Category: Dailies

A-Rod Opts Out!

Just announced on FOX during the 8th inning of Game 4.

And it’s the most exciting thing I’ve seen this postseason.

Stay tuned for more, as I’ve been waiting for this for a year (check the archives to see my obsession).

Red Sox To Lose World Series

Okay, so I wasn’t too bad with my last predictions.  I got the Rockies right, but was wrong on the number of games it would take.  I got the Red Sox wrong, but was right on the number of games.  So, with an hour to go before game time, I suppose I should make my prediction for the World Series.

It’s a tough one.  I hate the Red Sox (for obvious reasons), but they are the better team in every way.  Plus, they have home field advantage.  While the Colorado Rockies have a lot of momentum going their way, they also had an eight-day layoff, and the Red Sox have the momentum coming back from a 3-1 deficit to the Indians.

But with all this, Boston has one fatal flaw going against them.  Rudy Guiliani is rooting for them.

I know, that doesn’t sound so bad.  Of course, this proves that Rudy is a huge hypocrite and opportunist.  I mean, how can a true Yankees fan root for the Red Sox in any circumstance?  Can you imagine a Sox fan doing the same thing?  It’s impossible.  The only reason Rudy is cheering for a Sox victory is not because he’s "an American League guy" like he says.  It’s because Colorodo is a solid Republican state he doesn’t have to worry about, and the New Hampshire primary is coming up soon, and most of those in New Hampshire happen to be Red Sox fans.  But incredibly brash political moves does not make a fatal flaw for the Red Sox on their own.  No, it takes much more than that.

It’s the curse of Rudy Giuliani that will do it.  I brought this to the attention of the three or four people who occasionally read my blog a year ago when the Yankees got bounced in the first round, and nothing this year broke it.  In case you’re clicky-impaired, here’s the actual text I wrote in 2006:

"Ever since Boston won the World Series in ’04 talk has sprung up of
a new curse, this one on the Yankees. It doesn’t have the vintage of
"The Curse of the Bambino." It’s only had a few years to age, rather
than 86 years, and nobody can pinpoint the grapes from which it was
distilled.
Some say it’s the curse of A-Rod, others point to Jeter being made
Captain, others point to the loss of certain players, especially Paul
O’Neill. But, ladies and gents, I have the answer right here. I alone
hold the key to the new Yankees curse. Oh, how I wish I had more
readers to unveil this to. Perhaps one day when hundreds of you log in
daily, you’ll find your way back here and see the genius that is Sid.
With that, I unveil to you the cause of the newest curse in baseball:

THE RUDY GIULIANI CURSE

(Rudy Giuliani, above, shoots invisible curse lasers at the Yankees with his eyes) That’s right, folks, you read it here first:  Former New York City Mayor is the cause of all the Yankees woes since 2001.

"Say it ain’t so, Sid!" you may say. Or, "Sid, you’re nothing but a
spineless liberal **** who wants the terrorists to win!" Well, please
allow me to put down by "Go Terrorists!" sign and the "Bin Laden #1"
foam finger and retort. See folks, this has nothing to do with
politics. This has to do with happenstance.

I base this claim not on Giuliani himself (though he is completely
to blame), but on on network TV. You see, ever since 9/11/01, EVERY
******* GAME at Yankee Stadium in the playoffs you’ve seen Rudy
Giuliani in the stands wearing his Yankees cap. Now, maybe he was there
every game before that wearing the same stupid hat, or maybe he’s just
doing it so people will remember his "heroic deeds" (like sitting
through 6 years of Yankees chokes) for the ’08 Presidential election.
In this lifetime, that’s not for me to call. But I DO know that, before
9/11, none of the networks gave a **** where Rudy was. After 9/11, his
ugly mug filled my TV screen at least 4-5 times at every Yankees
playoff home game. In that span? The Yanks are 3-3 in the ALDS (two of
those losses courtesy of the Angels, thank you very much). They’re 2-1
in the ALCS, and (gasp) they’re 0-2 in the World Series.

As Mayor of New York City, I’m sure Rudy was at all those playoffs
from ’96 to ’00 when the Yanks were unstoppable. But his face (and that
damned hat) weren’t on my TV screen. ****, only maybe three or four
people west of Manhattan would have known who he was, so it’s much
better to show the crazy drunk guy with no shirt. So therefore, it’s
not Rudy HIMSELF who’s bad luck. It’s when they show him on TV that the
Yankees are doomed.

So Yanks, it doesn’t matter how high your payroll is or how studly
your lineup, so long as Fox and ESPN keep showing Rudy in those great
seats during the playoffs, you’re gonna lose.

You Mets fans should hope he doesn’t show up at Shea with a Blue and Orange "NY" hat in the next series…"

And this held true this year.  Because FOX is little more than the information network of the Republican Party, if Rudy shows up at a game, they’ll show him on TV.  And, as Rudy is running for president, you bet he’ll take every opportunity to get his face out there he can.

You can bet that, with the New Hampshire Primary coming up in a couple months, Rudy will be in Fenway for a game.  And you can bet the camera will show him.

Red Sox fans, you better pray they don’t.  If they do, you might as well hand the Rockies the World Series trophy.

Prediction:  Rockies in 6.

League Championship Series!

Time once again to show how absolutely horrible I am at prognosticating the winners of playoff series.

For the record, in the last round I was 1-3, successfully picking only the Diamondbacks.  Of course, in no series was I even close in guessing the number of games that would be played…

So with that, here are my picks for the League Championship Series:

NLCS: Is anybody even going to watch this?  It’s kind of sad that this won’t grab any attention outside the Arizona-Colorado markets (other than those who just love baseball), as this will probably be a terrific series.  Both teams are young, full of talent, and running on adrenaline.  Arizona has an edge on pitching, but honestly, how can you pick against the Rockies?  This is a tough one, but going with the incredible September and huge upset over the Phillies, I’m gonna pick the Rockies in 6.

ALCS: Here’s one I’m gonna use my heart over my head.  Boston is a juggernaut, and everything has come together for this team this year (which is good, because they ain’t getting any younger.)  Except for Kenny Lofton, whose T-206 tobacco card recently outsold Honus Wagner’s at auction, is the only old thing about Cleveland.  But youth doesn’t work in the Indians’ favor this time, as Boston knows what their doing (I still have a black eye from the ALDS).  But the 2007 Indians remind me a lot of the 2002 Angels, so I’m an Indians fan.  Besides, I HATE the Red Sox!  They’ve smacked the Angels around in the playoffs one too many times.  I’m going with Indians in 7.

There you have my predictions.  Be sure to stop by here and leave a comment during game one of the World Series, when the Diamondbacks play the Red Sox.

The Time for Mourning is Over

"My father used to say that not playing to win is like sleeping withyour sister. Sure she’s a great piece of tail with a blouse full of
goodies, but it’s just… illegal."

-Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen), "Hot Shots"

Looking back on a post I made nearly two weeks ago, I want to kick my own butt.  I was praying and hoping that I was wrong, that I was a paranoid freak fan that worried too much and trusted too little in the brains and abilities of those whose job it is to get the Angels to win.

Unfortunately, I was a prophet.

I was right to be worried in the last week of the regular season.  I was right to doubt Mike Scioscia for his managerial choice of resting players rather than playing for home field advantage.  Mike Scioscia, as it turns out, was no smarter than I.

Wrap your noodle around this one:  After clinching the American League West title on Sunday, September 23 in Anaheim, the Angels went on the road against, well, horrible teams.  They proceeded to get swept in a three-game series in Texas, and lost 2 of 3 in Oakland to end the season.  The club got rest, some rookies got playing time, and the Angels finished two games behind Boston and Cleveland.

Consider this:  If the Angels had won a mere two more games, they’d have had home field advantage in the first round.  Not against Boston.  No, they’d have hosted the Yankees.

And we all saw how well the Yankees played in Cleveland.  Well, not that it matters, I suppose, because the Indians remembered to bring their bats to the ALCS, unlike us.

But nonetheless, by throwing in the towel, by playing to rest and NOT to win, this club was doomed to play two games in Boston to start instead of two in Anaheim.  The Angels had the best home record in baseball.

Would things have been different?  I don’t know.  No way to know.

But, seeing how New York played, I would have liked our chances.

Now, it’s on to 2008.  I’m pulling for the Indians in the ALCS and, hopefully, the World Series.  But my heart’s not in it, as my team gets to pay for not having any hitting to speak of in the playoffs.

Perhaps somebody needs to remind Bill Stoneman that you can win a weak division without any power, but you’re only wasting Vlad’s at-bats if you go into the playoffs without someone hitting behind him.

Wait ’til next year.

Turn Out The Lights

Alds_2Pray for a miracle.  That’s all we can do.  The Red Sox are owning us so far.

Yeah, I just got done with a live blog, but I’m writing a new one because I want the point I made in that entry to be made even clearer.

More than a month ago, I liveblogged  a game against the Mariners where I said this:

"But yeah, K-Rod is a disaster in the making.  Ralph Branca.  Donnie Moore.  Bill Buckner.

Soon enough, mark my words, K-Rod will find his name among those."

So it wasn’t as big a game as any of those three blew.  I was still right.

Live Blogging – ALDS Game 2 – 10/5 vs. Red Sox

Angels_vs_red_sox_1

Welcome to the ALDSAngels Live Blog!  Be sure to add me to your MSN Messenger friends list
and chat with me while watching the game on TBS today!

ANGELSBLOGGING@HOTMAIL.COM

6:04 PM:  Bottom of the 1st, 0-0:  Boy, it sure seems like there’s an exciting game being played right now.  Sure wish I could watch it.  Unfortunately, Joba Chamberlain picked today to show the world that he is human, and blew a 1-0 lead for the Yankees in Game 2 of their half of the ALDS, and the Yankees and Indians are tied up 1-1 in the top of the 11th.

So, I have to follow it pitch-by-pitch on MLB.com.

Congrats, Joba.  You just made the list.

6:10 PM:  Bottom of the 1st, 2 out, 0-0:  OK, update:  I’m an idiot.  Thank goodness my father has a brain on his shoulders and switched over to TNT, or I’d still be watching the lame pitch-by-pitch.

So Escobar is throwing lots of pitches.  Great.  Nothing inspires confidence like base runners.

****.  Lowell walks, loading the bases.  Only two walks this inning.  I suppose I should feel a bit comfortable that J.D. Drew is batting, but I don’t.

And there’s why.  J.D. Drew drives in two.  Yeah, two walks in the inning, and now we’re down 2-0 in the first inning.

Pray that Matsuzaka panics like Escobar is doing.

6:30 PM:  Top of the 2nd, 1 out, 2-0 Boston:  Man on first and third, one out…  At least we’re getting base runners tonight!  Mathis up.  I have to hand it to the Angels, they seem to have shown up more offensively tonight than they did Wednesday.

WOOHOO!  Fielder’s choice, Kendry Morales scores!  Angels on the board!

Figgins up.  Gotta love Chone Figgins and his blog.  The only thing I don’t understand is how "C-H-O-N-E" sounds like "S-E-A-N."

Wait…  YANKEES JUST LOST!  OK, I’m happy for the Indians, but I’m not a huge Yankees hater, soYankeeschoke
I’m not jumping up and down with glee.  But now, the Yankees are SCREWED.  And poor, poor A-Rod…  0-for-4 with 3 K’s.  He’s gonna hear it tomorrow.

Orlando Cabrera doubles!  Angels take the lead!  First time I’ve been happy watching a ballgame since Wednesday!

Yay!

6:46 PM: Top of the 3rd, no outs, 3-2 Angels:  Garrett Anderson’s eye must be better today, because he’s 2-for-2, just blooped a double into right field.  And now he gets caught at third…  Dammit.  Maybe that eye isn’t so great.

Izturis steals second while Kotchman bats.  OK, so that takes away the double play and puts a man back in scoring position.  Casey Kotchman hits it up the middle, out, but Izturis moves to third.  IF it weren’t for that steal, that would have been a double play.  Once again proving how the Angels win.

Ah, Morales flies out.  Inning over.

7:06 PM: Top of the 4th, no outs, 3-2 Angels:  Escobar has finally found his footing, getting out of last inning with only a walk to David Ortiz.  It’s a shame Lackey couldn’t look this good on Wednesday, but then again, it wouldn’t have mattered if he channeled Sandy Koufax, he still would have lost.

Kendrick singles to lead off the inning!  Three straight innings the leadoff batter has got on base!

Matsuzaka has thrown over 75 pitches so far.  This is what happens when the Angels play their game.  Ack, Mathis pops out to Varitek.  One out.

Figgins hit it sharp, but Youkilis makes a diving stop to get Figgins.  2 out, Kendrick on 2nd.  So now it’s gonna take a hit by Orlando Cabrera to go up by another run.  No such luck, OC grounds out to 2nd.  Middle of the 4th, Angels lead 3-2.

7:16 PM: Bottom of the 4th, 1 out, 3-2 Angels:  I’m not sure who is doing the commentary for tonight’s game, but they’re not too bad.  Of course, Timmy and Jimmy from South Park would make a better announcing team than Hudler and Physioc.  But one of the announcers just said "If the Angels can hold the lead through the 6th inning, they have Speier, Shields, and K-Rod, and nobody hits them very well."  I had to laugh, as apparently these postseason announcers haven’t watched much Angels baseball the second half of the season.  Especiall Shields and Rodriguez.

Two outs.  Coco Crisp singles on a bunt, then steals second.  With two outs, I hope he doesn’t care about the runner too much.  Especially with Lugo at the plate.  Sure, you gotta be careful with any hitter, but Manny or Papi he ain’t.

Lugo strikes out looking for Escobar’s 5th K of the night.  On to the 5th inning!  Let’s go Angels!

7:41 PM:  Bottom of the 5th, no outs, 3-2 Angels:  Dice-K didn’t last 5.  They pulled him with 2 outs in the top of the inning.  I wouldn’t say he pitched badly, just that he didn’t look like a $100 million man.

Pedroia gets a lead-off double, bring up Kevin Youkilis.

There’s something I just don’t like about Youkilis.  Every time I see him, he’s whining about some play or call or something.  Thankfully, he’s out on a check swing.  Pedroia moves to third, one out.  Intentional walk to Ortiz.  Can’t say I blame them; set up the double play.  Not like "Big Papi" is much of a stolen base threat either.

This says a lot about the opinion they have of Manny Ramirez.  It used to be death to walk Ortiz, as Manny would make you pay for it.  ****, it wouldn’t surprise me if I jinxed it and he makes them pay for it here.  But with Manny’s injuries this year, I suppose they don’t see him as much of a threat.  Manny pops up to the right of home plate, and Mathis almost has a play, but a fan gets it.  If that had happened in Anaheim, a million crybabies from "Red Sox Nation" would be shouting "STEVE BARTMAN!" right now.  0-2 to Ramirez.

****, the announcers just jinxed it, I know it.  They said "Escobar has only allowed 11 home runs this year, and Ramirez has only hit one against him."  I hate when they do that.  Nope, they walked him.  Bases loaded.

Lowell drives it into Center Field, sacrifice fly.  Pedroia scores.  Dammit.  Let’s go, Escobar!  Scot Shields is up in the bullpen.  Come on, one more out!  Drew is batting.  I jinxed it last time, so I’ll keep my mouth shut this time and not mention what a disappointing crybaby J.D. Drew has been his whole career.  Full count.  Now he’s fouling them off like he’s Kirk Gibson or something.  9 pitch at bat, Drew grounds out to Kotchman at first.

But the Red Sox tie it up.

8:11 PM:  Bottom of the 6th, no outs, 3-3:  Shields in for Escobar, strikes out Jason Varitek for the first out.  This is where I get nervous.  A year ago the bullpen was the strongest part of the Angels team.  Flash forward to the second half of the 2007 season, and it’s become ulcer-inducing and tough to watch.

Speaking of which, Shields walks Coco Crisp.  Great, now Crisp is on.  Just what we need, a speedy guy on the bases.  And considering that Shields couldn’t get the ball down in that at bat, I’ll admit I’m worried.

Darren Oliver warming up in the bullpen.  In 2004, the Angels lost the ALDS in a sweep to the Red Sox because they didn’t have a single lefty in the bullpen.  Thank God for Oliver, otherwise they’d have to somehow bring Jarrod Washburn back to pitch to Ortiz in an extra innings situation.  Oh wait, that happened in 2004.  Washburn threw one pitch.  Ortiz put it in the stands.

OK, that was weird…  Lugo pops out to Center Field, Crisp loses the ball, goes back, and he’s out at second…  Oh, apparently Crisp passed 2nd base and didn’t touch 2nd on his way back to first.  Oh, Terry Francona has to LOVE that.  Mental errors always make a manager happy!  On to the 7th, 3-3 tie.

8:24 PM: top of the 7th, 1 out, 3-3:  Vladimir Guerrero just got hit in the left shoulder, and he is none too happy about it.  Can’t say I blame him, this guy has had a target painted on him the last month or so.  It didn’t look like it was done purposefully, but it is odd that the only guy racking up HBP numbers for the Angels recently has been their big hitter.  I wouldn’t be surprised in Ortiz gets one under the chin next time he’s up.

Pitching change.  Guerrero is OK, I probably should have mentioned that.  Hideki Okajima in.  Watching this guy is strange.  I’ve never seen a pitcher who actually turns his head away as he throws the ball.  He doesn’t even look at the target as he releases the pitch.

Garrett Anderson at bat.  That eye still looks bad.  There was an article in the Orange County Register today where Mike Scioscia expressed surprise about Anderson saying his eye was affecting his vision in Game 1.  Apparently, Anderson had told Scioscia that everything was OK.  It goes to show, managers should not trust players when it comes to injuries.  Of course, tonight he’s 2-for-2, so any speculation about the first game is moot.  3-2 count to GA.  Flies out to center.  He’s now 2-for-3.  2 outs.

Izturis strikes out.  On to the bottom of the 7th, score tied, Ortiz due up.

8:47 PM: Bottom of the 7th, 2 out, 3-3:  So Shields comes in, gets a couple of outs, then delivers back-to-back walks to Ortiz and Ramirez.  Admittedly, Papi had a great at bat, fouling off a few.  But for Manny, Scot Shields couldn’t get the ball below the shoulders.  He comes out, has some great at-bats, then some lousy ones.

And people wonder why I’m nervous.

Thankfully, he gets Lowell to pop out to Figgins.  End of the 7th.  Still tied.

9:12 PM: Bottom of the 8th, no outs, 3-3:  Dammit.  We **** near had Papelbon.  Runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 out, and Figgins at the plate.  Chone struck out looking.  It’s not at all likely that we’ll have that opportunity again.

Nice part was that they made Papelbon throw a LOT a pitches.  Twenty-five that inning, in fact.  Considering that he’ll most probably be back in the 9th (he is the Red Sox closer, of course), the more you tire him, the better your chances.

Speier is in to pitch, and Chone Figgins is in right field for Vladimir Guerrero.  Vladdy was due up 2nd in the 9th, but is now out of the lineup.  Odd.  Now they’re saying that Vladdy is out of the game due to a bruise suffered from the HBP he took in the 7th.  Great, just great.  As if we don’t have enough offensive problems.

Speier has gotten Drew and Varitek to ground out.  2 outs.  Crisp flies out to Figgins in right.  On to the 9th, 3-3 tie.

9:41 PM: Bottom of the 9th, 2 out, 3-3:  This is just **** nerve wracking.  K-Rod is in now, Julio Lugo is on 2nd, Papi coming up.  They’re walking Ortiz, and I can’t blame them a bit.  So two out,   two on, Manny Ramirez vs. Francisco Rodriguez.  Come on, Frankie, I don’t care how shaky you’ve been all year.  We remember the 2002 World Series and how dominating you were.  Channel that.  Get them out.

Nevermind.  Manny hits it out.  Red Sox wins.

Anybody remember what I said a while back? 

Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo.

Do or Die

Alds_1It’s funny to think that any game this early in October is a "must win," but that’s just the case for the Yankees and Angels today.

It’s not so much that the teams lost, it’s how they lost.  The Angels were completely shut down by Josh Beckett and the Red Sox on Wednesday.  The Yankees were blown out by the Indians yesterday.  In either of these situations, if they lose Game 2, it’ll probably be too big a psychological hurdle to overcome.  The Yankees just need to beat Fausto Carmona tonight (not an easy task).  The Angels need to make a statement that their "small ball" will still be a viable strategy.

As per Wednesday, I’ll be liveblogging tonight’s Angels vs. Red Sox game.  First pitch is at 5:30 PM PST (8:30 PM EST), and I’ll be on MSN Messenger at ANGELSBLOGGING@HOTMAIL.COM.  So be sure to add me and stop by to say hello!

Until game time, cross your fingers, knock on wood, and for God’s sake, put on your lucky article of clothing!