Thursday, October 6, 2016

If I was king of the postseason, 2016 edition

The postseason has barely begun and we've already established how ugly it can get. If you didn't know the Giants were going to win that game yesterday around about the sixth inning on, or called Conor Gillaspie "an unlikely hero," then you haven't been paying attention the last six years. If you have used "winner take all" in the last 36 hours, then you have contributed to the early ugliness.

But after two elimination games, we have our eight teams for the postseason. One unholy spawn, and seven others that automatically have become the "if that team wins the Series, I am happy" team.

But let's focus on the positive.

The Dodgers are in the playoffs for the fourth straight time since I have been doing this "king of the postseason" thing. They never emerged as NL champion in that time, but I feel a little better about this team. First of all, Don Mattingly has nothing to do with it. Secondly, this season there have been all kinds of strange happenings, odd comebacks and contributions from everywhere that remind me of the last Dodgers Series champion from 1988. The Dodgers have used 845 pitchers this year and still won a division title. I have hope.

Granted, the hope is much smaller now that a Giants-Dodgers NLCS is a possibility (and I really don't have much faith in the Cubs on their end). But hope does exist. And you know how devoid the postseason is of that since ... well, since the 1990s began.

Anyway, the Division Series is already under way and I'll be DVRing the Dodgers' first game against the Nationals on Friday, so let's get right to it: All the possible combinations of World Series matchups and who I'd like to win each one.

To clarify something misconstrued on earlier versions of this series: these are merely all of the possible World Series matchups in random order. I am not ranking them.

OK, so take a look. Surely you can read a sentence or two when ESPN is advertising that Alabama-Arkansas football game for the 96th time:

1. Dodgers vs. Blue Jays: "The Russell Martin Comes Home Series"

What's good about it: This was a possibility last season, too, and I had the same title for it. I've kind of lost track of Martin amid all of the high-struttin' that the Blue Jays do. But he's still there, not hitting very well, so I'd like to see him again.

What's bad about it: Again, the Dodgers would be closer to me than at any point in their postseason history since they were playing the Yankees, and I'd be stuck at home.

Who I'd want to win: Dodgers

2. Nationals vs. Indians: "The Political Series"

What's good about it: I don't think Fox wants this Series at all.

What's bad about it: Any World Series involving the Nationals mere weeks ahead of the presidential election will be awash in political commentary. Throw in a politically incorrect nickname for the opponent and I will probably avoid the op-ed section of any newspaper or website until mid-November.

Who I'd want to win: Indians

3. Cubs vs. Rangers: "The We're Worse Than You Series"

What's good about it: I can't complain about either of these teams. Since neither of them have had much Series success, it'd be nice to see one of them win.

What's bad about it: "Oh YEAH, we haven't won a World Series in over a century!" "OH YEAH, we haven't won a World Series in forever!"

Who I'd want to win: Rangers

4. Giants vs. Red Sox: "The Nobody Wants This But Everyone Expects This Series"

What's good about it: I am the rare non-Red Sox fan who will never have a problem with the Red Sox. Clear good guy and bad guy here.

What's bad about it: My god, I'll probably become a diehard hockey fan and forget baseball exists if the Giants win again.

Who I'd want to win: Red Sox

5. Dodgers vs. Indians: "The Revenge For That Unassisted Triple Play Series"

What's good about it: We will get to see old-time references to the 1920 World Series, if Fox knows what it's doing.

What's bad about it: The Indians will do the stuff that they did against the Dodgers in 1920. What a weird World Series. The Indians turned an unassisted triple play, hit the first World Series grand slam, and had a pitcher hit a home run. I might run away from home if that happens again.

Who I'd want to win: Dodgers

6. Nationals vs. Rangers: "The Team That Used To Be Montreal Vs. The Team That Used To Be Washington Series"

What's good about it: Hitting. Lots of hitting.

What's bad about it: More political references. Did you know George W. Bush used to own the Rangers? Did you? How about now? Did you now? Wait, Fox is going to tell you again.

Who I'd want to win: Rangers

7. Cubs vs. Red Sox: "The Sentimental Sap Series"

What's good about it: Two cities that I have been to and that I have enjoyed quite a bit, gooey, long-suffering fan bases aside.

What's bad about it: Fox is now paying MLB under the table to make sure this matchup happens (I'm joking! JOKING!). I don't know if I could get through this Series without being covered in sniveling goo. Stories about how this Cubs fan when he was 5 years old promised his dying great grand-dad that the Cubs would win it all sometime during his lifetime and now the Cubs fan is 80 years old and this might be his last chance. And how that Red Sox fan found a three-legged dog wearing a Todd Benzinger jersey in an alley way, nursed it to health and has brought it to Fenway Park every game to cheer on the boys. ... So much gagging.

Who I'd want to win: Red Sox

8. Giants vs. Blue Jays: "The They Could Have Moved To Toronto And Saved Me a Decade Of Misery Series"

What's good about it: I'd get to root for Canada more openly than I do for anything outside of some Olympic contests.

What's bad about it: The Giants nearly moved to Toronto in 1976, and I rue the day Bob Lurie prevented that from happening. There would be nothing more "Ugly American" than the Giants winning the World Series off a stupid wild-card berth again in Toronto.

Who I'd want to win: Blue Jays

9. Dodgers vs. Rangers: "The Night Owl Meets Play at the Plate Series"

What's good about it: This was a potential matchup last year, and like I said then, either Brian (who is scarce around these parts these days) or I would end long years of suffering.

What's bad about it: Someone's still going to be suffering.

Who I'd want to win: Dodgers

10. Nationals vs. Red Sox: "The, Dammit, This Could Have Been the Pedro Martinez Series"

What's good about it: I'd say "Bryce Harper in Fenway Park," but with interleague play he's probably played there 50 times already.

What's bad about it: This could have been the Expos vs. the Red Sox! Bill Lee sightings everywhere!

Who I'd want to win: Red Sox

11. Cubs vs. Blue Jays: "The More Cities I've Enjoyed Series"

What's good about it: I could bore people with the restaurants I've been to in each city.

What's bad about it: I'd be rooting for the Blue Jays but sort of rooting for the Cubs. It'd be a very wishy-washy series.

Who I'd want to win: Blue Jay ... er, Cubs ... er Blue Jays.

12. Giants vs. Rangers: "The Get It Right This Time Rangers Series"

What's good about it: Texas-style vengeance.

What's bad about it: This was one of the lowest-rated World Series ever, I believe, when it first happened in 2010. I can understand why. If the Giants win, I don't think I can look at a Texas Ranger again. Rangers fans probably won't be able to either.

Who I'd want to win: Rangers

13. Dodgers vs. Red Sox: "The Dodgers Get Revenge For Joe Kelly Series"

What's good about it: My two favorite teams from my childhood battling it out. The Dodgers could get revenge for 1916 and that Babe Ruth fellow.

What's bad about it: As I mentioned three years ago, this is a matchup between my favorite team and my brother's favorite team. Bets and bad blood await.

Who I'd want to win: Dodgers

14. Nationals vs. Blue Jays: "The Series Canada Would Lament Series"

What's good about it: This would have been the Expos vs. the Blue Jays. There is nothing good about this updated concoction.

What's bad about it: Nobody plays baseball in Olympic Stadium.

Who I'd want to win: Nationals

15. Cubs vs. Indians: "The Put the Guys In Old-Timey Knickers Series"

What's good about it: This seems like a series straight out of 1913. Lots of stories about Joe Tinker and Nap Lajoie, I hope.

What's bad about it: We'd have to take days off in a Series between two cities that are a state apart.

Who I'd want to win: Indians

16. Giants vs. Indians: "The Revenge for Vic Wertz" Series

What's good about it: The Indians get revenge for being swept in the 1954 Series. The ghost of Vic Wertz can finally rest.

What's bad about it: A repeat.

Who I'd want to win: Indians

Those are all the potential matchups.

I feel myself getting a little unsure about my rooting interests for some of these. The Cubs could creep into favored team status in a couple of these. The Nationals, too. I don't like that I just wrote that, considering both those teams are the Dodgers' mortal enemies right now. So it's just best that the Dodgers win the whole National League and we don't have to worry about that.

So, that kicks off the Real Postseason.

I hope you find a little bit of joy in it. I hope I do, too.

And one more thing:



  1.'re saying that either the Red Sox beat the Giants in a hypothetical WS matchup, or "My god, I'll probably become a diehard hockey fan and forget baseball exists if the Giants win again." I'd consider that a win-win.

    Also, I really do not want the Red Sox playing the Cubs in a WS. Not so much because I think my Sox would lose (though I do think that I'd be okay with the result) but because I really don't want us to be the bad guy. It would have been great in 2003, when both teams were equally cursed. Not now. In fact, if the Cubs get to the WS I want them playing Toronto. US vs. them. Cursebreakers vs. batflippers. Make it happen, MLB.

  2. I would love ver O see Redsox/Cubs. Wouldn't mind Bosox/ Dodgers either

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  4. I bet Fashion Shoes is a Giants fans.

    The Cubs/Red Sox would be great tv, but the narrative would be vomit worthy. I like the idea of the Blue Jays/Dodgers so I can see some of the best bat flippers in the world. Player wise I would probably root for Blue Jays/Nats since they are full of former Pirates. I also have man crushes on Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer.

  5. Sorry Chris...I'm an Orioles fan. The Red Sox are the bad guys already. :)

    I'm hoping for Nats/Cubs in the NLCS (Sorry NO), so then I don't care who wins. Don't want Giants, Red Sox, or really Rangers, because they've all been there before recently.

  6. Those one game things...I hate them. I'd rather the O's missed the playoffs than lose that game. I'll root for the Dodgers on the off (very very off) chance that Fox would bring Vin Scully in to do the last inning of the 7th game. That would be awesome.

  7. I'm really hoping for the Sentimental Sap series... with the Cubs winning it all. By the way... how much did you have to pay to sponsor Mad Bum's page? Whatever the cost... you got an excellent deal! ;D