What was Fox thinking?
Fans of Major League Baseball should be very happy. They got what they wanted to see. Hated enemies Boston and the New York Yankees are clashing once again to determine who will represent the American League in the World Series.
But last Wednesday night, not every fan was blessed with the opportunity to watch Game 2 of this version of the storied rivalry. The Fox television network inexplicably decided to schedule the National League Championship Series Game 1 at the exact same time, leaving people at home in the Midwest with basic television unable to witness the event. Simultaneously, the rest of the country, like Nevada, was powerless in viewing the St. Louis-Houston game without extra channels.
It’s bad enough that this league, like so many others, has completely sold out to television. But to deprive some of its fans the chance to see every League Championship Series game is inexcusable. There are only two series left. Certainly one of the two games should have been played in the afternoon. Shame on Major League Baseball and the Fox Network!
Predictions: The picks last week were solid, with victories in all four League Division Series. Had the bullpens maintained Johan Santana’s 5-1 lead for Minnesota and Roger Clemens’ 5-2 advantage for Houston in their respective Game 4s, the picks would have been perfect.
Boston vs New York – History has been unkind to the Boston Red Sox. Since winning the World Series in 1918 and trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees after the following season, Boston has lagged behind New York in championships to the tune of zero to 26. When these teams met last year, it was the same old story, with the Yanks’ Aaron Boone belting a dramatic extra-inning home run in Game 7 to capture the LCS and crush Boston hopes.
But this year was supposed to be different. With improved pitching and hitting, and Boston taking the teams’ season series for the first time since 1999, the Red Sox were actually favored in this League Championship.
Now, as they are saying today in New York, fuhgettaboutit. The Yankees are already up two games to none with Red Sox ace Curt Schilling requiring surgery on a torn tendon in his right ankle. Schilling lacked his usual velocity on pitches in Game 1 and experienced his worst playoff outing since 1993. Schilling will try using a brace and painkillers if possible, but he was doubtful as of Wednesday evening.
Boston has lost its last four ALCS, while New York has won its last seven. The seven instances when clubs have met in consecutive LCS, the winner the first time went on to also take the rematch. Boston would now need to win four out of five from New York to advance. In other words, the Red Sox have no shot, but the pick is not for a sweep, either. New York in 6.
St. Louis vs Houston – The St. Louis Cardinals are the best overall team in baseball. They’ve got pitching, hitting, defense and an excellent manager. They parlayed those strengths to register the best record in the league. It would seem wrong to go against this team.
But the better team doesn’t always win. Not knowing what happened in last night’s game makes things a little difficult to predict, yet the Astros seem to be a team of destiny. Forty-two-year-old pitcher Roger Clemens ended a brief “retirement” to lead what became the hottest club around. This year Clemens and Roy Oswalt attained success against St. Louis, going 4-0, and recently the Astros have been dominant in Houston, just having a 19-game home win streak snapped Sunday. Even though the last 11 NLCS Game 1 winners have gone on to the World Series, the call is for Houston in 7.
World Series – Four of the last eight World Series representatives were Wild Card teams, and Anaheim and Florida won the last two championships going down that road. The Astros could take Florida’s 2003 path by firing their manager in midseason, becoming a Wild Card, and beating the Yankees in the World Series. The pick is for Houston to beat New York in a big upset.
Joe Ellison is the Nevada Appeal Betting Columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.