Sunday, April 09, 2006

Do I get to run the Mets now?
By Bryan Koch

Steve Phillips just said on national television that Cliff Lee is the best left-handed pitcher in baseball.

Knowing that the (surprisingly reasonable) John Kruk and Harold Reynolds would pick Johan Santana and Randy Johnson, respectively, Phillips said he "felt like being different."

Strangely, that logic may actually explain the method by which he ran the Mets...

A few other notes:

-Mickelson's Masters victory probably drew reasonable ratings for CBS, but they were just dying for Woods to do battle with Lefty... One of these majors, these guys are going to be tied with three holes to play, and then we'll have some drama. It's just a shame that it hasn't happened yet.

-When the NBA season began, no one (including yours truly) dared to pick against a Spurs-Pistons final. Now, though, there are six teams who could easily win the title (yes, the Nets have officially joined the first tier), and another four or five capable of making serious noise. Two of those second tier teams, the Cavaliers and Lakers, feature players who can simply take over a game (and series) at will. The playoffs will be fun.

-Mike Francessa and Chris Russo are truly remarkable specimens. The "Sandman" issue epitomizes the journalist creating the story, and once the radio giants got the ball rolling, their faithful listeners played their parts to a tee, making for some of the most laughable conversation I've heard in some time. I even shudder at the realization that I've dedicated a few lines to criticizing this issue: that's how much of a non-story it is.

-Congratulations to the Rangers, but they look destined for a second-round exit. Carolina and Ottawa will both boast home-ice advantage over New York, and the Rangers aren't quite the same team on the road. Also, let's not overlook the fact that Lundqvist is just a rookie, and has had to endure the rigors of a full NHL season for the first time. Add the fact that he played another ten games in the Olympics, and it's no surprise that he's been out for the last few games, nursing a hip injury. Honestly, the odds of this kid, undeniably an incredible talent, holding up for four grueling playoff series are just about zero. Meanwhile, Ottawa's firepower is particularly concerning. The Alfredsson-Heatley-Spezza combination is just deadly, and Hasek should be ready for the postseason. They're my pick to take home the Cup.

-Oakland's pitching is overwhelmingly strong. What's more, the majority of their position players will improve on last year's numbers. Rich Harden is a legitimate Cy Young guy if healthy, and their bullpen features hurlers who would be third starters in many rotations. I still don't love Loaiza, but Haren, Blanton, and Zito are all capable of completely shutting down the opposition at any time. They may be the trendy pick for the World Series, but don't expect this writer not to follow suit. They're easily the best team in baseball. Let's say they defeat the Mets in five.

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