If baseball in the Twin Cities were a person on a ’50’s game show, this is probably what they would have heard between the hours of 9 pm and 10 pm EDT.
Host: Congratulations, Minnesota! You’ve captured the American League Central championship by becoming the
first team to overcome a three-game deficit with four games left! Jim, tell her what she’s won!
Announcer: Minnesota! You’ve just won a trip to New York City, where you’ll face the New York Yankees, who lead the major leagues this season in runs scored! Goooood luck! Back to you, Burt!
Minnesota, it took you 163 games, but welcome to October.
Of the four major North American sports (or, three, if you still consider hockey a major sport), baseball may still have the best postseason format. Some may argue that the five-game Division Series doesn’t benefit the team with the better record. And I’ll even admit that home field advantage in the World Series being determined by the All-Star Game is downright foolish. However…
- Only eight teams get into The Dance. The NBA and NHL allow 16 teams, which is more than half of their respective leagues. Why should the Mavericks bust their asses to win 67 games only to face a team in the 1st round that scraped their way to 42 wins? (And for the NHL, just read this.)
- You truly have to PLAY your way into the playoffs. If you’re tied after 162 games, play a 163rd game and settle it on the field. No crazy tiebreaker rules like the NFL. Think that’s a crazy idea? Next time you see Bill Belichick (because I know you see him all the time), ask him if the NFL offered him a game vs. the Baltimore Ravens the Wednesday after the season ended, with the winner getting into the playoffs, would he take it?
Now that we have our eight teams, let’s actually try to pick who’ll still be standing in late October (or early November, you never know.)
AMERICAN LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES
Minnesota Twins (87-76; AL Central Champs) vs. New York Yankees (103-59; AL East Champs)
“@williamhstrafe and @jmikey i have been waiting for this day for a real long time. i wish you the worst.”
– @CarverTheGreat (via Twitter)
Carver was born and raised in Minnesota. Don’t ask me how we met. Anyway, seeing that tweet Tuesday night made me think, “I think he thinks the Twinkies have a shot.” I then received this text:
idk about you but I smell the first playoff loss in your new stadium looming. Biotch!
Yep, Carver thinks they have a shot. And you know what…they would, except…
- They’ve basically been playing playoff baseball for a month, hanging on for dear life damn near every day.
- They used eight pitchers in the one-game playoff against the Tigers, which lasted 12 innings, then after spraying each other with champagne, showered, dressed and took a red-eye to New York.
- Their “ace” is Carl Pavano. Yes, THAT Carl Pavano
- The 2009 Yankees’ scored 914 runs this season, which ranks 72nd all-time. That’s ALL-TIME. As in, since 1876, only 71 teams EVER have scored more runs in a season than the 2009 Yankees.
Yankees in 4.
RIP to the Homerdome
Boston Red Sox (95-67; AL Wild Card) vs. Anaheim Angels (97-65; AL West Champs)
The Red Sox ALWAYS beat the Angels. What changes this year? And I don’t care what they call themselves, they’re the Anaheim Angels. Keep effin around and I’ll call them California again.
Red Sox in 4
NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES
Colorado Rockies (92-70; NL Wild Card) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (93-69; NL East Champs)
The Phillies have seen this movie before and they know how it ends. Ryan Howard and the boys intend to write a different ending for the sequel, starring Cliff Lee. Getting swept by Colorado in 2007 was a lesson they carried over to 2008, which ended in a World Series title for the Fightin’ Phils. If they were facing anyone else, maybe the rest on their heels a bit…but not these guys.
Phillies in 3.
St. Louis Cardinals (91-71; NL Central Champs) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (95-67; NL West Champs)
Everyone seems to be picking the Cardinals to get to the World Series. Meanwhile, all Joe Torre does is get to the playoffs. I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe in baseball played between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains. Both Central division winners had the lowest win total of their respective league division winners. This is not a coincidence. Pujols may win a game for the Cards, but that’s it.
Dodgers in 5.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Red Sox vs. Yankees
Full disclaimer: I’m a Yankee fan. We owe them for 2004. And those idiot bastards over there think they have this in the bag, even though 95% of them weren’t on the team at the time. This time, we have better pitching, better hitting and A-Rod isn’t a head case. Still, it’ll be close, but…
Yankees in 7 (after we come back from a 3-0 lead in Boston, which then makes THIS the greatest comeback in baseball history).
NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Phillies vs. Dodgers
A rematch of last year’s NLCS. Good pitching usually prevails in the playoffs, and the Phils have two aces on their staff. But I got a funny feeling about this one.
Dodgers in 6.
Dodgers vs. Yankees
The plotlines here are tremendous. Former crosstown rivals meet again. Joe Torre returns to Yankee Stadium… in Dodger Blue. Manny Ramirez, the Washington Heights native, back in New York. The Dodgers and the Yankees have played each other in the World Series 10 times, the most times two teams have faced each other in the Fall Classic. Honestly, I’m thinking with my heart…but can you blame me?
Yankees in 6.