John Royal’s World Series Prediction. But First, a Few Words on Joe Torre and Paul Byrd.

It’s World Series time. Just think, at most we’ve only got to put up with, at most, a week more of Dane Cook commercials (speaking of Dane Cook, can someone explain to me how this untalented hack could get a major role in a film with Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche? They’ve got talent. Dane, uh, not so much.)

Before I get on with my World Series pick, I’d like to hit on some other miscellaneous baseball matters.

For instance, everyone knows that Joe Torre turned down an offer to continue managing the New York Yankees. And the spin is that Yankees tried to give Torre the shaft, offering him an insulting offer the team knew he would turn down. There’s just one problem with this spin, which it seems most people are buying: during Spring Training, the Yankees offered Torre a deal for less money than the contract he just turned down; and Torre accepted. In fact, the spring offer (which came off the table along with potential deals involving Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada when there was a shake-up involving the people running the Yankees) was for $500,000 less than what the Yankees just offered. And as to the insulting incentives, well, Torre’s had such incentives in past contracts.

I’m sick of the Yankees. I don’t much care for George Steinbrenner. I don’t much care for Joe Torre. But the writer from Sports Illustrated had no trouble getting the correct facts. Couldn’t the big names at the Daily News and the Times get them as well?

And I’m sure all of you heard about Cleveland Indians pitcher Paul Byrd and the HGH. The humorous part of this story is that Byrd’s one of those holy-than-thou Christians who would never break the rules. But supposedly everyone knew that he was taking HGH because of a pituitary tumor – he even had the stuff sent to the clubhouse, so they had to know, right?

But were any of you a little suspicious of the timing of this story, what with it coming the day of Game Seven in the ALCS between the Indians and Red Sox? Well, it seems that others are suspicious, and these others are suspicious of George Mitchell, the guy who’s been heading up the MLB steroid investigation. And why would anyone be suspicious of Mitchell leaking this information? Well, it just so happens that George Mitchell sits on the board of directors of the Boston Red Sox. Yep, that’s right, someone involved with the Red Sox is heading up baseball’s steroids investigation. Just a slight conflict of interest.

Now Mitchell claims he had nothing to do with this leak about Byrd. And Mitchell also claims that he didn’t know anything about Byrd taking illegal substances, which leads to an even more important question: Mitchell’s promising that his report on MLB steroid use will be coming out after the season, and that he will be naming names, but if he’s got a report coming out, and he’s naming names, but didn’t know about Paul Byrd, then who else did he miss?

As to the World Series, I’m not quite sure who to pick. I’m not big on this whole God’s Team concept which seems to be the guiding force behind the Rockies. But this whole Red Sox nation thing is even more obnoxious than Yankee fans.

The Rockies have won 21 of 22 games, and have swept through the playoffs. No one has come close to competing with the Rockies for the past month. Then again, the Rockies haven’t played in over a week. Who’s to say they’re still a hot team. Maybe they’ve cooled off while waiting for the Red Sox to come back.

Now for those who are curious, there are several former Astros involved in the Series. Willy Taveras will be in center for the Rockies while Curt Schilling will be pulling out the ghost of the bloody sock and Julio Lugo tries to make some plays at short for the Red Sox.

I was surfing the Sports Illustrated Web site the other day, and John Donovan, one of their baseball guys, breaks down the teams. When it comes to left field, he gives the Red Sox and Manny Ramirez the edge over Matt Holliday. Now, I’ll be honest. I’m a Manny fan. I’m into that whole Manny being Manny thing. I think the game needs more personalities like his. And Manny’s a good leftfielder at Fenway. He’s learned how to play that wall. But the guy’s not the best of runners, and Coors Field has a lot of ground to cover. And Donovan can’t give the edge to Manny on the basis of offensive output since not only is Holliday the superior fielder, his regular season hitting numbers are better than Manny’s.

Enough of the fun. I’ve got to make a pick. I’m picking the Rockies in six games.

But you guys know how I am with making predictions, so if you’re betting, it’s probably best to pick the BoSox. – John Royal

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