Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World Series Predictions

It is amazing to consider the kind of disrespect the Philadelphia Phillies have been getting in the past couple of days. All it took was for the New York Yankees to win the American League pennant to throw the Phillies overboard like a cheap sock. And you know what? I am okay with that! Why? The Phillies thrive as the underdog, as the one who is always doubted.

In 2008, it was 'they can't beat CC Sabathia' - they did. Then it was 'Joe Torre has the experience and the Dodgers have Manny Ramirez' - which did not matter because the Phillies beat them in five even with Ramirez having a great series. Finally, we would told that the Tampa Bay Rays were going to run all over the Phillies and the Phillies' luck was going to run out. Well, well, well...the Phillies won in five and not even rain or Bud Selig could stop them from hoisting the championship trophy.

Here we are on October 28, 2009 and the Phillies are back in the World Series after being doubted again by many; the Rockies and Dodgers were supposed to have superior bullpens and were supposed to have matured enough to compete and dismantle the Phillies. Such a thing didn't happen and the Phillies only lost one game to each opponent. I can't say it was easy, but it was certainly convincing.

The opponent is a team that is familiar with this time of the year - the New York Yankees. To my everlasting shame, I chose 'Yankees' as the name of my first grade reading group when I was going to school in West Orange, NJ at the time (1988). Back then, though, it was the Mets who were the dominant New York team and the Yankees were just bad. Anyway, the Yankees have now won 40, yes FORTY, American League pennants. Despite that, there aren't that many on the team who were part of the dynasty of the late 1990's, just four - Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte.

It's funny, because the last National League team to win consecutive world championships was the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds, the 'Big Red Machine', as they were called then, and there are a lot of similarities in the situation now as there was in 1976 as the Reds were going for their 2nd title. Consider...

- The Reds of 1975 played a team that no one really expected to be there in the World Series (Boston), just as the Phillies did in 2008 - Tampa Bay, and then went on to play the Yankees as they were defending their title in 1976 - just as the Phillies are doing right now.

- The Yankees of 1976 were making their first World Series appearance since 1964 and were gearing up for a great run with 5 AL East titles, 4, AL pennants and 2 World championships in 6 years. The 2009 Yankees are making their first WS appearance since 2003 and are a different team. They have some experience, but also a lot of young guys who have never been here before.

- The Reds were able to sweep the Yankees with relative ease, and with all things considered, I hope the Phillies can do the same - but if that is the case, be ready for another mini-Yankee run over the next 3-5 years.

Sometimes I wonder why they are even bothering to play the games - just give the Yankees the title already - at least that is what the media reads and sounds like. Phillies pitching will step up and the hitters will be patient enough against a guy like CC Sabathia. Cliff Lee will continue to pitch out of his mind and the defense will make a couple of key plays. I am going to agree with Mr. James Calvin Rollins and say....

Phillies in Five.

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