World Series Predicto -- Rays versus Phillies

[Yes, I know theses lasses were featured in an earlier playoffs post but they're just too good to pass up on and remind us all what's great about having a Florida team in the World Series.]

Tampa Bay Rays versus Philadelphia Phillies

So here we are, with the World Series beginning tonight in Tampa Bay. Well, more accurately, in St. Petersburg. I've never really understood why they're called "Tampa Bay" since "Tampa Bay" isn't even a city. Tampa Bay is just that... a freakin' bay. I can't think of another pro sports franchise that's named for a body of water instead of either a city or a state -- can you?

And raise your hand if you had Rays-Phillies in the World Series. Now, if your hand is up, close it into a fist... and now bring it down quickly and slam it into your testicles. Because you're lying and we punch liars in the balls.

What's even better, though, is that to mock the "experts" on ESPN, we don't even have to go back to the beginning of the season... we can go back to... October 1. Of 2008. When they were all asked to make their playoff predictions, now with the helpful knowledge of which eight teams actually made it in. And backed with the knowledge one assumes baseball analysts at ESPN have -- which is to say, thousands of baseball games' worth of viewing during the season, thus knowing more about the teams in play than any of us schmos. And out of 18 "experts," here's their collectively wonderful showing:

-Zero of them got the World Series matchup correct.
-Zero of them picked the Phillies to make the World Series.
-Two (out of eighteen!) picked the Rays to make it to the World Series.
-ONE (Keith Law) picked the Rays to win the World Series.

So if the Rays win it, Keith Law is officially the only guy at ESPN who knows anything about baseball. And if the Phils win, then they all should be fired.

As for me, I thought the Rays were the AL champs when the playoffs started -- really! -- because they were clearly better than the ChiSox and I thought that, in the end, they had outplayed Boston all year and would have home field... plus Boston was really banged up. I had the NL all wrong, but hey, so what. Each round I've been 50% correct, which should qualify me to be at ESPN.

As for this series, it's hard for me to pick because I've been so consistently wrong about the Phils. They just don't strike me as that good of a team, plus they've got half-witt Charlie Manual running the show and I just can't imagine him winning a World Series.

In addition, the Phils were a second place team for almost all of the past two seasons and if the Mets were not complete and utter chokers wouldn't have made the playoffs (or won the division) in either of the past two seasons. Think about that -- if the Mets don't make an historic collapse last September and then follow it up with another nearly-historic collapse this September, then the Phillies aren't even a playoff team and Manual is probably history by now.

But the Mets did collapse twice and the Phils are here. So then you look at how they've performed in the playoffs. Well, last year, they barely showed up and were probably spent from chasing down the Mets, and they got swept in the first round against the Rockies. Then this season they got to face the Brewers -- who were the ones who eeked by the Mets for the Wild Card and, thus, had to be exhausted, too. Hell, CC Sabathia was pitching on three days rest for a month. And then they faced a talented Dodgers team that... well, how talented were they? They were a .500 team all season until Manny arrived. And then they become a trendy pick. So if you want to be anti-Philly, it's easy to feel they haven't had to go through much to get here, plus it's not like anyone on the team has eye-popping stats this postseason.

On the Rays side, they actually did have to go through a hot Chicago team and then through a really determined Red Sox team that is always a tough out. They also held off the Sox and Yanks all season and, if ever a young team was battle tested, this was it.

Sure, it's possible that they'll let down and just be happy to be there. But I don't think so. Not after taking out the Red Sox and coming within a few outs of humbling the Sox at Fenway in three straight. After that, I don't think there's anything in Philly that's going to scare them.

As crazy as it sounds to be talking about the Rays being in the World Series, start getting used to the idea of the Rays being World Series champions.

Rays in 5.

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