World Series diary

Taking a cue from my friend Matt, and putting additional blame on what I’m calling “The Lost Season,” I’m a little late posting my postseason predictions (and good reads) this year… Sorry for that. I’ve been busy.

So let’s review. Going into the post season, I predicted a Phillies-Yankees World Series. That part I got right.

But I also predicted the Phillies would win the World Series in seven games. That part I got wrong. And never posted for the record on this blog. But it’s true.

I never got around to posting my (organized) thoughts on this blog as the games were being played … But as always, I was taking notes on the side. So here I present my “World Series Diary” from some of the raw, unfinished notes I took …

Which is, really, the essence of my blogging anyway …

As the World Series approached, and the buzz got louder, an interesting thing happened -- I started getting really excited.

That's interesting because I've written off 2009 as arguably the most un-interesting and least memorable season of my baseball-loving life. On top of that, I have little love for the Yankees, and I have little interest in the Phillies -- a team that, in recent years, I've found to be dull and boring. (See: 2008 Postseason ... Oh, how I miss 1993.)

Then there's Kates, who said while we watched Game 1, "I don't like either of these teams. I want them both to lose."

And yet, somewhere along the way, I put my biases aside and began paying attention to just how good and sound these two teams are ... The Phillies lack the star power of the glittery Yankees and they go about their business fairly quietly, but they can play -- really well.

As for the guys in pinstripes, I haven't felt this much respect and admiration for the Yankees -- albeit, ounces of respect -- since the days of Brosius, O'Neil and Martinez.

Both teams seem so good and so evenly matched that there's no way I can't see this series going seven games.

I thought Game 1 was a gem. Cliff Lee was masterful and the two plays he made on the mound -- fielding a come-backer behind his back and non-chalantly catching a fly ball -- were images to remember.

With more and more of the players I idolized as a youth becoming just a passing memory – and being snuffed out by steroids accusations – I’ve begun to consider Chase Utley one of my new favorites. And this year’s World Series has pretty much sealed that.

When he hit the three-run homer to put the Phils ahead in Game 5, I shot off the couch, arms in the air and shouting “Chase does it again!” Then I watched it sail into the seats – the identical right-center spot where it seems every one of his postseason hits have landed this year – and pumped my fists. Kates and I remarked about the number of big home runs he’s had … to the point that, in the eighth inning when Kates and I had moved to separate rooms, I scurried upstairs to tell her Chase hit another one; Kates rolled her eyes in amusement. By the time I returned to watching the game a few minutes later, I half expected Joe Buck and Tim McCarver to announce Utley had hit a third home run in the time I was away.

Speaking of Buck and McCarver, usually I enjoy their commentary and shrug off the annual criticism of their styles. This year, McCarver has goofed so many statements, I can hardly stand listening to him anymore ...

Going in, I had high hopes of the Phillies forcing a Game 7. The Yankees can’t possibly win with a three-man rotation, I said. The Phillies are going to jump on their tired arms, and the Phils have Pedro going tonight.

But Pedro had nothing.

By the time he was pulled after four innings, the Yankees had Title No. 27 in the bag. And I was fighting to stay awake for the rest of it.

I watched the ninth from bed, constantly dozing off and having to jerk my eyes open every couple minutes so I didn’t miss the finale … My eyes were closed again when Mariano Rivera got Shane Victorino to ground out for the final out, but Joe Buck’s booming narrative jerked me awake in time to see Mark Teixeira catch the throw and the Yankees beginning their victory dance on the infield.

As Hank Aaron once said, “I’m thankful to God it’s all over.”

It’s a little painful for me to admit this, as much as I would’ve liked to see the Phillies win, but I really did like this Yankees team …

Sure, the management still doled out millions to marquee players, but for the first time in years, this year’s additions actually brought some character and class to the team. This year’s group reminded me more of those admirable teams in the late ‘90s with guys like Scott Brosius and Paul O’Neil than the train wrecks of this decade that included overpaid, baggage-toting guys like Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and Kevin Brown.

To me, Derek Jeter also remains one of the classiest players in all of baseball, and I like the feel-good story of him, Rivera, Andy Petite and Jorge Posada reclaiming a title after an eight-year drought.

Some good reads from the series ...
a Girardi dissected as Yankees try for Series title
a Phillies Hope To End 364-Day World Series Drought (From The Onion)
a For Managers, a Clash of Styles on the Top Step
a Taking Different Paths After Building the Core
a Jeter Returns to Series, but Stays in His World
a 2 Sluggers Are Having the October of Dreams
a Lee-Sabathia matchup in Series opener is rare treat
a Baseball Hopes to Break a Streak of Clunker Series
a A-Rod and Howard add luster to starry World Series
a Shades of 1950: Phillies Arrive in New York by Train
a Debate About World Series’ Late Finish Will Last Beyond November
a With Series Fever, Steroids Issue Fades to the Past ... A-Rod will always be a cheater to me … And the Cardinals hiring Mark McGwire as their hitting coach – and Bud Selig’s approval of it – is deplorable.

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