October 16, 2008 [LINK / comment]
For the first time since 1993, the Philadelphia Phillies are going to the World Series. Cole Hamels was named National League Championship Series MVP, winning two of the four games in very convincing manner. For several years, the Phillies have had some of the best sluggers in the majors, including Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley, and it's about time they got a shot at the world championship. The player who impressed me the most, however, was Shane Victorino, who got several clutch RBIs and made some great plays in center field. He is from the Aloha State of Hawaii, of all places.
Even with the addition of the phenomenally hot slugger Manny Ramirez to their lineup, the Dodgers just could not match the Phillies. I felt sorry for Dodgers' shortstop Rafael Furcal, who hustles his heart out but commits more than his share of errors, and for their manager Joe Torre, who dealt with more than his share of disappointment during his last few years with the Yankees.
So, hearty congratulations to the team from the City of Brotherly Love. I think it's fair to say that the best team won in this series, though in my personal opinion the best team overall this year was the Chicago Cubs. Unfortunately, the Cubbies have a bad habit of choking in the postseason -- much like the Braves during the 1990s and early 2000s.
On the Atlantic coast, meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays have shocked everyone by crushing the Boston Red Sox by margins of 8 and 9 runs at games in Fenway Park! The Rays have a 3-1 series lead, and we may know as early as this evening whether they win the AL pennant, which would be in only the eleventh year of their existence. No one should count the Red Sox out, however. After all, they came back from a 3-0 series deficit to beat the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, and came back from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Indians in the 2007 ALCS. Both times, as we all know, the Red Sox went on to win the World Series...
After another blog hiatus of several days, I have updated the Postseason scores at the bottom of the Baseball blog page.
For some odd reason (yet to be determined), the blog posts for October are not showing up properly on the Baseball blog page. What a time for me to be out of town and unable to debug the blog system. My apologies to regular visitors to this site.
NOTE: In my previous blog post, I mentioned "Citi Park," meaning "Citi Field," of course. I was writing in haste in an unfamiliar environment, and you know how it is... Thanks to ever-alert Brian Hughes for catching that. I hope this is sufficient "clarification" of my goof.