Monday, October 19, 2015

The Oligopoly and the LCS

It looks like my playoff predictions have been busted pretty badly. But no matter. I can't predict when longstanding patterns will finally be broken. In this case, it was the pattern of the Cardinals and Giants alternating NL pennants. That ended this year, which meant that the "100-Win Curse" wasn't destined to fell St. Louis at the hands of the AL's only Oligopoly team.

There are now four teams left, of which I like three; those three are the Cubs, Royals, and Blue Jays. The one fly in the ointment is the Mets, an Oligopoly team that seemingly came out of nowhere this year. It is my sad prediction that that one team I dislike will win the World Series. I may have been wrong about a lot of stuff, but in this I feel fairly confident: The New York Mets are your 2015 World Series Champions.

Why? First of all, the Royals and Blue Jays aren't Oligopoly members, so they're out. Whoever wins the NL wins the World Series. Second of all, the only team standing in the Mets' way is the Cubs. I would love, love, to see the Cubs finally win the World Series so that we could stop talking about 1908, the Billy Goat Curse and all that other malarkey, but the Cubs not making it to the World Series has a much longer history than the decade-long Oligopoly. It breaks my heart to say that despite the patterns that have ended this October, that one might be too big to vanquish, at least right now.

This situation reminds me of 2011, where the Cardinals were the only team in the Final Four that I didn't like, and not only did they win the World Series, they did it in the most spirit-crushing way imaginable. Just for the heck of it, I'll predict that the Royals will find themselves in the same position as the 2011 Rangers; they'll be ready to redeem themselves from the previous year's World Series loss, and on the verge of winning, only to fall to a miracle comeback by an Oligopoly team. Those poor Kansas City fans.

A lot of people probably are surprised to see the Mets where they are, but not me. I have seen the Oligopoly, and I knew even when the Mets weren't good that they would be allowed to win it if they ever became good. I may get some of the particulars wrong, but the closer we get to the end, the easier it is to see who the winner will be, and it is clear to me that when this postseason ends, the fifth-best team in the NL will be hoisting the World Series trophy. The media will gush, because they seem to believe the Mets are a franchise that the entire country is endlessly fascinated by (though I certainly am not, and I don't know anyone else who is), and their fans might tone down the self-pity a little (if we're lucky, which we probably won't be).

Oh baseball. This Oligopoly has made things all too predictable. I hate it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Playoff Predictions 2015

Would this be a real baseball blog if it didn't make predictions for how the postseason would play out? Like all other fans, I have a duty to make my picks. I'll lay them out here and explain them below.

Stupid Wild Card Game That Nobody Wanted:

Yankees over Astros
Cubs over Pirates


Cardinals over Cubs
Dodgers over Mets
Yankees over Royals
Rangers over Blue Jays


Cardinals over Dodgers
Yankees over Rangers

World Series:

Yankees over Cardinals

OK, so now the big question is how I came to the conclusion that this mediocre Yankee team is destined to take home the hardware yet again.

When making playoff predictions, the first thing to consider (at least for me) is the Oligopoly. Of this year's crop, the AL has one Oligopoly team (the Yankees), and the NL has four of them (all but the Pirates). So we know that only those five have any shot of winning the World Series.

This decade has seen an alternating pattern between the Giants and Cardinals for the NL pennant, so if that pattern continues, it's the Cardinals' turn this year. However, the Cardinals have an outstanding team this year, and if you look at the pattern since the 1980s, the Cardinals' outstanding playoff teams never win the World Series. Their less-impressive teams are always the ones that win the whole shebang. So we know up front that the Cardinals will represent the NL in the World Series and lose.

The Yankees are the only Oligopoly team in the AL playoff picture, so that makes them the only team the Cardinals can lose to. Hence, the Yanks will beat the Cards in the Fall Classic.

What a rotten ending to this season, huh?

Oldest Ringless Players: 2015

Another postseason is here, which means it's time to look at the Oldest Ringless Player for each championship contender. You know the drill. 40-man roster, oldest player without a championship ring. Here we go:

Chicago Cubs: Fernando Rodney (March 18, 1977)
Houston Astros:Chad Qualls (August 17, 1978)
Kansas City Royals: Jeremy Guthrie (April 8, 1979)
Los Angeles Dodgers: Joel Peralta (March 23, 1976)
New York Mets: Bartolo Colon (May 24, 1973)
New York Yankees:Carlos Beltran (April 24, 1977)
Pittsburgh Pirates: Aramis Ramirez (June 25, 1978)
St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Belisle (June 6, 1980)
Texas Rangers: Adrian Beltre (April 7, 1979)
Toronto Blue Jays: LaTroy Hawkins (December 21, 1972)

Funny how these lists often end up being full of journeyman relief pitchers. It really takes the fun out of making them.