Friday, October 29, 2010

Alcohol and Sporting Events

I really thought this article would hit home with most readers that may wander upon this one day. As it shouldn’t be a secret by now, here at Sterling Shakers all the writers are big time New York Yankee fans. It is the only sports team that is in common with all four of us. An aside, anyone who says it is easy to be a Yankee fan should have watched the ALCS and pretended to try to like the product the Yankees fielded for 6 games. That is neither here nor there, but the point I am trying to make is that no matter what team you like, what sport you may follow, and if you like going to live events or not, there may be something in this article for you. Plus, it is a Friday and I am anticipating enjoying at least one of these scenarios this weekend for sure.

In 2010, I saw a Major League Baseball game at four different venues (Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and Tropicana Field), a Jets game at the new Meadowlands, a few New York Rangers’ games at MSG, and a minor league baseball Brooklyn Cyclones game at MCU (read as: Keyspan) Park. In the past I have attended a countless amount of other games and events at many different venues. For someone who has never visited a US city other than Dallas, TX that is off the east coast of the continental US, I have still made my rounds to plenty of sporting events and have had everything from vodka on the rocks to PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) cans poured into cups. These experiences I will now share with you.

Hofstra University Hockey Game

Okay, the fact is that Hofstra only had a club Hockey team. My friend happened to be an employee of Hofstra’s radios station and covered the games. When he wasn’t in the booth, he was dragging his posse around to see games. This means if he brought 10 people, only 15 were on the bleachers watching because some of them had girlfriends and friends with nothing better to do I guess. I can’t remember how long ago this was, who won the game (think it was Hofstra but the score escapes me), the name of any players, but I do know it was a fun time because heckling the other players was encouraged. Problem: no booze to be served. I think my option was stale “soft” pretzels and hot dogs, if I even had that privilege. A game like this would have been much more enjoyable with half a load on – so pack your flasks ladies and gentlemen. Showing up drunk I frown upon because you’ll go all out early and leave nothing in the tank later except for a basketful of nonsensical comments, but a few tilts of that flask with your favorite sipping liquor between whistles and periods, by the third you’ll have opposing players wanting to fight you instead of the guy that just beat him with a filthy move through his legs. My Choice: Flask of Jack Daniels/Jameson or something else warming. It’s chilly in a hockey rink!

Minor League Baseball Game: Brooklyn Cyclones

There are fewer things I can think of in the middle of the summer that entertain me more than a minor league contest. First off, the Cyclones are only short season players. They are the short season single A farm system of the New York Mets. This makes them the Mets full season single A’s team, minor league team. They’re “old guys” on the team are usually 26. There is a lot of heart in these players, and while odds are you won’t see them in the majors the next season, you’ll see a great show of young talent and ability. If the pros had as much hustle as these guys when down 10-0, you’d never turn off a game. There is no rolling over and dying because that could potentially cost you a call up to the next level. Regardless, MCU (Keyspan) Park is in Coney Island and every time I have gone, it has been warm. The good seats are cheap by the home dugout, and it doesn’t hurt when the Starving Waiter knew the first baseman. So the money you save on buying minors tickets to sit near the ballclub you’ll be rooting for, you buy beer with. I think they sold amstels and a few other imports, but while enjoying America’s past time; my theory is to enjoy an American beer. This is another “Don’t show up drunk” kind of event. Everyone is rather friendly in the stands, a lot of die hards that follow the team all season are there and you’re sitting in their home park. However, a gradual beer buzz is required to enjoy rooting the team on. It is much more personal. If your short stop just turned a nice play, on his way in, let him know it. Raise your beer glass and let it all out. “Nice play six! Nice play!” The locals will really enjoy your enthusiasm if done in moderation and of course, they see you are enjoying some of America’s finest things. My Choice: Budweiser Heavy/Miller Highlife (or Light for those watching their girlish figure).

Pro Basketball Game

I was unaware the sport existed still and thought it was called “Miami Heat Ball” now? Did you know a bar in southern Florida has offered to pick up your tab up to $25 for the Heat’s losses this year as long as you sign in a half hour before the game? They said they would go undefeated, so they’d never have to do it. Way to lose your first game Heat. My Choice: Just don’t watch pro basketball. Don’t do it. Floridians – go take up that offer and drink $25 worth of anything that will be strong enough to get you hammered whenever the Heat play a good team. It’s worth a shot for a free tab if you’re lacking things to do. Bring a book or some headphones.

Pro Hockey Game: New York Rangers

This rivals football games as the most hostile environment in the stands. Hockey however is like any other sport you can think of on amphetamines. The pace is so fast, and a game will not keep you much longer than 2 and ½ to 3 hours. There can be entire minutes that go by without a stoppage, while chance after chance goes wide of the nets or gets knocked aside by the goalie or player. This isn’t my favorite sport, but it is by far and away my favorite sporting event to attend. MSG is easy to pregame, and if going with some other fellow diehards, I recommend it. There are several local watering holes in the midtown area where fans flock before and after games. This makes my drink of choice complicated. You don’t want to be fall down drunk upon arrival (security frowns upon you throwing up in the bushes outside as per my last experience there a week or so ago – some dude I passed by was throwing up his shoes). However, showing up entirely sober means you will be catching up to the people around you. My Choice: Pregame whatever you like. I drink a little bit of everything, so it depends on what I’m in the mood for. Usually a Jameson here or there with some beers, or just vodka clubs will do the trick for me. Maintain the buzz all game with a beer to start the first, second, and third periods. Get loud and proud. My beer of choice at MSG happens to be Bud Light, but it is more because their souvenir cups are the best in the business and you get most bang for your buck. Plus once over the drunken plateau, I would drink coconut water and 7 year old diet RC cola if you told me it would keep my buzz going.

Pro Football Game: New York Jets /Pro Baseball Game: Various

The new Meadowlands is really nice. The new Yankee Stadium makes me miss the old one. I happened to go to the only Jets home loss so far this season, but it was a good time. Whoa hold on a second, as if you need me to tell you what to drink during a Football or Baseball game? Well how do I close out this article then? I mean experiences are rather different with both games (fans are crazy at football games and pretty lax for the most part at baseball games) but the atmosphere of drinking for me tends to be the same. I just think you should enjoy some cold beer, or even for the ladies who don’t partake in beer, go for some of the higher end bars they have for you now. Enjoy your 15 dollar vodka drink, I’ll enjoy my 9-11 dollar beers… and we’ll go home and burn the rest of our money.

I got it! Just let me tell you what NOT to drink. I know Grau Geist will have a problem with this, but I honestly I do not agree with the dispensing and consumption of Guinness at any sporting event. Yes, I like Guinness a lot. I am not someone who says “you can’t drink them, it is too filling.” Guinness for me needs to be enjoyed with a meal, or while sitting and passively hanging out with a group of friends. It is not served particularly cold enough for me to think of as “stadium refreshment.” It does nothing for me while watching a game at a venue. I’m sorry, but I cannot enjoy the complex flavor of Guinness AND a ball game at the same time. Plus they don’t pour it right. You’re drinking it out of plastic. It ruins the experience of good beer. In fact, at the last baseball game I went to with Geist, and on his refreshment trip I said “anything but Guinness.” I’m pretty sure he forgot and got me one, but part of me in my head says he went up to that cashier and said “I hate my friend’s taste in beer. Get him a Guinness.” I drank it as any self respecting beer lover would, but it was a waste on me. My Choice: Anything but Guinness at a baseball or football game.

Also just for the record, there is a stand at Yankee stadium for PBR cans and other old beers like Rheingold. I’m a fan of the beer my father grew up on, and I’ll even get a case of them to drink from time to time. However, not for 10 bucks a can at the stadium. You realize the cost of a 18 pack of PBR is less than that, right? I guess that means my choice has to include “not something you can get 18 for the price of 1 at a stadium.” That should go without saying.

Finally, I know I said I’d have something here for the fan that likes to chill at home. If you’re sitting home reading this blog, not sure what you like to drink on your own couch during any sporting event, please stop reading and seek other forms of help. Make your favorite cocktail, tip some beers, or chug straight from a bottle – that’s the best part of being home, no one will judge you except your pet, significant other, and sports buddies who are all bringing their own stuff if they have a problem with what you have, or drinking your stuff for free and not saying a word about it. My choice: CHUG CHUG CHUG!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tackling the NFL

Football is a brutal sport. We all know this to be true. The National Football League recently took steps to make it less so, but the fact remains that one of the main objectives of the sport is for one player to wrestle the player holding the ball to the ground. When I think of football in this way, as opposed to a calculated effort to mix a ground attack with precise passes in order to reach the end zone, I can't help but wonder why exactly this sport is so popular. Don't get me wrong—I'm a fan of the game and I enjoy watching every weekend, but there are times when the game frustrates me.

Since it seems to be the hot topic of the week, I will begin with the issue of helmet-to-helmet hits. First of all, I disagree with the naming that term. Call it what it is: a headbutt. I don't care if you're wearing a helmet or not; launching oneself at an opposing player while leading with the head is a glorified headbutt. Rams and deer do this when they both want to mate with the same female. And now we have grown men doing this because another man is holding an oblong ball. Seems a little silly, don't you think? But that's the nature of the game, or at least it's what they tell us is the nature of the game. Players have been doing this for years and in doing so, they make it on the highlight reels. And now, just now, the NFL wants to put an end to it. And how do they plan on doing this? Through penalties and fines. Give me a break. On the college circuit, all of the Rutgers football program is looking on, waiting to see if one of its players will ever walk again, ever move his arms again, and an acceptable punishment for inflicting that pain is to move the ball backwards 45 feet? Really?

Of course, that's in college, so the player who put this poor kid in his current state can't be fined. I'll tell you what is going to happen to him, though. He's going to be drafted into the NFL because of his ability to deliver crippling hits. Is no one else bothered by that? Does it strike anyone as wrong that after the college bowl season when it's Mel Kiper's time to shine, he will have this kid listed as one of the top defenders in the country? Defender—that's a funny way of putting it. Hitting a person in a vulnerable position while he has no means of retaliation is not defense. People want to condemn the United States for invading Iraq unprovoked, but apparently holding a ball is enough to get a person paralyzed from the neck down. That makes sense.

Back to Mel Kiper for a second. How does one get a job like that? His sole purpose in life is to predict when young men will be drafted and by which team. That's all. Then the actual, non-mock-draft happens and he comments on how puzzled he is that players didn't go in the exact order he predicted. What the hell is the point? It's just more of this idiotic obsession with football. Why does ESPN show NFL Live year-round? Baseball Tonight gets a half hour during the baseball season. I'm not even sure NBA Shootaround is on every day during basketball season. People need to take a step back. Let football go back to being what is actually is—a game. I watch college football, but I am certainly not obsessed with where Jake Locker is going to play next season. I can recognize that he is probably the best quarterback in college right now. I don't need Mel Kiper to tell me that, and I certainly don't need to know in February who might draft him in April. Let things play out. The same goes for the four-hour pregame shows. Chris Berman and his team of retired players, while entertaining, do nothing for me. So you think the Cowboys are going to bounce back this week. Who cares? We'll find out when they play the game.

As for helmet-to-helmet hits, there is a simple fix. I wish I could take credit for the idea, but I heard Mike Ditka say it a few years back. Here's what you do to stop players from leading with their heads: take the face mask off of every player's helmet. I guarantee you James Harrison won't be so quick to smash his face against another player's helmet when it is sure to shatter his nose. What's the point of the face mask anyway? It is illegal to grab it, illegal to even put your hands on it, so why have it at all? I'm sure that a broken nose is better than a concussion, certainly better than paralysis. Good call, Coach. Maybe one day some of the NFL's higher-ups will listen to you. I did.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Rules – “The Fourth Out”

Everyone may know the record for number of strikeouts in one inning is actually four. So far, this has been done 54 times in major league history, dating back to when Ed Crane of the New York Gothams did it on October 4th, 1888 (thank God for for that one because I can’t even trace my family back that far without asking Grandma). For those of you who don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, a strikeout can actually occur without an out being recorded. If a catcher does not hold onto a third strike (called looking or swung at and missed entirely) and the ball hits the ground, a runner may attempt to advance to first and the catcher must either tag the runner or throw down to first and beat him there on a force out.

Now you may ask, “What does this have to do with the fourth out of an inning?” Actually… a whole lot of nothing at all. When a runner reaches first by this method a strikeout is still recorded but an out is not ever put in the books. So reader, do you wish to know how a fourth out can actually happen in the same inning? Why, I thought you’d never ask.

First you must understand when runs are allowed to score to understand this rule. I am going to use a lot of examples instead of rulebook mumbo-jumbo (just worked mumbo-jumbo into my article – really going places in life) as it is hard to read some of the language in it. Just ask anyone studying “balks” as to how confusing these rules can get. I hope I can assume that you know with a runner on third and 2 outs, a ground ball force play at first or a fly ball out will not allow the runner to score, even if he crosses the plate before the out is recorded. Just keep in your mind through reading through the rest of this, the one fact that a third out made by force out always trumps a run scoring, no matter how late after the runner crosses home it happens. If the batter up with 2 outs and a runner on third hits a ball off the center field wall with the center fielder stepping in a storm drain and unable to retrieve it, but then the batter falls halfway between home and first, the for some reason 400 pound overweight left fielded backing up the play can run all the way in and tag first, and the run still never scores. Okay, I promise to use more realistic examples in the future of at least this rule explanation. Exception: some of these scenarios include stupid play and unexplained slowness – so picture sumo wrestlers or nitwits running the bases when necessary. In fact, let’s call our main character “Bob” so we can sort of feel sorry for the un-athletic guy who now has an identity. Also, these rules are not probable to ever happen but the possibility that they could is enough for me. Here are the scenerios:

The “Non-appealed fourth out”

This one is kind of easy to grasp but you may never see it unless someone actually does become unable to reach first. While I don’t wish ill on any player for real (except Cliff Lee so the Yanks have a shot), I will not hurt Bob, I will just make him slower than you even first imagined. The scenario is second and third with two outs. Bob hits the ball to the nitwit shortstop (sorry - just Bob gets a name in these examples) who for some reason throws the ball home. The runner is called safe. The catcher saw the runner on second got a late break to third as the SS had the ball and throws down to third to try and get the tag out. The runner from second is called out at third base for the third out. However, Bob has not crossed first yet – so the third basemen who reads this blog and knows what you don’t yet, fires across the diamond and his first baseman (also a fan of us, or just playing self defense from the throw) catches the ball and steps on first JUST in the nick of time. Bob is actually considered out on the play. The runner that crossed home seemingly 15 seconds ago is not counted as a run. An umpire would have signaled a man out four times in the same inning (the two previous outs, the second guy at home and then Bob), so there were in fact four outs made. The fact is however, only three are recorded and one is erased. A pitcher does not pitch 1.1 innings in one inning, nor does a team officially go into the book as making 4 outs in an inning – I am just simply pointing out that four times in an inning, a player can be called out.

The “Faster version of the non-appealed fourth out”

Bob doesn’t need to apply for this instance, but let’s make him the hitter anyway. Runners on first and third this time with two outs and they’re stealing as the pitch is coming home. Bob the hitter grounds to shortstop who has no play at the runner going home. He crosses the plate and then the SS tags the runner who over ran second base after touching it for the third out. Realizing this mistake because he is a huge fan of us here at the Sterling Shakers, he throws the ball to first, beating Bob hustling this time down the line for the fourth out. This seems like it could have happened at least once in history, but I could not find a reference. Same principles apply – the runner rounding second making the third out is trumped by the force out at first and no run is tallied.

The “Appealed fouth out”

Okay try to follow this one as the degree of difficulty to comprehend may go up a little if you’re not that familiar with the game and its little nuances. This doesn’t make you dumb, it makes the people that get stuff like this on the first run through a little too much like me: an obsessed fanatic. I do pat you on the back if you understand this one on the first way through because a lot is going on. The situation is first and third with two outs. A batter laces a ball down the line in fair territory for an apparent hit. The man on third crosses home safely. Bob who was on first for the first time all season, gets gunned down at home trying to go first to home on the play for the apparent third out. The batter hustles and tries to stretch this into a triple. He apparently (hint: foreshadowing) makes it safely around second as Bob is getting tagged out at home. The play’s over right? Well yes, if the team runs off the field here, it is a normal three out inning with a run scored on an RBI double with a force out at home. However the second basemen saw that the batter missed second base on his way to third, and calls for an appeal. The second basemen steps on second with ball-in-hand, and the man who was taking off his helmet and gloves at third is called out for the “fourth out.” This force play in fact nullifies the previously assumed third out AND the run scored, even though the run scored was well before this appeal was made. Ain’t that something?

The only instance I remember this rule ever being an issue struck me when watching Sportscenter on ESPN one spring WAY back in 2009. The season had just started and there was little news to be excited for to put on the tube. In the top of the second inning on April 12th at Chase Field in LA, Dan Haren of the Arizona Diamondbacks was pitching. He walked Andre Ethier and struck out Casey Blake to start the inning. Juan Pierre hit a single moving Ethier to third with some hustle, and then a pitch or two later Pierre stole second. So with runners on second and third with one out, and Dodgers pitcher Randy Wolf at the dish, he hit a screamer back at Haren. The D-back pitcher snagged the liner out of the air and turned and fired wide left to second to catch Pierre who was off the base. The second basemen Felipe Lopez (or was it Stephen Drew the SS?) caught the ball and started a rundown with third baseman Mark Reynolds. They tagged Pierre out. This entire time, Ethier ran and crossed home without ever touching third to tag up. Arizona ran off the field thinking no run was counted being that Ethier never tagged up, and they tagged the third out already. Our lesson today would prove them wrong as the tag out was NOT the force out needed. In fact, if after getting Pierre out, Drew/Reynolds/Lopez could have run over and stepped on third for the “fourth out” and negated the run. Instead, manager Joe Torre came out as soon as the Arizona were all in the dugout and made sure the run was counted using this very rule. Joe Torre may, or may not follow us here at the Sterling Shakers, but I would like to give him the nod for knowing more than your average baseball guy. And now you do too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BCS Busting

Are we ever going to stop referring to teams like Boise State and TCU as “BCS Busters?” The term itself makes it seem like they don't belong there when in actuality, they probably deserve a shot more than some of the teams who play in the BCS conferences. Have you seen the Big East recently? Rick Moranis' Little Giants could beat half of those squads. The only Big East team currently ranked is #25 West Virginia. As of right now, the Mountain West Conference has three teams ranked in the top-25. #4 TCU, #11 Utah, and #23 Air Force all play in the MWC, so they obviously don't deserve a spot at the table. We're to assume that West Virginia is better than all three of those teams because they play in the Big East? That's insane. The ACC is another conference with only one ranked team (Florida State), and yet the WAC is looked down upon because they only have the #3 and #19 teams in the nation. Want to hear another fun fact? Not a single team from the ACC, SEC, or Big East has a single first-place vote. You know who does have a first-place vote? “BCS Buster” Boise State, that's who. The Broncos received 8 votes for the nation's top squad. Oh, and TCU got one also. Their inferiority is apparent.

It's not like we don't know how these teams will match up. Boise State has already knocked off two ranked teams from BCS conferences this season, defeating then-#10 Virginia Tech in Week One and beating Oregon State on the blue turf in Boise. Air Force played Oklahoma in Norman and lost by only a field goal. Boise State also won the 2006 Fiesta Bowl against the Sooners 43-42. Why then do we still insist that these teams are not as good? According to ESPN projections, Boise State will be the #1 team in the nation when the first BCS rankings are released this Sunday. With Oregon coming in at #2, the BCS National Championship Game would be a rematch of the Thursday night opener from the 2009 season, in which Boise State defeated Oregon 19-8. You may remember that game more for the fact that Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount punched Boise State defensive end Byron Hout in the jaw and got himself suspended. This year's Ducks are only figuratively punching teams in the mouth, winning games by an average score of 54-16, leading the FBS in scoring. Boise State ranks 4th in scoring, with 44 points per game.

I know I'm not the first person to gripe about the BCS, but when is the NCAA going to start paying attention? There is controversy every single season and it's not like there isn't any time to fit in a playoff system. The BCS National Championship Game is played one month after the regular season ends. Surely with that much time, a playoff could be instituted. The Football Championship Subdivision has a playoff system, not to mention every other NCAA sport. I don't even think we need to eliminate some of the minor bowl games (The New Orleans Bowl, The Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, etc.). Those could be used as part of the playoff system and that way, I wouldn't have to waste the month of December watching games like North Texas vs. Marshall or Louisiana Tech vs. UNLV. And really, if Butler can play for an NCAA title in basketball, I don't see why Utah couldn't string together a few wins over BCS opponents.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

To Sweep, or not to Sweep, that is the question…

As you all may know, everyone from your average play by play radio announcer (John Sterling shout out!), to your sports center anchor (Stu Scott where you at?), to any major network sports announcer (bite me Joe Buck/partner who’s name I won’t even honor – you suck) – shares a common theme around this time of the season. The Yankees swept (and embarrassed again) the Twinkies in their brand new Target Field for two games and one back in the Bronx to advance to the ALCS. And they’re playing… well either the Rays or the Rangers. The Yankees last won on October 9th. The Rays/Rangers are deciding who will lose to them tonight, the 12th (according to Starvin’ Waiter over on Oct. 4th’s “Fall Ball” article the Rangers will). The first ALCS game will be in the winning team’s stadium this Frday, October 15th.

So let me just debate this with myself using common sense. I am not looking up past stats of how long teams rested and if they won afterwards in the next series. To me, it is like debating which player’s pregame ritual works best. Listen, Pedro Cerano’s praying to Jobu would be the last thing on my list of things to get me psyched for a big game or get me out of a slump, but if it works for the guy I’d tell him by all means to have at it. It is purely subjective to the team involved in the extended/lack of rest.

So let’s begin with said common sense. The New York Yankees have an average age of about 84 years old. Ok, they’re not that old as a whole, but they definitely have the aging player factor to worry about. Mariano Rivera (40) saved two games in Minnesota on back to back days. No matter how long or short this guy takes off, the anchor the Yanks have in the Sandman is still the best relief pitcher in history and perhaps the best pitcher ever in the postseason. You know that he will bring it no matter how much time he gets off. Advantage: neutral

Andy Pettitte (38) pitched a gem his 4th start after coming back from his injuries less than a month ago. Seeing as the problem was in his groin and legs, and he suffered plenty of setbacks in trying to get back in the rotation, you can argue this either way. Does Andy need extra time to heal now, or has he had enough time off and should we be worried the layoff will allow him to get out of his game mode. Andy, being 38 and on the cusp of retirement a few seasons now, would probably tell you he can pitch every day in the postseason. You don’t become the pitcher with the most wins in October, especially in series clinching games, and not want the ball. I do believe however Andy won’t forget how to pitch with a few extra days off and time to work on his stuff. Expect a sharp Andy in the ALCS. Advantage: Yankees.

Hot bats like Granderson (5 for 11), Swisher (4 for 12, 2 doubles), and Cano (4 for 12, 1 triple) can always see a bit of a flame out having to sit for awhile. Opposing pitchers in general probably gain an advantage the longer hitters do not see live pitching. The notoriously patient Yankee lineup wasn’t really banged up going into the postseason, and the layoff may make them antsy when they come out of the gate on the road Friday. This would be especially tough if they had to face a strike throwing machine like Cliff Lee in the first game, but even if Texas makes it Lee is pitching tonight, so there shouldn’t be that much of a lingering effect given their experience. I do see it being more of a negative for guys who didn’t swing well against Minnesota because they only have the fact they didn’t produce to really help that much to reflect on. All in all, this will hurt the lineup a bit. Do not expect to see a flat offense to start, especially against lefties as they struggled all season against the weird wrong arm throwers. Advantage: Opposing team

Lastly, the fact that each the Rays and Rangers are using their aces tonight makes the Yankees’ mouths water. Not only does the team they face have to beat them, but they have to go up against C.C. Sabathia with their number 2 starter. This may prove to be the only advantage the Yankees get out of the difference in rest that is apparent. The rest is all speculation. The fact is that a Cy Young hopeful in C.C. is going against someone’s second rate starter that isn’t named Lee or Price. Actually, they’re both lefties the Yankees get to skip in game 1. Advantage on paper you must admit goes directly to defending champs.

I really don’t care who wins this series tonight as a diehard Yankee fan. I think on any given night, the lineup the Yankees have can beat anyone. I also feel as if on any given night, either of these teams can be evenly matched with them. Texas’ bullpen can be overbearing at times. The way manager Ron Washington goes through them to get his perfect matchups, you wouldn’t have a hard time imagining him still going through an 8-ball between innings. The “calm optimist” in Rays’ manager Joe Maddon makes you feel like the team is never out of a game or series. I just hope I’m right and the veteran aspect of the Yankees with plenty of rest will overpower the pure adrenaline that is coming to clash up against them in a team with only two days of recovery to gear up for the showdown that can put them in the World Series. Play ball.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Unbalance of Power

Does anyone get excited about interleague play anymore? I know I sure don't. It usually isn't even that competitive. The American League dominates and the only thing that ever brings any excitement is when an American League pitcher either gets a hit or gets hurt. It's two weeks of the season that I just check out. Wake me up when it's over. I would dislike it less if it wasn't hyped so much. Major League Baseball tries to make such a big deal of Bud Selig's brain-child that I wish more and more each season that it would just go away. The geographical “rivalries” are kind of cool, but they're all manufactured too. The Yankees and Mets have never been rivals. Does anyone really care who wins the Marlins-Rays Citrus Series? How about the I-70 Rivalry between the Royals and Cardinals? Not me. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have not played a single game at Yankee Stadium since interleague play began in 1997. That was a huge (and real) rivalry and yet nobody seems to care about it anymore. So how do we fix it? Simple. Just scatter an interleague series in each team's schedule. Baseball is the only sport in which teams from one league/conference do not regularly play teams from the other one. Granted it's the only sport that has different rules for each league, but still. What would be so bad about an interleague series in September? For all we know, it could be a World Series preview. Remember during the 2007 NFL season when the Giants and Patriots played in the season finale, only to have a rematch in Super Bowl XLII? That was great. So why won't baseball do it?

Want to know the best part about interleague play throughout the season? The leagues and divisions could be even. No more six-team NL Central. The AL West would have five teams like everyone else. Here's my proposition: make the Brewers go back to the American League Central Division and move the Royals to the AL West. The way it is currently set up is ridiculous. The five-team divisions play each other 72 times with every team playing the other four 18 times each. In the AL West, however, every team plays the other three 19 times each, for a total of 57 divisional games. The NL Central isn't even uniform in this area—some teams play 77 divisional games, some play 78, and the rest play 79. How does that make sense? Having uneven divisions messes up everyone else's schedule, too. I'll use the AL Central Champion Twins as an example. Last season, the Twins played their normal 72 divisional games and 18 interleague games, just like everyone else. Because of the uneven divisions, however, the Twins played the AL East a total of 32 times and the AL West a whopping 40 times, more than any other non-AL West team. On the last day of the season, the Twins were tied with the Tigers for the AL Central lead and the last spot in the playoffs. The Tigers had played the West and the East 36 times each. So while they were tied, they hadn't played the same schedule. I won't debate which division is better or worse, but in order for a sport to be fair, every team should have an equal chance to win. By not playing the same teams, the Twins had an unfair advantage over the Tigers (you could also argue that the Tigers had the easier schedule, but I'm using the Twins because they won the one-game playoff and thus, the division).

One of the biggest reasons the Brewers moved from the American League to the National League in 1998 was because Major League Baseball decided it wouldn't make sense to have an odd number of teams in each league because they would have to either expand interleague play, or give teams more days off. I think the season is long enough as it is (too long, really), so the only way to go is to expand interleague play. Here's how each team's schedule should be set up: 72 divisional games, 30 games against each of the other two divisions (15 home, 15 away), and 30 games against a certain division from the opposite league. No more forced interleague “rivalries” unless it happens to be the year the Cubs play the White Sox or the Angels and Dodgers face off. I might start caring about the Freeway Series if it wasn't shoved down my throat every season. If it were done my way, every team in a division would play the exact same schedule. Surely this couldn't be the worst thing to happen to baseball. Maybe one day we can fix Selig's other blunder—the All-Star Game deciding home-field advantage in the World Series.

The Rules - “A ‘Grounds’ Rule Double”

The things I love talking about most are the technicalities of a sport – especially baseball. Why? Well for one, it is interesting to me. Call me what you will, it will not change me. I was at a Yankee/Rays game at the beginning of the season with The Starving Waiter and the Grau Geist, and Evan Longoria hit the ball straight up off the roof (or what appeared to be, I never saw the replays from the game but heard about 30 different versions of it). Now while our seats didn’t allow us to actually see if the ball hit the roof or not because Tropicana Field sucks ass, I began discussing the park’s ground rules with Waiter. I know what you’re saying now – BOLOGNA! Well it goes to show you’d be wrong and I have a dated Facebook post to prove that I had knowledge of these rules prior to the game assuming I read things I post on others pages. During the offseason, an article was published on Yahoo! Sports (comment on the post and I’ll send you the link as I don’t want to exactly link to my rivals, they have much more interesting to say than I do) that highlighted the strange catwalk/roof rules of the stadium, many of which were just recently changed for the 2010 postseason. I posted this very story a few weeks before making the trip to Tampa and had a few laughs about it – like how we used to play stickball and have “cheaps” and “do overs” and “automatics.” Then poof, it came running out of our mouths as soon as Eva hit that ball, and native Tampans (hah I guess that’s what you call someone from Tampa?) were probably like “How do these people in the Yankee clothes know this about our home park!? We had no friggin’ clue!” (or: “SHUT UP! I’M TRYING TO IGNORE A PERFECTALLY GOOD GAME BETWEEN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE’S ELITE! THERE IS NO FUN ALLOWED IN TAMPA!”)

This finally brings me full circle to why I like the little technicalities of the game as well – you can talk about them and odds are the casual fan (read as: non-douchebag, non-sociopath, generally friendly) that is really there to catch a ball game actually will look impressed. After that, you can tell him you’re the CEO of GOOGLE and he’ll believe you because you’re so knowledgeable. Average fans are dumb while you, reader, are not because you care enough to read what some other die hard has to say (let me welcome you to our blog again, feel right at home).

So here is a nuance of the game that I have learned recently that I would like to pass along to you. Ok, raise your hand if you know what they call it when (and I’m trying to be as specific as possible) a batted ball bounces on the field, in fair territory, and goes straight into the stands, also in fair territory? I’ll give you a hint – it isn’t the title of this article. Oh man you feel stupid. That’s okay, I’m sure at least one of the other two current writers of this blog didn’t even know this one. Let me console you. It is not a “Ground Rule Double” (or as John Sterling calls it I believe, a Grounds Rule Double, hence the title). The fact is that it is neither. It is simply referred to in the rule book as a two base award. A ground rule double is exactly that of what the individual park’s set of rules designates as a rule that applies to their park. It doesn’t have to be specific to their park (other fields can have the same rule based on a similar layout, roof, etc.), but it can’t be in the general rules of baseball to be considered a “ground rule.” For example, a ball caught up in Wrigley’s beautiful ivy wall is considered a ground rule double.

Other examples would be the “ground rule home run” you could hit in Minnesota last year at the Metrodome. If a ball hit the right field wall (known as the “baggy”) and went out of play in foul territory (since the foul fence down the line was much lower than the wall out there) it was a “ground rule double.” However, to have that rule, they had to say the opposite in their park’s rules that if a ball hits the wall and goes over in fair territory (I assume the top of it and sneaks over) it was in fact a home run – by definition of their ground rules. I conclude that this is a ground rule home run because of the distinction made in the rulebook that it must go over, not to the side.

How about a ground rule triple? Does it exist? Well if a player throws his hat or glove at a ball and it makes contact in fair play, the batter is awarded third. However, this is called a three base award since it is universal at any stadium. There are no official ground rule triples yet in the game, even though one was rumored to once be at Fenway Park when something crazy happened with a big ladder out by the monster. But this is all just internet folklore. The two balls that ever hit said ladder turned into inside the park homers. Idiots from Boston… figures.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I know 7 of 8 Jet home games next year

I know, only four weeks into the 2010 season - who cares, right? Just thought you might like to know HOW I know whom the Jets will play at home (could also tell you road).

Simple, actually. Next year the Jets play the NFC East. They played them three years ago (2007). That year, they played at the Cowboys and Giants. Therefore, they will host both teams next year.

Similarly, the Jets play the AFC West next year. Two years ago, they played at Oakland and San Diego. So, next year, they will host those teams.

Add the division games (Dolphins, Patriots, Bills) and there are your seven. You can do the same thing for eternity, assuming the NFL never expands, and maintains this system.

But wait a minute, you say, how is it that every year it seems the Patriots host the Colts? That's where that last home game comes in. The last home game is against one of the teams that finished in the same seeding in its division that the Jets did in theirs. That team cannot be from the division the Jets are playing that year (in the case of next year, this is the AFC West. In the case of this year, the AFC North). Basically, the first place team plays the first place team, second place plays second place, etc. (HOW this seeding happens is a different story, but I imagine it has something to do with who would have qualified for the playoffs first).

When the NFL realigned a few years ago, they flipped coins or picked numbers, or whatever, and made a predetermination that, for example, the AFC South first place team would play at the AFC East first place team in the years 2010-2011, but in the years 2013-2014, the AFC East first place team would play at the AFC South first place team. (in the 2012 season, the teams would follow the pattern outlined when they play the entire division.)

Last year, the Pats played at the Colts because the Pats were playing the whole division and it was the Pats' turn to go to the Colts. But when the teams are not playing each others' entire divisions, the pattern in the paragraph rules.

Anyhow, that is why I cannot tell you whom the Jets will play in the eighth home game next year. It depends on which place they finish in and the place the other team plays in. If we assume the Jets win the division, and so do the Steelers and Texans, then the Jets will host the Texans for the third consecutive year and the Steelers will host the Jets for the third consecutive year.

Just one more reason to love the NFL - the possibilities.

Ode to Mushnick on Sterling

Phil Mushnick, writer for the New York Post, was the first person I ever heard bash John Sterling with regularity, way back when Sterling was teamed with Michael "no name... of course" Kay.

Back then, I actually thought Sterling was good and didn;t get what Mushnick's problem was. Sure, at the end of Gooden's no-no in 1996, Sterling did go into his signature, "THAAAAA ...." instead of telling the story of the game (no-hitter), but I didn;t think much of it at the time. Sterling can make a game more exciting with his descriptions. The problem is, his descriptions are almost always wrong (when he even describes anything.) How many home runs are actually hit, "High and far?" Many are line drives. You would never know that with Sterling.

But I will give Sterling his right to his call. What I can;t stand is when something will happen on the field and he stops describing it. He just goes quiet. At a really important moment. I mean, this IS radio. I really CAN'T see what is happening. After this happening a few times, I think I realized that there is just something wrong with Sterling. Mushnick always thought he was just self serving. No, I think he's just incompetent. When you look at it that way, you almost feel bad for Sterling. I'm sure he was good once (and Mushnick assures us that Sterling is a good play-by-player for basketball).

I was watching a tribute to Steinbrenner on ESPN 30-30 (or whatever) the other day. Sterling was on there and got all weepy, ala Steinbrenner. One wonders...

A Tale of Two Cities – It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The Seattle Mariners Edition

In 1995, the year after the 1994 strike shortened season, the Seattle Mariners had a player who belted 23 HR, and drove in 96 runs in the short 145 game season (the M’s played an extra tiebreaker against the California Angels for the AL West Title and a postseason berth). Want to guess this player’s name? Griffey? E. Martinez? T. Martinez? Buhner? No, it was third baseman, Mike Blowers. While this was the only statistical bump in his career (he only hit 6 next year with the Dodgers and drove in 38, and his next highest career stats were 15 HR and 57 RBI in ’93), it still shows you the powerhouse that Seattle had become in the mid 90’s.
An example: On September 23rd, at the Kingdome in front of 54,589 fans, the Mariners started this lineup:

1) Vince Coleman, LF (split season between KC & M’s) bat a combined .288, OBP .343, 42SB)
2)Luis Soho, SS (only 1 official AB and a BB in this game – a boy named Alex Rodriguez pinch hit and tripled in this game)
3) Ken Griffey Jr., CF (injured part of the season, still belted 17HR in 314 AB – a “bad” season by his standards)
4) Edgar Martinez, DH (52 doubles, 29HR, 113RBI, .479 OBP – IN 145 GAMES!)
5) Jay Buhner, RF (.394 OBP, 40 HR and 121 RBI in 126 games)
6) Mike Blowers, 3B (see above)
7) Tino Martinez, 1B (31HR, 111 RBI, .293 avg.)
8) Felix Fermin, 2B (who cares, he bats 8 – did you see the rest of this team? Plus Joey Cora started games too)
9) Dan Wilson, C (.278 avg., 51 RBI at the end of the lineup all season)
Starting Pitcher: Randy Johnson (posted an 18-2 record striking out 294 batters in 214.1 innings)

Now while the rest of the rotation was average at best, and the bullpen combo of Bobby Ayala and Norm Charlton closing games and setting up each other weren’t ideal, did I mention their lineup was stacked? I know the cliché that hitting wins games but pitching wins series holds true most of the time, but look at what they had to build on? A-Rod was 19, Griffey 25, Tino 27, Buhner 30, E-Mart 32, Johnson 31. The team was a runs producing machine, had an ace, and a decent bullpen. Why couldn’t the front office get more arms together in this pitching staff to win a championship? In 1996, you saw A-Rod’s first full season (36HR 123RBI), E-Mart hit over .320 and post an OBP of .464 (still insane), and a replacement of Tino for Paul Sorrento (lost some production but not much, 23HR and 93RBI) and Blowers for a slew of guys manning the hot corner. Russ Davis, their 3B prospect from the Yankees for Tino, was a bit of a dud rather than a shot in the arm for the team. Regardless, the team lost Randy Johnson to injury, and the season pretty much, only finishing second in the West. The next year, everything worked again in the lineup, and they did finally add two quality arms to Randy in the rotation (Jamie Moyer, Jeff Fassero – combined to go 33-14 – ERA high 3’s) but lost to a surging Baltimore team (keep an eye out for future articles about this poor franchise in its current state was well).

After 1997, the team finished 3rd, 3rd, and 2nd in the west in ‘98’99’and ’00, winning the wildcard in 2000, but not making it past the world champion Yankees. 2000, even though some resurgence was present with some of the same core from ’95-’97, in my opinion this was the end of this mini era for the team. “Sweet Lou” Piniella was still the manager for 2000 and 2001, but the team went through some minor changes. Randy Johnson was traded in the middle of the 1998 season to Houston, and Jr.’s contract went to the Reds for the 2000 season as well. Buhner, E-Mart, A-Rod, and Dan Wilson remained from the powerhouse lineup that carried them through the mid 90’s to now, and along with the additions of John Olerud and Mike Cameron, the lineup still wasn’t too shabby.

In 2001, the “new” era for the M’s began. Buhner only played in 19 games. E-Mart ONLY hit .306 and had 23 HR and 116 RBI, but this was his best season until he retired in 2004. He was 38, so you can’t blame the guy for only being the best DH of all time for so long. Also, A-Rod left for greener pastures in Texas for a record breaking contract, and a man that goes by Ichiro arrived that had 242 hits and bat .350. A roided up Bret Boone took over at second base popping 37 out of the park in the season. Jamie Moyer (38 years old, yes in 2001)won 20 games, Freddy Garcia won 18, and Paul Abbot won 17 (losing only 4) and Aaron Sele won 15. Twenty-two year old Joel Pinero pitched in 17 games, starting 11 and posted a 2.03 ERA with 6 wins. Another Japanese import Kaz Sasaki saved 45 games with Arthur Rhodes and Jeff Nelson being his primary setup men with a 1.72 and 2.76 ERA respectively. The team won 116 regular season games and only lost 46. They scored 927 runs and allowed exactly 300 fewer. Of course the Yankees beat them 4 games to 1 in the ALCS because, well they were the Yankees.

They haven’t sniffed meaningful baseball in October since. Part of this is bad luck – running into the Yankees in 2000 and 2001 in the postseason was one thing (even though they should have beaten the Yankees on paper in 2001, they still had 4 of the last 5 World Series titles under their belt), the team was actually still good in 2002 and 2003. Each year, they posted a 93 and 69 record, but finished THIRD in 2002 in the West and second with no wildcard seat (went to Boston) in 2003. Imagine winning 93 games now and not making the postseason? The Padres won 90 games this year and were the only 90 win team not to make the fall league. 2004 saw the team get dyslexic and go 69 and 93 due to issues not even worth looking in to – this team has become a disgrace.

A brief look will be all that is necessary. Money has always been a concern for the team as it is not one of the top grossing franchises in baseball, so many players have departed via free agency or trade (A-Roid, Griffey, Johnson…). Chasing free agents like Cliff Lee, Chone (pronounced: douchebag) Figgins, and others has crippled the teams bankroll to keep players that may have a long term impact. They have the best AL pitcher (in my opinion) on their team currently in Felix Hernandez, and I doubt once he is eligible to leave, that he’d even have second thoughts. The guy went 13-12 this season, with a league best 2.27 ERA. That is sad. This past Sunday, the team lost to finish 61-101, the worst record in the American League this season. Their front office is trying, but Ichiro isn’t getting younger (even though he doesn’t look any older either – Japanese have good genes like that I guess). This team needs to win, and needs to win now. It surely has ALMOST been the best of times for them (and some eras of this team will undeservedly go under the “How the hell did they not get a championship?” banner) but lately it surely has been the worst of times. If the team is not careful, it is much easier to get lost out in Seattle than it is to get lost in Pittsburgh, and look how that has worked out for the Pirates lately. No loyal fan base (can you blame them?), no revenue to keep a good team, beautiful newer park, but no good baseball.

EDIT: 10/28/10 - I found a blog dedicated to the M's from 1995. For me, this validates it if Seattle fans still hold that year dear enough for a few people to be crazy enough to put a blog together about it. I mean they didn't even make the World Series! Check them out: 1995 Mariners: Stories from Seattle's most memorable baseball season

Dear John

Dear John (Fox, head coach of the Carolina Panthers),

You looked like an Easter egg gone wrong on Sunday. It's not that I don't support what the NFL is trying to do with Breast Cancer awareness month and all, but the pink isn't meshing too well with that pastel blue you have all over your uniform. That, along with your team's 0-4 start and not scoring a single touchdown in the preseason, makes me think the Panthers should be renamed the Lions of the South. You're starting a rookie at quarterback, we don't know how long Steve Smith will be out, and you are just about guaranteed three more losses this season against the Saints and Falcons.

Don't think that I'm only picking on you either, John. Most of the coaches looked stupid with those pink streaks all over their hats and shirts and I still don't see why some of the biggest, toughest men in the world are wearing hot pink shoes. You aren't even the only sport to do something like this. Ever see the pink dildo-bats baseball players swing on Mothers' Day? I support the cause, but the execution is suspect. And are you going to be wearing that for the rest of October since it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Why not just get all the causes out of the way, wear a bunch of ribbons, call yourselves the Rainbow Warriors and move on?

I'm just trying to help out, John. Why not give Tony Pike a shot? He's the only quarterback on your depth chart who won anything in college. Clausen was an overrated player at an overrated school and Moore went undrafted out of Oregon State. What's the worst that could happen if you go with Pike? You start 0-5? Big deal. If you finish 0-16, you can draft Jake Locker.

I'm sorry, John. It's not you, it's me. I just need some space right now. I hope we can still be friends. Take care of yourself, John. And be careful—that hot seat might hard-boil you pretty quickly.

The Starving Waiter

Fall Ball

I was looking through some old magazines yesterday and I came across a 2010 Baseball Preview issue. With the regular season coming to an end, I thought I would check up on the experts to see how their picks turned out. To put it simply, they were not good. The only division winner they picked correctly was the Phillies. Of their five other picks for division winners, only one of those teams (the Yankees) is even in the playoffs. The Tigers, Angels, Dodgers, and Cardinals all slipped into mediocrity, with the Seattle Mariners, these experts' pick for the AL Wild Card, finished with the worst record in the American League, losing 101 games. They did pick the Braves for the Wild Card in the NL, so there's a feather in their cap. They picked both the Giants and the Reds to finish 4th in their respective divisions, and the Rangers and Rays to be 3rd place finishers. The perennial under-the-radar Minnesota Twins won the AL Central, defying the writers who had them coming up short and finishing in 2nd place in that division.

Now that I have properly dissected everything that is wrong with baseball predictions, here's my October preview. We'll start in the American League:

New York Yankees (95-67) vs. Minnesota Twins (94-68)

The Yankees swept the Twins out of the playoffs in the 2009 ALDS. As a matter of fact, including the regular season, the eventual World Champs were a perfect 10-0 against the Twinkies last year. This season, the Twins managed to pick up a win in the finale of each series against the Yanks, with Nick Blackburn getting the W in both games. The problem for the ALDS, however, is that Blackburn is not slated to pitch until Game 4, and by then it might be too late. CC Sabathia goes up against Francisco Liriano in Game 1. While Liriano made a nice comeback this season, getting close to the dominance he had in 2006, Sabathia is a legitimate Cy Young candidate, notching 21 wins against only 7 losses. With Justin Morneau out for the Twins and Joe Mauer still feeling the pain in that left knee, CC will overpower the Twins and steal Game 1 on the road.

Game 2 is up in the air, with former Yankee Carl Pavano facing one of the Yankees' current young guns, Phil Hughes. It could go either way, but with Pavano having a career ERA of almost 5 against the Yankees, I would give the slight edge to the Yanks. Game 3 features Andy Pettitte vs. Brian Duensing and it looks to be another toss-up. Pettitte has not looked sharp since coming off the DL on September 19 and Duensing has put together a nice season, going 10-3 in 13 starts this season. The edge in Game 3 goes to the Twins, even though Pettitte has had great success in the playoffs and the game will be played in Yankee Stadium.

Game 4 brings the return of CC Sabathia. He'll face off against Nick Blackburn at the Stadium next Sunday. The stage is set for Blackburn to improve to 3-0 against the Yankees, but I think he'll hit a very large bump in the road in CC and the Yankees hitters will finally figure him out. Yanks take the series, 3 games to 1.

Texas Rangers (90-72) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (96-66)

Aside from former top-pick David Price, the Rays starting pitching has been shaky at best. Going up against a 1-2 like Lee and Wilson could prove to be a challenge for the AL East Champs. Of course the Rays have the home-field advantage in this series, and throughout the AL playoffs, but if they continue to fill only 52% of the seats at the Trop, that home-field advantage ends at catwalk ring A.

Having Lee and Wilson going against the Rays is a huge lift for the Rangers. The Rays' offense goes into hibernation at times, evidenced by the fact that they were no-hit twice this season, one of those being Dallas Braden's prefect game in Oakland. Don't forget that Mark Buehrle also had a perfecto last season against basically the same Rays lineup. If Carl Crawford can go on a tear and steal some bases, the Rays will have a real shot. Otherwise, the fair-weather fans in Tampa-St. Pete might just sink back to the cellar with Crawford likely leaving for Anaheim this off-season.

A big question mark for the Rangers will be Josh Hamilton. Will his broken ribs prevent him from being a true offensive threat? And if so, will Michael Young, Nelson Cruz, and Vladimir Guerrero be able to pick up the slack? I think so, and I think they will be too much for Rays pitching. Rangers shock the world, sweep the Rays.

ALCS: Yankees vs. Rangers
Yankees defend AL crown, win 4-2

Atlanta Braves (91-71) vs. San Francisco Giants (92-70)

Both teams are back in the playoffs for the first time in a while after battling with the Padres for a place in the sun. The young Giants are looking to make a statement while the fighting Coxes will try to “win one for the Gipper.” In Cox's final season as Braves manager, he led the team to the NL Wild Card, despite losing team leader Chipper Jones to a knee injury that might end his career. A nice sub-plot of this series will be the production of rookies Jason Heyward (Atlanta) and Buster Posey (San Francisco). Both have a great chance to take Rookie of the Year honors (my vote goes to Posey).

This series is a lot like the Rangers-Rays. Up and down the rotation, los Gigantes have great pitching. Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and the reincarnation of Barry Zito always give the Giants a chance to win. I think the Braves will win one in Atlanta, but the Giants' pitching will be too much for them to handle. Not even the sentimental value of winning it for Bobby will be enough. Giants win, three games to one.

Cincinnati Reds (91-61) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (97-65)

The two-time reigning National League Champions earned home-field throughout the playoffs since they had the best record in the NL and because the Senior Circuit finally knocked off the AL in the All-Star game (see, this one does count) even though Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard were the only Phils to actually play in the game. The Cinderella Reds got back into October baseball after winning the NL Central for the first time since 1995, and while they are not quite the Big Red Machine, they have a nice balance of young talent with a veteran presence. Hats off to Walt Jocketty and Dusty Baker, who should win GM and manager of the year, respectively.

The Phillies' rotation has two playoff-proven pitchers in Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. Don't forget about the other Roy, either. Halladay is probably in line for his second Cy Young award after going 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA in his first season with the Fightin' Phillies. The atmosphere in Philadelphia is electric (Scott Rolen might remember that) and the Reds should consider themselves lucky if they leave Pennsylvania with all of their limbs intact. Phillies take the series easily, three games to zero.

NLCS: Giants vs. Phillies

Giants get back to World Series, take down the Phillies in 7.

World Series: Yankees vs. Giants
The Yankees and Giants face off in the World Series for the first time since 1962. Just like that year, the series will go seven games, with the Yankees coming away winners.

There are my predictions. Who knows, they could all be wrong, but at least I got all the playoff teams correct.

Join the Mailing List
Enter your name and email address below:
Subscribe Unsubscribe