What Could Have Been, and What Is.

Before I start endlessly analyzing and fretting over the Hot Stove rumors, I want to talk about what is right before us: the League Championship Series. We have plenty of time to talk about the former–the void between the end of the postseason, and Spring Training. I have enjoyed watching these series even though the National League Championship Series didn’t end the way I wanted it to. 

I was completely surprised that the Dodgers lost in only five games. To be honest, I didn’t think they would get past the powerhouse of the Cardinals, let alone sweep them. With guys like Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Matt Holliday, and Albert Pujols, I thought that the Cardinals would have gone a lot further than they actually did. They had the caliber to be in and to win the World Series, but fate just didn’t have it that way. I thought they had Game 2 (I think it was?) in the bag when there were two outs and an easy fly ball was hit to Matt Holliday, but instead of catching it to win the ball game (and perhaps instill some confidence in the Cardinals), it hit him right in the crotch. 
The Dodgers seemed to have luck on their side, and it was a 2008 NLCS re-match. The Phillies may have an emerging postseason legend in Cliff Lee and the ego-maniacal Cole Hamels whose pride from winning the World Series last season seemed to cloud his ability to pitch well, but the Dodgers have a deep lineup, a good starting five and a fabulous bullpen. I really wanted the Dodgers to advance to the World Series as well because I knew that regardless of whomever won the ALCS, the World Series would be enticing as long as the Dodgers were there. 
subway series.JPG
Had the Dodgers advanced, they would have played either the Angels or the Yankees. If it was a matchup between the Dodgers and Angels, we would have had the first “subway series” since the one in New York in 2000. This subway series would have meant that I would have been up until roughly 2 am every morning, sleepwalking my way through school. Yet the intensity that arises from a series like this is so alluring, that a lack of sleep would have been well worth it. It’s almost like a civil war, and it will augment the rivalry between the two teams like nothing else can. 
Not that I would ever root for the Yankees, but if the Dodgers were representing the National League, I can’t say I would have minded too much if the Yankees were to advance. It would have been Joe Torre vs Joe Girardi. The Yankee manager that was fired for his supposed inability to advance the Yankees to the World Series despite their winning four World Championships under his leadership. 
Joe Torre.jpg
I’d like to talk about that for a second. I thought that whole scenario was completely ridiculous. I may be a Red Sox fan, but I have no problem admitting that Joe Torre is one hell of a manager. The same way that I can admit that I cheered for Derek Jeter when he surpassed Lou Gehrig, and the way that I consider Mariano Rivera a God; I consider Joe Torre a superb manager. I understand when managers are fired because their teams play miserably and are in last place, but I don’t understand when managers are fired despite their team getting to the postseason. Getting to the postseason is an honor–only 8 teams out of 30 do it a year–and a manager should be honored for that (most of the time) not scolded for their team’s failings. *Note: the whole Grady Little leaving Pedro in is another story*
Anyway, the Dodgers vs Yankees would have been a great matchup, and of course I would have been rooting for the Dodgers even though it hurts me to see Manny Ramirez’s postseason heroics. 
Instead of dwelling over what could have been, I suppose it’s best to look at what we have at hand: the Phillies advanced to the World Series, and Game 6 between the Angels and the Yankees is tonight. I don’t like the Phillies. I root for the Marlins because I live in South Florida, and the Phillies are the Marlins’ division rivals. I may be a bit jealous because the Phillies did what the Red Sox failed to do last year–advance to the World Series for the second year in a row (please don’t hate me Phillies fans, I respect your team nonetheless). They could be the first team since the Yankees to repeat World Series victories, and the second team this decade to have two World Series victories (the first, of course, was the Red Sox). I guess it’s just that having the Phillies in the World Series doesn’t excite me as much as the Dodgers would have. 
Nick Adenhart.jpg
Tonight, I’m rooting for the Angels–just like I have been for the entire ALCS. Although it’s hard to admit, they played better baseball than the Red Sox did. I know that they are a good team, and I know that they have what it takes to beat the Yankees. It is so foreign to me to be rooting for Bobby Abreu since I’ve always had something against him for taking Juan Pierre’s spot in the All-Star game a couple of years ago (the fact that he played for the Yankees only augmented this feeling). Torii Hunter’s ego may bother me, but I know that he’s a fabulous center fielder, and a great team leader. Lackey pitched his heart out in Game 5, and Mike Scoscia made a huge mistake in taking him out (for the record Scoscia is probably my least favorite manager in the Majors). Out of the teams that remain, I want the Angels to win. I want them to win it for Nick Adenhart, because that would be beyond baseball. 
The one interesting thing about having the Phillies in the World Series is that whoever wins from among the three teams that remain, that team will have two World Series victories in this decade. The Yankees won it in 2000, the Angels won it in 2002, and the Phillies won it last year. The question is, who will it be? And it is that unanswered question that keeps me watching baseball. 

15 Comments

Good point about whomever would win the WS this time from the three teams would win 2 this decade, I hadn’t caught that. I enjoyed your blog. I can’t wait to see tonight’s game! -Saundra

Don’t feel bad about not liking the Phils – I don’t like the Red Sox in the same way ;O) But as true baseball fans, we all get along, which is the wonderful part of a friendly rivalry :O)

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

hi, this is my first time posting a comment here… i’ve always pass around here… but never said a word… (i’m a huge red sox fan, and i think i’m the only one in Chile… yes… the country)

since we know already that the world series it’s going to be the “pinstripes” series… i’m putting my money on the phillies… and not because i’m a red sox fan (ergo… always rooting against the empire) is because i saw the series against the dodgers and the rockies… and they are “solid” as undercover brother…

the yankees practically “bought” their ticket to the world series, acquiring guys like mark texeira (not so good on playoffs, i might add), cc sabathia (who clearly forgot ’07 ALCS) and aj burnett (key word… irregular) they sure have a great lineup, but i think charlie manuel experience is going to be more important over joe girardi’s

ignacio cifuentes

While I’m a little dismayed that you rooted for the Sith, it’s a free country and a freeway series would have been kinda cool. If the Angels won. But it’s east coast, reasonable times, etc (why are they calling it a Liberty Series? Don’t they know the Statue is in New Jersey?) so that’s nice for all of us fans who want to get some sleep. Unless it goes into extra innings…

You know it is interesting – the Dodgers & the Angels both swept their opponents in the DS and then they lost in CS. Go figure! I would have loved to see Torre in the WS – I always respected him. And who am I rooting for in the WS? Pedro when he pitches!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Sorry the Angels didn’t make it through (for your sake; I was thrilled). But now we have an interesting matchup with the Yankees versus the Phillies. Putting aside the team I’m rooting for, I think both clubs are playing well and the series should be an exciting one. I’m getting nervous already.

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

I’m gonna roll with the Phillies, though it hurts to say it. *Suffering*
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

Elizabeth, at least root for Pedro, like Julia! :-) Personally I’m glad it’s an East Coast series – I’m not a morning person anyway, and if I stay up late watching the games too many nights in a row, I can be downright cranky! Haven’t heard the “Liberty Series” moniker that Caroline mentions, I suppose that’s referencing the Liberty Bell in addition to the Statue. Of course the Bell was made in the good old USA, unlike the Statue which came from France. Then again, the Bell does have a rather large defect :-).
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

Elizabeth, Which dugout will you root for??? It all starts pretty quick.

Buz – http://buzblog.mlblogs.com/

Hot stove doesn’t being for me. I think this season will go on forever after this season is over. Basically the Yankees cut Joe Torre’s salary and he chose not to take the paycut. The “Subway Series” term in baseball will always be within New York and not anywhere else, however, you are right about the first geographical series possiblity between the Dodgers and Angels, that would be a nice one.

Matthew Tang
http://matt7.mlblogs.com/

I think that there are five teams that may have a chance at the team of the decade: the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Angels, and Cardinals. I think the Angels and Cardinals are probably out, and the winner of Yankees-Phillies will have a chance along with the Red Sox.
http://bronx-awesome.mlblogs.com/

I thought that the Cardinals were going all the way too! I pegged Carpenter as the horse that was going to take them there. Looks like Lee might be actual the horse I was looking for, lol.
http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

even though its been an exciting world series i would have much rather seen the Dodgers represent the national league. i do think they underachieved.

http://pittpeas.mlblogs.com

Are you rooting? There’s still time to pick a side.. 2-1 NY. Root for the fave.. or the dog : )

Buz – http://buzblog.mlblogs.com/

Tonight is Game 4 of the World Series, and I wonder how the Phillies will fare. The fact that they took one in NY was important, but they gave it right back in Philly. The Yanks are bringing back CC after three days rest, but Philly doesn’t want to do that with their counterpart (he’s never pitched on three days rest). Philly relies to much on the long ball and not enough on “small ball”. They need to take advantage of their speed on the bases, but granted that is tougher when Petite is on the mound because of his ability to hold runners. Tonight is a MUST WIN for Philly, no excuses.

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