As a lifetime New York Mets fan and college student Red Sox, fan nothing in baseball could be worse than to have these two rivals competing for a world title. For close to 15 years, I hated the Atlanta Braves. They gave me so many ugly nights and subsequent nightmares it’s no wonder I still can’t get enough sleep.
In the last three or four years or so, the Phillies and their legions where I lived for 20 years, have crept past the Braves to receive my ultimate disdain.
As a kid growing up in Brooklyn during the late 40’s and right through 1955, the Yankees were to me, the “evil empire” long before that name became part of our lexicon.
Even after the Dodgers left in 1957, this 12 year old brain was already entrenched with loathing of the Yankees and they did nothing over the last 50 years to improve their lot with me. They always were, and will always be, the best team that money would try to buy ever since Curt Flood changed the landscape of the game with the advent of the free agency system.
These are and were the villains of baseball while my Mets were the lovable loser underdogs that I grew to love.
So now all that could be bad has finally happened in this first “Turnpike” series since 1950.
With all that said, I’m going to try and give a very objective preview of the coming series and will not let me personal feeling get in the way of solid reporting. At least I’ll try.
Hating to admit it, this World Series potentially has the makings of perhaps one of the all time greats. Great pitching, excellent defense and a truckload of power hitting will surely make this series a classic in the making.
For this reason, I will throw away the stats, because by and large they can be interpreted in many different ways and it’s been my experience that in a short World Series, anywhere between four and seven games, it’s hardly ever the superstar that makes the difference. It’s usually the hard nose guy who lays down a bunt, steals base, hits behind the runner and scoots home with the winning run on a passed ball or a wild pitch.
It’s almost November and adrenaline can only take you so far. Most of these guys are dog tired and the prospects of playing baseball into November with temps possibly dropping into the 20’s is, at least, in my opinion, no way to finish the season.
So throw out all the stats and take a pick. I have been mulling this over for almost two weeks and I started out by giving the edge to the Yankees because I thought their bullpen was deeper and I could envision C.C. Sabathia getting into three of the seven games if it went that far.
Then I watched the ALDS and ALCS and the vaunted Yankee bullpen looked very hittable to me. I can imagine Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth just licking their chops waiting to get a couple off swings against them.
The Phillies bullpen which was loaded with holes in September has closed ranks this post season and if Brad Lidge continues on his steady incline, the Phillies pen now gets the edge.
I still like the Phillies starters. I question Charlie Manuel’s decision to start Pedro Martinez in Game Two simply because if he had chosen Cole Hamels to go in Game Two he would have turned around all those switch hitters to the right side of the plate and Hamels best pitch, by far, is his change up which breaks in on the right handed batters and that would be a definite plus for the Phillies.
Pedro brings history end excitement to Yankee Stadium where he last pitched playoff baseball in the 2004 post season. Who could ever forget Pedro throwing 149 year old Don Zimmer to the ground. I loved it. There are risks to Charlie’s move here but if the Phillies outlast Sabathia in Game One against Cliff Lee, even if Pedro is not successful, Hamels will be ready for Game Three at Citizens Bank Park and Pedro, if necessary, would get another shot against the Yankees once again in a Game Six.
I would love to see the ball flying out of both parks which we know can certainly happen and although A-Rod is having an outstanding post season so far, unless he continues it on the biggest stage of the them all, he will not be accepted as a Yankee through and through. You wonder why I hate these guys.
I do admire and respect Derek Jeter to the utmost. I would still pick him to start up any team whether it’s for real of just fantasy baseball. He’s the one guy you can root for on this team of Gold Diggers.
I tried to keep my feelings out of this but it’s just too hard. I can live with the Phillies winning. Maybe a back to back will wake up my Mets front office to get off their collective behinds and get to work. To have the Yankees win and hear about the 27 championships is just way too much to bare. So here it comes.
Prediction: The smart pick would still be the Skankees in seven games, but no, that’s just not going to happen. The Phillies in seven games will mean they will have to win two games in the Bronx. No, that’s not happening either. What’s going to happen is the first two games will be split even Steven, but when the Yanks arrive in South Philly, it’s going to be good morning, good afternoon, and good night. The Phillies in Five. You heard it here first and while I’m at it, Game One, Phillies 7, Yanks 4.