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a) you take the whole exercise seriously
b) you are "not giving the other team proper respect," or
c) you're saying the other team "has no chance"
Now, I typically cut more slack to lobotomy survivors, but yeesh ... I'm simply aghast at the number of yahoos who heard our "Baseball Today" crew choose the Padres, pick the Yankees, and equate that with our claiming that the Cardinals and Tigers were a bunch of sick nuns. (Uh-oh, do sick nuns have iPods, too?) Yes, 16 of 17 ESPN analysts, including me, picked San Diego, and 17 of 17 took the Yankees. But this did not mean that we collectively thought the Cardinals had a 1 in 17 shot, and the Tigers none at all. We did, to varying degrees, discuss how the Cardinals and Tigers could win, even if the scales appeared to tilt against them.
|This Week's Schedule|
Monday: Jerry Crasnick
Tuesday: Gary Gillette
Wednesday: Rob Neyer
Thursday: Steve Phillips
Friday: Rob Neyer
Like the Division Series themselves, our shows saw some errors, some solid at-bats, and overall, some (at least we thought) harmless fun. Below is the week that was, the rights and wrongs, the best and worst. Seriously, send us your predictions on any game or series, complete with analysis, and we'll get the best comments on the air. Just don't forget to include your e-mail address, huh?
Wrong: "I think La Russa is very, very good at getting his teams into the postseason. I also think that sometimes in the postseason he's been outmanaged, and other times, the fact that his teams aren't really that strong, like the Cardinals in 2004, comes to the fore when he faces a really good team. This year, of course, he's got the weakest team he's ever brought to the postseason. ... If they advance past the Padres, it'll be pretty shocking." (Gary Gillette)
Tigers stun Yankees
Right: "I'm taking Justin Verlander. I think he's gonna throw five or six pretty good innings, come out with it 3-2 or something, and Joel Zumaya's gonna be able to come in for two innings, because he is rested. I think Joel Zumaya's gonna be a real force today. I think he might end up being the story." (Alan Schwarz, before Game 2)
Wrong: "[Verlander] has 14 innings since Sept. 7, right? It's funny, people have talked about how tired he is. It might be more the fact that he hasn't had enough work. ... I really don't particularly like his odds against that Yankee lineup. The Yankees faced him earlier this season and basically clocked him, and that was around the time when he was pitching great. (Jerry Crasnick, before Game 2)
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Wrong: "I think the Dodgers are gonna give the Mets a heck of a run. ... This is before the Orlando Hernandez injury. I think the Mets are ripe for a fall, and I think the Dodgers are considerably more dangerous than people are giving them credit for." (Alan Schwarz)
A's rock Twins
Right: "Dan Haren can run that fastball up there very, very well. I'm going Oakland to finish this series off in a sweep today. I think going back home, power arm on the mound, Brad Radke's a great story ... but he has the type of stuff that gets knocked around in the postseason." (Steve Phillips, before Game 3)
Wrong: "The Twins -- they can win without Santana. If they couldn't, they wouldn't have done as well as they did in the second half. ... I'll take the Twins [today] with Joe Mauer having a big day." (Rob Neyer, before Game 2)
"I actually like the Cardinals in a short series, especially against the Padres. The first round is the singular round Tony La Russa's clubs are proficient at winning. They can do the short ones."
--Gavin Morgan (Portland, Ore.)
"I've heard a lot about how it's better to have hard throwers in the postseason than finesse pitchers. ... Personally, I'd love to have an experienced Greg Maddux over a young flamethrower any day."
--Steve (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
|23||13||.639||3-0; Nails Kenny Rogers and Chris Young wins|
|25||19||.568||1-2; Verlander and Weaver both surprise him|
|23||18||.561||0-3; Freefall continues with good analysis, bad picks|
|19||21||.475||0-3; A-Rod struggles in six hole, and Santana loses|
|Standings through Oct. 9; minimum five weeks of predictions|
Alan Schwarz is the host of ESPN.com's Baseball Today and the senior writer of Baseball America. His book, "The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination With Statistics," can be ordered on Alan's Web site.