Wait…it’s Tuesday. What am I doing adding content to the site? I must still be drunk on the Brett Favre love sauce that ESPN mercilessly shoved down America’s throat on Monday night. Seriously, when was the last time three grown men gushed over another man to that extent? I can only imagine two possible scenarios. One: three diehard “Star Wars” fans running into Harrison Ford. Two: Clay Aiken, Lance Bass, and Tom Cruise at the premiere of “Titanic”…Hold on, Cruise isn’t gay!? I need to sit down…
…Blood has returned. I’m good to go.
So, after a relatively uneventful summer and very little excitement in September, baseball finally matters again. I watch baseball all season, but I don’t get super excited about it until playoff time. You can have your home runs, diving catches, and strikeouts. In my opinion, it’s the intricacies that make baseball so great; stealing bases; manufacturing runs; the unspoken yet clearly defined roles in a bench clearing brawl; breaking up double plays; hitting batters to send a message. The playoffs induce the aforementioned on a yearly basis. Tonight’s one-and-done play-in game set the stage for an amazing October. Let’s hope the playoffs live up to the precedent. Please, oh please, give me at least four series that extend to six or seven games. Pretty please? Ok, let’s quickly breakdown the 2009 playoffs.
Colorado Rockies (NL Wildcard) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (NL East)
What’s more exciting than leaving work with the anticipation of watching your team open the playoffs? Perhaps going back to work a half hour later after your lunch break ends? If you’re a Rockies fan and your answer is no, you’ll need to take a day off work. The MLB Brain Trust thinks it’s a great idea to hold a playoff game when 90.5% of working Americans are, well, working (100% – 9.5% Unemployment rate). This makes zero sense. Give me the conch shell. Here I go. Deep breath… Start an east coast game at 6PM ET and then stagger the starts of the remaining games by an hour and 45 minutes. Broadcast the games on FOX and TBS, and, if needed, delay the start of the third game until the end of the first. The ending of all three games can now be viewed without missing the end to one of the other games and most of America is available to watch. Problem solved! Annddd I’m spent… While I really do have a problem with the playoff scheduling, I am just avoiding the harsh reality that my Phillies may flat-out crash and burn in the playoffs. Name one thing the Phillies are currently doing well enough to win a playoff series. Go ahead. Speak. Someone say something. Ok, you in the corner… “The Phillies hit a lot of home runs.” Crap. When do the Sixers start?
St. Louis Cardinals (NL Central) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West)
I am very, very concerned for the Los Angeles Dodgers. I recently learned that the PR department forgot to send out the notice to inform all fake fans that the Dodgers reached the playoffs. It read, “Dodgers are in the playoffs. Don’t forget to attend the games and shamelessly get yourself on TV!” I hope a foul ball cranks Penny Marshall in the head right after Tim Allen takes a broken bat to the shin. Shame on you people. Nonetheless, this should be an entertaining series as two of the league’s best hitters face off in Manny Ramirez and Albert Pujols. I think the Cardinals have the best rotation and the best player (Pujols) in the NL playoffs. For that reason, I am picking them to advance to the World Series.
Things I’ll certainly miss in the 2009 NL Playoffs:
- Pat Burrell running uphill to first base
- Brad Lidge celebrating a save
- Wondering how Prince Fielder is a baseball player
- Fans at Wrigley looking for the nearest alcoholic beverage, or noose
- Lou Piniella doing his best Wade Phillips impersonation
- Manny running out a ground ball….ha! Just wanted to make sure you’re awake!
Minnesota Twins (AL Central) vs. New York Yankees (AL East)
While the Twins’ run into the playoffs was certainly inspiring, I can’t bring myself to pick against the dynamic Yankees. No, they don’t have the best rotation, but they’re bullpen is rock solid and their offense is unmatched. While a potent offense will rarely win you a playoff series, a lock-down bullpen will. The only thing that could possibly propel the Twins to win this series is the, “If Brett Favre can do it, so can we,” magic floating around the Metrodome these days. Careful Yankees, caaarrefuul. By the way, I hate domes, but baseball in the Metrodome has a soft place in my heart. No logical explanation. None. Moving on… Derek Jeter and Joe Mauer have got to be the two most “Mr. Cool” guys in baseball. They’re both clutch, and I never see either one panic or get flustered. I think I might have just convinced myself to name my first son, Deroe Mauter Coyle. My wife is going to be thrilled.
Boston Red Sox (AL Wildcard) vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim via Russia by way of Czechoslovakia (AL West)
I hate the Red Sox but I LOVE watching playoff baseball in Fenway. Every big game seems bigger when it’s played there. Boston should be applauded for making it to this point with all the obstacles they’ve overcome (injuries, inconsistent offense, death of Big Papi). While I’m probably wrong, I think the third time’s a charm for the Angels. Fear not Angels, I believe. You can even count on me to stand in my living room and boldly flap my arms in support a la Roger from “Angels in the Outfield” (go to the 3:53 mark). I can’t guarantee I’ll nail the creepy, trying not to cry face he makes in the final game, but I’ll give it my all. (Who knew Matthew McConaughey and “Maggie” would reunite two years later in “A Time to Kill?” I didn’t see it coming.) I’m picking the Angels here for five reasons. 1. Bobby Abreu. 2. I love their aggressiveness on the basepaths. They steal, push first to third, and challenge outfielders more than anyone I’ve watched this year. I love it. 3. They must be determined to advance past the Red Sox after being eliminated by Boston in 07 and 08. 4. Mike Sciocsia is my favorite manager. 5. Athletes playing for more than money, fame, or even winning, are tough to beat. Don’t get me wrong, the Angels are playing to win. They’re also playing for their fallen teammate, Nick Adenhart, who was killed by a drunk driver in April. As intriguing as another Sox/Yanks ALCS would be, I think the Angels move past Boston and ultimately take the 2009 World Series crown.
Things I’ll certainly miss in the 2009 AL Playoffs:
- Ozzie Guillen, the guy is pure entertainment
- The speed of Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton
- Reggie Willits caught stealing home in the top of the 9th in a tie game of a division series down 2 games to 1. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or turn off the TV. I was dumbfounded.
- Red Sox rallying from 7-0 in Game 5
- Racking my brain to recall which college professor Joe Maddon resembled