The Weekend Roundup: Baseball Purgatory Edition
Happy Monday! And by happy, I mean Drained. Or Flying Low to the Ground. I've been getting a steady stream of "Well YOU must be happy" observations from coworkers. When my office mate trotted it out, I responded half-consciously, "Yeah. Exhausted though."
"You're exhausted from...the Yankees winning?"
Takes a lot out of you. Between that and NFL Sunday, I'm running out of reasons to ever leave my couch. My mom would be so proud.
Now we got a week and a half until
my last connection to reality and sane thought dissipates the ALDS starts. Here's a weekend roundup to open this week of brutal anticipation and pseudo-relaxation...
- The Boston papers have been churning out more and more iterations of "LIKE WE EVEN CARE!" articles regarding this weekend's sweep. Some highlights include:
NEW YORK - One team is going all out to win every day.
The other team is the Red Sox - asking you to stand back and look at the big picture.
The Yankees are going wall to wall to clinch the division (magic number 1) and the best record in the American League, ASAP. The Red Sox, meanwhile, are using these final days to get some rest and tune up for the playoffs.
While the Yankees celebrated, the Red Sox shrugged. Players in every corner of the visiting clubhouse uniformly shared a three-point mantra: The Yankees won. Good for them. Wait for the playoffs.
Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night, Boston. You clinched that playoff spot yet?
- My 2 cents on the Wild Card: During Friday's game, Michael Kay and Al Leiter regaled us with a fascinating discourse on How the Playoffs Should Really Be Structured. Well, some found it entertaining. Others didn't:
Text received at 9/25, 10:35pm: "This Leiter mania playoff discussion is highly entertaining."
Text received also at 9/25, 10:35pm:
"Kay and Leiter's discussion of a re-vamped playoff makes me want to rip my ears off so I don't have to hear them anymore."
- While I could not make heads or tails of what the hell the YES booth was trying to communicate, I'm going to assume it's something along the lines of the Wild Card is BS. In the simplest terms, the WC means that the team who played the best over a 162-game season is no better off than an inferior team, once they enter the postseason.
Why did we even create the WC in the first place? I think the ideal scenario would be to work it like a fantasy league playoff: best record in the league gets a bye week while the other 2 division champs play. The current system basically hands over a gift to the not-as-great team every year. They get admission into the playoffs based on their proximity to greatness. Where is their handicap? There is no downside to the WC, and it's like the Yankees are the people who aced the exam, and the Red Sox are the slackers who are benefiting from the curve.
- Last night on Frankie the Sports Guy's radio show, I was talking about the other teams duking it out for the postseason spots.
- I will say that the hardest team to beat will be the Angels, should it come to that. The Red Sox have a history of completely disarming the Halos in the postseason, but I don't think it will work out that way for Boston this year. You saw what the Yanks did to Boston's collection of noodle arms behind home plate this weekend. Jesus, Robinson Cano even stole a base.
- Detroit better get their asses in gear, because the Twinkies are coming up the rear. (Think I might have read that in "Dr. Seuss Does Sports Analysis.")
With a paltry 2-game deficit in the division, Minnesota has an opportunity to pounce. Do I think they will? No.
But for the next 4 days, the two will be playing each other. All the Tigers have to do is split, really. The Twinkies gotta get a sweep if they want to keep their playoff dreams alive. I don't see that happening. If for no other reason, I think the thought of facing the Yankees in the ALDS is straight up nauseating to Minnesota.
- In terms of the NL, the Rockies' remaining schedule is pretty much disgusting, if you're a Rockies fan. Cardinals then Dodgers. Not the most digestable week for them. The Braves, on the other hand, face the Marlins and the Nats. Hey, like I said, don't sleep on the Nats. They're tricky. But yeah, no I still think the Braves will cruise through this and leave the Rockies, once again, choking on abated momentum.
- I'd like to put a cease and desist on Dodger-Yankee World Series hypotheticals. Because a.) I don't think the Dodgers are headed in that direction and b.) this.
LA was just as good if not better last year. They've had plenty of chances, and they just don't have the heart. And by heart, I mean pitching. Think about Kuroda, Billingsley, or Garland facing the stacked lineup from the Phillies or the Cardinals. No chance lance.
- My youngest sister informs me that in 2004, there were 144 active members of Major League Baseball with the last name of Smith. Now there's 4. I was skeptical.
Sis: "I heard it from the KGB."
Sis: "Not the Russian police."
Can this be true? Now I'm putting the KGB in the same bucket as ESPN/Fox announcers and Snapple bottle tops as factions who used their fact-checking budget on an office foosball table.
- On Tuesday of last week, after the Yankees were showing signs of a panic-inducing albeit marginal skid, I advised the Bombers to "Break out the P.F. Flyers." And to practice what I preach, I broke out my own pair that day*.
Consequently, I am
irrationallyconvinced that since the Yankees have not lost since I laced them on, the P.F. Flyers are magical. So the big question consuming my thoughts this Monday is: Do I rest them until the playoffs? Or continue wearing them at the risk of tampering with the fates?
- My other thoughts revolve around Halloween costumes.†
I'm gonna go on record now by saying that I absolutely refuse to take a stance in any way on the question of "Who would you rather play...?" I don't care who the Yankees play. They're all good. They're all tough teams. Even the Nats. If we play them, I'll be just as scared (more so, actually, since the Nats and the Marlins are the only 2 teams the Yankees haven't won a series against this year.) Good thing we dodged that bullet.
The Angels may as well have a human windmill as their 3rd base coach, because between Varitek and Victor Martinez, opposing runners have enough time to catch up on correspondence and get a routine teeth cleaning before the throw reaches the base.
Once I sort through all this, I can start thinking about the Kansas City series that starts tonight.
*I was irrationally excited when later that night, after the Yanks beat the Angels to clinch the division, Sportscenter commentary included, "...and Brett Gardner races home, and it looks like he's wearing his P.F. Flyers tonight!"
† I think I finally found someone to dress as Sidney Deane to my Billy Hoyle, which would make him MVP of the weekend. I have a strong suspicion, however, that this is something that will be filed into the "Things I Unwittingly Okayed Over the Weekend" arena. Blame the playoffs. New Yorkers are high on life right now.