Monday, October 5, 2015

Baseball playoff outlook.

Well, now we've gotten past the regular season, and it's on to the Major League Baseball playoffs. Baseball fans worldwide may be waiting on my predictions for each series. Feh---let 'em wait.

Of course, the fact is I have no idea who's going to get to, let alone win, the World Series. Nobody knows anything, as William Goldman said about the movie business, and countless others have said about sports. ("Nothing" is also quoted as being something about which nobody knows, but the meaning is the same.)

The question of who I'd like to see win, however, is different.

What we have now is:

Astros at Yankees (Wild Card game)

Cubs at Pirates (Wild Card game)

Astros/Yankees winner vs. Royals

Cubs/Pirates winner vs. Cardinals

Rangers vs. Blue Jays

Mets (hooray!) vs. Dodgers

FACT: Shea Stadium was perfectly round, and surrounded by dark blue shag parking lots.

So rather than doing power rankings or anything, I'm basing predictions on which teams I like and dislike. In the order in which I want to see them win:

#1. THE METS

I've loved the Mets since I was a little kid and they made it to the 1973 World Series. The 1986 team was awesome, winning 108 games in the regular season and clinching in August, but they came soooooo close to losing the NLCS to the Astros and the World Series to the Red Sox. Yet they were so good that they should have repeated in 1987 and 1988 (as Mookie Wilson predicted), but A) the Cardinals were an awesome team in the 80's, B) the Dodgers were an awesome team in the 80's, and C) New York was shin-deep in cocaine at the time, including (it would appear) the Mets locker room. Soon we were wallowing in the mediocrity of the 90's, the momentary thrills of the late 90's to mid 00's, and then crapsville. Now we have a chance, although this team either hits all at once or not at all, and it looks like everyone is so hurt that someone's arm may actually fall right off in the middle of an inning.

#2. THE CUBS

No World Series championship since 1908. No National League pennant since 1945. Although W.P. Kinsella once wrote a story in which the Cubs winning the pennant was believed (by the Cubs' coach) to be the sign of the impending Armageddon, it's almost worth it if these guys can get finally get it done. When there's no other rooting interest I have to root for the guys who have waited the longest, and no one has waited longer than these guys. Then again, the Mets went 0-7 against the Cubs this year, which makes me less sympathetic than I could be.

#3. THE ASTROS

True, that the Astros almost beat the Mets in that 1986 NLCS, when the Astros were in the NL, But then again, they did not. The franchise is as old as the Mets, and while we have a 2-2 record in World Series championships, Houston's got a 0-1 record. Maybe it's time.

#4. THE ROYALS

Small-market team with a storied history, but little to show for it since 1985. I was rooting for them in the Series last year, but maybe not hard enough.

#5. THE RANGERS

Another team with a long history of not winning the World Series. going back to 1961 and its roots as a Washington Senators franchise.

#6. THE PIRATES

Pittsburgh fans have much to be proud of with one of the great old franchises, but not in a long time. Until recently they sported a record 20 losing seasons in a row. Even the Cubs, with their ridiculously long drought in postseason play, never achieved a length of suffering like that.

#7. THE BLUE JAYS

The Jays have a pitcher I really like, former Met R. A. Dickey, and they kept the Yankees from winning the AL East. And Canadians are nice about sports, except hockey.

#8. THE DODGERS

There are STILL guys around here who are heartbroken about these traitors leaving Brooklyn. Not so many about the Giants going to San Francisco. Maybe because the Dodgers that left Brooklyn were on a huge upswing, and the Giants not. Anyway, did I mention 1988 and the NLCS? Uh-huh. My boss at the time and I sat shiva after Orel Hershiser slayed us. And if they advance this year it will be over the Mets' hopes and dreams. Boo. But because they are a once-beloved Brooklyn franchise, they edge out the Cards in my rankings.

#9. THE CARDINALS

Did I mention that the Cardinals knocked the Mets out of contention in 1987? And since then the Cards won two championships to our none? Bleh.

#10. THE YANKEES

Twenty-seven championships. And being a Mets fan, I have to hear about them all the freaking time. It's like being the little brother who always gets beaten up. Twenty-seven championships is enough for, say, the next 75 years. Lose to Houston and go home, you greedy slobs. Thank you.

Even at Citi Field, you are not safe from schmucks with Yankees jackets.
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