"I have nothing against this team, but I don't see anything that stands out that'll help them this postseason. Bryce Harper is going to do his thing, and I've seen Kyle Schwarber carry a team with his bat, but outside of that, I don't see a long postseason run here." - Me, about the Phillies when I did my postseason rankings
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly why I don't bet my hard earned money on sporting events! At least my comment about Bryce Harper was ambiguous enough to prevent me from looking like a total fool!
It's your classic David vs. Goliath match-up - In one corner, the #1 seed in the AL, and AL Champions in 4 of the past 6 World Series, the Houston Astros. In the other corner, the #6 seed in the NL, a team that hadn't even made the postseason since 2009, and placed 3rd in their own division, the Philadelphia Phillies. Since my team isn't there, who do I root for? There's lots of factors to consider, so let's see who has the edge:
Former Red Sox PlayersAstros: Christian Vazquez
Phillies: Kyle Schwarber
If I can't root for my Red Sox, I can at least root for the guys who used to play there. Kyle Schwarber will go down as one of the best half-season pickups in Red Sox history, but Christian Vazquez was at the time of his trade the most tenured member of the Red Sox roster and a valued member of the 2018 Championship team.
Shenandoah Valley Baseball League Alumni
Phillies: Chris Devenski
Another year without anyone who played in my local summer league involved. Oh well, at least former All-Star Chris Devenski, who pitched a whopping 4 innings for Philadelphia this year, would earn a token ring if the Phillies won.
University of Virginia Cavaliers AlumniAstros: none
Go Wa-hoos! Living a short drive from Charlottesville, I've gone to a few UVa baseball games. Once again, neither team earns an advantage because they don't employ any past Cavaliers. (Sorry, Phillies, you just had to trade away Adam Haseley before the season started, didn't you?)
Championship DroughtAstros: 4 years
In the grand scheme of Championship droughts, 13 years isn't really that long of a time between championships (unless you're a Yankees fan...) Still, it beats the Astros, who are only 4 years removed from their last World Series *cough* win...
Personal ConnectionOther than an appreciation of Nolan Ryan and the old rainbow jerseys, I got nothing for Houston. I've at least been to Philadelphia, seen Lenny Dykstra from afar signing autographs in a mall, and ate an authentic cheese steak sandwich.
Spring Training Adventures
I've seen both teams play during my trips to Spring Training, but the Astros are the only team that I got a signed ball from. The one time I went to the Phillies' Spring Training site in Clearwater, FL was the year Bryce Harper signed with them, and he had to go and get hurt right before the game we attended...
Final Talley: Phillies 3, Astros 2
Here's hoping David slays Goliath! To be honest though, if the Astros win, I'll be happy for their manager Dusty Baker. As long as it's exciting baseball I'll be happy!