Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Certain Disaster

I might have been one of the few people who felt a little upset Sunday night when the Rays completed their improbable run to the World Series.

Here's why.

I believed that the Red Sox stood a much better chance of knocking off the Phillies in the World Series. They boasted a veteran roster that could easily match the Phils both with offensive firepower and pitching. I had, in fact, figured that the Sox would finish off the Rays with ease on Sunday night, completing yet another miracle ALCS comeback.

But, that didn't happen. Instead, it was the Rays continuing their own Miracle, holding off the Sox behind a simply masterful pitching performance from Matt Garza and David Price (a pair of guys I knew would be good), and instead, it's them going on to the World Series.

It's a pretty far cry from the World Series I'd figured on back in Spring Training. In fact, I think this matchup was pretty far from anyone's radar screen. It's one thing to have picked the Phillies, who were clearly the team to beat in the NL East this season, but certainly didn't have the feel of a World Series contender. The Rays were nowhere and while they showed promise, nobody thought the turnaround would come this quick.

Thus, here we are. The Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays for the World Series Championship.

You don't have to be a genius to guess who I'm rooting for.

Quite honestly, I've had enough of the Phillies. I'd love nothing more than to see the Rays finish off this magic carpet ride and cap off their season with a World Championship at the Phillies expense. I don't want to see Jimmy Rollins standing there with that stupid toothy grin screaming he told us so, I don't want to see that pipsqueak Shane Victorino hooting and hollering and blowing his kazoo, I don't want to see Ryan Howard or his Subway Cheesesteak (a sandwich no true Philadelphian could endorse), I don't want to see Brad Lidge, or Chase Utley, or Pat Burrell or any of them running around with a trophy. I don't think this stance is a surprise to anyone.

That said, I can absolutely see them wiping the floor with Tampa Bay. This has been a great run for the Rays, as I keep saying, but I think the clock is about to strike Midnight on them. I think the ALCS may have taken a little too much out of them. Although Kazmir had a fine outing in Game 5 in Boston, he got knocked around in Game 2, and he's got a little bit of the John Maine-Cant-put-em-away-itis in him. Shields and Sonnanstine can be had by the right team as well, and while Garza was great in the ALCS, he wasn't so hot in the Division Series, and I know that he can run hot and cold after having him on my Fantasy team all season. Pitching tends to be the key in these short series, I know I'm really going out on a limb by saying that, but when Philly can throw Hamels and Myers, both of whom have been on a roll, in the first two games, and then throw them again later in the series, you can see how I think that will swing things in Philly's favor. Hamels has been simply unconscious, the kind of pitcher he's been hyped up to be, of late.

Moreover, figure in that the Phillies will get to use either Dobbs or Burrell as DH in Tampa, getting another one of their potent bats in the lineup. The flipside is that Tampa loses Willy Aybar, he of the clutch late HR Sunday night, when the series moves to Philly.

Yes, Philly has had the week off. Yes, Tampa Bay is ready to roll and hasn't had the rust. I think the ballparks will even themselves out, and I think Philly will take one, and maybe even both of the first two in Tampa, before the series moves to Philly. I think we'll see one ridiculous Citizen's Bank Park game, say 11-7 or so, but I think the series goes to Philly and does not return to Tampa. While Tampa is certainly the sentimental favorite, and I'll certainly be rooting for them, Philly's got the Mojo. They win in 5.

They win in 5, and they rub it in the Mets faces.

I won't go the Tony Paige route and say I hope this happens, but I'm pretty convinced it will. This is what the Mets deserve. We talked enough, we thought we were better, and we weren't. And it wasn't quite as close as we'd like to make it think. But this needs to happen to the Mets. The Mets need to be humbled, and this is how it needs to be. It should have been that the Mets lost 100 games and were a laughingstock, but the reality is that they weren't that bad. But they weren't nearly as good as they thought they were, and certainly not as good as they wanted us to believe. So, it goes this way. Our closest rivals win the World Series at our expense. How, then, do we respond? Well, let's hope that first of all, there aren't any presumptuous preseason statements or challenges towards the Phillies. Let's hope this opens the eyes of Fabulous Freddie and the Boy-King and shows them that there are things more important than a Minor-League team or a new ballpark. You don't hear too much out of the Phillies owners, do you? I don't even know who they are. But they've very quietly created a team that matters to its fans, that they want to support, and in turn, the team has now won for them. What do we have, other than disenchantment? Three talking heads who seem to be looking in opposite directions?

The Boy-King appeared with the Big Guy yesterday afternoon and droned about how he's "looking forward to what moves Omar will make." [sic]

He's looking forward to the moves. The Phillies, who we were supposedly better than, are knocking on Destiny's door, and he's looking forward to some non-specific moves. When asked what he wants to say to the fans, he first talks about providing the fans with a World-Class experience before mentioning the words "Championship team."

Way to light a fire under his ass, Jeffy. Keep counting those dollars. It's nice to know you're so concerned about the team that's going to take the field in Daddy's shimmering new palace next spring. Maybe if we start throwing Shea Stadium bricks through the windows of the Citi Field offices, things will start to happen, but I think it might just be the real fans getting arrested.

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