Tuesday, October 27, 2009

At Least I Know What Team to Cheer For

Starting tomorrow, the stupid New York Yankees continue their search for a 27th World Series championship. The Philadelphia Phillies, in attempting to stop them, will not only be looking to win their third trophy, but will be looking to become the first back-to-back champions since the Bombers won three straight from 1998-2000. For the record, my money and my voice are behind the Phillies.

It pains me slightly to cheer on the Phillies to a third championship, because that championship would put them ahead of the Jays in terms of franchise championships.1 However, it would pain me more to cheer on the Yankees - under any circumstances. The only way I would truly be torn in a New York Yankees vs. Somebody matchup would be if that matchup was between, perhaps, New York and Boston or, somehow, New York versus, say, the Ottawa Senators or Montreal Canadiens2. Then it would be difficult to choose.

However, cheering for the Phillies seems like the smart choice. The Yankees steam-rolled much of their regular season competition and then feasted on the Minnesota Twins in the divisional series. Then came the Angels in the LCS. Despite Rick Sutcliffe's3 claims to the contrary - up until Game 5; in Game 6 he finally got it right - the Yankees did anything but dominate the series. In Game 4, they waltzed to a 10-1 win, but other than that, the aggregate score for the Series was 23-18 for New York. Three games were decided by one run, and two went into extra innings.

Rather than a series of blowouts - which might have been expected from the two highest-scoring teams in baseball - the games were tight, down-to-the-wire affairs, more dependent on which team would make the fewest errors, but not necessarily which team would capitalize on them. Throwing errors and mental lapses abounded for the Angels (particularly two consecutive, game-changing plays in Game 6), blunders which even a farm team would be hard-pressed not to jump all over.

The Phillies, on the other hand, thumped the Los Angeles Dodgers4 by a score of 34-14 in their four wins. Powered by the bats of Jayson Werth5 (5 HR, 10 RBI), Ryan Howard (2 HR, 14 RBI, .355), and Shane Victorino (3 HR, 13 Hits, .361), and the arms of mid-season acquisition Cliff Lee (2-0, 0.74 ERA) and Brad Lidge (1 Win, 3 Saves, 0.00 ERA), they look like champions. While the Yankees are sputtering and are probably thanking their lucky stars that it was Los Angeles and not Boston they faced in the ALCS, Philadelphia has been waiting patiently since last Wednesday.

In what should be a cold, damp World Series, let's hope Philadelphia and New York both continue playing like they have been.

Philadelphia in 5.

1 - Although, it's taken them significantly longer to compile that total. And, the Jays are 1-0 head-to-head
2 - Which, who knows, Gary Bettman might be brewing up right now. The hockey games could be played in some hockey hotbed like Albuquerque, and the baseball in, say, Fort McMurray
3 - Who just needs to shave his head and he'll be the baseball version of Pierre Maguire; he's truly, cluelessly awful in his analysis
4 - Sorry Manny. HA!
5 - The Jays couldn't use him, I guess

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