Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Baseball '06 4Q: Fair and Balanced Coverage From The Eyes of a Met Fan

Well folks, the 2006 regular season has come to an end.. Time to stop checking those fantasy league standings and get ready for the playoffs. Today we will look back at the ‘06 season, make some playoff and award predictions, and look back at some of the lame-o predictions made here back in March. And yes, these predictions are coming after the start of the playoffs.. Did you expect me to post a witty column Monday Night after fasting all day on Yom Kippur? And what a day it was! My fellow congregants kept losing the place in their prayer books.. I was finding more pages than Congressman Foley.

First, baseball needs to make some changes. Why not push the start of the playoffs to Wednesday or Thursday? They wait 2 weeks for the Super Bowl, surely they can wait a couple of days to start the playoffs. The season makes no allowances for late season rainouts, and the possibility of the Cardinals playing a make-up game on Monday against the Giants and then a possible tie-breaker game Tuesday against the surging Astros would have been absurd under the current post season schedule. Same thing for the Phillies… they had to wait out a rain delay in Washington Thursday night so the game started after 11pm… didn’t end till 2 in the morning, and the team didn’t get to their Florida hotel rooms for their Friday night game until after 8 in the morning because they were caught in Friday morning rush hour traffic! If they had a couple of extra days for make up games, they could have just gone back to Washington to play the game on Monday, and not endure that wacky all night marathon.

I also have some issues with TV Coverage too. This may be a Cablevision issue and not ESPN‘s fault….. but during the 15 inning game on Wednesday night.. It was a tie game in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded. 2 out and a 3-2 pitch…. And ESPN goes to a commercial. The same thing happened a couple of days later.. ESPN was showing a documentary about Ernie Banks.. And right in the middle.. ESPN drops out for a Malouf Car Dealer commercial!! Again, it’s probably a foul up on Cablevision’s part.. But they gotta fix that. FOX Sports is also guilty.,.. Geoff Jenkins was in the middle of an at bat during the Saturday Brewers-Cardinals game.. And poof.. There is Jeannie Zelasko breaking in to tell us that the rain delay is over in Florida so they’re switching to the Phillies-Marlins game.. Whereas we then got to see Kenny Albert and Tim McCarver announce proudly that it had stopped raining and then we got to see about 3 minutes of commercials!! Don’t you think it’s a bit disrespectful to Geoff Jenkins to cut away in the middle of his at-bat? He doubled by the way.

I made preseason picks right here in March.. (Look to the left at the March archives) and some of the trends I predicted were actually accurate. I mentioned that former Mets Mike Cameron and Mike Piazza would combine for more than 40 homers, and I also questioned how it would be possible for the Braves to finish higher than 3rd.. (although I respectfully picked them for 1st place.) I also said the Astros would finish 2nd to St. Louis due to Tony LaRussa’s managerial brilliance, but it was really the bat of Albert Pujols that catapulted the Cardinals to the top spot. I also accurately predicted the end of the Red Sox playoff streak and didn’t buy into the hype that trading Bronson Arroyo for Willie Mo Pena was a smart deal. I pointed out to a fellow congregant who is a Red Sox fan on Yom Kippur afternoon during the reading of the story of Jonah and the Whale that that legendary story is similar to the Yankees and Red Sox of '06 - The Yankees were the whale.. they chewed up The Red Sox (Jonah) and then spit him out.

The Column addressed the 14 Most Relevant Teams of ‘06 and included such lovable losers like The Cubbies, The Braves, The Giants, and The Indians who I had winning the Pennant and losing to St. Louis in The World Series! I also only correctly picked 3 playoff teams… St. Louis, The Mets and The Yankees. As you can see my incompetence is not limited to just the weekly NFL picks! Then, to add insult to injury, I did a mid season column and again made some mulligan picks and used this brilliant logic why the Braves would be in the post season.. But not the Yankees! Here is the exact quote:

“So I’m picking the White Sox to move into first, paced by Cy Young contender Jose Contreras. Im sure the Yankees wish they had him now since they will finish THIRD to the Red Sox and the Blue Jays. What? The Yankees are just as far from the Wild Card as the Braves! Why the Braves and not the Yankees?? That’s because the teams in the AL are much better than the NL wild card wannabes. And the Yankees really need to address the loss of Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield”

Now time for the Post Season Awards and then the Post Season Series Picks….

NL MVP - Albert Pujols.. Ryan Howard had a great season.. but who is in the playoffs? If Pujols wasn't on the Cards.. the Astros would be getting ready for the post season.... therefore since the award is based on value you gotta give it to Pujols for single handedly muscling his team into the post season..  

NL CY YOUNG - Chris Carpenter - another Cardinal- just ekeing it out over Brandon Webb.  Zambrano also deserves consideration, but Carpenter's games were more pressurized since he was pitching for a team playing for its post season life, and Carpey knew he had to go deeper into games because his bullpen is such a disaster.  

NL ROOKIE - Hanley Ramirez - 17 homers, 51 steals.. The Marlins version of Jose Reyes.. he is definitely the real thing..  

AL MVP - Justin Morneau - monster numbers for just his 2nd year.. Do you think the Twins would be in the playoffs if it weren't for Morneau?  

AL CY YOUNG - Johan Santana - slam dunk.  

AL ROOKIE - How about Jonathan Papelbon? Notice how unhittable he was before the Yankee massacre in August, and how the team went down the tubes once he was injured? You gotta give credit to a rookie who saves 35 games, has an ERA less than 1 and whose team sank after he got hurt.    

SERIES PICKS -   Padres over the Cards - Cards limped into the post season.. No Mulder, No Isringhausen, Jim Edmonds is platooning and has post concussion issues.  This is not a typical Cards team and they might have a hard time winning games not started by Carpenter.  

Mets over LA - May not be as easy.. since LA has some decent starters.. And the Mets lose at least a start from El Duque, but the Mets offense is so much better than everyone else.. and those pitchers who feasted on those other NL offensively challenged teams may be in for a rude awakening.  Perez in Game 4? How's Zambrano's rehab going? Any chance he can pitch?

Yankees over Detroit - Again.. not the cakewalk the Yankees expect.. the season is a marathon, not a sprint, so don’t get too excited over the Tigers late season swoon, and they have a very well rounded, well managed team.  This could go late into the 5th game before its decided.  

Oakland over Minnesota - You get the feeling that the Tigers and Twins wanted to face the Yankees and not the amazing A’s pitching staff? The Twins can only go so far with one great starter and the other drek in their rotation. The A's have no hitters besides Frank Thomas, Eric Chavez and Nick Swisher but their pitching is superb with Zito, Haren, Harden and Blanton.   They always say pitching goes far in baseball!

League Championship Series Predictions

Mets over Padres- Reunion time with Mike Cameron and Mike Piazza. without the standing ovations!  The Pods have those 2 hitters.. And Chris Young is their only reliable starter… although David Wells may be able to crank it up a bit. Jake Peavy doesn’t seem to have it this year… That means the Mets go to the World Series.. Which begs the question.. Will it be a rematch of the ‘73 World Series against Oakland.. Or that hideous 2000 Subway Series…

2000 revisited

Yankees over Oakland - A’s great pitchers will have their hands full with this killer Yankee line-up.  

Mets over the Yankees in the World Series - Picked with the heart AND the brain!

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