Mets over Dodgers in 5 games. I’m optimistic, but not THAT optimistic. I was proud last night of Gary Cohen calling the Mets in a sweep. Way to be greedy! Seriously, I think the Mets are going to make this one uncomfortably interesting. I do think they are the better team and will prevail as a result, but I’m not convinced they’re going to come out of the shoot playing with their heads straight. I think it’s going to take the chips being down a little to make them focus and pull this out. Not exactly a prediction based on the numbers—those tell me the Mets should win. The struggle to get their heads into the game the last couple weeks and the tendencies to fall into offensive hot/cold streaks is what tells me they might need their heads snapped into the game with a bad game or two early in the series. Here’s hoping I’m wrong and we sweep!
Padres over Cardinals in 4 games. The Cardinals could very well be poised for a sudden comeback after getting all that losing out of their system. That is, if their pitching didn’t suck and half their offense wasn’t in the infirmary. And I never believe in Chris Carpenter. I’m a Blue Jays fan, I refuse to believe he is finally good now that he’s no longer on our team. Plus, I’ve always loved the Padres the most of any NL West team. Last year I knew they’d get swept for sure, but this year I’m looking for them to play well and hopefully meet my Mets in the NLCS and be good little Padres and lay down and die without a whimper like they always do eventually once each postseason.
Mets over Padres in 5 games. Could you imagine Mike Piazza celebrating an NL championship at Shea in a Padres uniform???? No, you can’t, because it’s simply inconceivable. The idea is like the idea of God, you can sort of indicate what it would mean but cannot genuinely conceive of it. And just as there is no God, there will be no Piazza winning the NL as a Padre against the Mets. Our offense is just too much better. We can get around Jake Peavy.
Yankees over Tigers in 4 games. I hate to admit it but who in the world can stop that Yankee offense??? One of my best friends is a Tigers fan and we were hoping for a Tigers-Mets World Series earlier in the summer. But such joy is not to come. Instead he decided to get engaged and invite me into his wedding party. That sort of makes up for the chance to have our teams play each other in the World Series. We also played the 1962 Mets vs. the 2003 Tigers in Strat-O-Matic baseball already, so we’ve done the Mets-Tigers showdown thing okay already. The ’62 Mets blew a late inning lead to lose the game in true losingest team of all time fashion.
Twins over the A’s in 5 games. I have loved the Twins for many years. I consider them my favorite AL Central team, and I have loathed the A’s since the days of Canseco and McGwire perennially challenging my Blue Jays in the early 90s. This hatred on principle trumps my feeligns of great gratitude and well wishing to Billy Beane for his collossal contribution to making mainstream baseball thought increasingly smarter and my admiration for what he able to accomplish with disgracefully little payroll to work with.
Personal feelings aside, I have never once been able to pick the Twins since their return to playoff contention in 2002, much as I love them and hate the A’s and Yankees. But this time I definitely have to give them the edge with the sort of absolute dominance that their key players can bring to a game. Santana, Mauer, Morneau—-these are guys who can and will carry a team like the Twins over a team like the A’s over a short series of 5 games.
Yankees over Twins in 5 games. In 2004 I called the exact way that the Yankees would get around Johan Santana to beat the Twins. They’d simply wait for him to leave the game and beat Joe Nathan. And voila. There is never any use in picking the Twins over the Yankees because for years now the Twins just simply cannot get over this hurdle. I HATE saying it, but the Yankees will find a way to embarrass the Twins just as easily as they always have.
My heart says Mets in 7 games but my brain says Yankees in 6 games. I can’t stand being the underdog in this way but I’m pretty sure we would be if we made it there. I just can’t get my mind around the idea of a lineup of Damon Jeter Abreu A-Rod Sheffield Matsui Posada Williams Cano. (Fuck Giambi.) I mean Cano as the 9 hitter???? The Mets’ biggest mistake this year was passing on Abreu and that ~.420 OBP. The Yankees discovered that with the big market teams all wanting to hold on to their blue chip prospects, a team looking to dump a big contract has to settle for lesser prospect and can’t force the big market team to make a fair trade. I really wish the Mets had been the ones to make this discovery as not only could we use that ~.420 in our two hole between Reyes and Beltran but I am sure not happy about the idea of facing it in the middle of the Yankees’ lineup.
The good news about being the underdog though is it does make victory all the sweeter. The only team in all of baseball that I project beating the Mets this year would be the Yankees. Beating them shows unequivocally we’re the best in baseball. And sweetest of all evens the score from 2000. The second sweetest thing to the Mets celebrating a World Series championship at Shea would be to do it at Yankee Stadium.
Yet, the worst scenario for the Mets and us Mets fans is losing to the Yankees. Anywhere. Anytime. This glorious 20th anniversary of the best baseball season ever would be just absolutely devestated if it wound up ending with a Yankees world championship. All the greatness would be dwarfed out of the Mets’ achievements if the Yankees were to tower larger over us. All our hopes would be mocked. We’d be the overconfident little engine that couldn’t. Coming from an embarrassment of a league this year, we’d look exposed as a lucky overachievers and not remotely like champions.
Of course, strange things can happen in October and one or both of these two best teams in baseball might not make the big date. But, if it does, this is what we’re up against. We’ll be underdogs with a hell of a lot to lose.
To not be underdogs and not to have a hell of a lot to lose—-I’m sure those are the reasons that Gary Cohen was adamant he didn’t want to see the subway series that Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez were dreaming of happily. Gary in his heart is a Mets fan who knows the consequences of defeat. Darling and Hernandez are Mets champions in their heart who know what the heights of glory would be.
Gary doesn’t want to risk the agony of the team’s worst possible defeat. Darling and Hernandez want the Mets to get the crack at the most glorious victory possible.
Me? Hoping for the best, I’d hope for a 1955 style city-winning triumph over the Yankees. But I’m not rooting for them to make this necessary!