Do you remember who was supposed to play in the 2010 World Series? Of course you do: Yankees and Phillies. Who else would it be? Instead, two boring mystery teams that most people have never seen win a World Series in the Giants, and play with Nolan Ryan in the stands in the Texas Rangers, came together to fight it out in 5 games ultimately with the good guys winning. No hand gestures necessary.
Then came the 2011 Free Agency period. Cliff Lee was going to the Yankees. No, the Rangers. No, the Yankees. Oh wait there’s a mystery team?!?!? Who could it be? Giants? No, they need a bat. Dodgers? Ha, that’s funny. The Dodgers don’t care about baseball! Silly. Ok, the whole “mystery” thing was made up, everyone get back to work. Yankees, Rangers, rinse and repeat. Cliff Lee signs with the Phillies. In February when camp was about to break, the Phillies had won Free Agency 2011.
Who was picked to go to the 2011 World Series? You probably remember. Fried chicken and beer vs. Subway. The ultimate American showdown of American eating versus Americans thinking they’re eating healthy. It would’ve brought crazy ratings. Basketball fans nationwide might have cared about baseball instead of whining about their lame, boring 82 game sport. Real athletes play 162 games of 9 innings or something like that. Back to the point, we have the Rangers and the Cardinals now. The Rangers don’t surprise anyone, but the Cardinals are a shocker. Mystery team! I know I didn’t pick them for any postseason spot and any postseason series. Can you imagine if they pitched the NLDS like they did the NLCS? It’d be Phillies-Red Sox by some miracle of osmosis (why do people always go to osmosis?).
The real reason I wrote this was to talk about Free Agency 2012. We have many big names like CC Sabathia (who is big), CJ Wilson (half big), Albert Pujols (machine big) and Prince Fielder (tofu big). How many of these guys will get lasso’d in by a “mystery team” this winter? My guess: two. Here’s who I think gets who:
CC Sabathia – Chicago Cubs (CC goes to CC. It was meant to be.)
CJ Wilson – Yankees (Who else would overpay for him?)
Albert Pujols – Cardinals (What, you expect Lance Berkman to play first?)
Prince Fielder — San Franci… not. Baltimore Orioles. (Unless you think they want to have more years of sub-par Derrek Lee-ness. How will they compete for 4th without Prince?)
I’ll be wrong with about… four of these predictions. Don’t worry. Can’t wait for the Free Agency period to begin though.
Discussion and disagreement are part of sports life, and after reading a post from @BayCityBall (http://www.baycityball.com/2011/10/02/my-postseason-rooting-order/) I thought this would be a good post for today. The idea is of course, there are eight teams in the postseason and if we had to rank who you would root for, what would that order be? Everyone’s list will be different and who can blame them? There’s some attractive talent (both on the field and in the dugout) for us to be amazed and stupefied at.
1. Tampa Bay Rays – expansion team, lost to the Phillies in 2008, came from a huge deficit to defeat one of the more despised franchises in baseball. They have lovable characters like Evan Longoria, One-A-Day 50+ sponsor Joe Maddon, Madison Bumgarner pitch-a-like Matt Moore (alike in that the Rangers couldn’t touch either of them). Shoot, their version of Eli Whiteside even hit two HRs against CJ Wilson. Awesome
2. Texas Rangers – When the Giants and the Rangers met up last year in 2010, you had a ratings nightmare: no Yankees? no Red Sox? no Phillies? We’ll just have Joe Buck and Tim McCarver do this one. Nobody’s watching, anyway. You also had two franchises starved for a World Series trophy. The Giants got their portion in 2010, but the Rangers were left hanging and from what I heard, the Rangers were very classy in defeat. Their exciting players are mostly hold bats and hit HRs for a living, their staff has the experience of winning so the jitters should be mostly out of the way.
3. Detroit Tigers – The playoff team I probably know the least about. I guess they’re like the Tampa Bay Rays or a Texas Rangers-lite on offense and some other team with their pitching. Justin Verlander? Hot. Jose Valverde? He should make a dance instruction DVD. As for everyone else? Whatever, just beat the Yankees.
4. St. Louis Cardinals – Just beat the Phillies, Tony La Russa. Use your craftiness when you get back home to even the series at 2 or something. Sprinklers, stadium lights, rain dance, Buffalo Wild Wings commercials, whatever. I laugh a little that Rafael Furcal is on this team.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks – They’re not far down on the list because I despise their team; really, I’m OK with them. Justin Upton, Chris Young, Aaron Hill, Kirk Gibson. I think he’s done a great job with the team and GM Kevin Towers a wonderful job rebuilding the bullpen. I don’t want them winning the World Series because I don’t know why, but I don’t. I may have this fear that winning the WS would convince idiots to vote Ian Kennedy for Cy Young even though it’s just a regular season award. Edit: Forgot that ballots are submitted before the post-season. Therefore, Kennedy performance in post-season will not change likelihood of getting Cy. Their twitter account is annoying as babies on a plane, by the way.
6. Milwaukee Brewers – I am very not fond of a certain player on their team that claims to have an alter-ego that rhymes with “Phony-Flush.” I do not want to see him happy. Does that make me a bad person? Probably, but no one’s perfect. I’m not too fond of Prince Fielder, either, but TofuMan doesn’t both me as much as the current CF. I like Ryan Braun. I like John Axford.
In between 6 and 7, please note that there’s a gap larger than the 6 hour drive from Long Beach to San Jose I have to endure at least twice a year.
7. Philadelphia Phillies – I have a strong dislike for the Phillies. They have become the Yankees of the NL. I will laugh at them in 2015 when they are still paying Ryan Howard $25MM to strike out with a sandwich in his mouth.
8. New York Yankees – Look, they have exciting players. They’re the freaking Yankees. But the only time you want a team like that to win is when: a) it’s your team or b) you’re playing a video game and you’ve constructed a super team that isn’t possible in real life and you don’t have to worry about hurting other people’s feelings.
In 2012, the list will be different. Buster ain’t havin’ it.