There is a lot of prestige, legend, lore and dramatic music on FOX surrounding the Fall Classic every year. There are also super long pre-game and inter-game festivities.
None of the last five World Series has gone beyond a fifth game. I need that to change. The best part about post-season baseball is a Game 7. I get nervous at home, in my chair. Even when I have no rooting interest, I still fidget and shift around like my life is on the line.
A-Rod wears an oversized New York Yankees 1999 World Champions jacket. CC clutches his baseball glove in his right arm, like a child with a teddy bear, and holds six baseballs in his massive left hand. Teixeira sucks on a water bottle and rocks in place, a bat propped up in the bend of his elbow.
A-Rod, Teixeira, and CC ask Jeter questions about what it was like to win the World Series four times nearly a decade ago.
Jeter: You have to be natural about it. You donât want âAnything is possible!â and Two-handed up-top Wayneâs World high fives arenât going to do it either. Also, Papelbon dancing should get you beat up.
CC: Hey Captain, if I hit somebody with 98 miles per hour of my awesomeness and he charges the mound, will you have my back?
Jeter: No, your fight is your own. I donât have any fights.
Then Posada stands up and punches Burnett. He sees Damon and Hinske with their Red Sox rings and he starts marching over to them, obviously angry. Before he can get there, however, Damon and Hinske take off â or Hinske tries to, but he is stuck on the bench. Posada chases Damon but his catcher knees canât quite get him there. Damon tries to throw a baseball at Posada, but it only makes it half way to him. Damon leaves and Posada returns to his coffee and newspaper.
The three seated around Jeterâs rocking chair are all startled when Nick Swisher bursts in the locker room, cranks up some heavy metal and starts towel snapping people.
Rivera leans over to Pettitte and whispers.
Rivera: I canât believe this is the guy Joe Buck thinks has changed the culture of our locker room.
Carlos Ruiz, in full catcherâs gear, is watching Cole Hamels hang out with his wife.
Cliff Lee wakes Lidge up to challenge Utley and Werth in throwing cards into a batting helmet.
Utley hands Lidge a stack of Albert Pujols baseball cards to use. Lidge sees them and goes into a catatonic state. Heâs listed as day-to-day.
Big weekend in sports coming up. NLCS, ALCS, NFL, College Football, BCS implications, Rivalries, Cross-town Rival High School Games (somewhere probably), tailgating, etc. Lot of action. Lot. Of. Action.
Did you know Kate Hudson’s dad, Kurt Russell, was a pretty good minor league baseball player before blowing apart his shoulder and returning to his acting career?
So that’s baseball. It’s also a huge weekend in the NFL.
Spotlight on New Orleans where the undefeated Saints play the undefeated New York Giants. It bothers me when radio and TV people say it’s going to be Drew Brees versus Eli Manning. It’s not. Brees and Manning will never be on the field at the same time until they do a man hug at the end of the game.
In the college game this weekend USC travels to South Bend to play Notre Dame. Jimmy Clausen and Matt Barkley are another QB vs QB favorite match-up for the guys in the studios. So is Sam Bradford vs Colt McCoy when the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns go at in the Red River Rivalry. Those two teams love each other.
Boise State already narrowly survived Tulsa and Cincinnati took care of South Florida to keep the hopes of BCS haters alive that someone outside of the Big Ten, Pac-10, SEC, Big 12, or ACC will make a run at the Championship Game.
Tim Tebow is probably receiving accolades somewhere, too.
It is a big weekend for sports. October is a terrible month for marriages and TV remote control control. This is my first October as a married guy. I think it will be important to set a precedent for future years that the MLB playoffs and the NFL and big college football games will be watched. So when I lose this battle, somebody please be prepared to link me to some highlights and provide detailed and accurate recaps.
2009 was yet another disappointing baseball season in the Windy City. Mental mistakes and lackadaisical plays led White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen to question his teamâs effort and GM Kenny Williams to deem his team âunderachievers.â
Donât even get me started on my Cubbies. A season full of hope quickly soured to angst and anger. The baseball gods did everything in their powers â even delaying the final crosstown matchup until September- but to no avail.
Well wouldnât you know itâŚjust when I had written the Twinkies off, both literally and figuratively, they go and win four straight games to close out the season and force game no. 163. And the little team that could â did it again! Who needs home run slugger Justin Morneau when you have the best player in the world not named Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, on your team? Or when lesser known players like Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel combine for 59 homers? What is there to say other then, Thank you, Minnesota,â for once again proving a team doesnât need barrels of cash to field a winner. Speaking of whichâŚ
The recession-proof Yankees are back on top, sporting a $200 million payroll and the leagueâs best record. Unlike the Cubs, New Yorkâs offseason acquisitions worked out swimmingly. Mark Teixeira, the other switch-hitter, leads the American League in RBI and the golden arm, CC Sabathia leads the AL in victories.
Itâs your classic David vs. Goliath. Only this time, Goliath snatches the slingshot out of the air and suddenly whips it right back in Davidâs face. Minnesotaâs emotional high may net them a win against the Bronx Bombers, but I say Yanks in four.
Thought about starting with a joke concerning the Angels name, but letâs be honest â that jokeâs not funny anymore. So stop.
The Boston Red Sox seem to have underachieved all season. Or maybe thatâs just because I have a number of their players on my failed fantasy baseball squad. But that lineup is stacked. Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and Victor Martinez? That reads like an all-star team. And only one of them has been accused of steroids.
Out West, the Angels continue to be who we thought theyâd be. A winning team. They have played inspired ball all season and do so in a style many teams (paging Jim Hendry) underrate: speed and defense. But letâs not kid ourselves âname the Angelsâ home run and wins leader.
If you said Kendry Morales and Joe Saunders â find something better to do with your time. The Angels will fight and hang aroundâŚuntil Papi lays the hammer down and continues his power resurgence. Sox in five.
I must decide: am I more excited for Manny Ramirez vs. Albert Pujols or Joe Torre vs. Tony LaRussa? âWowâŚthat ball must have gone 500 feet!â Or âWhat a pitching change! Look at that double-switch countermove!â Decisions, decisions.
Either way, this should be a good one. Both squads have received tremendous boosts from players not named Manny or Albert. The series may come down to which ârole playersâ (Dodgersâ Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier or Cardinalsâ Matt Holliday and Ryan Ludwick) step up.
The Rockies are back! This team just doesnât go away anymoreâŚever. Troy Tulowitzki is ridiculous. Todd Helton is timeless. And Jason Marquis is winning games. This team survived the Wild Card cluster and almost caught the Dodgers.
The Philadelphia Phillies remain a conundrum. They are better on the road than at home. They just demoted their closer, Brad Lidge, a guy who was perfect in saves a season ago. But they have four guys â Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and Chase Utley â with over 30 home runs. Add two feared pitchers, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, and you should be set. Phillies in four.
American League Championship Series
New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
Yanks and Sox. Sox and Yanks. Can you believe these teams havenât met in the playoffs since 2004? Interestingly enough â the 2009 matchup will play very much like that series five years ago â only this time:
âŚwith the Sox up 3-2 and mere outs away from a four-game sweep, Johnny Damon does his best 2004 impersonation (sans Jesus beard) and hits a two-run shot off Jonathan Papelbon in the 9th as âthe Yankees win!âŚtheeee Yankeeeesss win!â Hilarity ensues.
Sabathia and Burnett dominate games five and six, setting up the finale in new Yankee Stadium.
Madonna sings the National Anthem. Kate Hudson throws out the first pitch. And suddenly, Alex Rodriguez (you didnât think I forgot about him?), realizes, âHey, itâs good to be me,â and goes off. A four-hit night concludes with a three-run 8th inning blast for a 6-4 win.
Over on the senior circuit, the Cardinals and Phillies attempt similar fireworks. But thatâs like any Seinfeld-cast member starring in a new show (although I guess Elaine wins). Pitchers absolutely dominate this series. They split the first four after a number of solo shots. Once again, Carpenter and Wainwright, prove the difference. Cardinals take the champs in six.
But not before Brad Lidge plunks Pujols in the shoulder â sending everyone, except for LaRussa, into a frenzy. Can he play in the Series? Why didnât he simply hit the destroy button as the ball approached? Ladies and gentleman, your fireworks.
New York Yankees vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Calm down, Cardinals fans. Pujols is in the lineup. He is âThe Machine,â remember? And he delivers, too. St. Louis grabs the lead after Yankee skipper Joe Girardi inexplicably pitches to Pujols with two men on base in the 8th inning and up 3-2. Pujols places one in the gap for a double and the Cardinals take a 1-0 lead.
The Steinbrennerâs throw a fit.
Girardi regroups, as do the Yankees, and take the next three games. The Cardinals send Chris Carpenter back to the mound in game five and he wins again â making him a ridiculous 6-0 in the playoffs.
The Steinbrennerâs throw another fit.
Sabathia takes the mound in game six and dominates. Couple that with two Teixeira home runs over the short porch in right and the Yankees storm the mound.
So there you have it. Your 2009 MLB postseason. The Yankees prove you have to spend money to make money. So the economy listens. And the recession lifts.
Here’s another post from newly minted writer Brent. His sports knowledge is vastly impressive and to be frank, a little worrisome. Below you’ll find a reference to Bo Jackson, someone named Charlie something and a Techmo Super Bowl video among other items. It’s quite the creation. We’ll try to get both new guys set up with accounts this week and cut out this bloviating middleman…
My fellow copywriter Ariel is giving you a taste of what youâll see in the playoffs this fall, but there is a lot you wonât see again until Spring Training.
I love Spring Training. I love that it gives every team a brand new start so they can suck and fall well short of expectations (New York Mets, Chicago Cubs), be awesome (Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees), or just experience more fledgling mediocrity (Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays). But for me, it doesnât get much better than post-season baseball. Iâm a Minnesota Twins fan and while the Twins havenât had much success in October in the last decade, they have at least been in the playoffs in four of the last seven seasons, including a Game 163 in 2008 that they lost to the Chicago White Sox. John Danks shut the Twins out in that game but could not deliver the same result in his regular season finale this year against the Detroit Tigers when he walked three in the first inning, including one with the bases loaded. Now the Twins and Tigers will square off in Game 163. 2009 is the third season in a row to require a 163rd game. Two years ago the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 9-8 in 13 innings.
But there are guys who had phenomenal seasons who wonât see stadium lights after October 4th. Zack Greinke led the majors in ERA at 2.16, led the AL in WHIP at 1.07 and finished 3rd in strikeouts in all of baseball. And he won 16 games on a team that won 65 all season.
Albert Pujols got all the press this year in the NL, but what about Prince Fielder’smonster season? Prince set a Brewer record for RBIâs at 141, he hit 46 home runs, behind only 47 by Albert Pujols, and he hit .299 with an on-base percentage of .412.
Roy Halladayâs reputation speaks for itself and because Toronto couldnât get a deadline deal worked out (other than sending Alex Rios to the Chicago White Sox), he too will miss the playoffs, just as he has in every season of his career. The Toronto Blue Jays havenât seen the post-season since they won back-to-back World Series Championships in 1992 and 1993. Remember Joe Carter jumping around first base? That team also had Minnesota natives Paul Molitor, Jack Morris, and former Minnesota Golden Gopher basketball stand out Dave Winfield (yes, basketball, he was also drafted by the Minnesota Vikings without ever having played a down of football in his life) on the roster.
Fernandez went from the Pads to the Mets in 1992 in a deal involving former outfielder/running back D.J. Dozier and then the Mets traded Fernandez back to the Blue Jays in June of 1993. The Padres received McGriff, Dozier, and Wally Whitehurst in exchange for a World SeriesâŚ (more or less, Iâm blowing it out of proportion. But I canât help but be reminded of when the Vikings traded for now MMA fighter Herschel Walker and gave the Cowboys a dynasty. I think Hershal Walker also tried out to be an Olympic bobsledder at some point, too. He dabbles.).
Our old friend Charlie Leibrandt from a few paragraphs ago played with a couple of two-sport athletes. He was a teammate of Bo Jackson on the Royals, who of course was an Oakland Raider and legendary Tecmo Super Bowl player.
Besides getting ready to vacation in warm climates, what else do these guys have in common with Greinke, Fielder, and Halladay? In the next few years, theyâll each probably receive ginormous contract offers from teams you will see in the playoffs this year: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and The Los Angeles, California Angels of Aneheim, USA. Or other big market teams, like the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, and Chicago White Sox.
Small market teams find it difficult to hold on to their best young talent, even through the playersâ arbitration years, after all, Ryan Howard was awarded $10 million in arbitration after striking out 199 times. I wonder what Mark Reynolds of the Arizona Diamondbacks will get after striking out over 400 times over the last two seasons?
There are pitfalls to rooting for both small market and big market teams, however. Small market teams, like my Twins, have to wave good-bye to guys like Johan Santana and Torii Hunter because they cannot afford to keep them. The Tampa Bay Rays will find out the same thing when they try to hold on to Carl Crawford and others. The Florida Marlins know this reality well and will face it again when it comes time to pay Josh Johnson, Dan Uggla, and Ramirez.
Big market teams throw money at players like they are Pacman Jones making it rain. But that comes with great risk sometimes, too. San Francisco gave Barry Zito $126 million over seven years and they got a #3 starter at best. The Cubs are locked in to Alfonso Soriano for more than any club would like to be. Mike Hampton signed a monster deal once upon a time and then spent much of that time on the DL. The same can be said about Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, Jason Schmidt and others.
Things you should know that have happened sort of under-the-radar and may be of help to you in future fantasy drafts or baseball nerd conversations:
Jair Jurrjens had a 2.61 ERA for the Braves this year, good for 6th best in baseball.
The New York Mets hit 95 homers as a team, last in the league and 149 behind the league leading New York Yankess. The Mets could combine home run totals with seven other teams and still have fewer than the Yankees did. Handfuls of players could combine their home run totals to have the greater than sign in their favor when compared with the Mets.
Fielder, Braun, and Mike Cameron > 2009 Mets.
Mauer, Morneau, and Michael Cuddyer > 2009 Mets.
The second baseman of the AL East* > 2009 Mets.
Pujols, Fielder, and Carlos Zambrano > 2009 Mets.