I know I haven’t posted much (or at all) lately. My absence on the blogroll can be explained by a number of factors. For one, to make ends meet, I write four other places. But more importantly, I haven’t really given a shit about the postseason.
October after October, eight teams take the field with hopes of glory, intentions fixated on a championship banner, bragging rights and a place in the history books. And, more than not, the Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox or some other favored team wins… again alienating 90 percent of baseball fans. No wonder I’ve had more interest in re-runs of My Name is Earl than the divisional and championship rounds. I don’t even like that show.
But now that the 2010 World Series has shaped up the way it has, I can’t contain how awesome I think the match-up of these two under-publicized teams is going to be. “But this might be the lowest rated World Series of our time!”, some will inevitably say. Last I checked, I didn’t own any shares in FOX, so I couldn’t care less about ratings. Besides, ratings aren’t an indicator of quality. Let shows like Arrested Development and Stella hammer that point home. If anything, ratings — and their ability to keep Two and a Half Men on the air — are more of an indication of America’s collective stupidity. Plus, I feel like baseball can afford the ratings hit. Take it out of A.J. Burnett’s salary.
This pairing of pennant-winners is the only reason I’ll be among the dozen people anxiously watching the World Series. These are just some of the reasons I’m straight up nutting over the Series.
The teams did it the right way. Not to say either the Giants or Rangers have microscopic payrolls, but they fashioned their success stories in a respectable way. The got here with quality drafting, excellent pitching, cheap stopgaps with upside, a couple significant in-season trades, and an emphasis on defense.
Cliff Lee vs. Tim Lincecum.¬†Sticking with my excellent pitching point, this match-up perks my ears up more than a Roy Halladay vs. Sabathia pairing ever would. The chance to see the game’s greatest young pitcher/goth kid take the bump in the game’s loftiest stage is enough to get me at half mast. Pit him against a guy who began the year being traded, spending the first month of the season on the disabled list, then tossing meaningless shutouts for Seattle (similar to being on the disabled list) before being traded again and subsequently throwing perhaps the best playoff baseball in history to this point, and… well, I’m bringing an extra pair of jeans to my neighborhood sports bar.
Holy shit! More starting pitching. I think I’ll just list some names of starting pitchers here in place of making an actual point: Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Derek Holland, Madison Bumgarner, Colby Lewis, C.J Wilson. Coincidentally, these are all correct responses in the Jeopardy category “Pitchers Tyler Maas would punch an old lady in the face to have traded to the Brewers.”
Watching Jeff Francoeur and Cody Ross play uncharacteristically well in games that matter.¬†If either of these players — both of whom were platoon players on shitty NL East teams mere weeks ago — have any impact on a World Series outcome, I will straight up plotz. A happy plotz, mind you. So far this postseason, Ross has been doing his best Reggie Jackson impersonation, instead of his usual Daniel Sunjata impersonation — which, itself, is essentially just doing a poor job of impersonating Reggie Jackson. Plus, Francoeur looks like he has wooden teeth, which is kind of cool. Story lines like these make the playoffs great.
Brian Wilson. God damn, I love Brian Wilson. I’d make a Beach Boys pun here, if I didn’t hate the Beach Boys so goddamn much.
Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz… blah, blah, blah.¬†I don’t really give a shit about Hamilton digging himself out of the hole he snorted for himself, only to force Jesus and ginger ale on everyone. But the fact that he’s been crushing dingers when it really counts is a pretty cool thing to see. I also like seeing Nelson Cruz doing so well after struggling earlier in his career. Interesting fact: Cruz used to be Milwaukee’s No. 1 prospect before being packaged to Texas with Carlos Lee to get Francisco Cordero, Laynce Nix and Kevin Mench. So every homer Cruz nails sends me on an emotional rollercoaster that takes me from happiness for Cruz, to wanting to give Doug Melvin a vicious titty-twister, ending up with me wondering why I still love Doug Melvin, despite always making terrible trades I think are great at first, but end up hating four seasons later.
It gets confusing in my head sometimes.
Nolan Ryan. As bloated and able to sit next to George W. Bush as may be now, Nolan Ryan is my favorite pitcher ever… maybe even my favorite baseball player. Every time I see him in the stands, contributing to his chin collection with yet another tall draught beer in hand, I still see him kicking the shit out of Robin Ventura, touching the mid-90s in his early 40s, and posing for collectible cards given away in the Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches I shoved in my fat elementary school face so many sad years ago. Really, both Nolan Ryan and Jimmy Dean got me through some rough years in my childhood.
I honestly don’t care who wins.¬†Unlike most recent World Series, there is no villain here. Where I’d usually lend reluctant allegiance to the Rockies, Tigers, Rays, Astros or anyone playing the Yankees, I no longer need to futilely pull for an underdog. This is a beautiful meeting of underdogs on baseball’s highest stage. No matter the outcome, I’ll be happy and thoroughly entertained, because (unlike most other Fall Classics) this is less a competition for best return of investment and more a true blue competition between two young, talented and hungry teams.
That said: Giants in 5.