Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mike Celizic is Too Old For This Stuff

Firejoemorgan.com often attacks MSNBC.com’s Mike Celizic, calling him “Hat Guy” because he’s always wearing weird hats in pictures and video, but I’ve decided to take a shot at his most recent article, where he gives his playoff picks, sort of. His words in bold, mine not.

Overlooked Phillies have look of champions

Are the Phillies really overlooked? 6 out of 10 ESPN.com experts picked them to win their opening series. I think it’s kind of a wash.

NL teams have had just as much success as AL in World Series lately

It should be interesting to see how he backs this one up.

We go into every postseason with the same presumption: The American League is the gold standard in baseball. It dominates interleague play, it wins the All-Star Game, it’s got all the offense and there ain’t no way those pansy, double-switching National Leaguers are going to beat them in the World Series.

Maybe I’m not watching enough NL games, but are they really still doing a lot of double switches? I mean, I guess during the playoffs they might, so whatever.

It’s time we disabused ourselves of that notion, the same way we finally managed to shake the idea that wild card teams can’t win in October.

Small Sample Size Alert! Here it comes…

The fact is that in the six years since the Yankees’ reign of terror ended with their 2000 thrashing of the Mets, the National League has won three titles — the Diamondbacks in 2001, Marlins in 2003 and Cardinals in 2006.

Yes, 3 wins out of 6. That means everything is equal.

That’s the same number the American League has won.

Man, it’s a good thing he pointed that part out. I was trying to calculate it. It’s such a huge sample size that I was entering the data into a spreadsheet to see who had more.

To me, that says that all that talk of AL superiority isn’t worth the electrons it takes to transmit them to you.

To me, you’re an idiot.

There’s only one truism in baseball that is actually true: come October, you can throw regular season records out the window.

No dispute here, but that doesn’t change that AL TEAMS ARE FAR SUPERIOR.

[snip] So if you’re an NL fan, don’t let the experts get you down. In fact, the more they tell you your league has no chance, the happier you should be.

You’re gonna have to explain this one, Mike. So the “experts” all say my team sucks and won’t win and this should make me happy?

And we’ll probably find out in the first round which of them is going to the World Series. That’s because the two hottest teams in baseball — the Phillies and the Rockies — are matched up in the NLDS. The one that emerges already has an almighty head of steam worked up. And after what they went through just to get to the postseason, it’s hard to see either come up against a situation that’s going to make them gasp for breath.

But you just said that anything can happen. This is infuriating. So you’re saying that the 162 game regular season means nothing come playoff time, but the 5 game ALDS means everything for the next 2 rounds. How does FJM do this with each of your articles and not have a mental breakdown?

But if I have to pick one, I’m taking the Phillies. I’ve got two reasons: they have a lights-out, hard-throwing kid at the top of the rotation and a lineup that is the scariest and most explosive group this side of the Bronx.

I agree about Jamie Moyer Cole Hamels. No doubt about that. But Colorado’s offense nearly matches Philly’s in every meaningful offensive category.

Start with the pitcher, 23-year-old lefty Cole Hamels. After spending part of the year on the disabled list, he’s 15-5 on the year and 5-1 in his last 10 starts. He’s averaged nearly a strikeout per inning pitched, doesn’t surrender many walks (fewer than two per game) and his hits plus walks per inning pitched comes out to 1.12.

That’s called WHIP, Mike. We all know what it is.

If he reminds you of anyone, it’s got to be the young, 1995 version of Randy Johnson, who carried the Seattle Mariners into the playoffs and past the Yankees. They fell to Cleveland in the ALCS, but Cleveland was the most powerful team in the game back then. This year, the most powerful team in the NL is Philadelphia.

Johnson’s Mariners beat a weaker Yankee team. And generally, good pitching will beat “powerful” hitting. Look at Pedro Martinez during the 1999 All-Star game for the best example, or even during game 5 of the 1999 ALDS against Cleveland.

The Phillies rotation isn’t that strong behind Hamels, but neither is the Rockies’. What’s important is that he leads off the series, which means he can start a deciding game. With the rest of the pitching equally iffy on both teams, that’s all they need. And Philadelphia’s bullpen, which was rocky for most of the season, really came together down the stretch.

He’s helping to make my point here. The Phillies actually rank near the bottom of the NL in most meaningful pitching statistics while the Rockies rank in the middle. Colorado’s ERA is .41 better than Philly’s.

The second reason is that lineup that’s headed by shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who may be the best in his position in the league and is also a strong MVP candidate. He’s one of the few people in baseball history to have at least 20 each of doubles, triples and home runs; he drove in 94 runs as a lead-off hitter, stole 41 bases, scored 139 runs. If there’s a better lead-off hitter in the game, I’d like to see him.

Yes, every year we have a new guy who is the best leadoff hitter in the game. Jimmy Rollins is this year’s guy. But he doesn’t get on base enough to be considered a “great” leadoff hitter, as prototypical leadoff hitters go. But he had a year very much like Johnny Damon’s 2004, where he did a little of everything and everyone blows it out of proportion.

(Arizona’s) rotation is anchored by Brandon Webb, probably the best starter in the playoffs this year.

You can’t compare NL starters to AL starters. Just ask Derek Lowe and Bronson Arroyo. Webb is surely one of the best in the NL, but Hamels and Zambrano might argue with you over that one.

But they’re going to find it hard to beat the kind of offense the other playoff teams can bring to the table.

No, they’re not. Say it with me now: Great pitching beats great hitting.

And nobody can root against the Cubs, who are on that 99-year schneid.

Yes I can. I hate the cubs, just like most of the country.

Chicago could turn out to be this year’s Cardinals, a team that won just 85 games

Geez, I could have sworn they only won 83.

- eight more than they lost

Again, thanks for doing the math for me. You think we’re all morons, don’t you?

But if I have to pick a team, I’m taking Philadelphia. They’re hot, they’re powerful, they’re hungry.

Right, and Colorado’s not hot, having won like 86 of their last 87 games. And they’re pretty powerful. And I swear I saw Todd Helton begging for food outside of my work earlier.

It’s their time.

Duh Duh! (Law and Order sound)

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