As many of you may know, Justin Rebello and I are exchanging emails about the MLB playoffs. Many of said exchanges can be found on his blog, but it looks like the picks are ending up on mine (and no, we didn't actually plan this out; that would make things too easy).

Anyway, just so I can stave off any negative emails, I want to get this out of the way: we know many of you don't like baseball and that many of you hate the email exchange. And we don't care. We're baseball fans. Or, as reader Courtney so eloquently put it, “Reading your blog is like dating a baseball fan. I just leave you alone for most of October, all the while secretly hoping your team will get eliminated so you can finally start paying attention to what's important again.”

Anyway, here's a crap load of words that even Court Sullivan won't read (and he owns this site).

From Nathan DeGraaf


How's tricks? I hope Rhode Island is as great as I remember it (which is entirely possible since I've only driven through it without stopping). Anyway, it looks like the gimpy ass Cardinals are in and the poor, unfortunate New York Yankees just couldn't make it. Which leads me to my first baseball-related issue.

What will George do?

Steinbrenner's gonna fire some motherfuckers and I can't wait. Word on the street (and by that, I mean “something my buddy Main told me”) is that the Yanks are willing to eat half of A-Rod's contract in return for getting him the hell out of there. This begs the question, would you take the purple lipped puss for that price? I say yes. A man who bats .300 is a man who bats .300 (that was my Joe Morgan impression right there). But you may have a different opinion.

Moving on to the picks.

Detroit def Oakland 4-2
Jim Leyland is one of my favorite managers. I don't think they've built a team he can't get to the post season (outside of Colorado, I mean). By the way, I think I would pay $200 just to eat dinner with Jim Leyland, Ozzie Guillen and Lou Piniella. Provided they all got drunk. I mean, could you think of three more entertaining managers in baseball? Are there any other managers you'd even want to see drunk? I can't think of one.

St. Louis def New York 4-3
You and I both know this isn't happening, but I have to pick the Cards for every series. It's in my contract. By the way, did you see Grady Little's under-managing in Game 3 of the NLDS? He should just list, “leaving pitchers in to get shelled” as a special skill on his resume. The Dodgers would have been better off without any manager at all.

Okay, if you would be so kind as to answer these questions and give me your picks, we can keep PIC's least read comedy feature moving through October.

I received several messages from friends and family bitching about the announcing in this series. What's your least favorite announcing moment and why? (I have too many to list.)

Pretend for one moment that you're Steinbrenner. What do you do to the Yankees?

From Justin Rebello


We made it to the LCS and nobody got hurt. I was a steady 1-3 (compared to your 2-2) with my picks, and am happy to say I watched at least parts of every playoff game so far. Never underestimate the power of unemployment. Anyway, I'll start with an answer to your questions:

If I were Steinbrenner:

As a Red Sox fan, I'd fire Torre, let him go coach the Sox, then void Jeter's contract and let him go play shortstop for the Bosox. That would likely be the baseball version of the apocalypse. Bob Ryan and Mike Lupica would write 5,000 columns apiece. Jay Mariotti's head would explode. And Bill Plaschke would pretend it's not important because the Dodgers or Angels weren't involved. Anyway, in doing what's best for the Yankees, I'd keep Torre and fire Cashman. Isn't it Cashman's fault the series-saver was supposed to be Jaret Wright? Isn't it Cashman's fault the team's lineup currently looks like so:

Overpaid Whiny Puss
Robinson Cano

Where are the scrappy Brosius, O'Neill-type guys? Sure, the teams looks great on paper, but the games aren't played on paper. My dad put it perfectly: “If you were a Yankee hitter, wouldn't you say to yourself, ‘I'm making $15 mil regardless, and if I don't hit, one of these other guys will'”? Where's the motivation? Also, you can't expect to win with a rotation that includes a Chink, two guys whose combined age is 81, and Jaret Wright. Especially Wright… he can't even spell his first name correctly.

Ok, enough about that shithole, on to the announcing question. Before I answer, can we agree that it's not that difficult to announce baseball? In fact, it's likely the easiest sport to call games for. It moves slowly, there aren't a lot of difficult names to pronounce, and it's very easy to pretend you know what you're talking about. So then why is it so hard to find announcers who command any semblance of respect? Al Leiter, as a color analyst, is terrific. He's the only baseball guy I can recall off the top of my head who taught me anything about baseball. The other key to being a color man is to be objective. They are, allegedly, journalists, designed to inform and educate the public and not play sympathetic fan-boys for their teams. When Tino Martinez predicted the Yankees would win the ALDS over the Tigers, his rationale was the Yanks would be aided by “the ghosts.” Think about that for a second. Here's a guy paid a lot of money for a relevant baseball opinion and he evokes superstition as the basis for his reasoning. What if Kevin Millar was on Baseball Tonight and picked the Red Sox in something because he thought the Green Monster would scare opposing hitters? After I saw Tino pull his deer-in-headlights Yankee-lover routine on ESPN, I actually changed the channel to Lifetime looking for a more thoughtful opinion on the playoffs, and sure enough, I found it.

Speaking of blatant Yankee-supporting, of which Tim McCarver used to be the grandmaster, boy did Joe Morgan burst on to the scene this past week. Not for nothing, but we don't need a 20-minute defense of the Yankee lineup DURING a fucking Cardinals game? Tell me about the Cardinals, or at least discuss the greatness of Pujols for the 5,109th time. I have an inkling that if you asked Joe which Molina brother played catcher for St. Louis, and gave him four guesses, he still wouldn't know.

Anyway, the worst announcing moment in my history as a sports fan came during Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS: the Pedro-Zimmer game. It was Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, the Hitler-Musselini of baseball announcing. For starters, McCarver incorrectly read Pedro's lips during his argument with Jorge Posada, incorrectly claiming Pedro was threatening to bean Posada during his next at-bat. After Manny overreacted to a high Clemens' pitch, McCarver spent the next ten minutes bashing Pedro, particularly for throwing down Zimmer. Buck, to his credit, asked for a replay, which clearly showed Zimmer coming to take a swing at Pedro. What did McCarver say? “My bad”? No. He said nothing. He knew he was wrong, and it was obvious to everyone watching what a Yankee-phile he was. I don't mind the Jeter bias, because Jeter's a great player, but who the fuck is McCarver to openly shit on a team during the playoffs? Ironically, McCarver spent half a season as the Red Sox backup catcher. Too bad Frank Costello wasn't around to shoot him in the head with “Gimme Shelter” playing in the background.

Goddamnit Nate, why do you get me all worked up like this?

On to the picks:

Detroit def. Oakland, 4-1
I agree with you on Leyland. That whole freshman vs. JV thing was perfect motivation. Another reason I like the Tigers: Sean Casey spraying fans with champagne following the Game 4 win. Teams like that don't just go away. Besides, Oakland shut down a glorified National League lineup to get to the LCS; the Tigers shut down “The Greatest Lineup in the History of Mankind,” or as Joe Morgan calls it, “Mmph” (it's hard to talk with Derek Jeter's dick in your throat).

NY Mets def. St. Louis, 4-3
A lot of ifs here: If Carpenter was the Game 1 starter, and thusly would start thrice in this series, I could easily shift this the other way. If I was promised Tony LaRussa would be shipped to Siberia during the NLCS, I could pick the Cards. If John Maine realizes “Hey I'm John Maine,” I could see the Cards pulling it off. If any of those things happen, then I could definitely see the Mets fans crying into their moustaches.

And since I have nothing to add, I've noticed something strange about Cardinals fans. They're the only relentlessly optimistic fan base in American baseball. Think about it, a lot of teams (i.e. the Red Sox, the Cubs) try to stay positive but in the back of their minds expect the worst. Franchises like the Dodgers and Angels just don't give a shit. Even Yankees fans, many of whom have seen at least four titles in their lifetime, think the world is about to collapse on them. That may sound farfetched, but follow this link ( It's a chronicle of the 2004 ALCS game-by-game, splicing a Yankees message board with the Red Sox message board. Take a look toward the end of Game 4 and then all through Game 5. Yankee fans acted like Leonardo DiCaprio during the last hour of “The Aviator.”

Cardinals fans, by contrast, always seem happy. Is it because everyone has a ready supply of Budweiser at all time (for Christ's sake, even the moon looked drunk over St. Louis)? I need to know these things.

Two answers from me, one question for you.

Envision a scenario that could plausibly play out during the upcoming ALCS and/or NLCS that, if it were to occur, would be considered the Biggest Story in Baseball History. It has to be a relatively realistic scenario, not aliens coming to Detroit to bum a cig off Leyland or someone pitching to Pujols with first base open. Think about it and get back to me. Until then, let's all continue to laugh at the Melrose Place that is Yankee Stadium.

From Nathan DeGraaf

Okay, to paraphrase Joe Morgan, in the interest of keeping this piece under 3,000 words, I'm going to try my hardest to keep this piece under 3,000 words.

The Biggest Story in Baseball History would have to involve at least one death. So, if one of the Detroit fireball pitchers were to kill Albert Pujols with a fast ball, I think that would qualify. So far, the only person to die on a baseball field was an overweight umpire (and by overweight, I mean “roughly the size of a Port-O-John”). So yeah, I think that would do it.

Baseball announcing has gone to shit. And I think the biggest problem is that these guys feel they need to talk all the time. They don't. Half the time, I would rather just hear the crowd noise. I mean, this is the only art form out there that just gets steadily worse. But hey, at least it's consistent.

The reason that Cardinal fans seem so optimistic is because they're Midwesterners. Midwesterners are, for the most part, nice people who take responsibility for their own actions and root for their teams until their teams let them down. They have no reason to be pessimistic until the season is over.

(And believe me, if the Cards get eliminated, you don't want to be within twenty miles of the St. Louis County line. Those people turn into the walking dead after elimination. It's just sad.)

Also, you know all that crap you hear about Cardinal fans being the best fans in baseball? It's true. A few stories to illustrate my point? Why not?

When I was nine, I was at a game where some schmuck for the Mets took a no hitter into the eighth against us. He lost it to a bloop single and then his manager pulled him. And when his manager pulled him, we gave the visiting sumbitch a standing ovation (keep in mind, I was wearing a T-shirt with the words, “The Mets are Pond Scum” on it). I asked my dad why we were cheering and he said, “because he did a hell of a job.”

Fast forward to a month ago, when I took my niece to her first Cardinal game. It was Carpenter versus Matt Morris. Morris used to pitch for us (now he's a Giant). And he was great for us. And we traded him. And when he came to the plate to bat against Carpenter, he got a standing ovation (in fact, Carp stepped off the mound so we could spend a little more time applauding Morris), which caused my niece to ask why we were applauding him, to which I responded, “Because he did a helluva job for us.” That's Cardinal fans, they know good baseball and they respect who helped them. They're just nice fans.

Anyway, here's hoping the Mets lose two more pitchers. I'll take any edge I can get.