By Sweeny Murti
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Random thoughts while watching the World Series:
*This probably won’t make you feel any better, Yankee fans, but your team could very easily be playing right now. This was one of the most evenly matched playoff fields in a long time. Just look at the Cardinals and Rangers, and tell me that the Yankees, Phillies, Tigers, or Rays couldn’t all be here right now.
The Wildcard Era has produced a lot of great baseball, much like the NCAA tournament did after it expanded to the field of 64. Sometimes there are upsets that take out the top seeds. So maybe the final matchups aren’t exactly what everybody hopes for, but if you really like the game you can appreciate the games that are left.
I understand the fundamental difference—most people only root for their pools in the NCAA Tournament, not a team they follow all year long. But if you like the games, pay attention because there will always be great championship moments and performances.
*I’m still trying to wrap my head around why home field can’t go to the best record. It’s a little insane that the division winning Rangers don’t have home field advantage over a wildcard team they beat by half a dozen games in the regular season simply because Prince Fielder hit a home run in the All-Star Game.
And yes, I’m aware that he hit it off C.J. Wilson, so the Rangers own pitcher is to blame for them not having home field. But that’s more coincidence than anything else. No matter who gave it up, the National League “earned” home field because of the All-Star exhibition and that still makes no sense to me.
The NBA Finals for years have been a global event, and maybe never bigger than during the Michael Jordan years, and they have—for as long as I can remember—determined home court based on best overall record. If they can do it, so can MLB.
*As much as we discussed the Yankees high-priced talent coming up small in postseason spots, does anyone think that Prince Fielder (career .192 BA in 15 postseason games) is going to get any less money on the free agent market? Of course not. You are buying his bat for 162 games, and hoping he has a big postseason for you. Eventually.
And when you look back, could we really have known anything by looking at the fact that Mark Teixeira was 7 for 15 in his only postseason series before joining the Yankees? I’m quite certain we all looked at that as a great sign that he was going to be a clutch performer in October.
As a wise man once said, you can’t predict baseball, Suzyn.
*As the name Yu Darvish gets more and more Google hits, I figured I’d ask someone who’s actually seen the 25-year old Japanese right-hander in person what he thinks. The scout, who as always is granted anonymity in return for his candor, said, “I can’t imagine him not being the real deal.”
That claim was in regards to his ability to translate better as a pitcher than say Daisuke Matsuzaka or (heaven forbid I mention the name ever again) Kei Igawa. This scout told me that while Darvish is likely to cost #1 starter money (posting fee plus contract), he is probably more of a #2, but that he is definitely worth the interest level.