Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Joey's Soapbox: My Unsettling 2013 World Series Pick

Hi, everyone!  I'm Joey Beartran and I'm a little unsettled at the moment.  You see, in my LCS picks, I predicted a Red Sox vs. Dodgers matchup in the World Series.  Had we gotten that matchup, I would have had an easy time picking a World Series winner.  (Red Sox in 6.)  But instead of that series, we're getting a Red Sox-Cardinals Fall Classic.  And that's why I'm torn.

As Mets fans, we're taught to hate the Yankees.  And Yankee fans are taught to hate the Red Sox.  Therefore, by some kind of math that only Jaime Escalante or Will Hunting would understand, Mets fans should root for any team that would make Yankee fans unhappy and start counting the number of rings they've bought (a number that never seems to change these days - guess rings aren't as afforable as they used to be).

That's why a Red Sox-Dodgers World Series matchup would have been easy for me to predict a winner.  But there are two things keeping me from making a quick prediction.  And I feel like I should talk about this more in depth.

World Series

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are four wins away from giving Yankee fans nightmares for the third time in ten seasons.  Those four wins have to come at the expense of the St. Louis Cardinals, the team that rudely awakened the Mets while they were dreaming of a third World Series championship in 2006.  This should be a slam dunk of a pick.  But two players - one on each team - are causing me to pause.

Carlos Beltran was a member of the aforementioned 2006 Mets.  He had arguably the best season of his career, setting personal highs in home runs, RBI, runs scored, walks, slugging percentage and OPS.  He also won his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards.  But the one award he failed to get was a team award in the shape of a World Series ring.

Prior to 2013, Beltran had come within one win of reaching the Fall Classic three times with three different teams.  But the 2004 Astros, 2006 Mets and 2012 Cardinals all lost Game 7 of the NLCS.

"Who is this Joey Beartran and why does he continue to bring up all my losses in Game 7?"

Beltran has played in six do-or-die games in the division series and league championship series.  In addition to the three Game 7s, he also participated in three Game 5s in the division series, including this year's fifth game versus Pittsburgh.  In those six games, Beltran came to the plate 28 times, reaching base safely in half of those plate appearances.  In addition to that .500 OBP, Beltran also collected three doubles, two homers, scored seven runs and drove in five.  Even without consulting those thespian mathematicians, I know that adds up to a .783 slugging percentage.  Here's one more stat about those 28 plate appearances in the six do-or-die games.  Beltran struck out just once in those 28 trips to the plate.  But of course, that one time has haunted Mets fans for the past seven years.

So do I root for Beltran to win his first ring after so many near misses?  Or do I go against him because of that one strikeout in 28 plate appearances, the same strikeout that makes many Mets fans ignore the fact that he was the greatest centerfielder and free agent acquisition in franchise history?  I'll get back to those questions later.  Now it's time to consider that other player who is causing me to think twice about my World Series pick.

I want to root for the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.  I did in 2004 and I did again in 2007.  In fact, I'd like to predict that they're going to sweep the Cardinals so that I can continue to say that the last time the Red Sox lost a World Series game was in 1986 when they dropped Game 7 of the Fall Classic to the Mets.  (Boston swept the Cardinals in '04 and the Rockies in '07.)  But I can't do that just yet.  And it's because of one "man".

Shane Victorino.

The former Phillie who once took umbrage at Jose Reyes' showboating after a home run is now a Red Sox legend after his grand slam in Game 6 of the ALCS helped Boston win the pennant.  By the way, Victorino himself showboated after his round-tripper, so much so that I expected the Rockettes to join him on his way around the bases, kicking in unison as he blew kisses to himself.  I'm sure Mets fans were saying something about him blowing something else after he touched home plate.

As great as Beltran has been in the postseason, Victorino actually has more RBI in his playoff career.  The Cryin' Hawaiian's 38 RBI in October are one moer than Beltran's 37.  That's another reason to hate Victorino.  He actually does well when we want him to do poorly.

Oh, and then there's also that hideous do-it-yourself beard he's been trying to put together.

"You're making me angry, Joey Beartran!  You wouldn't like it when I'm angry!"

I'm not afraid of Shane Victorino.  But I am afraid of just giving the World Series crown to the Red Sox because that would mean he'd have two World Series rings, or as many rings that say "New York Mets" on them.

Sigh.  I'm really torn about this,

But I do have to pick a winner.  Because that's what unbiased prognosticators such as myself do when the Mets aren't playing in October.  So do I pick the Cardinals because I want Carlos Beltran to win and Shane Victorino to lose?  Or do I pick the Red Sox because I want to see Boston go "nyah, nyah, nyah" to the Yankees yet again?

I have my decision and yes, Regis, that's my final answer.

Prediction:  The World Series will go 7 games and #MetsTwitter will be the big winner.

(Hey, if any group of fans can have a field day blaming Beltran or dissecting all that is hideous about Victorino, it's certainly the Mets fan base.)

Enjoy the World Series, everyone!  This was Joey Beartran and the only thing that's going to be torn now is the cellophane around these rainbow cookies I'm about to devour.  Hasta la vista, Mets fans!

Let's (nom) go (nom), Mets (nom)!

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