Monday, October 01, 2007

Some Baseball Thoughts

1) You gotta feel for the Mets. Mets fans, not as much, but for the Mets players. I strongly dislike Mets fans because -- and I don't think this is only my perception -- they seem to care more about the Yankees losing than the Mets winning. I'm not kidding. I remember watching the Yankees lose Game 7 to the Diamondbacks in 2001 and listening the Mets fans get more excited about the Yankees losing that series than they were just the year before when the Mets played the Yankees in the World Series. I've heard stories of Mets fans who cheered for the Braves over the Yankees in 1999, merely days after their biggest rival beat the Mets in the NLCS.

So yeah, like everyone other Yankee fan, I get a sense of satisfaction watching Mets fans squirm after their team made history. But Yankee fans should not get too smug. Remember, we made history too in 2004.

I've always believed the "rivalry" between the Mets and Yankees is illusory, something cooked up in the minds of Mets fans to help them get over their sense of inferiority. The Mets and Yankees didn't play each other in a single meaningful game until 1997. Since then they've faced off in a mundane World Series and play average of six somewhat important regular season games a season (although the importance of those games are now open to dispute given how the Mets might have lost the division because of the yearly subway series).

These two teams are not rivals. If the Red Sox blew a seven game lead with seventeen to play and had to watch the postseason from home, I'd be feeling pretty elated. But as I watched Glavine get pounded yesterday, I felt myself pulling for them. They are a New York team afterall. I would have loved another Subway Series. Too bad it's not going to happen this year.

But when you see that Mets fan, remember 2004. That's how he feels.

2) How awful is the NL? Only 1 team in the entire 16 team league won 90 games, and that team game up more runs than it scored. 9 of the 14 AL teams had a better run differential than Arizona. The Tigers, who finished 6 games out of the Wild Card, had a better run differential than any team in the NL but the Rockies. Six AL teams would have won the NL Central. The Brewers, everyone's darlings, finished with the same record as the Blue Jays, but had a worse run differential in a far worse division.

After last year's World Series disaster, I'm not going to arrogate myself to pick the AL in a cakewalk, but whoever makes it out of the AL is going to be far better than the NL representative.

3) The Red Sox really helped the Yanks by finishing with the best record in baseball (thanks to the tiebreaker). The Sox chose the long schedule, forcing the Indians to pitch four starters (or pitch people on 3 day's rest) and Carmona only once. Sabathia is clearly the best pitcher in this series and I don't see the Yankees hitting him hard once (forget about twice). Carmona is an excellent pitcher, but someone the Yankees should have less trouble with. So basically I think the Yankees will lose Game 1, but win Game 2. The pitching matchups for Games 3 and 4 are fairly even (especially if Clemens can pitch) and the Yankees offense kills pitchers like Westbrook and Byrd.

So I'm calling it Yankees in 4. If it goes 5, the Yankees might be in big trouble.

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