pointless stathead analysis of me and the wild things
i read the news today, oh boy

do i have a dog in this hunt?

To be honest, I never remember those sayings … dog in the hunt, is that it? Anyway, the World Series begins this week. I’ll be rooting for the Phillies … I’d prefer to have no dog in the hunt so I could just enjoy the games, but … well, I won’t be rooting for the Phils, I’ll be rooting against the Yankees.

The Phillies don’t interest me all that much. My primary attachment to them is that my friend Charlie is a fan, and I hope it works out for him again this year. I actually know more Yankee fans than Philly fans, and so I apologize in advance for not wishing their team well.

It’s not about the money the Yanks spend … I don’t care. But the best team in any sport (speaking historically) is never likable. The only people who should root for the Yankees are people who root for the Yankees. Their fans love their team just like the rest of us do, and more power to them … the Yankee fans I know are all great people. But the rest of us should root against established power. The Yankees have a billion championships; that is reason enough to hate them, if you aren’t already a fan of the team. I don’t hate them the way I hate the Dodgers … if the Yankees had the track record of the Kansas City Royals, I wouldn’t hate them, but no matter what the Dodgers’ history, I hate them. With the Yanks, though, it’s all about rooting against the behemoth.

Having said that, I will add that I hope A-Rod has a stellar Series. This whole “can’t do it in the clutch” bullshit is, well, bullshit. Fans of Barry used to listen to the same thing, until he kicked serious ass in the post-season, after which everyone forgot how sure they were of their accusations of choking. Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson was an average-at-best post-season performer until he hit those famous homeruns in the ‘77 World Series … in fact, in the ALCS prior to that Series, he hit .125 with no extra-base hits. It’s all about the small sample size, folks. Prior to this year’s post-season, A-Rod had proven over the course of over 2000 major-league games that he one of the great hitters of all time. Yet people looked at 39 post-season games and decided they were more indicative of his abilities than the other 2000 games. So it’s nice seeing him poke a stick in the eye of those idiots.


Phil Dellio

Reggie was named MVP of the '73 Series, though. I immediately remembered that because of a phrase from Roger Angell, who in his Series wrap-up mentioned a couple of "violent doubles" Jackson hit.

Steven Rubio

That was an odd MVP award. He had a good series, and I don't know who else would have been worthy. But in the A's first two wins, he was 0-for-8. He then came alive in Game Six (of the two violent doubles), and homered in Game Seven. Like I say, good series, no doubt, but not the greatest MVP performance ever. And he had three singles in 21 AB in the ALCS that year, so even with the MVP, he hit only .240 in the '73 post-season. Plus, he missed the entire '72 Series with an injury.

Point is only that Reggie was a great player, in-season and post-season. The three homers are part of baseball's lore. But he didn't hit them because he was clutch, or because he had more heart or whatever ... he hit 'em because he was Reggie Jackson, and Reggie Jackson could hit. Just like A-Rod.

Phil Dellio

You're right--I looked up the Series stats, and it wasn't a chear-cut choice. I'm positive that Rollie Fingers would be the winner if the vote were redone today: he pitched in six games, saved two, and had an E.R.A. of 0.66 for the Series. And six Rollie Fingers games weren't six Mariano Rivera games (or any closer of the past decade-plus): Fingers' 13.2 innings led the team (!), ahead of Hunter, Blue, and Holtzman.


I'm such a fan agnostic these days that I have no problem pulling mildly for the Yankees, mostly because of ARod and because the Phillies won last year. As I said, a commitment so mild as to be barely discernible. I just want it to go seven, because when it's over, so is the baseball season.


Oh, and it's normally "a dog in this FIGHT" (a favorite phrase of Molly Ivins, although she certainly didn't invent it). In the post-Vick era, though, that would be gauche, I suppose.

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