The FBI Needs to Arrest Rob Manfred for Allowing the Giancarlo Stanton Trade to Happen

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Folks, I am currently both #triggered and #madonline. The reason? Well, it has something to do with yesterday’s catastrophic news that Giancarlo Stanton, National League MVP and Major League leader in home runs, was traded to the Yankees. Yes, the very same New York Yankees everyone knows and loves. The same Yankees that hit the most home runs in the league in a year where a league-wide record was set for most home runs. The same Yankees that somehow convinced the world that they were a bunch of loveable, plucky underdogs despite having the second highest payroll in the league and being the Yankees. I’m pretty sure Stanton was traded to the very same Yankees that the new Marlins owner played for once upon a time. After I saw the initial reports yesterday morning, I kept holding out hope that it wouldn’t happen. That someone would come out and say it was just a rumor or that the most perfect physical specimen in MLB history would somehow fail a physical. But of course I knew better. I wasn’t even mad in the moment. It was a bit nostalgic, honestly. It took me back to the days of pre-2004, pre-puberty me where I just accepted that everything would always break the Yankees’ way no matter what. As soon as I saw he was considering the Yankees I knew it was a done deal. We had already been given an unexpected gift when prize Japanese import Shohei Ohtani spurned the Yankees; there was no way they’d miss out on both of the big fish on the market. I was ready to just mope about it for a while, but now that the dust has settled and all the details are out I need some answers. This is some real shady shit, and the league should be embarrassed that they let it happen.

How are there not rules against this? Derek Jeter is a Yankee LEGEND. He is the Yankees. And you’re going to let him trade players to the Yankees within six months of him purchasing (with other people’s money) the Marlins? And for that? Starlin Castro and two nothing prospects is enough to get the best player in the National League? Are you kidding me? I mean, to be fair I was expecting it to be Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley straight up, but I think I would have preferred that. At least then Jeter wouldn’t even be trying to hide the fact the he was gift-wrapping Stanton to his former team. Literally everything Jeter has done since he took over has had moving Stanton to the Yankees in mind. Firing everyone in the organization so that Stanton was unhappy and wanted to leave. Announcing Stanton was for sale without consulting him first, knowing only two or three teams in the league could take that contract and effectively removing any and all leverage the Marlins had, ensuring they could accept the first offer Stanton agreed to, regardless of how terrible it was. Convincing Stanton behind the scenes that the Red Sox were a terrible situation (true), the Cardinals and Giants sucked (true), and that the Dodgers “couldn’t afford it” (hmmmmm), thus leaving the Yankees as the only realistic landing spot (I may have made up this part but you know it’s true). It just makes me so pissed, because there’s a 0% chance any of these guys plays one game for the Marlins this year. They’re just going to flip Castro and probably get a lot more for him than they got for Stanton. Unless the Yankees want him back, then all it will take is a signed copy of John Sterling’s Greatest Hits. So disgusting.

I’m not even upset at the Yankees. If someone wants to accept you steaming pile of garbage of a trade offer, it’s not your fault. And, if I can put on my logically thinking Yankee H8tr hat on, I don’t really see how this helps them in the long run. Yes, they will now hit the most home runs in the league, something they haven’t done since the 2017 season. The top of this lineup is reminiscent of the Jeter-ARod-Giami-Sheffield-Matsui-Posada days, but those teams didn’t win shit. Quite the opposite, in fact. They literally have the worst loss in MLB history on their resume. The Yankees’ starting pitching is still bad, and, with the Yankees trying to cut cost and avoid the luxury tax, they can’t really afford to go out and buy another one. The history of these long, huge money deals going into a player’s 30s is pretty gruesome. Just look at Albert Pujols, whose prime was better than Stanton’s and was hardly ever hurt. With another four years left on his deal, he’s arguably the worst player in the league. Stanton’s hurt almost every year. I, for one, don’t see any issues there. Lastly, something Yankee fans have been saying for years is that they would sign Bryce Harper and Manny Machado just because they’re the Yankees. Well, next year is finally when both hit the open market. As we just established, the Yankees are trying to cut payroll. So you’re telling me they’re going to sign Machado and Harper to massive deals, keep paying Stanton $30 million a year, and then, with at least three mega-contracts on the books, sign Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez when they hit arbitration or free agency? Ummmm, yeah, I don’t think so. Unless, of course, the Yankees decide to move on from Sanchez and/or Judge, which I think would cause riots in the streets of New York. This trade kind of screws up any long term plan they might have had. In fact, the more I think about it, the only thing I’m upset about is that one of my favorite players is now on the Yankees and that I might have to admit to myself that watching Judge and Stanton hit 600-bombs all year will be entertaining. Astros are still the best team in the league. That being said, if the Red Sox don’t sign J.D. Martinez I might be out on baseball for the next ten years.

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R.I.P. Roy Halladay

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Still feels strange saying it. Roy Halladay, 2-time Cy Young winner, million time All Star, future Hall of Famer, and only 40 years old, died in a plane crash yesterday. I was scrolling through Twitter when I saw someone retweet something along the lines of “RIP Doc.” I just ignored it, because that could mean anything. Then I saw more and more similar tweets, then I saw the reports about the plane crash. Then it became real. The police on the scene announced Roy Halladay, the pilot, had died. It was a shock. It’s always a shock when I get the notification that a current or recently retired athlete died. Maybe it’s because I still have the mind of a 12-year-old and these guys are all superhuman to me. They’re all in perfect shape and have more physical gifts than the rest of us can dream of, they don’t die. They don’t get hurt outside the playing field. But, as we’ve been getting reminded of far too frequently these days, they’re mortal just like the rest of us.

When the news first broke, I wasn’t in a position to write about it, so I decided to sleep on it and reflect about what Roy Halladay meant to me (because that’s what really matters, right?). Anyone around my age from my part of the country essentially grew up with Roy heavily involved in their development as a baseball fan. I hit my peak baseball viewership at nearly the same time Roy overcame his early-career woes and became the dominant All Star he was for over a decade. I saw him face the Red Sox a thousand times, and while the Sox typically hit him fairly well, it was never a comfortable experience. He had an intimidating demeanor and delivery that always made it seem like he knew something the hitter didn’t, that he had a grander scheme that no one else could comprehend. I also never hated him, which, believe me, was no small feat. Since I always liked my parents and performed well in school, pretty much all of my pubescent angst was concentrated on sports. I hated more athletes in middle school than I think I could even name today. Anyone who ever performed well against one of my teams, or really anyone who didn’t play for one of my teams who ever received any kind of praise for multiple days on PTI or SportsCenter I hated passionately. But I never hated Roy. I think subconsciously, he was always one of my favorite players to watch. Home runs and endless hit parades are fun every now and then and in video games, but in terms of actually watching baseball, Roy embodied every positive quality a pitcher could have: he worked quickly, he threw strikes, he never walked anybody, he pitched to his defense, he always went at least 7 innings. Fast moving baseball games are legitimately some of the best things in sports, and any game with Roy on the hill was almost guaranteed to be under 3 hours. Sure, he was a great, dominant pitcher, but his stuff probably won’t be what I remember him for. It’ll be his ability to make palatable, aesthetically pleasing baseball games, his playoff no-hitter (which doubled as the first playoff baseball game I watched in college, whatever that means), and his reputation for being one of the nicest, most genuine guys in baseball. All of those things should go on his plaque in Cooperstown.

This also made me think about flying. I think a lot of people are going to take this one, tragic incident and be like “why was he flying?” or “this is why I don’t like small planes,” or “this is why you should stay on the ground,” or any similar take. Personally, I love flying. Love, love, love it. Everyone in the world but me hates airports and flying, but I’m okay with that. I also don’t know if I’ve ever said this out loud before, but one of my biggest dreams is to someday get my pilot’s license. I want to fly planes, I want to fly helicopters, all of it. I’ve just always wanted to be the guy that knows how to operate a bunch of different vehicles. Whenever I think of what role I would want in a criminal organization, I’ve always said that if I can’t be the mastermind, I want to be the chauffeur who also flies the company plane and pilots the submarine and all of that. And, clearly, Roy was the same way. He loved flying. If you followed him on Twitter you know he lived for it. It was his biggest passion outside of baseball. You don’t question why someone was driving if they get into a car crash. He died doing something he loved. In the end, that’s all we can really ask for. R.I.P. Roy Halladay.

Houston Astros Win the World Series

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Well, that was a decent series, huh? Bit of an anticlimactic Game 7, this still has to be considered one of the greatest World Series of all time. Or at least one of the most exciting. Crazy what happens when the two best teams in the league play a seven game series. When the dust settled, the Astros were finally world champions for the first time.

The most obvious storyline for the Astros was the effect a possible title would have on the city of Houston after the devastation of Hurricane Henry. It’s an uplifting story, but I’ll let the people who have real connections to the city dive into all of that. I’ll just say I’m happy for them and I’m grateful that they beat the Yankees. It would feel a little cynical to suggest having their homes (the Astros also have many Puerto Rican players) get destroyed by natural disasters would give them any kind of extra motivation to win the World Series, but I also don’t think you can discount the emotional lift they got every time they played in Houston. I mean, Minute Maid was rocking every night. One of the craziest baseball environments I’ve ever seen on TV. The Astros provided a much needed distraction for the city, and I think relished that role. Or they were just really, really, good and would have won no matter what. Who’s to say?

I’m always fascinated by teams who win either their first ever championship or their first in a super long time. Will they go the route of the Bulls, Spurs, Warriors, Pats, Blackhawks, or Red Sox and ride generational talents and, in the Red Sox’ case, deep pockets to multiple championships? Or will the go the way of the White Sox, Carolina Hurricanes, Mavericks (still love Dirk, though), or Saints where when we look back in 20-30 years, we ask “wait, that team won a title?” I think the Astros are most likely to be the former. For starters, they’ve got elite talent. Going up the middle, their second baseman and shortstop are future Hall of Famers barring injury and their centerfielder is an All Star. That’s three of the four most important positions on the field filled by three of the top, I don’t know, 20-25 players in the league? Then they have two Cy Young winners, one of whom is a lock for the Hall of Fame? And solid players on the corners, including a defensive wizard third baseman that everyone kind of forgot was a rookie this year? That sounds like a recipe for success, to me. Their core guys are still just entering their primes. Yes, the bullpen is capital B BAD, but all those years of tanking gave them a rich farm system they can use to acquire better, more trustworthy arms if they feel the need. They just kind of have that look, too. Most championship teams have it, sure, but if you watch sports long enough you start to recognize the teams with the different mindsets than anyone else. The combination of results and reputation that feed not only their own confidence but lower the other team’s. The Astros just kept coming back, kept getting up off the mat. The Yankees had them dead to rights and they just brushed them off. The Dodgers should have won this series in all honesty, but their bullpen, which had been untouchable all year, started to legitimately believe they couldn’t get anyone out. You see it with the Pats. The run is probably over, but you saw it with the Giants, especially when Bumgarner was on the hill. You see it with the Warriors, and the Cavs (against the East), and with Duncan’s Spurs, and all the great NBA dynasties. Other teams are going to start wondering if they can actually beat them as Altuve and Correa go back to back for the millionth time. Unless there’s some kind of disastrous injury or something of the like, the Astros aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Some random thoughts:

  • Hard Hittin’ New Britain’s own George Springer was named World Series MVP. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but both he and I went to the University of Connecticut. I’m not saying that means I deserve a ring, but I’m not saying it doesn’t mean that, either.
  • I love live TV marriage proposals so much. Maybe because they’re always really awkward and forced. Maybe it’s because there’s always the slim chance she says no. Maybe it’s because I enjoy other people experience a moment of joy I’ll never have. Either way, I’m glad Carlos Correa chose last night to propose, regardless of the fact that he couldn’t have picked a worse time or place.
  • When did Yu Darvish become bad? So weird.
  • Andre Ethier has looked the same since ’09 and I don’t think he’s played more than 20 games in a season since then, either.
  • Astros wearing orange in game 7 is an unfair advantage.
  • Everything about Evan Gattis is awesome.
  • I hope having a huge World Series means Joc Pederson is back, both because I love him and because I have an odd obsession with Jewish athletes.
  • It sucks Kershaw couldn’t get it done, but I think the universe decided that letting both Kershaw and the best redhead athlete in America win a championship would be too much.
  • Not to make everything about me and be “insensitive,” but I feel a lot better about the Pats’ playoff chances now that Houston’s cashed in it’s Disaster Team voucher. Don’t need to be worried about facing the Good Mojo team come January.
  • But seriously, donate to Houston and Puerto Rico hurricane relief
  • Can’t wait for April. Red Sox World Series Champions 2018

World Series Thoughts

I’m not sure why I’m so naturally pessimistic when it comes to sports since pretty much everything breaks 100% my way. By the grace of all that is good, the Yankees are out. After winning all three games in the Bronx, they forgot to bring their thumbs down shirts with them on the way to Houston. The specifics of it don’t matter. The only important thing is that they lost. “Why are you so happy, this Yankees team is likable! All the people on the TV told me so!” Please. How can you like getting beaten over the head relentlessly with stories about how young the team is, how desperately Brett Gardner wants to be a True Yankee, how Todd Frazier grew up in Toms River, how Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series, how Todd Frazier once took a picture with Derek Jeter, how Todd Frazier has this Yankees team really loose, not like all those other stodgy Yankees teams that didn’t have a locker room guy like Frazier or Nick Swisher or David Wells or something on them, how they’ve tried so hard to force the Thumbs Down and stupid in-game interviews down everyone’s throat even though they’re the lamest things of all time? It’s like how every single March Madness Harvard will be labeled as this lovable underdog even though they’re Harvard and all those kids are going to be rich and powerful one day. Yankees are neither likable nor scrappy underdogs, and everyone should be happy they’re gone. Dodgers dominated the Cubs in the National League.

Astros-Dodgers seemed like the obvious matchup all season, raising the question of whether or not baseball has a competitiveness problem. I mean, what does the regular season even matter if we already know who’s going to be in the World Series? Why should I ever watch before the playoffs? Why should I even watch the playoffs, for that matter? It’s all predetermined. And there’s all these super teams. The players just join together in free agency to try and game the system. They’re all soft and entitled, too. This is why hockey’s better. A guy like Kevin Durant would never survive the- whoops, sorry. The NBA season starting early has my defense mechanisms all out of whack. In truth, it’s actually kind of nice having the two best regular season teams play in the World Series, for once. The way the baseball playoffs work, this is rare, and we should cherish the fact that we know every game will be well-played and competitive. No, there’s no novelty of a random team going for an unexpected title. Instead, there’s two actually good teams. Weird.

In my mind, the traditional factors that lead to success in baseball point towards the Dodgers. Even if want to get generous with the starting pitching comparisons, on the whole the Dodgers clearly have the superior arms. The Astros don’t trust anyone in their bullpen so they just throw their fourth and fifth starters out there and hope for the best. The Dodgers’ bullpen has allowed, like, one run in eight games. Verlander and Keuchel are certified beasts. Can’t deny it. If they both go twice, it’s easy to see the Astros going 4-0 in those games. Except the Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw. And Yu Darvish. And Rich Hill. By any statistic, the Dodgers grade as one of the best defensive teams in the league. The Astros are one of the worst. Both lineups are deep and powerful and, if Corey Seager plays well in his return from injury, will probably cancel each other out, as will the managers. That leaves the Dodgers with the only clear advantages. However, and this is a big however, the Astros are the Tragedy Team. Not to trivialize, but you never want to be the team going against the Tragedy Team. Look at the 2013 Red Sox. Or the 2009 Saints (took a while but the whole city was pretty much destroyed). Or the 2001 Yankees (just kidding. Their own black magic combined with the power of the Tragedy Team to create anti-mojo). Houston hasn’t had a ton to cheer for since 1995. The Astros are a scrappy, feel good team that’s easy to get behind. They blew a lead then came back to win, so you know they’re feeling like they can overcome anything. Feel kind of bad for the Dodgers, honestly. They picked the wrong year to finally put it all together.

Pick: Astros in 6

John Farrell Gets Fired

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I always knew Dave Dombrowski was a loyal reader. Less than two days after I called for John Farrell’s head, the Red Sox announced they were officially in the market for a new manager. Listen, he’s not the only one to blame. I know I made it sound like everything was his fault, but I was running solely on hatred when I wrote that. He’s the worst tactical manager in the league and can’t get the best out of any of his players on a day-to-day basis and can’t manage a clubhouse at all, but he’s not the one on the field. The fate of this team going forward still rests in the hands of a roster that clearly needs some work. They’re behind Houston, they’re behind Cleveland, and they’re probably behind the Yankees. As they’re currently constructed, they’re not going to win a World Series. That’s not Farrell’s fault, and improving the roster needs to be the chief concern this offseason, not getting a shiny new manager. Thinking that merely changing the leadership is enough to push the team over the top is asinine. I honestly don’t even care who they hire. Just give him a pop quiz about basic baseball strategy and make sure people like him. That’ll be enough for an upgrade.

Anyway, clearly I’ve got some kind of serious pull or maybe even magic powers. Like a white Lavar Ball, I’ve spoken something into existence almost immediately. What are the limits to this power? Are there limits? Guess I have to test it out. I have no choice but to issue a ton of ultimatums now.

  • Taco Bell needs to bring back Cheesy Double Beef Burritos and keep them on the goddamn menu for more than three weeks or I’ll become a Burger King guy
  • John Wick 3 needs to come out ASAP or I’ll become a Transformers guy
  • Celtics need to acquire Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis or I’ll become a Cavs fan
  • McDonald’s needs to make Mac Sauce available as a dipping sauce or I’ll become a Burger King guy
  • Chick-Fil-a needs to open a location next to my house or I’ll become a Burger King guy
  • I need to become a billionaire overnight or I’ll become a rupee guy
  • Cheez-It needs to sign me to an endorsement deal where I get free Cheez-Its for life or I’ll become a Cheese Nips guy
  • Fall weather better kick in soon or I’ll become a Mars guy
  • I need to be an NPC in the next Pokemon game or I’ll become a Digimon guy (just kidding, I already am)

If these come to pass, I may get even more ambitious. That summer blockbuster you’re looking forward to might have a new leading man. Everyone wants someone new to be good in the NBA, so maybe the Hawks get a new explosive wing player ready to take over the league. Maybe Young Sheldon gets cancelled. Who knows what could happen.

If John Farrell Ever Manages Another Game for the Red Sox I’m Renouncing My Fandom

Red Sox lost. A Gentleman’s Sweep, 3-1. I don’t know if you can still have a Gentleman’s Sweep in a five game series, but whatever. They looked listless and lifeless in the first two games, came roaring back in game 3 after David Price made the Astros call him daddy, then blew it in game 4 thanks to the worst managerial staff of all time. John Farrell is the biggest idiot of all time. A true buffoon. A moron of the highest order. I’m not sure he actually understands the game of baseball at a little league level. He needs to be fired ASAP. He needs to be fired before I finish writing this. He needs to be fired before he can infect Giancarlo Stanton (who the Sox are sure to give up everyone they’ve ever scouted for, can’t wait) or J.D. Martinez (who will cost $800 million, but, hey, it’s not my money) with whatever disease he infested this team with. The main symptoms are apathy and terrible baserunning decisions, and everyone on the 2017 Red Sox caught the bug.

I’m just so sick of Farrell. He cost them this series almost singlehandedly. He cost them last season’s playoffs. He’s cost them countless games through the years. This series was the perfect microcosm of his foolishness: Don’t start Hanley in game one; instead start Nunez who couldn’t even walk and get surprised when he gets hurt. Don’t start Devers in game 2 even though he destroys left-handed pitching so you can start lefty specialist Chris Young, who had a .590 OPS against lefties this year. Started Doug Fister. Left his starters in way too long every game as they were getting absolutely destroyed, digging insurmountable holes. Refused to put Craig Kimbrel in the game. When he finally did  today, (I know he was ejected today, but come on. They were still his decisions) it was in the middle of the 8th, instead of the start of the inning for some reason. He left Chris Sale, who had shown the Astros the what the Face of God looks like for four innings but was clearly done, in the game to start said 8th inning, only to be surprised when he game up a tying home run. Messed with the batting order despite Xander Bogaerts finally getting his rhythm back in the leadoff spot, because…..I don’t know why. He doesn’t understand how baseball works anymore. Last season completely changed how you have to manage games. You can’t just be like “oh, he’s the starter give him time to work through it,” or “a closer is only for the ninth inning.” The best pitchers have to pitch in the biggest innings, and, newsflash, that’s pretty much always the first, when, you know, their best players hit. There can’t be any kind of leash in the postseason. If someone allows the first three guys to get on, take him out. It’s not rocket science. I wouldn’t have hated it if Kimbrel started every game. At least they wouldn’t have been down a million to nothing. Whatever. This team was cursed the second they let Pablo Sandoval into the locker room. A full season without that fat piece of shit will be exactly that the doctor ordered.

Now that the Sox are out, I’m really only rooting against the Yankees. I’d pretty much be fine with anyone else winning, but I’d prefer the Indians (Francona), Astros (fellow UConn alum George Springer), or Diamondbacks (former Red Sox manager-to-be Torey Lovullo and future Red Sox J.D. Martinez and Paul Goldschmidt). Just not the Yankees. I really don’t want to have to deal with that this year.

2017 MLB Division Series Preview

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Ahhhh, what a season. Can you feel it? Can you smell it? Can you hear it? The wind whistling through the autumn foliage. The crunch of the fallen leaves underfoot. The snap of crisp apples. The warm, nostalgic aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg. The over-saturation of pumpkin flavored food items. It’s playoff baseball SZN, and I couldn’t be happier. Well, happy might not be the right word. I don’t think baseball will give me any lasting happiness until the Red Sox win the World Series. Watching playoff baseball when your team is involved is like getting a thousand tiny needles jammed into you every second. Each pitch could be the one that breaks your back or finally gives you some release on the tension that’s been building inside of you for four hours. If you can, I recommend setting up a TV or streaming the game in the bathroom, because when the starting pitcher loads the bases with no outs in the third inning and gets pulled, your nerves are probably going to be running pretty high and your sphincter pretty tight. You can try to calm yourself by drinking or eating a bunch of pizza or wings or something, but personally I get too nervous to ingest anything. I’d say a playoff baseball game is pretty much an extended version of the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. Oh, what’s that? 90% don’t know what it’s like to have your team play in and win multiple Super Bowls? Wow. Bad analogy, then. Anyway, playoff baseball is a terrible ordeal to go through, but I wouldn’t change anything about it. Because if your team pulls through in a 2-1 grind or wins a series or somehow wins the World Series, there’s no better feeling in the world. With that setup, it’s time to get to the preview. Now, I make fun of Hockey Guys for saying this exact thing during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but since this is baseball and I’m a Baseball Guy, it’s okay when I say it: literally anything can happen in the playoffs. Individual baseball games are the least consequential pieces of data in sports, and even in a seven game series, let alone the five game Division series, the best team doesn’t really always win. So much of what determines the results of playoff baseball games is all luck or chance: a random error by a usually sure-handed fielder, an 8th inning home run by the backup catcher with a career .583 OPS, a Cy Young-caliber pitcher starts walking a bunch of guys and giving up homers. It’s such an easy and unquantifiable thing to say, but the game really does come down to mental toughness and “cluchness,” which means that no one knows what’s going to happen and it’s virtually impossible to say who’s going to win. That’s never stopped me from trying, though.

Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros

The last time I wrote about the Red Sox, I was saying they might be able to make a deep run because they were so under-the-radar. Well, that was all based on the clearly absurd notion that the Red Sox would actually finish the season playing well. How foolish of me. Much like a child who doesn’t want to eat their vegetables, the Sox had to be forced to win the division or risk going to bed early without dessert. They begrudgingly took care of business, but they’ll be damned if they give any more effort than is absolutely necessary to play a baseball game. It’s stupid to say a ten game stretch was enough to get me off the Red Sox bandwagon that I’ve been on since the say I was born, but this year’s team was so weird and I don’t trust them at all. If Chris Sale can’t win today, it’ll be a sweep. I appreciate the early start time this afternoon, because it’ll free me up to watch one of my teams that actually is going to win the championship this year (btw, I looooooooooooooooooooooove Pats -6. You may never hear from me again I’ll be so rich after tonight). Astros are good but not in an intimidating way, so if things go 100% right the Sox will still win, I just know they won’t. Still, I won’t be on the wrong side of history should things go in my favor.

Red Sox in 4

New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians

Nothing would make me happier than an Indians curb stomp, but I think we all know that’s probably not going to happen. As you might have heard, the Yankees are Back, despite this being a rebuilding year. What that means is that Yankee fans are in perfect position to be the ultimate versions of themselves. If they go on a run and possibly win it all, they get to tell everyone to kiss the rings (that they won when there were 4 teams and no black players) and remind everyone that they weren’t even supposed to be good this year, so who knows how many consecutive championships they’ll win. If the Indians beat them, they can still call for wholesale change, forgetting their favorite line all year, “we weren’t even supposed to be good this year.” It’s a can’t lose situation for the typical obnoxious Yankee fan, so, in that regard, we’ve all already lost. On the field, they’re actually pretty similar teams, with deep, explosive lineups and great bullpens. However, whatever it really means in today’s game, the Indians have more good starting pitching. Severino might as well just not show up anymore, leaving the Yanks with whatever version of Tanaka they get, Sonny Gray, and the reanimated corpse of CC Sabathia. Not great. All realistic signs point to the Indians, which means only one thing.

Yankees in 5

Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals

Love the Cubs this year. All the historical angst is gone, and, for some unfathomable reason, there’s absolutely no pressure on the defending champ in a massive market. Literally no one is talking about them, and they’re just as great as last year. I’ll die before I predict playoff success for a D.C. team.

Cubs in 4

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Too bad the Rockies didn’t win to break up this run of red and blue teams. I’m super conflicted about this series, because on one hand, I would love to see Kershaw finally start dominating the playoffs and blowing fools away. If he won a World Series while pitching at his historic level and shoved it in all the h8rz faces, I’d be so happy. But on the other hand, this DBacks team is awesome. I’m all in on the Great J.D. Martinez Contract Hunt of 2017, and I’ve got a feeling Goldschmidt is going to make me regret dismissing his MVP chances. Their pitching is good on paper but not good enough to keep any game from getting interesting late, meaning all of these games are going to last 6 hours. Everyone else will bail and complain about how long they are, but I bask in the glow of pitching changes, bad defensive plays, home runs, and mental breakdowns (as long as it’s not the Red Sox). I’m actually excited to watch both National League series, something I can’t say about the American League, and this one promises to be the most exciting. Or a Dodgers sweep. But, since I think I want the DBacks to win because it’d be more fun, I’m thinking the latter.

Dodgers in 4

The Division Series round seems like it last two seconds. If you’re not 100% plugged in, you can easily miss games, developments, big moments, and meltdowns. But luckily for you, I don’t miss anything, so I’ll be here to break down everything. Every mistake, every clutch home run, every time someone Earns Their Pinstripes, everything. Nothing quite like playoff baseball, folks.