On the one hand, I love the playoffs. After living and dying through 162 games, your reward as a fan is to watch your team as one of eight — and now four — still in contention for the world championship. On the other hand, I hate the playoffs. My TiVo is suddenly not good enough, so I have to plan my world around a baseball game being played three thousand miles away. Heaven forbid I should miss a single pitch. How bad is it? A couple days ago my wife suggested that we schedule a date night for next Thursday. The good husband answered quickly, “Sure, sounds good.” But the bad husband inside was secretly calculating: Friday, Saturday, off-day Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, off-day Thursday… No problem! Look away. I am hideous.
A.J. Burnett is also hideous, but rumor has it he’ll be pitching in this series, a fact that by itself gives the Texas Rangers a pretty good shot at advancing to the World Series. The more I think about that, the more I think about belt-high fastballs and looping curve balls and line drives back through the box, the more worried I get. If I were in charge, I’d pitch Burnett against Cliff Lee in Game 3, essentially conceding that game to the Rangers. As the rotations stand now, it almost looks like Girardi is conceding both Games 3 and 4, meaning that Sabathia had better win the opener and Phil Hughes had better win Game 2.
What if they don’t? What if Josh Hamilton comes to Yankee Stadium and remembers that Home Run Derby in the old Stadium? What if Elvis Andrus gets on base seven or eight times and steals fourteen or sixteen bases? What if Ian Kinsler plays like Ian Kinsler again? What if Cliff Lee gets to pitch twice?
If you want to know what I really think, the Yankees will win this series, but it won’t take a miracle for the Rangers to win. I just hope that when I’m sitting in the movie theater on Thursday night, I’m still looking forward to the World Series.