Wednesday, October 28, 2009

(15) - A World of Series

And then there were 2. Phillies vs Yankees. A matchup of mammoth proportions. Let me be frank: I really hate the Phillies. After the Red Sox, they're my next most hated team. However, they are good. And they matchup with the Yankees very well. This series will be exciting. My five items to look for:

1. A-Rod - First things first, I literally just tried to spell his last name and failed miserably, so I'm sticking with A-Rod. This postseason he has been otherworldly, clearly putting his past failures behind him. Will the pressure of his first World Series get to him?

2. Starting Pitching - Game 1 features 2 lefties who have gone a combined 5-0 with 40 K's, 6 BBs, and an ERA around the 1.00 mark. Unreal. After Lee and Sabathia though, you have Burnett who arguably has the best stuff in the game but is often wild, Hammels who has looked nothing like last year, Pettite who has been pitching great all year, and Pedro Martinez, who could be the ace in the hole. If we have a turn back the clock moment from Pedro, this series could be heavily tipped in the Phillies favor.

3. Base Running - So far this postseason, base running blunders have killed teams, especially opponents of the Yankees. If the teams are smart on the base path, they could manage some extra runs that could give them the win. The Phillies were ranked first in the MLB in stolen base percentage (81% - including Chase Utley who was 23-23, outstanding), and the Yankees were tied for 2nd (80%). Curious to see who makes the blunders in the World Series.

4. Bullpen - The Yankees came into the postseason with one of the best bullpens of the 8 teams, while the Phillies bullpen had failed them multiple times this season (hello Brad Lidge). But coming into the World Series it's been somewhat reversed. Joba and Hughes for the Yanks have been very hittable, with Hughes the best setup man in the MLB since becoming one in June. Lidge has reclaimed the slider he had lost throughout the season, and has given up 1 hit in three games. And Mo, well he's been Mo. Still a slight edge to the Yanks, but not a massive edge.

5. Experience - Again the experience lies with the Yan....oh, no it doesn't. Wow, for the first time in what seems like forever, the experience is going AGAINST the Yankees. They have 8 players who have played in the World Series (four of those eight winning a championship), whereas the Phillies have 18 players who have played in the World Series. They've been here before, they've won before, they know what to do. With first timers such as CC, Burnett, A-Rod and Tex, I'm curious to see if the level of play gets to them.

My pick: Yankees in 7. Split at home, lose 2 in philly, and then win games 6 and 7 at home. So far my picks have been far from correct. So we'll see.

Now or Never

Saturday, October 24, 2009

(14) - The Second Third Man

I read an interesting tidbit this morning.  For those of you who don't know I'm a big movie fan.  Since Freshman year in high school I've had an interest in not only watching movies (something I've always had an interest in), but in making them and what goes on behind the scenes.  I've taken numerous film courses through high school and college and keep up on my current movie news every day.  Well the tidbit I read has to do with my 23rd favorite movie of all-time (this list fluctuates from time to time, but the top 10 is pretty unbreakable).  I read this tidbit on -

The Third Man by Carol Reed was made in 1949 and it starred Orson Welles. It should NOT be remade.  I repeat: NOT be remade!  This movie is a classic, and although Hollywood is in love with remaking classics, this is one of those that shouldn't be touched.  Much like Casablanca, Citizen Kane or The Godfather, this movie is too good to even attempt anything as dumb as this.

For those of you who haven't seen this classic, here is the plot summary courtesy of An out of work pulp fiction novelist, Holly Martins, arrives in a post war Vienna divided into sectors by the victorious allies, and where a shortage of supplies has lead to a flourishing black market. He arrives at the invitation of an ex-school friend, Harry Lime, who has offered him a job, only to discover that Lime has recently died in a peculiar traffic accident. From talking to Lime's friends and associates Martins soon notices that some of the stories are inconsistent, and determines to discover what really happened to Harry Lime.

See the trailer at IMDB:

The two leads apparently attached are Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio (I presume DiCaprio would play Welles's character Harry Lime).  And while I like both of these actors, the latter especially has become a great fun to watch on screen, this movie is too good.  They don't have a director yet.  The screenplay is to be written by Steven Knight who wrote Eastern Promises. I'd be curious to see who the director is, but at the same time not because this movie should just go through time without even being discussed as a remake.

But what do I know, I'm not a doctor.

Friday, October 16, 2009

(13) - Live Boss

My buddy from college got tickets to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on Tuesday. Wow can they put on a show. Bruce just goes out there and does it. He knows how to perform. The concert was slated to begin at 7:30, the band finally came out at 8:30. No opening act so we were just waiting. Usually when this happens the band then plays for about an hour and a half then leaves. But not the E Street Band. They played for three hours....STRAIGHT! No breaks at all. It was incredible. The concert featured the "Born to Run" album, as they played that in succession in the middle of their set, but they had songs from all over the place. They began the concert with Seaside Bar Song, which I later found out they haven't played live since 1973! They ended the concert with Rosalita, my favorite song by them. All in all, everything was outstanding. If you can, manage to see Bruce in concert at some point. It truly is a thrilling experience. Below I've attached a video of Jungleland live performed at MSG in 2001. Check it out.


Monday, October 12, 2009

(12) - Sweep is in the Air

....Three sweeps? Three?? THREE?!?!?!? When did the Division League Series become "easy?" The Yankees sweep was expected. But the Angels and Dodgers sweeping their respective opponents? Many people thought the Angels wouldn't even win the series, let alone sweep the team that had owned them on previous occasions. And the Dodgers/Cardinals was supposed to be a toss up series. The Cardinals had the best 1-2 punch in the playoffs, and they lost both of those games and then lost game 3 easily (granted Game w they should have won - see "Unscripted"). The Phillies/Rockies series is the only one that went past three games (Philly currently leads 2-1, with Game 4 being played right now).

For the LCS, here are the matchups:
American League
Angels vs Yankees - Game 1 Friday 10/16 at Yankee Stadium

National League
Phillies/Rockies vs Dodgers - Game 1 Thursday 10/15 at Dodger Stadium

My Series Predictions (because they were so correct for the LDS...):
American League
Yankees over Angles 4-2
Split the first four games, Yanks winning Games 1 & 3. CC wins on the road and Burnett closes it out at home.

National League
Dodgers over Phillies (my pick over Rockies) 4-3
Dodgers are coming into their own. Bullpen is pitching as well as they have all year, and they're offensive power is coming back.

We shall see, hopefully there are no sweeps, unless it's the Yanks who sweep...


Saturday, October 10, 2009

(11) - Welcome to Unscripted

It literally cannot be scripted. The MLB Postseason can literally not be scripted. Sure, I think everyone outside of a Twins fan figured the Yanks to be up 2-0 after two games. They figured two games just like Game 1, with the Yanks winning Game 2 by three or four runs. They figured Pettitte would have a chance to close out the series in Minnesota against Pavano. They figured all of that. What they didn't figure was that the Yanks would be up 2-0 after winning Game 2 with some tricks pulled up their sleeves, and rabbits being pulled out of their hats.

A-Rod delivers a 3-1 fastball deep to right center to tie the game 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth with 1 out. Let me repeat the first part of that sentence: A-ROD DELIVERS! My prediction for this series for A-Rod was 5 RBIs. Well, he has 5 RBIs already - in two games. With the first three coming with 2 outs (the third tying Game 2 1-1), and the latter two coming off a booming home run in the bottom of the ninth against one of the games Top 3 closers, to again, TIE THE GAME. Unbelievable. A-Rod, not known for his postseason heroics, has seemed to FINALLY step out of his shell. And I for one am ridiculously happy.

Teixeira had been having an AWFUL offensive ALDS. 0-6. That's what he was being paid $190 million for. A-Rod 2.0? Hold that thought. Top of the ninth comes, and he knows he has to get something started. Which is exactly what he did. Hit a deep single to begin the (short) rally. We know what happens next. Finally Teixeira gets a hit, 1-7. Next time up to bat to lead off the eleventh, everyone is thinking the same thing: "Just get on base, get a double, and A-Rod WILL drive you home." What they/we neglected to remember was that Tex lead the AL with 39 home runs this year. And what does he do? Hit a 318.5 foot home run to left field to end the game. clocked the ball coming of Tex's bat at 110mph and left the yard in 2.88 seconds - THE FASTEST home run (to leave the park) in the majors this year. Boy did he want this game to end. Earning his $$$ this post season.

Burnett, the best way to put it - Effectively wild. That's what they were saying all night, and it was true. 5 BB and 2 HBP is never good, but they had some magic to keep the game scoreless through 5. Tagging out Gomez between second and third to make sure the run didn't count in the fourth inning was unreal. Such a great heads-up play by both Swisher and (of course) Jeter. They touched Burnett in the fifth to make it 1-0. The Yanks scored quickly to make sure that lead got erased. The Burnett pitching to Molina and not Posada was a non-factor in this game, as Molina only had one AB and Posada had three.

It must be said, the left field umpire may, MAY, have cost the Twins the game. In the top of the eleventh, he called a sliced Mauer hit foul, when in fact it landed 4-5 inches FAIR and then bounced into the stands. Mauer should have been on second with a ground-rule double, instead he headed back to the plate. He eventually singled. Kubbel in the next AB singled, which could have potentially scored Mauer. If that didn't score him, Cuddyer's next single definitely would have scored him. It's tough to say the pitch calls in those two situations would have been the same, but it's also tough to argue and say the ump didn't screw the Twins chances. What I'm leaving out here is that, with the bases loaded, and no outs, the Twins did NOT score. David Robertson, after giving up the single to Cuddyer, pitched outstandingly. Gets a sharp lineout to Teixeira, who was in perfect position. Gets a check swing grounder to Teixeira, who gets Mauer out at the plate. And then gets a lazy fly ball to Gardner in center to end the inning.

Back to my point: Who would have guessed Game 2 would have played out this way? No one. No one. And that's what is so great about October baseball - you just don't know how it's going to play out. It's always exciting, even if your team is out or on the losing end. Would I be upset if the Yanks lost? Absolutely. But it would not have changed my thoughts on October baseball. Game 3 here we come - let's do it Pettitte.

Other Notes: The Angels are beating the Red Sox 2-0? What happened to past years, with Red Sox domination? Right, its 2009. Not 2008, or 2007, or 2005...The Dodgers escaped with a dramatic walkoff win in Game 2 to lead the Cardinals 2-0. Getting past both Carpenter and Wainwright with wins? Did not think that would happen, two games in a row. Phillies and Rockies are deadlocked at 1-1, heading back to Colorado. Maybe I underestimated this Rockies team?


Friday, October 9, 2009

(10) - Good Night....Moon?

I awoke this morning to startling news - the United States attempted at 7:30am ET to destroy our beloved moon. I heard about this "ridiculous" story about a month ago. I wondered, "Why would the United States want to blow up the moon? Our moon, which we fought so hard to fly to in the 1960's. The United States claimed the moon in 1969 when Neil and Buzz landed on it. We've been back numerous times. It would seem like a fun vacation trip for some astronauts. So then why the fuck would we blow this up?

I'll tell you why - the Chinese. Rumor has it the Chinese wanted to land on OUR moon. Well that is just reeeeediculous. That is OUR moon. Why can't the Chinese find their own moon? Obama heard the whispers, and they eventually became louder. The Chinese wanted a piece of what we had. They wanted to share OUR moon. Well, Professor Obama said fuck that.

In this case, I COMPLETELY understand why our president wanted to blow up the moon. Better no one has it then the Chinese. This would be their first step to Universal domination. If we can't beat them on Earth, then we better not let them get past Earth. Obama, great heads up play. I commend you.

Unfortunately, you failed miserably. Not only did the moon survive, she is angry. And she is coming for us. Soon.

We'll find out in a couple of weeks if there is a possibility of water on the moon, which would be pretty sweet.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

(9) - Doubling Up

Quick post - just changed the layout of my blog.


(8) - Peanuts and Beer

That's what October baseball is about! Welcome to the 2009 Postseason. It kicked off yesterday with a triple-header and the home teams winning each game: Phillies, Yankees & Dodgers. I was at the Yankees game last night despite my sickness and rooted them in. It's no secret I'm a Yankees fan, but I feel like I'm unbiased when it comes to sports. I love my team but I'm a realist. The following are my predictions:

National League
Phillies vs Rockies - Phillies in 4
I think the Phillies win game 2 with Hammels, and the Rockies squeeze game 3 at home. But that's it. They had a nice run, but this isn't 2007. Cliff Lee is a huge addition.

Dodgers vs Cardinals - Dodgers in 5
The Dodgers were my pick to win the National League from the beginning of the year. Not the same team as then, but I think they beat the Cardinals here. It'll be tough, considering the 1-2 punch for St. Louis is unbelievable, but they win games 1-3-5 to take the series, beating Carpenter and Wainwright once each.

American League
Red Sox vs Angels - Red Sox in 5
Angels make it closer this year with a better offensive lineup, but the Red Sox power pitchers will get them through. Beckett and Lester prove to be too much in a 5 game series, as they finish off the Angels for a third consecutive year.

Yankees vs Twins - Yankees in 3
I'm not biased I swear, the Twins just don't have enough left in the tank to compete. They don't have power pitchers and the Yanks lineup is too good from 1-9. Burnett pitches well in game 2 and Pettite closes it out in game 3. Arod breaks out of postseason slump with 5 RBIs.

Phillies vs Dodgers - Dodgers in 7
This will be a great rematch of last year, with a better Dodgers team and arguably the best bullpen in the playoffs, I pick the Dodgers in 7. Lee and Hammels are a tough duo, but it's tough for a duo to win a best of 7. Manny breaks out of his slump, and with the lineup better than a year previous, and the guidance of Torre who has been here before, I pick the Dodgers. They'll shorten the games to 6 innings and the bullpen will close it out.

Red Sox vs Yankees - Yankees in 6
Every game will be close in this series, with the Yanks closing it out in Boston. The Red Sox are built for the postseason, and their lineup is better than most people think. But the Yankees get rid of their current ghosts and continue on. Arod continues his resurgence with CC and Burnett winning big games at home, and Joba winning game 4 at Boston. They'll close it out in 6 with a statement win.

World Series
Dodgers vs Yankees - Yankees in 6
Torre vs Yankees. What a showdown. I think the Yankees are too powerful for the Dodgers. With the bullpens basically a draw (Dodgers with a small advantage), the Yanks have better starting pitching (with a good Burnett), and a better lineup. Dodgers will steal game 2 from Burnett, with the Yanks winning games 3 and 5 in LA (Pettite and CC, respectively). Burnett will close it out at home with a gem, and Mo closing the game for another Yankees championship.

Will it work out this way? Most likely not. But this is what I truly believe. I'm a realist, and I really think the Yankees have the best chance of winning. But October baseball is anything but normal. I'm ready for a wild ride.

Are you?! (Interrobang)