… I’m really, really wrong. Let’s see. My prediction for the series: Cardinals over Angels in six. Well, aside from the Cards getting knocked out in 6, the Angels getting knocked out in five, and me apparently having no handle on the strengths of either Houston or Chicago, it was pretty much a flawless call. I guess there’s a reason Peter Gammons is making a touch more money than me analyzing baseball.
Man, it wasn’t easy watching the Cards go down. Second year in a row they’ve gone into the postseason with, theoretically, the most balanced roster from top to bottom, only to come up short. I know they’ve had some injury issues (This just in: Scott Rolen’s a very good baseball player), but it just felt like it was their year. Probable Cy Young winner in Carpenter. Possible MVP in Pujols. Guys like Sanders stepping up. And while there was certainly a huge part of me rooting with my heart, I honestly thought, with all objectivity I could possibly muster, that they were the best team in baseball. But I was wrong, and I’ll very begrudgingly give it up to Houston. In the meantime, my visions of Busch Stadium spending its final days as the house of the World Series champs will remain a mere fantasy. Any chance I could get the Powers That Be to change their minds about bringing in the wrecking ball? Oh well, I’ll get more into my feelings on this as we get closer to Nov. 7th, the scheduled day of carnage (Yes, carnage may be a bit strong, but that’s kind of how it seems to me).
I was also pretty surprised about the Angels, too. Vladdy, what happened, buddy? I wouldn’t have predicted you going cold like that in a million years. And did you have to share whatever flavor Kool Aid you were drinking with the rest of the fellas? But you also have to wonder how much Doug Eddings call at home messed with the Angels’ heads. I wouldn’t go so far as to label it a Denkinger-esque situation, but on its best day, this was bizarre (When it comes to non-verbal communication, Eddings certainly has no future as a mime), and it absolutely shifted the tide in Chicago’s favor. Like Bartman-gate and the Cubs, or even the Cards in ’85, the fault ultimately lies with Anaheim. They’re professionals, and professionals are paid to rise above adversity. But the entire situation changes if Chicago would have played the next three in Anaheim down 2-0, as opposed to all squared with the wind at their back. But I suppose any team capable of ripping 3 straight W’s in someone else’s house deserves the benefit of the doubt. In the end, maybe there’s a reason they had the best record in the AL.
Everyone, myself included, has spent the year not giving the White Sox much respect. And from here on out, that’s gonna change. They had 11 more wins than Houston playing in a more competitive division. They’ve got pitching. They’re getting props. The Chicago White Sox will win the series. There. I said it.
Which basically means, if I were a Houston resident right now, I’d be putting all the champagne I own in the fridge to get it nice and cold.