Alas, I enter the abyss that is the playoffs in Major League Baseball. My beloved Yankees finally earned the right to watch the post season with some serious mistakes in player acquisition and development over the last 10 years finally catching up with them. My desire to see the Cubs finally end their futility ended with a colossal choke.
What's left? I have to decide who to root for once we got to the League Championship Series. Let's see what was there. In the AL, we had Boston and Tampa Bay. Can I root for Boston? Not if I'm a Yankee fan. Mind you, I am a fan of all baseball. I love the way Tito gets his team to play. I think that Manny Ramirez' actions at the end of his Red Sox tenure were despicable. I was glad the sent him packing and still was successful. But, even with all that, I couldn't root for the Sux.
Tampa Bay? I love the way they play the game. I love the way Joe Madden created a culture of winning. If you read my blog on choking, you would find that his teaching is the anti choke method of coaching. They visualized what could be, then went out and did it. I love the way the team plays, but I cannot support them. Why? I can't stand fair weather Florida baseball fans. I loved the way the Marlins played in '03, but their fans didn't deserve a championship caliber team. Same with Tampa. I see a lot of fans in costume all year. At least I think it is a costume. They come dressed as empty seats. But let the team show a pulse, and they show up for the post season.
What about the Dodgers? I am a Yankee fan from the late 50s and forward. The Dodgers had just moved to LA as I began my love of baseball. If you were a Yankee fan, you hated the Dodgers. Compound this with their acquisition of the aforementioned Manny Ramirez, and my dislike for them reached a fever pitch. Anyway, have you ever seen anything more rediculous than Joe Torre in Dodger blue? At least with the Yankees, you expected him to go the podium after a game and tell the media that he was going to 'make them an offer they couldn't refuse'. He and Larry Bowa are way out of their league in LA.
That leaves me with the Phillies. Chase Utley is everything that is right about baseball. Ryan Howard is a bomber. The pitching staff has grown exponentially this year. Charlie Manuel is a quality man and manager. Plus, I love the fans of Philadelphia. They are there, and they are real. You bust butt, and they cheer you. You dog it, and you get booed. They are a true barometer of their teams.
So, I'm left to sit back and watch two teams play in the World Series that I admire. Both teams play the right way. But, I hope the Phils win. The fans of Philadelphia deserve it way more than the fans of Tampa/St. Pete.