Oct
26

The way it’s meant to be: World Series features best of both leagues

By

Baseball experienced a welcome change in 2008. From 2002 through 2007, the World Series featured at least one Wild Card team. Some of those teams — notably the 2002 Angels (99-63) and the 2004 Red Sox (98-64) — could make a case for being there. But in other years it was an inferior team getting hot at the right time and knocking off better teams. That’s the idea sometimes, but to have a Wild Card team in the World Series for six straight seasons? That’s a bit much, at least to me.

That changed in 2008, when the Rays and the Phillies met. Neither had the best record in its league — they both finished second in wins, though neither had to defeat the top team. It is again the case in 2009. The Yankees and Dodgers had the best records in their leagues, but the Phillies had the second best record in the NL, and have been a better team since acquiring Cliff Lee at the trade deadline. It’s easy to make the case that the 2009 World Series will feature the two best teams in baseball.

This is what baseball’s all about. This isn’t the 2006 World Series, which featured two teams that backed into the postseason. The Cardinals backed into their playoff spot, going 3-9 in their final dozen games, including three to the Astros, who just couldn’t rally enough — they went 11-2 in their last 13, but it wasn’t enough. The Tigers, who led the AL Central and the Al overall for most of the season, collapsed in September, chalking up the division to the Twins and changing what we thought was an inevitable playoff schedule. The Tigers apparently have a penchant for that.

There isn’t much more to say on this topic. I just wanted to say it louder, so everyone could appreciate not only that the Yankees are in the World Series, but that the event will feature the best of the AL vs. the best of the NL, rather than the luckiest of each. The Yanks and Phils did get breaks along the way (the Angels’ errors, Huston Street blowing a save with 2 outs and none on), but teams need breaks to get to the Series. I’m just glad the breaks went to the two best teams this year.

Categories : Playoffs
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    To be the best, you have to beat the best.

    • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif Omg!Zombies!

      But isnt that what hasn’t been happening?

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        Yep. That’s just the point.

      • the artist formerly known as (sic)

        NO, its definitely not what hasnt been not happening.

        /fix yo grammar, son.

  • jsbrendog

    that’s why they play the games.
    at least in a 7 game series the better team should win unlike i feel a 5 game series or the football 1 and done.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Your post is well written, but unfortunately, Joe, it’s false.

    The best team in the American League this season was the Yankees. And, the best team in the National League this season was the Yankees.

    • Thomas

      Are you saying the Yankees should be playing with themselves?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        You nasty.

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    I said last night, this is going to be the best series of the decade (although maybe not quite as exciting as ’01). Two excellent teams.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Could be as exciting as the Clemson-Miami game. AWWWW, TOO SOON????

      So says the FSU fan. Maybe I should just keep quiet? Maybe everyone will forget that FSU can’t catch TDs in the endzone? Maybe I’m just bitter? I’ll go with the latter.

      • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

        a) Yes, too soon.
        b) The Seminoles are Mo awful this year, so yes, you should just keep quiet.

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          I give YOU respect though, at least you are an actual student there. Great school.

          • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

            Thanks :-)

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            You just hate me because you ain’t me, Andy.

  • Mike HC

    I agree with this sentiment. It is about time we get the best teams, and following that logic, the best players as well. No more watching guys that clearly just got hot at the right time. CC vs Lee, AJ vs Hamels, Pettitte vs Pedro. Jeter, Arod, Damon, Teix, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Mo etc … The list is deep and i can’t wait as a baseball fan.

    As a Yankee fan, I hope they all get swine flu and the backups need to play, ha, kidding, I think.

    • Mike Pop

      I want to beat the best they got!

      Bring ‘em on!

      • handtius

        it’s brought.

  • mryankee

    Unlike the Phillies beating those Dodger wimps. The Yankees beat a real team and play in the varsity league not the JV. Now its time to pound the Phillies in 4 games. Cliff Lee should get a very hostile welcome back to pitching against real lineups.

  • Girardi out to the mound

    I think the Phillies are a tad overrated b/c of their pitching. Imagine being down 1-0 and turning to Pedro.

    Also Ryan Howard should be in for a rude awakening facing a steady diet of CC, Andy, Marte, and Coke.

    Brett Gardner’s OPS vs LHP this year was 127 points higher than Ryan Howard’s.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      I’m excited for CC to make Howard look rather foolish.

    • TheLastClown

      Howard had approximately 4x the PA as compared to Gardner.

      BG also has a vs. LHP BABIP of .356

  • Free Mike Vick

    Charlie Manuel is a great baseball mind…and behind closed doors i’m sure he is a great great manager.

    but watching this press conference is like watching a retard have sex.

  • Don

    Also, the first time since 1999 that the defending champs play the team with the best record in baseball. As we all know, the Yanks were the Phils that year, and the Braves the Yanks – Yanks of course swept their way to a 3rd title in 4 years.

  • grs1h

    “I’m excited for CC to make Howard look rather foolish.”

    And I’m excited for Shane Victorino to hit another post-season grand slam off CC…

    • TheLastClown

      Have you happened to catch any of CC’s three postseason starts so far?

      Especially the last two?

      This is NOT the PBR version of CC, off of whom the Flyin Hawaiian hit that shot…

  • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

    While I’m impressed with CC…I’m VERY impressed with our old pal, Andy. The guy never really had “shut down” post season numbers like Smoltz had through out his career…but it seems like so far this post season…he’s been stellar. Aside from that game tying home run to Vlad in Game 3…he’s been outright incredible. Even his last post season start in 2007 against the “red hot” Indians he was nasty in.

    Is this just coincidence or is he taking advantage of his “experience” in the post season and actually making himself better?? He throws in the high 80′s and seems to still “blow it by” some people…or so it looks like at times. 6 K’s against a team that lead the league in batting average…

    Yes, we made some pretty amazing defensive plays behind him to save a lot of runs…but he still through 64 pitches out of 99 for strikes. Skeptics say the umpire helped him on those but I don’t really fall for it…

    • TheLastClown

      That dead horse is beaten almost beyond recognition, but I’ve got to say that Andy’s start is 2007 was a perfect table setter for success in the postseason.

      If Mr. T had petitioned for some kind of relief from the midge-plague, I think we’d have won that game, and if the performance by Hughes in relief still happens, there’s all kinds of momentum going the Yanks way.

      Sorry Mr. Ed, here’s a little peanut butter for you, do your trick!

      But yeah, much much love for Andy.

      • MatyRuggz

        You mean Torre, or the real Mr. T? T would just have to pity those fool midges and they would have dropped dead of a heart attack right on the spot! ALDS over!

      • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

        Mr. Ed? I’m kind of confused. I haven’t really read much of anything about Andy in the papers or on the major websites. He’s only been mentioned when they mention “The Core 4″ along with Jeter, Posada, and Rivera…saying that they’ve been doing it for a while and continue to do so. He really hasn’t gotten his solo praise…but whatever.

  • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

    The 2009 MFY is the first team in baseball history to score at least 4 runs in every singls LDS and LCS game…

    At the same time we limited the opponents to 3 or fewer runs in 7 out of 9 games

    The Phillies won 93 games whilst playing in NL – the NL as a whole had a .453 winning percentage against the AL. The Yankees has 103 wins whilst playing in the AL, and particulary in the AL East

    How tough is the AL East? Well if I put it like this, the NL pennant winners played 18 games against AL East teams this year and had a .333 winning percentage…

    Still they won 2 out of 3 against the Yankees (so they had a .267 winning percentage in the reast of intraleague play) so that shows you have to play them BUT i think the Phillies will never know what hit them

    • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

      We were 6-0 against the Indians in 2007 and they pretty much dominated us in the LDS that year (with the help of mother nature). So I don’t take those head-to-head match ups all that serious.

      The Phillies were in the easy breezy National League and had only one more win than the Colorado Rockies. And their division wasn’t exactly “stellar” either. The Mets didn’t exist, the Marlins were here and there, the Nationals are always bad…and the Braves were decent but also off and on for the most part…

      But again, you can’t really look at that either and make your decision up. It’s a whole new game because of the series pitching match ups, etc.

  • lou

    i get what you are saying but really the best 2 teams in baseball just played in the alcs. the angels are a better team than philly, no question.