Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The regular season of Major League Baseball has wrapped up. With some teams coasting into the playoffs nearly a month early, such as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Disney, and other teams sliding in sideways, out-of-breath and disheveled, like the Brewers and the White Sox, baseball is providing a somewhat interesting post-season that will leave many sportswriters in American drooling and drowning in catchy headlines.
But the headlines will not be what is remembered from this post-season, rather it will be the legacy in the annals of baseball history. Baseball is one of the most statistically fastidious sports in the world, which is part of the reason for its rich history. The bottom line will beget the legacy and the legacy will beget the legend. So, we here at the Ghost will attempt to cut out the middle man, and get straight to that legacy business and define what will be remembered by these games; we'll leave the legend part to you.
What's the story in the American League? Power-hitters are down this year, and understandably so. According to Angel's baller Torii Hunter and the rest of a cognizant mass of people who aren't dumb, it's because of the persecution of "the steroids" in baseball. In a league that features a designated hitter, this leaves many experts to believe that the two are directly related, which is odd, due to the fact that the three biggest black-eyes of the High-Flying-Homer Act of the Steroid Era came from three NL teams, the Giants (Barry), the Cardinals (Marky Mark), and the Cubs (Sammy). Either way, the dominance has waned in the AL.
But the real story has to be how happy everyone is — even the Baseball Gods themselves —about the New York Yankees missing the playoffs.
How great is this for baseball? Usually the AL contest is relegated to three teams and the Yankees, but now it's wide open for another lucky team in the American League, namely the Rays, who reached their first post-season in franchise history (although, to be fair, the Rays won their division outright, forcing the BoSox to take the wild card). This is also a good lesson to poor kids everywhere; just because you have/spend the most money, doesn't mean you win. It definitely means you should, but it's never a guarantee.
And just to nip New England in the bud before I hear that God-awful accent, let me just say that I don't want to hear any victorious cries from Bean Town Nation. You didn't slay the Yankees, the Rays did. Hypocrisy be thy name; the nation laments the Yankees for their gargantuan payroll, and Bosox and pretty-boy Theo Epstein aren't exactly pinching pennies. You'd think winning two World Series in the past three years would add a little class to Fenway Pahk. You'd think that until you realize Boston is made up of primarily these guys. Tommy, please tell me you got that!
My pick for the AL has to be the Angels. They worked the hardest in the off-season by acquiring super freak Torii Hunter and they worked the hardest prior to the trade deadline to make their team better by getting Mark "You'd Let Me Date Your Sister" Teixeira. Regardless of the fact that they play in the JV division of the MLB, the AL West, the Angels made the playoffs in a dominate fashion, so far in advance that many have forgotten and focused on the Rays in the East.
And what about the wacky National League? Not to boast, but prior to this season on other reputable publications, I boldly asserted that the Central division was the best in baseball. Now people be giving me high fives and calling me 'Prognosticator.' The Central was far and away the best in the NL and MLB over all. The Astros had the best record in baseball following the All-Star break, and it took a late-season seven-game-skid for the St. Louis Pujolses to take themselves out of the running, almost solely on account of poor relief pitching (35 blown saves and 14 ninth-inning losses will murder you).
The Brewers gave pitcher Ben "It's Sheets, Not Shits" Sheets some added help by picking up C.C. "Big Boi" Sabathia from Cleveland. Sabathia had been playing opossum for the Indians by sucking royally, only to turn around pummeling performances for the Brew Crew. He's even in the running for National League MVP, if that tells you anything.
But the real lasting legacy out of the NL will be this: How will the Chicago Cubs find a way to choke? I really hate hearing arguments like "This is the best team in baseball, silly! They won't choke!" because they've been the best before, but still find a way to blow it something fierce. Whether it be a curse from a goat, or a curse from a nerd, the Cubs will not win the World Series. So it's not about "if" but "when" and "how."
The worst-case-scenario for the Cubs and the best-case-scenario for good and decent Americans is that the Cubs mount even more hope on top of their great season by winning the NLDS and the NLCS in sweeps and then Ozzie "I Invented the Goatee" Guillen somehow motivates his White Sox to the Series, and then proceed to mangle the Cubs in a Second City Series Sweep, by scores of 13-1, 23-7, 8-0, and finally 25-0. Then the World Series trophy could rest across 1060 W. Addison at a parlor Guillen could open called "Suck It," and it would serve the finest Venezuelan cuisine that Cubs fans would have to look at everyday.
The hopes of the Cubs are built like a house of bedeviled cards, and God will surely rain down thunder and lightening to make it topple.
My pick? Anyone but the Cubs.
The World Series? The Angels. Or the Rays. Or the Red Sox. Or the White Sox. Could be the Dodgers. Maybe the Brewers. Possibly the Phillies. Am I leaving anyone out?
Posted by Zack Stovall at 2:39 PM