So it begins

Lifted from CJ Wilson's website at and used without permission.

Lifted from CJ Wilson's website at and used without permission.

I’ve missed baseball this week.  Tonight at 8 o’clock it’s back with the first game of the Rangers/Yankees ALCS.  CC Sabathia goes up against CJ Wilson, which should be story enough but we’ll get hit with how much we should love Josh Hamilton (I don’t*), how amazing Derek Jeter is (I disagree) and how the Yankees will be taking notes on Cliff Lee and vice versa since Lee will be a Yankee in 2011 (something I’m not convinced is true).  The good news is the ALCS is on TBS this year, which means no Joe Buck or Tim McCarver (don’t get too excited, we get them for the NLCS).  I’m disappointed that Don Orsillo didn’t get the nod to call these games and not thrilled that we get Ron Darling and John Smoltz doing color, but I’ll be appreciative of the small things.  At least the promos for Conan O’Brien’s new show are actually funny and not on the annoying level of the George Lopez or Frank Calliendo spots from years past.  And, so far, I haven’t seen Dane Cook once.  So there’s that.

There are two scenarios that I could see enjoying in the ALCS:  The first would be watching the Rangers sweep the Yankees.  This is always my preferred outcome of any series involving the Yankees.  My only problem with this scenario is that a quick ALCS coupled with a long NLCS might benefit the National League (I’m a believer in a team getting iced if they have to wait too long…see Colorado Rockies, 2007).  If the Phillies win the NLCS and the Rangers win the ALCS, I’m rooting for the Rangers, even with Hamilton, to win the World Series.  But if the Giants win the NLCS, I’m rooting for them.  (If it’s a Phillies/Yankees World Series, as I’ve stated before, I’m truly rooting for the meteor, but I’ll settle for the Phillies winning.)  The other scenario would be to have the ALCS go seven games with the teams beating the crap out of each other.  Long, painful games.  That’s always fun to watch as well…except that means we’d have to watch some Yankees wins which would make the ALCS decidedly UN-fun.  Oh well.  As long as the Yankees don’t make it to the World Series, I’ll consider whatever happens to be worth it.

Along these same lines, I actually received an email from someone I know who happens to be a Yankees fan wanting to know why I wouldn’t root for the Yankees.  “If the Red Sox were the better team, Yankees fans would root for THEM.”   I don’t believe that for a moment.  I also don’t apologize for my dislike of the Yankees.  If I disliked the Royals as much as I do the Yanks, I could understand people questioning it.  It’s the Yankees.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that people don’t like them (it also doesn’t take a genius to figure out WHY people don’t like them and, contrary to what most Yankees fans try to convince themselves is true, jealousy really doesn’t figure in for most people).  I’ll stick with rooting for the Red Sox as well as rooting for anyone but the Yankees.

One last postseason item:  If the baseball gods are paying attention, Mets fans have been kicked around long enough don’t you think?  It was bad enough they had to deal with a Yankees/Phillies World Series last year…please don’t abuse them again in the same way this year.

* I get a lot of grief about my feelings on Josh Hamilton.  Here’s the thing:  If you want me to be proud of or impressed by a player because they publicly talk about how they don’t do drugs or drink, I’ll take CJ Wilson over Josh Hamilton every chance I get.  I understand (all too well, really) that Hamilton has a drug problem and that it’s not an easy thing to control.  But, as I’ve stated many times, being a recovering addict makes you no more of a “hero” or good guy than they guy who didn’t make the decision to start using drugs (or alcohol or whatever else you become addicted to) in the first place.  I wish Hamilton well with his continued efforts at living a “clean” life.  I absolutely do.  But if I have to make a choice, I’d rather kids tried to emulate CJ Wilson than Josh Hamilton.  And it would be nice if MLB, MLBN, Fox Sports, ESPN and any other sports media outlet that will be going out of there way to make a hero of out of Hamilton this postseason would devote some time to his teammate.  His story might not be as dramatic as Hamilton’s but it’s, at the very least, just as impressive.

I will now try to refrain from mentioning Hamilton and his issues again this year.  We’ll see how that goes.

This week, in writing about Charlie Zink, I linked to an article about a new book that is out in which he is featured heavily.  I didn’t write about the book, though, so I’m taking a brief moment here to share this link, which is where you can buy the book, Knocking on Heaven’s Door: Six Minor Leaguers in Search of the Baseball Dream.  Jere Smith, of “A Red Sox Fan from Pinstripe Territory” reminded me yesterday in the comments that both he and Kelly O’Connor contributed photos that are used in the book (Congrats to both Kelly and Jere for the well-deserved publicity!).  So in support of not only Charlie, but Kelly and Jere as well, I encourage you to pick up a copy.   Also, I think any time we as fans can get a glimpse into the world of the players who don’t end up making the millions of dollars for playing it’s a good thing.  Many of us get so jaded into believing that playing baseball professionally is an automatic ticket to fame and fortune that these reminders of the men who work hard and don’t quite make it to the level of success that others do are important.

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