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10:51 a.m. - October 21, 2006
World Series Preview
Preface: Before some of you ladies stop reading this essay and go to some Gray’s Anatomy fan fiction because I dare to talk about…baseball…stay with me. This will be worth it.

It’s October, one of my favorite times of the year as a sports fan. Football is in full gear, hockey is starting, and now, it’s time for the World Series.

This year, the series features two teams with long and storied histories. The Detroit Tigers, one of the original members of the American League, face off against the St. Louis Cardinals, whose history dates back to the old American Association in the 1880’s.

If you read sports pages, you no doubt will see previews and predictions and player by player analysis. Well, sure, you’re going to get that here, but it won’t be like any other. This is Smed’s Often-Imitated-Never-Duplicated World Series preview. I’m going to endeavor to name all 25 players for each team, even. So, everyone sharpen your pencils, and get your bookie on the line. You’ll definitely be able to clean up after reading my preview.

Or not…

Let’s begin.

Catcher - Yadier Molina (S) vs. Ivan Rodriguez (D) - In Spanish, Molina means “slow footed catcher who has bat cancer”. Sure, he hit the home run to put the Cards in the World Series, but that just shows that baseball sometimes rewards the lesser lights, like the Grammy Awards. Rodriguez is nicknamed “Pudge” for a good reason. It would be rude and disrespectful to nickname a player “Buddah” or “Slobbo”. Nevertheless, Rodriguez is a fine player to have on your team. Just watch out for the buffet.

First Base - Albert Pujols (S) vs. Sean Casey (D) - Pujols’ fine seasons at St. Louis have made him one of the most popular men in Missouri. I hear that even some men want to have surgery in order to bear his child. Casey showed just what kind of a wuss he was during the first round of the playoffs. I mean, sure, your calf muscle exploded in slow motion on ESPN, causing millions to gasp in shock and horror. But shake it off already. Chris Chelios would have gone out and skated his next shift after that, and probably gotten an assist and started a fight. Yeesh.

Second Base - Ronnie Belliard (S) vs. Placido Polanco (D) - Belliard was traded from Cleveland to St. Louis in the middle of the year, which is like being traded from a SuperMax prision to the cell where the mobbies hung out in Goodfellas. Polanco is getting up there in years, but he can still belt out an aria by Verdi like there’s no one’s business. Oh, wait, that’s Placido Domingo…

Shortstop - David Eckstein (S) vs. Carlos Guillen (D) - If you were Eckstein’s mother, you’d probably spend most of your money on bleach and detergent. “David, can you PLEASE not get messy today when you play ball.” Eckstein also gets carded every time he tries to buy a beer. Guillen moved over to first base when Casey was injured, but by playing shortstop he prevents the Tigers from playing nine on eight.

Third Base - Scott Rolen (S) vs. Brandon Inge (D) - Rolen is a homey – from Jasper, Indiana. But he didn’t get along with his manager in Philly and now is feuing, ALLEGEDLY, with the St. Louis manager. Hmmm…someone has some issues, I suppose. Inge was a Molina-esque hitting catcher before moving to third base and somehow absorbing some secret ingredient that made him actually hit more than his weight. Either that, or he writes checks to every AL pitcher before the season starts.

Left Field - Preston Wilson (S) vs. Craig Monroe (D) - If you’re ever hot at a ballpark, just sit next to home plate when Wilson is batting. You’ll catch a nice breeze from his swings and misses. Monroe is a player that quietly produces under the radar, so much so there’s nothing I can say about him. Well, except that I liked his doctrine in the day, but its time has passed.

Center Field - Jim Edmonds (S) vs. Curtis Granderson (D) - Edmonds body is held together by solder, duct tape and chewing gum. If you push him, his arm will fall off. Granderson has come out of nowhere to be a productive lead off hitter for the Tigers. Yes, that was actual baseball analysis there. Wow.

Right Field - Juan Encarnacion (S) vs. Magglio Ordonez (D) - Encarnacion is the Jenny McCarthy of baseball players. He always looks good, and everyone always expects that this year will be her year, but really, he’s just a lot of tools hanging in the shed. The Tigers and the Cards faced each other in the 1968 World Series. So, in honor of that, I wish to invoke what some fans would have said to Ordonez back in that time. “Get a haircut, hippie!”

Designated Hitter - Scott Spiezio (S) vs. Alexis Gomez (D) - The DH, the abomination of the baseball world, is present in the AL parks, so I’m FORCED to comment on them. Spiezio has this ridiculous soul patch / goatee thing hanging off his chin that he dyed red. Girlfriend, puh-leeze. Gomez made a splash in the playoffs after spending most of the year in Toledo. I’ve been to Toledo, and I’d do ANYTHING not to go back.

St. Louis Bench - Chris Duncan is the son of pitching coach Dave Duncan, but he still get $10 a week allowance if he cleans his room. And stop messing with your sister, Chris. Geez. So Taguchi remains on the Cards roster, and I think that’s because he knows where Tony LaRussa buried that body. John Rodriguez is a fine hitter, and lives in Staten Island. There, I mentioned him. Aaron Miles is gritty, gutty and other baseball clichés rolled into one. Gary Bennett is the backup catcher, and will only see action if Molina has a severed limb.

St. Louis Pitching Rotation - Anthony Reyes starts game one, and like you, I don’t know anything about him. That should tell you something. Chris Carpenter is the best St. Louis starter, and I tell you, if I were a Carpenter, and you were my lady, you’d be wearing Prada for sure. Jeff Weaver once pitched for Detroit, and Tigers fans hope that he pitches as well for St. Louis as he did in Detroit. No, they’re not bitter. Jeff Suppan pitched well in the crucial game seven against the Mets. But still, it’s Jeff Suppan for cripes sake.

St. Louis Bullpen - Adam Wainwright is the closer because of injuries, and he’s so excited on the mound he has to wear Depends. Randy Flores and Tyler Johnson are the lefties out of the pen, and that means LaRussa will have them throwing in the bullpen every inning. At least they get camera time. Josh Kinney and Josh Hancock remind everyone that the name Josh was quite popular in the late 70’s. If Braden Looper or Brad Thompson are in the game, everyone else is watching CSI.

Detroit Bench - Neifi Perez is Spanish for “millstone”. Loosely translated, Neifi means “horrific offensive player.” Omar Infante and Ramon Santiago fill in around the infield, and also do some gardening and light carpentry. Give them a call. No job too small. Marcus Thames was a starting outfielder for a while, and there’s no truth to the rumor that he has a voodoo doll with Craig Monroe’s name on it in his locker. Vance Wilson is the backup catcher, and like all backup catchers, this may be the only time he is mentioned anywhere.

Detroit Rotation - Justin Verlander is NOT played by Ben Stiller. Jeremy Bonderman is a veteran pitcher, but only 24 years old. It’s amazing that he started pitching in the big leagues at age 5. Kenny Rogers attacked a cameraman last year in Texas, thus proving that good things happen to pricks once in a while. Nate Robertson has cool goggles, and he needs them to see how far the ball travels after Pujols gets a hold of one of his fastballs.

Detroit Bullpen - Todd Jones is the closer, and also a homophobe (no lie). But I bet he wears pink underwear. Joel Zumaya my Lord. Zumaya. Zumaya my Lord. Zumaya. Jason Grilli’s father pitched for the Tigers in the 70’s. He’s a chip off of the old block, and that means by 2009 he’ll be in AAA again. It was said that Jamie Walker did some yardwork yesterday. I’m not kidding. Fernando Rodney heard the drums. Wilfredo Ledezma has overcome being named “Wilfredo” quite nicely. Zach Miner just stands in the back, not saying a word, hoping to become a member.

So, who will win the Series? Detroit, of course. And no, I was not paid off by my Michigan peeps to say that.

(BTW – thanks for following the instructions about the drop zone, you guys…)


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