Let me preface this column by saying that I’m a biased source. Instead of making you wait until the end of the column to find out who I tab as the World Series champion, I’ll give it to you now. It’ll be my Giants. And it’s not just because I have 20 dollars with 5-to-2 odds at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas banking on that prediction.
But before I explain to you why San Francisco will win, I’ll give you the run down on which teams will advance through the postseason and have the honor of finishing second.
National League Divisional Series
Atlanta over Chicago/Houston
Chicago and Houston are fighting it out in the NL Central right now, but does it even matter? The winner of the central is just going to fall to the Braves anyway. Look, I hate the Braves more than anyone. And I can’t imagine that any person outside of the general Atlanta vicinity likes that antiquated tomahawk chop. But the fact of the matter is that the Braves have the most potent lineup in the senior circuit.
The Cubs have some great young starting pitching with Prior, Wood, and company, but you’ve got to hit. And besides that corked-bat toting slugger, who puts fear into an opposing pitcher? Would it be the overweight Aramis Ramirez or the “touch me and I’ll break” Moises Alou?
The Astros … well, they can’t pitch. Ace Wade Miller and his bullpen mates just gave up 10 runs in one inning to my Giants earlier in the week, and Roy Oswalt hasn’t been able to walk without a limp for most of the year.
San Francisco over Florida
Way to go Marlins … you beat the Phillies for the wildcard spot. Too bad the bus stops here for Florida. I’ll admit it, Florida’s scary with young pitching — Dontrelle Willis and Josh Beckett — and speed throughout the lineup. Here’s the problem. San Francisco has home field, and has defended it better than anyone in all of baseball. I’m sorry, young fish … go home.
American League Divisional Series
New York over Minnesota
Should the Twins even bother showing up? The Bronx Bombers dominated the matchups between the two teams this season, winning all seven games. I’ll go out on a limb and say that after this series is over, the Yanks will still have that perfect mark.
The small-market Twins will no doubt look to last year’s Angels as inspiration. “Heck, if Mickey Mouse and crew can take down the big bad Yankees, so can we.”
Um … no.
And here’s why: Mike Mussina, Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens, Jose Contreras, David Wells.
Boston over Oakland
Being a Bay Area native, it’s tough for me to make this pick. Nothing would make me happier than to see San Francisco and Oakland in the big show again, sans earthquake of course. But Boston has eight batters in the lineup with over 80 RBI. No team’s done that in over 100 years.
And of course, the Sox have something that no one else does — Pedro. In a short five-game series, you’re looking at Pedro pitching — and winning — twice. I’m sure Boston can scratch out one more win, right?
San Francisco over Atlanta
The Giants beat the Braves in the playoffs last year, and they’ll do it again. Atlanta might be a better hitting club than in previous years, but where’s the pitching. OK, Russ Ortiz has won 20 games for Atlanta. But he was a San Francisco castoff. Mike Hampton is still screwed up in the head, Greg Maddux can’t pitch more than six innings anymore, and John Smoltz has arm problems. Plus, Atlanta always swallows the big one when the lights come on.
New York over Boston
Boston fans out there didn’t actually think that the Sox could beat the Yanks, right? Boston is to New York as Harvard is to Cornell in hockey. It’ll put up a great effort, but it just can’t win.
Do I need to say more? If Bucky Dent doesn’t come out of retirement to beat Boston, Babe Ruth will personally get his fat butt out of his grave and send New York to the Series.
San Francisco over New York
Ah, this part will be sweet. The Giants have been waiting for this since 1962, when Willie McCovey lined out to Bobby Richardson in a 1-0 game to end the seventh game of the Series.
You see, everyone always talks about the Red Sox and the loveable Cubs. The Cubs haven’t won since 1908, and the BoSox since 1918. But heck, my Giants haven’t won since they moved to San Francisco. The last time the Giants won was in 1954 … in New York.
Not only will the Giants win this year, they’ll win it in Yankee Stadium. And why? Because the Giants have the best player in the history of baseball. Because Barry Bonds, who vanquished his playoff demons a season ago, will carry the Giants to victory. Not just for himself, not just for his dad Bobby, but for all those long-suffering Giants fans.
And with that, Alex Ip beats Paris Hotel and Casino and wins $90.
Archived article by Alex Ip