I know you won't be able to concentrate at work today, anyway. You will be fussin' and frettin' and worrying about making sure you will be home for the first pitch. So, relax and tour the Inter-Google with us as we look for interesting stuff to read while we pass the time while waiting for CC Sabathia to take to the mound.
- You could have blown me off my seat with a feather when I read this story from 'Bugs & Cranks' Tuesday praising Derek Jeter. In case you don't know, I used to write about the Yankees for 'B&C,' and one of the reasons I left is the absolue, venomous, unbridled hatred of the Yankees displayed on a daily basis by most of the writers there. So, the appreciation for the Yankee Captain -- from that site -- stunned me.
Thomas Boswell says it's the Yankees with something to prove
Boswell is the long-time baseball columnist for The Washington Post, and he wrote today about the role reversal between the two cities.
When the World Series starts Wednesday, the proud, confident defending world champion Philadelphia Phillies will face the New York Yankees, baseball's biggest chokers for the last eight years. What happened? Did these two cities, after a century, decide to swap identities? Live long enough, you really will see everything.
Go to Philadelphia this month and you'll see stories about how the Phillies have reversed the town's ancient inferiority complex about its pro sports teams. You are no longer a sucker if you dare to believe in a Philly team's chance for a positively ridiculous comeback win. It's now the Phillies' trademark, especially in the playoffs. Ask the Rockies and Dodgers. Both are still numb.
Go to New York this month and you are met by the opposite mood. Before Game 6 of the ALCS against the Angels, a Page 1 tabloid headline on the Yankees blared, "We Ain't Chokin'."
- The Yankees are happy that George Steinbrenner will be around Yankee Stadium for the Series.
- Of course we want some pie during the Series. The New York Times discusses the history behind the newest Yankee tradition.
- Instant replay? One writer says Major League Baseball should institute full replay right now -- before the first pitch is thrown tonight.
- Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel was CC Sabathia's first big-league manager. Chad Jennings has a great piece with Manuel telling his Sabathia story.
- FOX's Ken Rosenthal says the Yankee pitching will be the deciding factor.
The best starter in this series is Yankees left-hander Sabathia. The best closer is Yankees righty Mariano Rivera. True, the Yankees' righty setup men, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, struggled in the ALCS, and lefties Phil Coke and Damaso Marte seem an inadequate counter to the Phillies' big left-handed sluggers in Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez. But Manuel is making up the Phillies' bullpen as he goes along — righty Joe Blanton and lefty J.A. Happ again are expected to start the series as relievers, and righty Brett Myers could re-emerge as the Phillies' 12th pitcher.
Rivera vs. Brad Lidge? To understand the different levels of confidence the two closers evoke in their respective managers, just consider the way they are being used. Rivera has pitched eight times in nine postseason games, allowing one run in 10 2/3 innings. Lidge has yet to allow a run, but he has appeared in only five of nine games and worked only four innings.
Oh, I can concoct various "Phillies win" scenarios — A.J. Burnett cracking, Hughes and Chamberlain staggering, Lee getting hot and Utley, Howard and Co. getting on a roll. Who knows what might happen?
No one expected the Dodgers to beat the Cardinals or the Angels to wilt three times at Yankee Stadium. Still, much as I love the Phillies' toughness, I can't see how they will out-pitch the Yankees.
- Jon Heyman analyzes the key matchups, then whimps out and doesn't make a prediction.
That should be enough to keep you busy for a while. Let's just hope it doesn't rain tonight.