Here's something that's bugged me for a long time: Americans who voluntarily wear a Soviet-era "CCCP" shirt/jersey/jacket. CCCP is the Cyrillic acronym for the old Soviet Union, and the letters (yellow on red) come complete with the hammer and sickle logo you used to see on about 50% of books and movies in the 80s. The first time I saw this was in the movie "Clerks," made by the talentless hack director Kevin Smith. One of the counter-culture losers wore the Red Army jersey while they played street hockey on a roof. Since then, it's popped up intermittently throughout my life, most recently this morning. On every occasion, bar none, you could tell simply by looking at the person's face that he was a complete and utter asshole.
I try not to be judgmental. I try hard. I have zero fashion sense, but I'm open to just about anything. I give the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Here's why the CCCP jersey pisses me off: it's the legacy of a really brutal empire, one that's responsible for more murder and savagery than any other ruling power in human history. Stalin alone killed more people than Hitler, and the entire Soviet era, from Lenin to Gorbachev, was characterized by forced imprisonment, execution, sinister propaganda, paranoia, tyranny, and widespread economic deprivation.
Now, imagine if someone made the rounds wearing a shirt with the Nazi eagle and swastika. It'd be sickening, and people would roundly condemn it and assume that the wearer was a member of a white power group. But somehow, the CCCP logo is a fashion statement for 'defiant' types. Seeing it gives me the urge to fight them on the spot. So, let it be known: wear a Soviet CCCP jersey, and you will incur my secret wrath.
END OF SOCIAL COMMENTARY
Let's get to baseball, eh?
Weather Watch: it's wet and miserable in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and has been that way for two straight days. The dark clouds are rolling strong, and the rain shows no signs of abating. However, weather.com is calling for the precipitation chance to drop to 20% by game time. The field will probably be a mess by then, but if the skies dry up, you know the Yankees will try their damndest to get this thing played. A suspension tonight means CC won't be able to pitch three times, even on short rest, and the boys and girls in management are none too keen on that reality.
Seth Curry Saves Duke forecast: 80% chance of baseball.
Okay, let's get on to the World Series prediction. It's the moment a nation has been waiting for, and I hope they (and you) buckle up, because I'm about to slip on my renegade jacket. You'll call me crazy, but:
YANKEES IN 4.
There is method to my madness. Obviously, this is the sort of pick that can be nullified within three or so hours, and I risk playing the fool. But hear me out:
Game 1: CC vs. Lee. Two great arms with nothing to prove. It'll be a pitcher's duel, or so you'd expect. So what's the difference in this one? I can think of two factors heavily favoring the good guys: first, we're at the Stadium. The Yanks had the best home record in baseball during the regular season, and are dominating to the tune of 5-0 in the playoffs. A win for the visiting team, under any circumstance, is a tough task. Second, Philly is rusty. It's been a week since they finished off the woeful Dodgers, while the Yanks have had only two off days. Further, guys like Teix, Damon, and Melky seem to be emerging from their slump at the right time, while Philly's hot bats have now had seven days to cool off. I think the Bombers jump on the defending champs early, and win by a score resembling 5-2.
Game 2: AJ vs. Pedro. Come on. Unless AJ drops an absolute stink bomb (which, mind you, is possible), there's no way we lose this game at home. Pedro was fine in Los Angeles, but this is a different world, one full of history and memory, and he won't stand up to the Yanks. We'll win 7-4.
Game 3: Andy vs. Hamels. Hamels just doesn't have it anymore. His ERA in 3 starts this postseason is north of 6, and the Yankee lineup dwarfs the lightweights he's faced. This will be the disheartening blowout game, when Philly realizes the repeat dream is over. Andy will be solid enough, lasting about 6, and the Yanks take it 13-4.
Game 4: Gaudin vs. Lee. Up 3-0, Joe G. will save CC for full rest, and throw Gaudin to the wolves at Citizen's Bank. Lee will look strong at first, eventually giving up 3 runs in 6 innings on short rest. The Phillies will get everyone excited by scoring 6 on Gaudin, and by the 4th inning Girardi will be in his pen. And this is the game where the problematic Philly relief squad blows it. The Yanks will chip away, assaulting everyone Manuel brings from the pen, finally scoring two runs off Brad Lidge to take a lead in the top of the 9th. And then...Enter Sandman, for #27.
So that's the call: a clean sweep for the greatest baseball team since the 2000 Yankees. Laugh away, cheer away; do what you will. I'm on the record.
It's go time, boys and girls. There's nothing quite like a Yankee World Series, and I'm just about bursting at the seams.
LET'S GO YANKEES!