Image by Brian Wilson Photography via FlickrWe're in the midst of the final weekend of 2009 regular-season baseball, and depending on how your team did, you're either gearing up for the playoffs or turning your attention to football.
For me, this is an exciting time, as my beloved Philadelphia Phillies have won their third consecutive National League Eastern Division pennant, a feat they only previously accomplished in the 1976-1977-1978 seasons. Further, they are the defending World Champions, looking to become the first National League team to win consecutive World Series since the Cincinnati Reds turned the trick in 1975-1976. Those who, like me, are lifelong Phillies fans also know that the joy we feel seeing our team winning is only magnified by the many, many dreadful losing seasons we have suffered through.
I haven't posted a great deal about baseball and the Phillies on this blog this year; my baseball conversations mainly take place on Twitter (follow me: @berutt). However, as the playoffs progress, expect to see a bit of baseball talk here as well - especially if the Phils do well!
I would, however, like to call your attention to a post I made here back in April, on Opening Day, which you can read here. Therein, I made my predictions as to who would win each division and wild card spot. Let's see how I did...
I called the National League like this:
NL East - Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central - St. Louis Cardinals
NL West - Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild Card - Chicago Cubs
Hey - 3 out of 4! The Phils and Cards have indeed clinched their divisions, and while the Dodgers are still battling with the Colorado Rockies to determine which team takes the Western Division pennant and which gets the wild card, they have at least clinched the other playoff spots (The Dodgers are leading in the division by 1 game at this writing.) The Cubbies did finish in second place in their division, but their record was just not good enough this year to grab that wild card slot.
It figures I'd do well picking the NL teams - I'm a National League fan through and through. I can watch American League ball, but I have always despised the designated hitter rule. Pitchers should bat. Removing them from the lineup removes so much of the intricate strategy that makes the game so wonderful. That's an argument for another time, though; let's check the results of my American League predictions...
I called it like this:
AL East - Boston Red Sox
AL Central - Cleveland Indians
AL West - Texas Rangers
AL Wild Card - Minnesota Twins
Oof. I got one team for sure - although not in the right spot; the possibility is there to have a second team, also in the wrong spot. The Boston Red Sox are indeed in the playoffs, but they took the wild card slot, not the Eastern Division pennant. That was claimed by the New York Yankees. The Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim, in addition to having the most pretentious team name in all of professional baseball, clinched the Western Division pennant over my pick. The Rangers did finish second, however, so I wasn't so far offbase there. Now let's look at the Central Division, which is still being decided. Cleveland?!? What in the blue hell was I thinking? They're 20 games out of first place, only half a game better than the basement-dwelling Kansas City Royals. Meanwhile, the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins are battling it out for the pennant, and unless Detroit wins tonight, the potential exists for a one-game playoff to decide the victor.
I also predicted a Phillies - Red Sox World Series with the Phils repeating (an admittedly hopeful prediction!), and that still has the possibility of occurring. The first round of playoffs begins on Wednesday...get your peanuts and popcorn - and rally towels - ready!