Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More Playoff Baseball In The Daytime: Adorable Century Of Failure Edition

On the same horrible, horrible day that Cecil and I sat watching our Broncos lose at Arrowhead, there was a bit of good news. Cecil's fantasy baseball team captured the championship of the Ted Williams Unfrozen Head league over sometime HoG contributor Rustoleum. Now Rusto typically wins these things, and since he's a colossal dick he'll remind you of this fact. Cecil, on the other hand, had built quite a nice little pad for himself in the Ted's basement--until this year. This year his team had it all--power, speed, starters, relievers, you name it. They overcame their legacy of misery and took home the hardware.

As luck would have it, Cecil's also a Cubs fan. Figures. For now Chicago launches a playoff mission of its own, weighed down by 99 years of disappointment and the expectations of millions. It's a good thing that this Cub club is the finest gang of Chicago Nationals I've ever seen, and that they're probably the best team in baseball this year. Because if they don't bring this one home, mercy.

But first things first, the Dodgers are in town for Round 1. And the Dodgers are not exactly dripping with that most precious October commodity, starting pitching. Let's take a look at the other National League Division Series...

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs, Game 1, 4:37 Mountain It just occurred to me that both Chicago clubs and both Los Angeles-area clubs made the tournament while neither NYC team qualified. Take that, ya East Coast pricks! Let's break down this series via nothing but gut reactions, stereotypes and innuendo--no facts, stats or logic allowed. Sort of the McCain-Palin method.

THINGS I HATE ABOUT THE DODGERS Where could I start? Tommy Lasorda, for one. As for shortcomings on the current team, though, you have to start with the starting pitching. If Derek Lowe is the best you can do with your Game 1 assignment you'd best be an outstanding offensive squad, which LA is not. Game 3 starter Hiroki Kuroda has been alternately marvelous and awful, and he has exactly as much postseason pitching experience in this country as I do. Other than Manny, there's no power. And then there's the famously apathetic Chavez Ravine crowd, which pretty much does the opposite of creating any kind of playoff excitement.

THINGS I HATE ABOUT THE CUBS This list pretty much begins and ends with Alfonso Soriano. He's a crappy leadoff hitter. He strikes out too much. He's quite possibly the worst defensive baseball player of all time--I don't know if he can even play catch. He's also capable of hitting 10 homers and stealing 10 bases in this series. I really don't like anything about Alfonso Soriano.

What else? The up-the-middle defense of Soto, Theriot and Edmonds is merely average. You never want to really count on Kerry Wood. And Big Z has turned in some stinkers down the stretch. But then he also threw a no-hitter. Picking nits.

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THE DODGERS I love Humberto, or at least I claim to so he doesn't murder my family. I love the fact that Rafael Furcal will play. I love the fact that Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre will not. I love the huge ass and filthy junk of Chad Billingsley, and I'm comfortable with the homoerotic overtones of that statement. But most of all, I love the Dodgers organization becoming a haven for refugees from the remains of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.

On one side there's Joe Torre, who seems a lot more likable now that he's awake and actually managing. Torre, who decimated Scott Proctor's arm in the Bronx, just left Proctor off the playoff roster. I'd say Torre's kind of an asshole for mistreating Scott Proctor, but do you know anyone that likes Scott Proctor? Exactly.

On the other side is owner Frank McCourt, who's from Boston and bought the Dodgers only after he couldn't afford the Sox. There's Lowe, of course. The Dodgers do give Nomar a paycheck, which is nice because the man needs to eat. And then there's Manny, who's only put up MVP numbers since his trade. I wasn't sure how I'd react to seeing Manny in another uniform, but the verdict is in--I'll always be a fan. Unless he takes Steinbrenner's money, in which case I'm turning Humberto loose on his family.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE CUBS Everything, dude. Their bench is great. Piniella is great. The atmosphere will be electric. Lee and Ramirez and Fukudome are pros. Harden can shut anyone down. Ryan Dempster had a great year, as did Mark DeRosa and Soto and almost everyone else. Cubs fans, the only thing you have to fear is fear itself.

Prediction: Cubs in 5.


Cecil said...

A James Loney grand slam and all of a sudden Fear is peeking in my bedroom window.

Fuck me. But that's OK--we'll get it back with Z. Either that or a significant portion of the U.S. population will go on suicide watch.

And re Billy Goat: last time I was there it looked the same as it did when I was 9. And yes, dear reader, if your father never took you to the bar with him, I feel for you.