Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I am going to try something entirely unorthodox next year, but it can't be worse than anything I've done until this point. My World Series prediction is going to be based on two random teams linked in the off-season.

Sometimes I just get the impression the baseball gods are trying to give us a hint as to what's been pre-determined. Remember this past off-season, where all the talk was of an imminent trade between the Red Sox and Rockies? Todd Helton and Mike Lowell were the major players involved. The trade never happened, obviously, although various reports had it as very, very close to taking place a number of times. Well, if I had told you then that the Red Sox and Rockies would be their respective league's representatives in this year's World Series, I'd be considered a genius, no?

This isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened - that's how I know it's worth trying out. The trick is to pick the right relationship - because if you had said in January that the Reds would be playing the Athletics in the World Series based on the Kirk Saarloos-David Shafer trade, I'd think your reasoning was full of holes. But if you had recognized this pattern in late 1985, after the Mets and Red Sox swapped some players (the key names being Bobby Ojeda and Calvin Schiraldi), you would have guessed correctly the participants in the 1986 World Series.

Sometimes you have to look very closely. Following the 2000 season, Buck Showalter was fired by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The fact was mentioned back then that the last time he was fired by a team, they won the World Series. That team was the New York Yankees. Your 2001 World Series? That's right - Yankees-Diamondbacks.

I'm not saying this is seal-tight, bet-the-house, guaranteed victory. I'm just saying it's worth a shot. So when the Mets pick up a kid in a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers in late November, you'd better believe I'm forming a relationship between those two teams in my mind...and I just might take a closer look at those two teams when my spring training World Series picks roll around.

PEACE IN THE HOUSE SPONSORED BY DIRECTV: The Wife brought up a point the other day that hadn't really crossed my mind - it's a good thing the Mets didn't make the playoffs because if they advanced to the World Series, they'd be playing the Red Sox. And then this wouldn't be a very pleasant place. And she's right.

I hadn't really thought about that, though, because my mind was on other things: Like, I'm kind of glad the Mets didn't advance to the World Series (let alone the playoffs), because if the Mets ended up in the World Series with the Red Sox, that would be another wasted year on the ol' matchups chart. At least one good thing came out of this 2007 season - another box off the grid.

GAME ONE: Two things about Game 1 of the World Series - I can't imagine a better setting for a World Series game than Fenway Park. They should just play every World Series game here, whether or not the Red Sox are involved.

The second is, if Josh Beckett pitches well again in Game 1 of the World Series, start shining up his Hall of Fame plaque. He has at least two more starts in the post-season as of this writing, and if he continues to do what he's done to this point, he is in the conversation of "Best Post-Season Pitchers of All-Time". We'll revisit this, perhaps, as the season ends and we head into the off-season.

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