Does any other sport feature such a regal name? There is just something about it that drips drama and makes other semi-finals look downright silly. I mean it isn’t even the real championship and it still has the gravitas to make Wolf Blitzer look more kitten than wolf. Even as the fan of a team, the Indians, that have not played a meaningful game since Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS, I get excited just thinking about the playoffs. You can do whatever you want in the regular season, but this is where legends are made. Without it, Mr. October is just a slugger with an attitude and Kirk Gibson is just a gimp instead of a pimp with a limp. Legends are made or destroyed in the crucible of October.
I will openly admit to rooting against the Yankees so please note that there is definite bias here. The Angels are not the better team, but they definitely have a shot to take this series. If Lackey and Weaver throw gems like they did against Boston, the Yankees potent offense does not matter. Good pitching beats good hitting 9 times out of 10, which is not to say that Yankees are not a good pitching team, but if Lackey and Weaver do it again and CC and Burnett do not match, the Angels will be able to grab the upper hand. I still kind of think the Yankees will win, but I will become a Halo fan for the next 10 days. I think the Yankees will take the series in 6 with every game being close, because that is just what the Angels do. Look for them to run all over Jorge Posada and keep themselves in it on the bases, because if they can do that consistently, it will be hard for the Yankees to beat them. The Rays were able to run all over people last year and it really highlighted just how big a part of the game base running is. If they can do it, they have a shot. If they can’t get on base or can’t run, the Yankees should cruise, but I really hope there is no cruising being done.
The NLCS is already under way with the Phillies grabbing Game 1 of the series. This series is a rematch of last year’s NLCS and it looks like it will be going the same way. At first, I thought that the Dodgers bullpen would be a strength and, potentially, the difference in the series, but so far, it has been the difference for the wrong reason. George Sherrill had a rare off-day walking two guys before giving up the big one to Raul Ibanez. The Phillies seem to be very good at grabbing, and holding momentum, so I would be somewhat surprised to see the Phillies lose this series, even though the Dodgers are a very good team, and are deserving of their NLCS spot.
For an Indians fan like me, or any fan of an eliminated team, it is hard to find a team to root for. The Phillies, though extremely talented, are kind of cocky. The Dodgers have pretty likeable players, but their fans are seen as being some of the softest in sports. The Yankees, are, well, the Yankees. The Angels look the part of underdog, but their payroll is just as astronomical as the other teams. I am pulling for the Angels, but much of it is related to their opponents. Even without a clear team to root for, it is still October. It is still the best time of the year for any baseball-lover and for that reason I could not look forward to the next weeks much more. Enjoy.