October 14, 2009

It's Unanimous

The so-called baseball experts are falling all over themselves as they line up to pick the Yankees over the Angels. On ESPN.com, it’s unanimous. All ten pundits have picked the Yankees. Peter Gammons, Tim Kurkjan, Rob Neyer (no shock here), Steve Phillips (who picked the Mariners to win the AL West in 2008), John Stark, etc., etc.

You know what? I’m fine with it. The Yankees should be the favorites. They had the best record in baseball, the highest payroll in baseball and own some of the most high profile mercenaries… I mean athletes in all of sports. They also have home field advantage.

No hard feelings. I actually like John Stark and Tim Kurkjan. I’m not going to hold their predictions against them.

Having been an Angels fan for better than forty years, I am quite comfortable seeing my team as the under-dogs. Last year, when they had the best record in baseball and pundits every where were pegging them for a WS title, I felt uneasy. I just wasn’t used to being in that position. This feels much more natural.

Besides, the favorites are simply that – the favorites. People who bet on horses can tell you that being the favorite doesn’t mean squat. Quite frankly, the baseball pundits are like weather men to me. They’re often wrong, but they keep coming back to tell us what they think is going to happen. Truth is, you or I have just as good a chance as predicting an outcome. Tampa Bay Rays anyone?

If you really want to listen to an expert – listen to Bobby Grich. I read on the Angels Win message board Bobby Grich had predicted the Angels would sweep the Red Sox. Good ol’ Bob-bay! is still hitting them out of the park. I haven’t heard any Bobby Grich predictions for the ALCS, but I’d be interested to hear one.

Everyone likes to make predictions. Heck, the first World Series I ever really focused on was in 1971 when the Pirates beat the Orioles. Do you know what I remember about that series? I distinctly remember Tony Kubek (who played for the Yankees from 1957-1965) predicting the Pirates would win in seven. He was dead on and I never forgot that.

Speaking of 1971 – the Orioles were heavy favorites to win it all that year. They boasted four 20 game winners. They had three future Hall of Famers in Jim Palmer, Frank Robinson, and Brooks Robinson. They had a future Hall of Fame manager in Earl Weaver. They even had three future major league managers in Don Baylor (granted, he only played one game), Davey Johnson, and Frank Robinson. They even had Bobby Grich on their bench (although he didn’t have a post-season at bat).

It didn’t matter. The Pirates won it all behind one of the greatest players of all time in Roberto Clemente (a childhood favorite of mine). By the way, do you know who else was on that team? Al Oliver, the dad of our very own Darren Oliver.

Time after time, history has shown that being the favorite doesn’t guarantee you anything. I just picked 1971 as an example because it’s one of my earliest baseball memories and it infused in me the belief that in baseball, anything can happen.

So I guess it’s my turn. I’m not going to predict the number of games it’s going to take and I’m not going to go into some kind of deep analysis of why I feel the way I do. I just believe in my biased, homeristic, Angels loving heart the Angels are going to win this thing. No surprises here.

Face it, you (Angel fans) and I know how good the Angels are. I think the rest of the world is about to find out.

Then again, maybe not the entire world….

True Grich Banned in China

A side note… I’m told by my long time friend Billy who is living in Hong Kong that my blog is banned in China. I know what you’re thinking… Those communists must be Yankee fans!

Actually, he tells me that Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. are blocked in China. I just thought it was kind of cool to say my blog was banned there.

Thank God I live here.

And a huge THANKS to the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces to secure our freedom here and abroad, especially 514 Fanatic Bobby who just completed his tour of duty with United States Marine Corps. Semper Fi Bob-Bay!

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