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There are supposed to be eight teams still standing. There's nine for the moment. The White Sox have a makeup game later today with the mighty ("they could score 1000 runs!") Detroit Tigers, favoured by many pundits to win The Whole Darn Thing. If the Sox win that, the Twins come to Chicago on Tuesday to play a tiebreaker to settle the AL Central title. But the Tigers will be motivated today - after all, if they win they will catch up to the Kansas City Royals and finish tied for fourth.

Anyway - can I actually cheer for any of these outfits?

I don't really know yet. I won't know until I start to watch the games. At which point my preferences will simply emerge, and the basis will be largely instinctive and fairly mysterious to my own self.

I don't know who I'll be cheering for until I start cheering! But I'm handicapping my sentiments like this:

9. Boston. Enough. Go away.

8. White Sox. Ozzie is a barrel of laughs, but the White Sox have embarrassed me enough this year. Yes, I thought they'd suck. Just go away.

7. LA Angels. I don't have a particularly active dislike for them (or anybody else still in the hunt.) But they've got a recent title, and that's a good enough reason for now.

6. Milwaukee. I find them boring to think about, but that's probably because I haven't paid them a whole lot of attention. Is there a Selig connection to justify some real disdain?

5. Minnesota. I can already hear all the stories about the plucky little Twins, and I'm already irritated. But Mauer and Morneau are fun players, and it is really pretty impressive that they traded away Johan Santana and Matt Garza and here they are...

4. Philadelphia. They could grow on me. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. It would be fun if at Pat Burrell, much maligned by the hometown fans, has a big post-season and walks away, waving his middle finger. And Jamie Moyer!

3. LA Dodgers. This is normally quite impossible for me, but the prospect of Joe Torre and Manny Ramirez celebrating a championship - together! - while Theo Epstein and Hank Steinbrenner fume and rave has its own rewards. I don't pay money to watch baseball games - but I might actually shell out to watch Manny. And Greg Maddux is still an all-time favourite. On the other hand, they do employ Jeff Kent. And they won fewer games than the Blue Jays, in a much weaker division. Very irritating.

2. Tampa Bay. A division rival, which is difficult. Very, very difficult. But I really liked watching a lot of these guys play ball, as painful as it often was to partisans of the home side. What's not to like about Evan Longoria?

1. Cubs. On the one hand, it would be fun to see Merkle's Curse extend its fearsome revenge into a second century. And on the other hand, it would be nice to just get it over with. Geovany Soto is absolutely fabulous, and don't we all like Uncle Lou?

Thisis all just a preliminary guess - we shall see how it all shakes out.

Finally, as a consolation prize, here are your matchups if baseball used the same playoff structure as the NBA and the NHL. They'd be pretty lively, actually. And I'l bet MLB is wishing they could have yet another Red Sox-Yankees clash. Even if the rest of us are sick to death of it.

Cleveland at Los Angeles
Toronto at Tampa Bay
Chicago at Minnesota
New York at Boston

Florida at Chicago
St.Louis at Philadelphia
Houston at Los Angeles
New York at Milwaukee

29 September: Decisions... | 23 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 09:48 AM EDT (#192919) #
The Rays, for me.  They may be a divisional rival, but what's not to like? Besides, they're the reason that the Yankees are home early. 
greenfrog - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#192920) #
This is from

"Justin Speier was left off the Angels' postseason roster in favor of rookie Kevin Jepsen. Speier was one of the league's top setup men from 2004-2006, posting ERAs of 2.57, 2.98 and 2.88, but went 2-8 with a 5.03 ERA while serving up 15 homers in 68 innings this season. Speier is under contract for the next two seasons at a total of $10 million."

Wow - Speier's star fell pretty quickly. Another reminder of how relievers can suddenly implode. And of the (expensive) risks associated with free agent pitchers.
braden - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 10:27 AM EDT (#192921) #

And to think, the Jays ended up with Brett Cecil and Eric Eiland as compensation for losing Speier.

Also, the Tigers need only score 181 today to reach 1,000.  They're on the road so they've got a full nine innings to do it.

braden - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#192922) #

Every so often, I like to take a look at where some Jays land on all-time leaderboards.  Now that the '08 season's a wrap, here's where Doc and Vernon stand in some categories:

Vernon Wells:

177 HRs- Tied 341st all-time.  Vernon's tied with Ryan Howard, who had a late start, and one slot ahead of Miguel Cabrera.

1204 Hits- 900th- Nice, round ranking.  Chris Gomez had better watch out, though.

659 RBI- 626th.  Just behind Gregg Jeffries



3.52 ERA- 427th.  Tied with Pedro Borbon.  .01 behind Jimmy Key and Doc Gooden

131 Wins- 323rd.  Tied with Pat Hentgen.  51 fewer starts, though.  And one win behind Woody Williams.

1287 Ks- 246th- 3 behind......Pat Hentgen!  Approx. 200 fewer innings.

40 CG- 9th Active (like 971st all-time).  The ages of the guys ahead of him on the active list?  42, 44, 41, 39, 42, 41, 36 (Pedro), 33 (Livan....yeah, right).  Doc may well be leading this category two years from now.


Far from earth-shattering stuff.  Still kinda cool to follow, though.

Chuck - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#192923) #

I'm pulling for the Rays and their punishment of the axis of evil. Knocking off the Yankees did in nation #1. Doing in the Red Sox in the ALCS would be doing in nation #2. But nation #3... I'm not sure who that might be.

Piniella is a personal bete noire but the Cubbies have been far too pathetic for far too long to be on anyone's axis. And while the Dodgers deserve punishment for their sorry-assed division title, imagine the extra anguish in Red Sox and Yankee nations should unlikely bedmates, Ramirez and Torre, sip champagne while their old mates could only watch.

If the Rays get knocked out, I think all my rooting will be driven by schadenfreude. Not exactly a noble way to enjoy playoff baseball.

John Northey - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#192924) #
Well, we have the Canadian GM connection in Milwaukee but that is offset by the annoying articles we'll have to put up with from Toronto sportswriters going on about how great Ash is vs JP since his team (even though he is just the assistant GM) is doing well.

Minnesota has the Canadian MVP at first base, and are close to where my wife grew up (Atikokan, west of Thunder Bay but still in Ontario). Assuming they beat out the evil White Sox (still blame their owner for the 94 strike).

The Angels have been crazy lucky this season based on any statistical measure so I'd like some really, really fluky thing to happen to knock them out. The weirder the better.

Tampa? Too early for them. Let the fans learn what it feels like to have it in their hands and then stolen away ala the Jays in 85 and 87. No fun to go from nothing to having it all, more fun to climb the ladder.

Boston? Uh, no. They broke their curse, time for the curse of Manny to begin :)

Philly would be fun, with Gillick getting one more ring at the end.

Dodgers for the reasons other have stated, although the 'Torre is a great manager' bits would get on my nerves.

The Cubs? Nah. I like seeing at least one long term curse keep going and theirs is the only one left.

Thus I'm cheering for a Minnesota/Philly World Series this year.
Denoit - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#192925) #

Im going with the Cubs. They have the pitching (Zambrano, Harden, Dempster) gotta root for the Canadian Boys, and the bats to take it all.


Dave Rutt - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#192930) #
Continuing with the Canadian content, the Red Sox have Bay and the Dodgers Martin, so 4 or potentially 5 of the playoff teams have a pretty direct Canadian link. Not that anyone really cares, right? I'm just using Dempster and Harden as a justification for cheering for the Cubbies.

Anyway, now that we don't have Jays games to watch, how bout some Pointless Trivia?!?!

By shutting out the Rangers last night, the Angels became the 12th team this millennium to win 100 games. Who were the others?
Pistol - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#192934) #
After Sabathia's finish I find it hard not to pull for the Brewers.
mathesond - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 01:27 PM EDT (#192936) #
100 win teams this millenium?

2001 Mariners, 116

That's all I got, though I expect there's a Boston or Yankee team or 2 that qualify.Perhaps even a Diamondback roster

Ron - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#192938) #
I'm rooting for the Red Sox to win the World Series, but I don't have a problem with any of the teams winning it. Unlike the past couple of World Series, I would like to see a close series.
rtcaino - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#192944) #
I am going for the Brewers!

And wishing the worst for the Red Sox.

Glevin - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#192945) #
I am torn. I don't like seeing teams that don't deserve it, winning it (St. Louis a few years ago for example, probably the worst WS winner ever). On the other hand, I want at least one active curse now that the two Sox have broken theirs...I can't believe it, but I am probably going for the Brewers. OK, I had half their team in fantasy and they also have both Canadian and Jewish relevance and have not even been in the playoffs since 1982. Tampa doesn't seem good enough to me, and I'd like to see them have to wait a couple of years too. Normally I like the Dodgers, but they only got into the playoffs because their division is horrible, so it's hard to root too hard. Boston and Angels having to play is bad luck as they are the two best teams in the league. I think whoever wins that series probably wins it all. (AL is just so much better)
#2JBrumfield - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#192947) #

I am going for the Brewers!

And wishing the worst for the Red Sox.

Agreed!  My wish list on how I like to see the post season shape up.

9.  Boston Red Sox - one word - Massholes!

8.  Chicago Cubs - I think their fans would give Boston and New York a run for most arrogant fans if they happen to win.  Nothing against Reed Johnson but I hope the curse continues.

7.  Los Angeles Angels - I don't hate them necessarily but they've had a nice run of postseason appearances.  If they knock off the Red Sox, I'd be more than okay with that but I just don't see it happening.

6.  Los Angeles Dodgers - I still hate them for Blue Monday and giving me childhood scars that have never healed but I'm happy that Joe Torre, and not the Yankees, will be in the post-season.  Looks good on the Bronx Bombers.

5.  Chicago White Sox - Ozzie Guillen is just pure entertainment.  Though I hope the Twins get in, I wouldn't be too upset if the Sox got in despite Hawk and D.J., who give broadcasters a bad name.

4.  Tampa Bay Rays - Great success story and as much as I love an underdog, they're a division rival and that's why I won't rank them higher.  Best of luck to Eric Hinske.

3.  Philadelphia Phillies - As much as I want the Brewers to win, I think the Phillies will pound them unless C.C. can pitch every day and after his performance in the season finale, I wouldn't put it past him.  I'm glad Matt Stairs and Pat Gillick will have the chance to go on a good post-season run.  Besides, it's fun watching Ryan Howard pulverize the ball, unless it's against the Jays.

2.  Minnesota Twins - After leaving the baseball wasteland of Edmonton, the missus and I had a chance to go see a Twins game at the Metrodome against the Nats in mid-June (a pretty decent park for a dome!).  At the time, they were 3 games under .500.  We saw the start of a 10 game winning streak as Livan Hernandez enjoyed probably his last good start with the Twinkies.  Mauer singled and Morneau homered and that was all they needed in a 2-1 game.  I hope the Twins pull it off.

1.  Milwaukee Brewers - I'm really happy they finally made it.  Since my younger brother moved to Wisconsin six years ago, I've followed the Brew Crew pretty closely.  They've come a long way from 2002.  Besides, Bob Uecker deserves a World Series ring and I'd like to hear him make a World Series winning call and taking it a step further from Harry Doyle.  I hope Dave Bush has a good playoff as well.  That bullpen is godawful.  If they had the Jays pen, they'd win this thing hands down.

Mike Green - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#192950) #
...Brewers. OK, I had half their team in fantasy and they also have both Canadian and Jewish relevance

By all rights, the Hebrew Hammer ought not to be playing any time near the Days of Awe (it's supposed to be a time of forgiveness not retribution, after all), but afterwards all bets are off!
CeeBee - Monday, September 29 2008 @ 08:19 PM EDT (#192955) #

I want to see a Brewers- Twins World Series. 2 of the smallest of markets plus both big underdogs is good enough for me.  I hope the cubs curse continues and I hope the Rays don't win the first time in. The Dodgers would be ok if just for the Torre/ Ramirez factor and the rest are not on  my root for or against list unless the WhiteSox pull off another miracle tomorrow and the Twins are sent home. Then I'd like a Brewers- Tampa series with the Brewers drinking Old Milwaukee from the cup.

SheldonL - Tuesday, September 30 2008 @ 09:14 AM EDT (#192959) #
Am I the only one concerned amount Sabathia pitching over 250 innings this year!?

You would think that his agent would have a word with Melvin and the new manager about this... I mean, some$100 million is on the line, no?
Chuck - Tuesday, September 30 2008 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#192962) #

Am I the only one concerned amount Sabathia pitching over 250 innings this year!?

Not sure why you specifically are concerned, unless you are a GM considering signing him or are a good friend worried about his well being.

Clearly the Brewers are riding him like the rented mule they see him as, but one imagines that Sabathia could have vetoed his transition from five-day starter to four-day starter had he been so inclined. I imagine that like most athletes (and most humans in all endeavours, frankly), the potential of short term success outweighed the potential long term consequences. Sabathia going through life as a 280-pound man clearly suggests he is not too terribly concerned about the future beyond today.

All potential suitors will want to consider that Sabathia will have logged over 500 innings in 2007-08 come the end of these playoffs. Now, how much they weigh the presumed resultant higher risk for breakdown into their offers is hard to say. I imagine many will not discount their offers at all, simply imagining Sabathia to be a realiable 250 IP horse. Some may give Sabathia bonus points for the maner in which he placed his team's needs ahead of his own and will inflate their offers accordingly.

I imagine that Sabathia will safely survive however many remaining starts he has in these playoffs. If there is a price to pay for his 500 innings, it won't be felt until after the ink has dried on his shiny new 130MM contract.

Ryan Day - Tuesday, September 30 2008 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#192963) #
Sabathia also gets to go into the free agent market as the guy who single-handedly pulled the Brewers into the post-season.
And really, the concern isn't quite as bad as it might be for other pitchers - like Halladay, Sabathia has great control and doesn't rack up high pitch counts - he's only been over 120 5 times this year. And I suppose you can take one of two positions: He's a huge guy and can handle the workload, or he's a huge guy and he's going to fall apart soon anyway.

Dewey - Tuesday, September 30 2008 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#192980) #
I don't know anything about “arrogant” Cubs fans.  They sure weren't arrogant in my day; more like plaintive.  Mind you, I go back to Phil Cavaretta, the pride of Wilmette, Ill.  And Charley Grimm, and Johnny Schmitz, and . . . well, never mind.  Having suffered through some really painful collapses,   (1969, when Leo Durocher's team slowly, with our Fergie pitching,  inexorably imploded; 1984, after winning 96 games with Sandberg and Co.!, they trip over San Diego in Game Five of the NLCS.  That bastard Garvey), I'm at a loss to understand how anyone could begrudge the Cubs  a WS.  How many here even remember poor old  Claude Passeau,  the last Cubs pitcher to actually win a WS game?  Ooooh, it hurts.  Let them have it this year, whatever their fans are now alleged to be like.   Go to Baseball Reference; study up on the Cubs a bit.  This is one of the great old franchises, with boatloads of heroes and bums; and boy have they paid their dues.  100 years is a long wait, people.  Show a little compassion.
mathesond - Tuesday, September 30 2008 @ 06:46 PM EDT (#192987) #
I lived in Chicago for close to 4 years, the last year and a half in Wrigleyville. I'd love to see them win it all, and wish I could be there for the party
99BlueJaysWay - Tuesday, September 30 2008 @ 07:26 PM EDT (#192989) #
The teams were: '01 Seattle Mariners, '01 & '02 Oakland A's, 03' Giants, '02 & '03 Braves,  '02 & '03 & '04 Yankees, and finally the '04 & '05 Cardinals

jerjapan - Tuesday, September 30 2008 @ 09:27 PM EDT (#192994) #
Great game going on right now ... love these one game playoffs.  Griffey's having a big game, throwing a runner out at the plate (great block by AJ) and doubling of the wall ... nice to see him contributing.

How strange is it seeing Dwayne Wise starting in a game like this - in fact, contributing the way he has at all?

In some ways, Kenny Williams' Sox remind me of the team Riccardi's trying to build here ... great rotation anchored by the veteran horse (Buerhle or Halladay), strong pen assembled out of castoffs, veteran bats. 

29 September: Decisions... | 23 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.