So I was able to leave my friend’s house a little earlier than I expected today, so now I am back home and locked in for game 2.
Two things I am wishing for tonight: A Yankees win (if I can be unbiased for a second) and the WordPress server to not crash, like it did last night around 8:15 last night.
4:44 p.m. Oh, no! Did I miss the Jay-Z performance?? Oh, shucks. I really wanted to see that. Dangit.
4:45 p.m. This game can’t possibly top what Mark Grace just said to Chris Rose: “You lead the league in getting blown off.” Oh, the double entrendre, I love you.
4:46 p.m. Pedro Martinez vs. A.J. Burnett. Eric Karros said it right: This game is going to come down to the bullpens.
4:50 p.m. Couple of lineup changes tonight. The Phillies have put in Matt Stairs at DH. Raul Ibanez will play left field.
Jose Molina, as the Yankees have done often this season, will catch Burnett as the expense of Jorge Posada. And then Jerry Hairston Jr. is in right field for Nick Swisher, who is hitting .114 this postseason.
4:59 p.m. And we are underway with a strike to Jimmy Rollins.
Will Nick Swisher or Matt Stairs be the next Kirk Gibson?
No matter how many people picking the Yankees, I think this will be a very, very even series. The lineups are very even. The starting rotations are very even (and the Phillies obviously have more depth there). A lot of people are saying Mariano Rivera gives the Yankees the critical advantage, but the Phillies bullpen has improved during the playoffs.
With both teams matched up so well, I am left to go with my gut and I will choose the Phillies in 6.
Granted, the last time I did a pro sports championship, my Los Angeles Lakers faced the Orlando Magic. Before that series, I took the Magic in 7.
So now, I am choosing against my team again. I am a die-hard Yankees fan. Maybe I just undersell my teams? I am a pretty pessimistic person, actually so maybe there is some truth to that.
Anyway, follow on with this running blog on Game 1 of the World Series.
4:38 p.m. Cliff Lee vs. CC Sabathia. You can’t expect anything less than a pitchers’ duel. I’ll take the Yankees tonight, 4-1. One note. Both teams are very good against left-handed pitchers this season. The Yankees were 40-18 while the Phillies were 31-16.
4:40 p.m. But really, we all know that Game 1 is the least consequential game in a seven-game seven. I think the key to this series will be seen tomorrow. I’ll talk about that then when I do another running blog for Game 2.
4:43 p.m. Ozzie Guillen just took the Phillies in this series. Well, I think he did. It’s hard to hear him through all the mumbling and cuss words.
4:44 p.m. I keep forgetting about Raul Ibanez in that Phillies lineup. Damn, they are stupid deep.
4:52 p.m. Very interesting bunch there for the first pitch. But the booing of Michelle Obama is a little uncalled for. Is the World Series really a stage for that? I digress.
4:56 p.m. I don’t know if it means anything, but … notable Phillies vs. Sabathia: Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino are 3-for-7. Jimmy Rollins is 4-for-11 with a couple of doubles. Raul Ibanez is 11-for-40 with two homers and nine RBIs.
4:58 p.m. OK, this game was scheduled to start at 7:57 p.m. Let’s get this show on the damn road! I am out of pregame stats.
There are many good things that come out of all the wretched teams in the NFL right now. Comic relief is tops on that list. I mean, you couldn’t help but laugh while watching the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. You could basically predict when Jake Delhomme was going to throw an interception. In that moment, you feel as if you have a psychic gift.
But for fantasy purposes, these bad teams are more likely to play backups. Specifically, quarterbacks. Vince Young may be replacing Kerry Collins soon. Delhomme could finally be benched. Alex Smith is the new starter in San Fran. Josh Freeman may see time as a rookie. Ryan Fitzpatrick will get another start in place of Trent Edwards.
And somehow through all of this, JaMarcus Russell is still on the field. What’s not to like about Bruce Gradkowski anyway?
But the point is that if you are having problems at QB, there should be at least some starters available in your league who you can use as a bye-week fill-in or short-term bandage. They may not be very good, but in leagues such as mine that start two quarterbacks, every starting quarterback has value.
Here are some quick thoughts I have on every game in week seven.
Packers 31, Browns 3
For the love of God, sell high on Ryan Grant. Take that predictable effort against Cleveland and sell it for all it’s worth. His fantasy playoff schedule is not favorable.
It’s sad, but Greg Jennings just isn’t an every-week starter any longer. He got more looks and catches than Donald Driver against Cleveland, but it was all short stuff.
Tight end Jermichael Finley was starting to become a nice fantasy player, but it looks like he will be out a few weeks.
You don’t want any Browns player in fantasy. And apparently, some in Cleveland don’t want Eric Mangini.
Texans 24, 49ers 21
I apologize for not posting in quite a while. From Wednesday to Sunday of last week, I returned to Orlando to see some friends, roam my college campus once again and most importantly, go to a college football game.
The University of Central Florida hosted the No. 9 Miami Hurricanes. Sure, the Knights had never beaten a ranked team and were sporting an offense that Arkansas St. looks down upon, but I was looking forward to going to my first UCF football game as a fan since 2005.
It was incredibly hard to outwardly root for the Knights — not because it would be an insult to the flavor of vanilla to say that their offense is vanilla — but because sports writing has trained me in the past four years to always unbiased toward UCF. But halfway through the third quarter and with Hurricanes up 17-7, there was reason to be excited. A snap over the head of the Hurricanes’ punter and a penalty gave the Knights possession on UM’s two-yard line.
First and goal at the 2. Six more feet and we’ve got ourselves a ballgame with the No. 9 team in the nation.
So what do the Knights call on first down? How about a play action pass to the tight end? Those always work around the goal line. How about just a simple dive play? You have basically four plays to get two yards. Just plow straight ahead!
Yes, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow WILL start tonight. Obviously, his performance we’ll be dissected from every angle ad nauseam. But his availability is the best thing for this game. It won’t give the Gators any excuses if they lose.
But regardless, this game has the highest combined ranking between opponents, so it should be an awesome one. Follow along!
5:06 p.m. Pressure! Pressure! Pressure! The Tigers only have five sacks all season. They pressure from LSU’s defensive line is the biggest key to this game.
5:08 p.m. Urban Meyer just said that backup quarterback John Brantley may see some playing time but that Tebow will start and he is the team’s QB. He won’t be removed unless he is visibly injured.
5:11 p.m. And we are underway with Trindon Holliday taking the opening kickoff out to the 29 to start the game.
The UFL debuted tonight to little fanfare. I think the first game, which pitted the California Redwoods against the Las Vegas Locomotives, was broadcast over the Internet somewhere.
But I just know this league is going to be great. Not for football, but for my personal enjoyment.
Just look at the league’s catch phrase: “WHERE FUTURE STARS COME TO PLAY!”
What future is that? 2001?
But that’s the best part of the UFL: The has-been NFL players. See, with the XFL, you had a few people with previous NFL experience, but the UFL is filled with wash-ups and they ALL have a great back story.
(Just stick the word “allegedly” somewhere in each of the next few sentences)
Way back on the morning of April 1, I posted my 2009 MLB playoff predictions on a friend’s wall in Facebook (because I am a pop culture sellout), and here is what I put down:
NL Playoffs: Dodgers over Mets, Cardinals over Phillies; Dodgers over Cardinals
AL Playoffs: Rays over Angels, Yankees over Twins; Yankees over Rays
World Series: Dodgers over Yankees
OK, so you’ve got the Mets and the Rays in there and that didn’t turn out too well. But as we enter the playoffs, I take pride that each team I predicted to be in the World Series have the best record in its perspective league. More than five months later and the two teams that I thought would be the best in baseball still are, according to the records.
Now, as I present an updated version of my 2009 playoff predictions, I will sacrifice preseason pride for postseason correctness.