wards until one maniacal woman took them to court over it. And Ron Gardenhire was allowed to manage a major-league team until he put on the straight sacrifice with runners on first and third and no outs in a playoff game. Oh... he's still managing.

But you get the point--usually the powers of human denial are strong enough that Ford won't recall and replace Pinto gas tanks until enough fiery explosions light up the scenery. The exploding gas tank that is interleague play just toasted one team's playoff hopes, launching a less successful team into the post-season. If you count only American League teams' games against American League opponents, the Angels (88-56) win the West, the Bosox (88-56) win the Mild Card and the A's (87-57) are out of post-season play. And if you count only National League teams' games against National League opponents, the Giants (87-56) win the West while Arizona (87-57) is relegated to the Mild Card. That's a subtle shift, but a Twilight Zone one, because in determining who Arizona would play in the first round, you have to choose two teams that played a significantly different number of league games: Atlanta (86-56) and St. Louis (89-61). It's just so 1884.

The planted turd has floated to the surface of the punch bowl, meaning it's time for MLB to deal with the ramifications. It's not like the Bosox are necessarily more deserving than the A's, but someone with a lot of money (Sox ownership, who shelled out a record amount for the franchise) just got hosed. So this is a good a time as any to consider the myriad effects of interleague play and what to do about it. The problems aren't just in wins and losses, they're in player records and accomplishments too. This season, Bonds and Sosa tied for the NL home run crown, if you count National League games against National League opponents only. Pretty exciting, but we never got to enjoy it. In fact the two human tater-factories probably never knew the late-season struggle they were engaged in.

Toss or Fix?

While I know interleague series that occur between Opening Day and the playoffs are merely a mutant marketed to harvest extra pelf for a few big-city franchises, the momentum to get rid of it isn't in place. Yet for every cure for insomnia, say a Minnesota-Pittsburgh or San Diego-Seattle match-up, there's a marquee match-up, a New York subway series or a Missouri bragging rights face-off.

As tasty as the thought of dumping interleague regular-season play is, it's not going to happen soon enough to prevent more teams from being edged for playoff spots by teams that were better equipped to face opponents from the other league, or luckier in their draw of other-league competition.

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October 8, 2002 7:23 pm

Playoff Prospectus: Anaheim Angels vs. Minnesota Twins

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Christina Kahrl

So here we are, in the "underdog" series, in no small part because this series is the one featuring the two American League playoff teams that New Yorkers don't know about. One team wasn't supposed to be able to beat the Yankees, and the other wasn't supposed to beat the team that was supposed to beat the Yankees. Dominant provincialism is so cute, isn't it?

So here we are, in the "underdog" series, in no small part because this series is the one featuring the two American League playoff teams that New Yorkers don't know about. One team wasn't supposed to be able to beat the Yankees, and the other wasn't supposed to beat the team that was supposed to beat the Yankees. Dominant provincialism is so cute, isn't it?

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This is my favorite playoff series, if only because it's going to finally put the lie to Bud Selig's constant lament that no team in the lower half of payroll has ever advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs. The Twins and the A's were respectively 27th and 28th in ESPN's Opening Day payroll tally. I'm surprised that the right Honorable Commissioner didn't intervene and 'fix' the matchups in what he might see as the best interests of baseball. One of these teams will win three games and advance, only to be immediately heralded as an aberration, no matter what happens when they face the Yankees.

This is my favorite playoff series, if only because it's going to finally put the lie to Bud Selig's constant lament that no team in the lower half of payroll has ever advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs. The Twins and the A's were respectively 27th and 28th in ESPN's Opening Day payroll tally. I'm surprised that the right Honorable Commissioner didn't intervene and 'fix' the matchups in what he might see as the best interests of baseball. One of these teams will win three games and advance, only to be immediately heralded as an aberration, no matter what happens when they face the Yankees.

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