- As you may have heard, the Chicago Cubs are returning to the World Series for the first time since 1945, to face another perpetually forlorn team in the Cleveland Indians (yes, there IS another team playing in the Fall Classic!). The last time the Cubs won a championship (1908, as you may have heard), they were in the midst of a 5-year run that set records and inspired poems.
- Alex Rodriguez has been doing an excellent job as a post-season analyst for Fox Sports. Consistent with his playing days, it's clear he's out-working (here in the form of preparation) just about everyone else at that desk. While we appreciate A-Rod's insightful analysis, we're even more appreciative of his stunned, meme-ready facial expressions in response to Pete Rose's gaffes (we're probably being too hard on the Hit King; it's doubtful there's anybody alive who knows more about the finer points of the game, and he brings an undeniable energy and unpredictability to Fox's coverage).
(Apropos of nothing, am I the only one who wants to see Rose and Rodriguez with their own show? Maybe as a pair of mismatched cops on the run from the police and the mob after being framed by a crime boss? And in order to clear their names they'll need to learn how to work together? And maybe even learn to like each other?)
- Plate Coverage was recently privileged to join the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. Per the site, the BBA Alliance was founded in 2009 with the purpose of encouraging collaboration and communication among bloggers from across baseball. Founder and President Chuck Booth is providing a wonderful service for those of us who write and read about baseball.
- Like baseball? Like books? Like talking about baseball and books? Join Jeremy Lehrman, editor of Plate Coverage and author of "Baseball's Most Baffling MVP Ballots" at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in NYC on November 10. Lehrman joins Bergino proprietor and former sports agent Jay Goldberg for an evening of spirited discussion (and spirits, for those of a certain age). You'll find details here.
- As ESPN's Dan Rafael notes, it's been a tough year to be a boxing fan. If you're under the age of 40, you might find it hard to believe that boxing was once a mainstream sport, and boxers were once mainstream stars. But the loose confederation of greedy, obtuse, corrupt dunces who run the sport (with no oversight or accountability to anyone) would rather scavenge the carcass than heal the patient.
- Another boxing note: Bernard Hopkins, 51, has announced his farewell bout. As Joseph Santoliquito writes, "Hopkins has been told for the last 20 years that he's too old to fight at an elite level. And, for the last 20 years, he’s defiantly waded forward and succeeded." Forget hype and hyperbole – this is a fact: We will never see his like again. The man is a marvel, and he deserves every appreciative salute he'll collect over the next six weeks.
- There was a time not too long ago when defensive shifts were considered a novelty. We miss those days. FiveThirtyEight's Neil Payne offers a nice refresher course on the origins of the shift, and the factors that led to its current ubiquity.