St. Louis Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies have to get to the World Series this year. They have to win the World Series, really, or their season will be judged a disappointment. Meaning no disrespect to my fellow barrister Tony La Russa (he passed the Florida bar exam in 1979 when he was manager of the Chicago White Sox), Philadelphia should prevail rather handily.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers. The Diamondbacks' Geoff Blum was a hero of the 2005 World Series while with the White Sox (he had one home run in the regular season -- but his homer in the top of the 14th inning of Game 3 snapped a 5-5 tie). D-backs ace Daniel Hudson showed a lot of promise in his brief career with the Sox but was among the players shipped to the desert in the trade for Edwin Jackson. Their closer, J.J. Putz, was sometimes effective in a set-up role for the White Sox last year. When he pitched well, people were perfectly willing to pronounce his last name as "pootz." When he pitched badly, however.... The Brewers have former Royals ace Zack Greinke, and Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. They've been dominant at Miller Park and they have the home field edge. Milwaukee should prevail.
Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees. The Tigers finished strong. The Yankees, though, are still the Yankees. I hate the Yankees. But they will win.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers. This should be the best of the divisional series. Joe Maddon has once again coaxed the best from his low payroll squad. Texas has had a great year and has earned its return to the playoffs.
Of course, Long Suffering Spouse still hasn't forgiven Nolan Ryan for pounding Robin Ventura back in 1993. I've always thought that Mr. Ventura more or less lost his nerve as he charged the mound that night -- but Mr. Ryan wasn't going to take any guff from this young pup.
Anyway, this will be the series that should be the most fun to watch. Even if Tampa plays in the ugliest stadium in the major leagues. (To think -- that's where the White Sox almost wound up....)
I don't even know who I want to win this one. I think, maybe, I'm rooting for Tampa. So I'll pick them to win, too. Which, if you're a Ranger fan, should be a great comfort.
If these predictions -- by some miracle -- come true, the Brewers will play Philadelphia and Tampa Bay will play the evil Yankees.
I don't want to say this, but I think the Phillies should wind up facing the Yankees in the World Series. (I'll be rooting for the Rays -- if they get to the ALCS -- but I don't think it'll do them any good.)
As a White Sox fan, I always root for the American League team in the World Series.
I make only one exception: If the Yankees are the American League representative, I will root for the National League team. Go Phillies?