This decade is going to be over in a few weeks, and still nobody can tell me what to call the last 10 years.

Is it the Two Thousands? Is it the Twenty O’s?
And no, it is NOT the Oughts.

But one thing you CAN call it was a great decade for Post Season Baseball.

Usually baseball is guilty of saying “The present stinks and the past was great.” And then in 20 years people will say “the present stinks and the past was great”… except the past they are praising was the present they said stunk.

Well let’s end that charade. The present has been great! This has been an amazing decade with wonderful games and images that will be iconic in baseball history.

Don’t believe me?

Well when the decade began, we had yet to experience…

– Jeter’s flip to get Jeremy Giambi out at home.
– The Yankees 9th inning comebacks in back to back games in 2001.
– The Diamondbacks rally off of Mariano Rivera.
– Grady Little leaving Pedro Martinez in too long.
– Aaron Boone’s home run
– Steve Bartman interfering with the foul pop.
– Dave Roberts stolen base.
– The bloody sock.
– A-Rod slapping the ball out of Arroyo’s glove.
– Pujols’ homer off of Lidge

There were absurd images…

– Clemens throwing the bat at Mike Piazza
– J. T. Snow picking up Dusty Baker’s 3 year old son as he ran into the field of play during Game 5 of the World Series.
– Don Zimmer and Pedro Martinez’s interesting confrontation.
– A. J. Pierzynski’s running to first base on the third strike and starting a game winning rally.
– Two Dodgers being thrown out at home plate on the same play.
– Joba Chamberlain covered in midges.
– Game 5 of the 2008 World Series being suspended in midgame.
– Matt Holliday dropping the final out of the game, setting up a game winning rally.

There were four series that ended with walk off homers… with Aaron Boone, David Ortiz, Chris Burke and Magglio Ordonez .

And one series ended with a bunt.

So before we start a new decade, let’s pay homage to what was a terrific (if unclearly named) decade.

Not to quote Carly Simon, but these are the Good Old Days for post season baseball. Let’s not wait 20 years to acknowledge that.

In true Sully Baseball fashion, we’re going to list the best games. The staff at Sully Baseball has picked the best Games of each round of the playoff series.

The best Game 1 of the AL Division Series… the best Game 2… etc. Right up through the best Game 7 of the World Series.

There are two “Best Games” for each game in the Division Series because each league plays two Divison Series.

So let’s take a look at


For the Decade’s BEST ONE GAME TIE BREAKERS click here

For the Decade’s BEST GAMES OF

For the Decade’s BEST GAMES OF

For the Decade’s BEST GAMES OF

For the Decade’s BEST GAMES OF

For the Decade’s BEST GAMES OF

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Sully Baseball Honors… BOB SHEPPARD

Bob Sheppard, the voice of Yankee Stadium, is retiring.

He’s 99 years old… the fact that they have to announce that he is retiring and explain why he won’t be able to even do one game next year says a lot about him.

Most people when they reach 99 years old have been dead for about 20 years.

But Sheppard is alive and does a job that seems to be essential… he gives class and dignity to announcing the Yankee line up.

The man first announced the lineups for the 1951 World Champion Yankees that featured Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Billy Martin, Allie Reynolds and was managed by Casey Stengel.

The last team he called was the 2007 Wild Card team that featured Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, Robinson Cano, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Joba Chamberlain, Mike Mussina and was managed by Joe Torre.

That’s stretching over some serious time.

He was featured in Seinfeld, Anger Management and was the final voice over in Billy Crystal’s surprisingly good 61*.

And yes, while I am a Red Sox fan, I admit I got chills when I heard his voice.

My first memories was hearing names like “Chris Chambliss” “Reggie Jackson” and “Willie Randolph.”

And let me tell you, when I was at NYU in the early 1990s and the Yankees were awful, he made some of those names sound good.

“Hensley Meullens.”
“Don Slaught.”
“Alvaro Espinoza.”
“Mel Hall.”

Any chump can say Mickey Mantle or Thurman Munson… but to make Oscar Azocar sound like a great Yankee took some talent.

So give yourself a break… and I hope Bob Sheppard reaches well beyond 100 years.

Reggie Jackson called Sheppard “The Voice of God.”

God should take that as a compliment!

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How Zack and Tim can help Bert

Bert Blyleven must be positively giddy about how the Cy Young Awards panned out this year. Let me explain.

The Cy Young used to be kind of simple to figure out… a bunch of old writers would look at which pitchers won the most games and handed him the award.

Never mind that Bob Welch wasn’t even the #1 starter on his own team in 1990 (any sane person on the Planet Earth knew that Dave Stewart was the ace of the A’s). Never mind that Roger Clemens’ stats dwarfed Bob Welch’s without his lineup nor bullpen. Welch won more games… and that is that.

Never mind that in 1987 Nolan Ryan led the league in strikeouts and ERA. He had the best strikeout to walk ratio and gave up the fewest hits per 9 innings and was among the league leaders in WHIP and innings pitched that year. He finished 5th in the Cy Young voting because he had a losing record… all the while pitching for an Astros team that had a horrifically bad offense.

Wins were king.

Now I am not of the belief that wins are meaningless. If you pitch well enough to let your team win the game, then in essence you’ve done your job.

But a win could go to an undeserving pitcher. When Curt Schilling dominated the Braves in the 1993 NLCS he didn’t record a win. Instead Mitch Williams blew the lead in Games 1 and 5… and when the Phillies took the lead afterwards, it was Williams who got the win.

Anyone casually looking over the stats would see Mitch Williams went 2-0 and Curt Schilling went 0-0.

Now who had a better series?

The guy with the 1.69 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 16 innings?

Or the guy who blew two saves and let up 6 hits and 2 walks over 5 1/3 innings pitched?

And losses aren’t always the best barometer of a bad outing. Remember Harvey Haddix threw 12 perfect innings before letting up a pair of hits and a run during his masterpiece in 1959. He got the loss.

But finally writers are looking beyond just the win total to see who had the best year. Wins are important to be sure… but so is determining how a pitcher actually pitched! Did he let up few runs? Did batters have trouble getting on base against him? Did he strikeout more than he walked?

It requires looking at more than one column but it also means that a pitcher’s whole performance will be taken into account… not just the games where the team’s lineup scored him enough runs or the bullpen closed out enough games.

There is absolutely no way Zack Greinke nor Tim Linecum would have won the Cy Young 5 or 10 years ago.

Their win total would have been considered to be too low and probably CC Sabathia or Felix Hernandez would have some hardware in the AL and Adam Wainwright would be the Cy Young winner in the NL.

So what the hell does this have to do with Bert Blyleven?

Well Bert is once again up for the Hall of Fame… and hopefully the support for his candidacy is growing.

And the only thing keeping this no brainer Hall of Famer out of Cooperstown is the fact that he has 287 wins instead of 300.

5th in Strikeouts all time… 9th in shutouts all time… Cy Young Candidate over a 16 year span… clinched a pennant for the Pirates in 1979 with a complete game and saved the World Series with a gutsy 4 inning relief appearance… then helped pitch the Twins to the 1987 World Series title…

But 13 wins short of 300, and sits on the outside of Cooperstown looking in.

As I wrote in my Bert Blyeven post last winter, he had scores of games where he was a hard luck loser for some subpar teams over 22 seasons that maybe those 13 games could be forgiven.

Well Hall of Fame voters can be swayed.

I believe Jim Rice made the Hall of Fame because of the steroid issue. His home run total looked more impressive since his body never changed shape dramatically from 1975 to 1989.

Suddenly the same people who kept harping on about his walks and not reaching 400 homers realized that being an MVP candidate for more than a decade should amount to something.

And for Jim Ed Rice it amounted to a plaque in Cooperstown.

Now the same writers need to look at Blyleven’s career the way that Cy Young voters looked at Greinke and Lincecum.

All that is at stake is a little immortality.

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