Toronto Baseball Guys
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
  More Than a Grain of Salt Required
In preparing to prognosticate on this year’s World Series, I’ll review some of my earlier predictions.
Before placing any five-figure bets on this prediction you should be aware of the fact that
a.) I make a lot of incorrect predictions
b.) Most of my predictions tend to conflict with each other, common sense or both.

Prediction: Jays in six. Why in six? That’s just how they roll.
Made: September 2007. An annual event for me, made during yet another splendid fall performance by the Jays.
Abandoned: March 23, 2008. Upon the release of Reed Johnson. J.P., don’t tell me you knew Adam Lind was going to be that good.
Really Abandoned: May 29, 2008 in "Battle of the Tough Guys: Middle Infield weight class". With "The Ocatgon" positioned behind second base, we saw David Eckstein come up with his biggest hit of the season against an overmatched Aaron Hill's equillibrium. I'm not sure if we'll see Hill play again, but hopefully this is another one of my incorrect predictions.
Re-Made: July 13, 2008 at the end of a 5-1 streak heading into the all-star game break. Clearly my predictions come from the heart not the head.
Re-Abandoned: July 19, 2008 after losing the first two games following the break to the formerly slumping Rays.
Re-Re-Made: September 7, 2008 after watching David Purcey spin eight shutout innings, and Jesse Carlson present us with a refreshingly easy save to close out a late season sweep of the Rays.
Re-Re-Abandoned: September 12, 2008 David Ortiz doubles to deep right, driving in two, en route to a 7-0 victory in game one of the Jays first meaningful series since Alfredo Griffin retired. It was pretty subtle, but did anybody else notice Ortiz stabbing his fist through the chest cavity of the Jays collective, pulling out our still beating hearts, and lowering us into a pit of molten lava, upon exiting the batter’s box?
Re-Re-Re-Made: September 13, 2008. Travis Snider slapping the ball silly, making like a young –well, younger- Junior Felix during his maiden voyage to Fenway.
Finally Abandoned: September 13, 2008. As Scott Downs fell to the ground while chasing Jacoby Ellsbury’s "hot shot". It was touching the way the network spliced the Downs slip into that series of shots of Apollo Creed falling as a bloody towel drops from Rocky’s hand.

Prediction: Cubs in seven
Made: March 23, 2008. After his release, I claimed that whoever picked up Reed Johnson and used him as a fourth outfielder would win the World Series.
Abandoned: October, 4 2008. Cubs fail to use Johnson while being swept out of the playoffs.

Prediction: Red Sox in four
Immediately following Kevin Youkilis trotting home with the winning run in game five of the ALCS.
Abandoned: After the Rays defeated the Sox in game seven of the ALCS. That’s a relief, I thought my digital cable box –just getting ready for February 17, 2009- was scrambling the Fox signal with ESPN Classic.

Which Brings us to Present Day:
With only two teams remaining, I’ve got one last chance to get something right this year. I could base this prediction on a comparison of the rotations, lineups, bullpens, benches, managers, momentum and park factors. However, since anything can happen in a short series, I’m going to go with Karma.

Most Recent Major Championship:
Philadelphia: 1983 76’ers
Tampa Bay: 2004 Lightning and 2003 Buccaneers
You’ve got to feel sorry for the Philadelphia sports fan. Sure they’re a bit aggressive, -Tie Domi and Santa Claus please feel free to weigh in here-but they’re entitled. I feel like every time I watch a league championship, it’s somebody beating Philadelphia. The Flyers sole purpose in the eighties was Stanley Cup Finalist, and the ‘Sixers and Eagles have lost a few too.

Average Attendance in 2008:
Phillies: 42 254
Rays: 21 301
Which is way higher than I’m willing to believe. I think the record keepers rounded to the nearest whole number, and then added ten-thousand.
Sure, Philadelphia supports the Phillies when they’re winning or playing in a fancy new stadium. But has anyone other than Jesse Litsch or Billy Koch supported the Devil Rays? Ever? Tropicana stadium looks like a cross between a lawn chair warehouse, and the set of another "Major League" movie. Where’s the guy with the drum? I’m not angry at the people of Tampa Bay, heck, most people in Tampa Bay are just wintering from Toronto, Montreal and New York. Why would they cheer for the Rays?

Uniform Features:
I think it’s a crime when a team picks a colour in an attempt to sell more merchandise rather than trying to match other teams in the area –Jays and Raptors, this goes for you too-. Tampa Bay teams are first and foremost tangerine orange. First they got rid of the tie dyed devil ray, then they got rid of the devil ray, and now they're blue! Enough’s enough, stick to your roots.
Philadelphia is another city confused about its colour scheme, but at least the Phillies have managed to maintain the same nickname since 1890. That and the little liberty bell on the bottom of the stirrup socks make them champions in my books.

The Jays Owe You:
The only time prior to this year that the Devil Rays managed to finish anywhere other than last place in the AL East, it was the Jays who were gracious enough to occupy the division basement in their absence. We owe them nothing.
The Jays record against Philadelphia is a different story. As I look back on the championship teams of the early nineties, I’m beginning to feel guilty about the way the Jays won in ’93. Sure Joe Carter’s blast to win game six and clinch the series was one of the most memorable events in baseball history. But Philadelphia fans weren’t too amused by it, nor do they enjoy seeing Joe’s romp around the bases replayed by sports countdown shows. Phillies fans, I would like to apologize for reaping so much joy from the ’93 series, hopefully I can make it up to you by cheering for you now.

Prediction: Phillies in seven
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