We here at Walkoff Walk pretend to know everything about baseball, but when it comes to blatant homerism, we know nothing past the Yankees and Red Sox. Therefore, we've enlisted Daniel McQuade of Philadelphia Will Do to talk up the Phillies and their chances of winning the whole stick of butter.
So Dmac, why will the Phillies win the World Series?
Every year before the World Series a bunch of newspaper columnists from the two competing cities write horrible, unfunny crap about the opposing city. And now that my local baseball nine is back in the World Series, I'd like to join the party!
Unfortunately, the Phillies are playing the Tampa Bay Rays this October. And, really, what is there to joke about the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area? That area is almost as bad as Kissimmee-St. Cloud. It's so crappy it's where Scientology makes its headquarters. It's so crappy it's where the losingest baseball team of all time goes for Spring Training. It's so crappy the hockey arena is named after a newspaper. What the hell is a newspaper?
And, yes, the area's baseball team is named after a body of water (Tampa Bay) and line segments that extend forever in one direction (Rays). I suppose I could go all Gregg Easterbrook and call them the "St. Petersburg Rays," but then I'd be as wrong on my prediction as Easterbrook was on global warming. And Judaism1.
According to its Wikipedia page, a "2004 survey by the NYU newspaper ranked Tampa as a top city for 20-somethings." Truly, a higher honor was never awarded to a city than to get a "top city" ranking from the Washington Square News. Hey, what does The Daily Pennsylvanian think of Tampa? Or maybe The Daily Iowan?
There's also a town in the Tampa Bay area named Land O'Lakes, presumably after the butter.
I don't really watch much American League baseball, as I have taste. According to this story on the Rays' official website, manager Joe Maddon kept the team in it with his "chronic positive thinking." I don't really want t mock a man with such a serious chronic condition, so I'll just move on to the players on the field. (If you'd forgotten, the topic of this blog post is: baseball.)
Predicting sports is easy, though. It takes a real man to tell you not just why the Phillies will win but how. As such, here's a game-by-game recap of how the Phillies take home their first World Series crown since 1980.
Game 1: Phillies 10, Rays 3
Ryan Howard hits a first-inning grand slam against Scott Kazmir and Cole Hamels pitches seven strong innings to give the Phillies a 1-0 series lead. Pat Burrell, though, goes 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, distracted by the sadness of the impending loss of Zima.
ESPN's lead story: Manny Ramirez and Scott Boras in the Budweiser Hot Seat!
Game 2: Phillies 2, Rays 1
The Rays load the bases in the first three innings, but hit into double plays to end all three without scoring any runs. Two copy editors at the Philadelphia Inquirer get into a fistfight afterward, wondering if they still have to use the stupid Knight-Ridder style of "doubleplay." Seriously, people, it's two words. We have enough compound words already; we don't need to make any more.
The announcers continue to harp on the one thing they know about Shane Victorino (he's Hawaiian). Victorino, though, plays the part by making a nice catch while wearing a Hula skirt and dancing the Luau.
ESPN's lead story: A-Rod and Kobe Bryant team up for a charity basketball match... AGAINST THE BOSTON RED SOX?!
Game 3: Rays 8, Phillies 1
Jamie Moyer gives up 15 first-inning runs but the Phillies pitch so well the rest of the way the Rays only end up with 8. The Phils, though, can't get score much, especially after Joe Maddon -- using these even wackier glasses he ordered out of a 1963 Spider-man comic -- convince the umpires that in NL parks in the World Series the AL team is allowed to have a "short fielder."
Meanwhile, Joe Buck is morally outraged by a "Marry me Chase!" sign: "That man is already married! That is a disgusting act by that fan. And it's unfortunate that we have that on our air live." Tim McCarver continues to refer to the Phillies as "a group of geese" for some reason.
After the game, Shane Victorino spews out lava, destroying several villages. Chase Utley, mired in a slump, realizes it's been a while since he ate any brains and really gets down to his roots as a young zombie boy before the next game.
ESPN's lead story: Chris Berman's All-Time Greatest Nickname Countdown, Nos. 975-950.
Game 4: Phillies 7, Rays 0.
Joe Blanton pitches a complete game shutout and Chase Utley hits a pair of homers powered by the brains of the living; both are immediately inducted into the Mmm... Hall of Fame.
ESPN's lead story: Jayson Stark's "A Modest Proposal": What if we just have our own Alternate World Series with Boston vs. Manny?
Game 5: Phillies 1, Rays 0.
The Phillies win the World Series on a walkoff walk in the bottom of the ninth by Ryan Howard, who had switched to a new bat (actually Jared from Subway) for the final game. Shane Victorino celebrates by thanking the Hawaiian Shark God. Joe Buck asks Brad Lidge postgame if he'll ever be able to recover from giving up a homer to Albert Pujols.
ESPN's lead story: Sports Guy Asks His Friends Kronk, J-Dawg And Sweaty D. to rank the NBA teams using quotes from "Caddyshack II."
And that, my friends, is how the Phillies will win2.
Addendum: Hey, look, my dad made the same pick! I wonder if he thinks Ryan Howard is going to use Jared from Subway as a bat, too.
1 When Easterbrook's column returned to ESPN.com, Deadspin wrote a headline that was something like, "Gregg Easterbrook now free to hate Jews at ESPN." A few minutes later it was gone. Come on, Leitch, that was the funniest thing you ever wrote and you wimped out or caved in to Denton or something. I guess what I'm trying to say here is the only thing worse than Gregg Easterbook's political writing is his football column.
2 Sorry I didn't make any Rays jokes3; I'm far too lazy to look up who's on the team or anything. On the plus side, I didn't make any Eva/Evan Longoria jokes, so at least there was that.
3 We're using a very loose-definition of "jokes" here4
4 R.I.P. David Foster Wallace.