October 04, 2004

Braves win! Braves win!

Ok, so it's been a while since I last posted -- luckily no one reads this anyway, so nobody missed it!! :-
Congrats to SpaceShipOne, the first non-government funded flight to hit the edge of space twice. The second flight was this morning, and congrats also to Erika Wagner, our own Dore on the Scene, who earned the chance to see it firsthand. Way to go, sis! The engineers won a prize of $10,000,000 for their success. I personally think it sucks that for breaking a historic arrier, they only get half as much as A-Rod makes a YEAR for a hitting a little round ball, but that's another post entirely.

Speaking of baseball, the playoffs are set!! The Braves are making their 13th straight appearance as a division champ, despite a vast majority of baseball pundits placing them third. Eight teams, on champion, eh? Here's how it'll boil down. I'll guarentee the results, but not the game numbers...

ALDS

Pitching wins championships -- look at VU and USC in the SEC tourney this year, both with excellent pitching and defense, and both ended up in the final. Santana v. Mussina, Radke v. Leiber, then El Duque or K. Brown v. Silva? I'll take the Twins, thanks (the team with 20-, 11-, and 14- game winners as opposed to 12-, 14-, and 10-/8-game winners), and they'll win it in the Metrodome in 4.

Anaheim hosts Boston. Team Hot v. Team Not-in-a-good-long-time. This will be the best of the division series, and maybe, just maybe, of the whole postseason. Great pitching matchups make it that close, even with the high-octane offense of the Red Sox. Vlad Geurerro will be the wild card throughout the series, and he can carry this team on his back (that's why he's the MVP this year). Even with Vlad, though, I think the Red Sox have the edge -- they showed a lot of moxie to make the AL East race close to the last week, and you KNOW they want another shot at the Yankees. They won't get that chance, but only because they'll meet the Twins in the Pennant Series, getting there in 5 (2 of those wins in Extras, including Game 5).

NLDS

The Dodgers are in! The Dodgers are in! They play the Cardinals! Oh.

Not Game Over -- Dream Over, Gagne. Cardinals sweep, and you blow a save in only the pressure situation you've been in since the '03 All-Star Game -- oh, wait, you blew that too, so your streak doesn't count.

Braves v. Astros. Yes, you all know that I'm a homer, I'll say it right now. I'm a homer. No drama in my picking Atlanta to win. Let me tell you why. Remember that pitching wins championships, and that gives Houston the edge? Not so fast. As good as the Astros pitchers are, Atlanta's starting pitching is on a bigger roll, and there's not a better NL closer in CLUTCH situations than John Smoltz. Also, over the past few years, the Astros have been swept three times by the Braves in the NLDS. No sweep, but Houston leaves the Juice Box disappointed after Game 4.

Ok, let's review. Twins over Yanks, Sox over Angels, Cards sweep the Dodgers, and the Braves over the 'Stros. On to the two-headed Championship monster.

NLCS

I'm going NL first because you know who I'm picking already, and I'll save the AL for some drama. :) Braves over the Cards in 5. Yep, FIVE. Why? The Cards won 100 games, they've got 3 MVP candidates, half their squad was on my fantasy team last year -- have I NO loyalty?

None whatsoever.

Pitching wins championships, not hitting. I'll take Wright, Ortiz, and Thompson over anything the Cards can throw back. I'll take Smoltz over anyone in the NL. I'll take 13 straight seasons of playoff experience over the however few the Cards have since '91. I'll take a 3-game sweep at home after Atlanta takes one of the first two games in St. Louis. Let the hate mail begin (that's michaelponeill2003@yahoo.com).

ALCS

Yikes. This is a rough pick, as the teams match up pretty well, but the Twins have the advantage in pitching, which in my book beats the advantage the Sox have in hitting. That factored in with my not wanting the bad karma of the Braves having to play a potential Destiny's Child in Boston puts the Twins over the top in yet another fantastic series that rivals the Sox/Angels tussle in competiton (NOT competitiveness, you damned journalistic wankers) and drama. Seven games, 2 again in extras.

There you have it. Braves v. Twins for all the marbles. It's '91 all over again, but the latest end of the Braves' streak will not be the same as the beginning.

World Series. Redemption.

If you're from Atlanta, this reads like a fairy tale. No one picked the Braves to win the reg. series, the NLDS, and are overwhelming underdogs in the NLCS. Yet here they are, a Sid Bream slide away from the biggest miracle in team history.

Here's what we need before the Series even starts. We need a pay-per-view steel cage match between (who else?) Ron Gant and Kent Hrbek. Who wouldn't pay to see this? You could even have Kirby Puckett as Hrbek's manager, stumbling around in blind-man glasses and a cane, bumping into the cage every now and then to put joy in the hearts of every Braves fan. How can Ted Turner NOT make this happen? (Again, all hate mail should be sent to michaelponeill2003@yahoo.com)

Anyway, back to the actual competition. Congrats to both teams on making it back, congrats to the 34 other Braves fans who stayed by their team with me, here's where we reap what we've sown.


I've said it all throughout the page, pitching wins championships. Here comes the exception to prove the rule. I'll grant that the starting pitching for Minnesota has the edge, but there's too much for the Braves to play for, especially Smoltz, the only returning Brave from the '91 series. It's going to look eerily like the '91 series, with MN winning the first two games, then Atlanta sweeping at home (which will make them perfect for the postseason).

Game 6, where it turned around for the Twins in '91, will be their downfall. Remember Puckett's amazing catch in '91? Andruw Jones, 12th inning pulls back a would-be 2-run homer that would've been enough to beat the one-run they put in the top half of the frame. Braves win! Braves win! Braves win!

There you have it. Braves in 4, then 5, then 6 to win it all. Think I'm off-base? Tell me so, and I'll post YOUR predictions right here, anyone who beats mine wins a frosty beverage.

To that let me add that I'll be updating more often, and would love to hear some feedback! Shoot me an email or just post a response. Don't forget to catch SeaLab on [adult swim].

2 Comments:

At 6:16 PM, Blogger jk3us said...

Ooh, I like it. I wish I had been able to watch more Braves Baseball this season, especially the last couple of months. But my lack of time, and even bigger lack of TBS has prevented this. Here's hoping you're right.

Jay Knight
(I'm subscribed, there's no escaping now.)

 
At 11:33 PM, Blogger James said...

Love your Braves pick!! I too believe the Braves should be able to take the Astros. The Cards may be a diff story but hey, one series at a time right?

 

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