Saturday, September 20, 2008

MLB playoff picture shapes up.

In the Real Baseball League (a.k.a. the Senior Circuit), the Cubs (who haven't won a Series since 1908) and the Dodgers are in. The other two will come from these three: Mets, Phillies, Brewers. Until recently, the Brew-ha-has (as Milwaukee native and Kettle of Fish owner Patrick calls them) looked like a lock for the wild card, but they've had a near end of season collapse that rivals the one that doomed my Mets last year. Meanwhile, the Mets, despite serious injury hits to their starting rotation, bullpen, and outfield, are still in the thick of things. If they can make the post-season and last beyond round one, Manuel should not only be stripped of his "interim" designation; he should be NL manager of the year.

The Designated Hitter League (a.k.a. the league for people with short attention spans) playoffs definitely include Los Angeles de Anaheim and the Tampa Bay Rays. Conventional wisdom has it that the Rays, having no playoff experience, have no hope of going the distance (just like the 1997 Marlins and the 1969 Mets). The Red Sox look to be a lock, either as Eastern Division champs if they can overtake the Rays and relegate them to the wild card, or, more likely, as the wild card. (My wife is happy.) The final spot will be taken by the Central division champs, either the White Sox (opening the possibility of a first-ever "El Series") or the Twins.

I see four possible final outcomes that would make me happy, in order of preference: (1) Mets (but, given the conventional wisdom that pitching is everything in the playoffs, they seem a long shot); (2) Rays (old hometown loyalty, as well as a liking for Cinderellas, and I think Joe Maddon is a really cool guy); (3) Cubs (for reasons explained here); and (4) Red Sox (spousal loyalty).

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