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MLB Playoffs: the God Squad vs. the FSM?

So, going into the weekend, here’s where we stand with the first round of MLB playoffs.

The Colorado Rockies have continued on the hot streak with which they ended the season, now having won 17 of their last 18 games. The last two wins have been over the Phillies, their playoff competition. The Rockies held onto win 4-2 on Wednesday afternoon, and yesterday’s game was never close as the Rockies coasted to a 10-5 victory. One more victory and God’s Team will move onto the NL Championship Series.

It should also be noted that while God might not allow Playboy or Maxim into the Rockie clubhouse, and that while God might only want good character guys for his Rockies, it looks like He doesn’t care if they cheat. What’s that saying? God helps those who help themselves? I guess that’s all Manny Corpas is trying to do, just help himself. Let’s see the Rockies pull that stunt on the team of The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The D-Backs, the team of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, have won the first two games against the Cubs. Wednesday night’s game was a close one, the D-Backs hanging on and winning 3-1. There’s been some controversy as Cubs manager Lou Piniella pulled starter Carlos Zambrano after only six innings and 85 pitches to save him for Sunday’s game. The score was tied at the time, only to see the D-Backs jump on the Cubs relief corps. And the D-backs had a pretty easy time of it last night, beating the Cubbies 8-4, though the Cubs did try to make a game of it late.

So things are setting up nicely for a match-up between the God Squad and the D-Backs.

Watching the D-Backs and Cubs, and watching all of the crowd shots from TBS showing Cubs fans in the Chase Field stands reminds me of a little story. Several years ago, I was working a document production in Phoenix. I happened to start the assignment just as baseball season was starting. And it just so happened that the Cubs were opening the season in Phoenix against the D-Backs. So a co-worker and I walked to the stadium from our hotel for the game.

The stadium was nowhere close to a sell-out, and I while I knew there were a lot Chicago transplants in Phoenix, I was shocked by the number of Cubs fans in the stands. It was almost like going to Tampa to see the D-Rays and Yankees (Tropicana Field will sell-out, and the place will be packed with Yankee fans). Next to us sits a guy with his wife and parents. He’s a D-Backs fan. And being a good fan, he starts shouting out insults to the Cubs and to Cubs fans.

The stuff was actually funny, and the people around us were laughing, especially the family of Cubs fans sitting in front of us. They took it rather well, and they started shouting good-natured insults at the D-Backs and their fans. This went on for several innings. Everyone’s buying everyone beers and seeing who can tell the most outrageous insult. Then someone behind us gets mad. Some Cubs fan. Some young Cubs fan who’s definitely had a few too many alcoholic beverages. And he starts insulting the D-Back guy’s wife. And shouting obscene sexual stuff at her. And the D-Back guy tries to be nice. He apologizes for the Cubs stuff and says that it was all in fun. The Cubs fans in front of us look at the guy and tell him they were having fun. But the kid’s not hearing it. He’s mad. He wants to fight.

And here’s the thing. My friend and I are just sitting there. We haven’t said anything. We’ve just been watching the game and laughing at all of the insults and jokes. But the kid’s directly behind us. To get to the D-Backs guy, he’s going to have to crawl over us. And I just see the pictures in my head, having to call my boss and asking him to bail us out, then trying to explain that we didn’t do anything, that we were just sitting there watching a baseball game and that we innocently caught up in a fight.

Finally, the D-Back guy convinces the kid to go up to the concourse. The D-Back guy is gone for a couple of innings, but he finally returns. His family starts grilling him but he just smiles and says he bought the kid another beer and that everything’s going to be okay.

And it was. The kid never came back.

What’s that got to do with the playoffs? Nothing. It’s just an example of how annoying Cubs fans can be.

(Someday I’ll tell you about being in Yankee Stadium for Red Sox/Yankees when Pedro Martinez nails Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano to start the game.)

The AL teams have each played one game. The Red Sox, behind Josh Beckett, dominated the Angels on Wednesday night, and the Indians tore up the Yankees last night by a score of 12-3. I’m not sure, but even though Alex Rodriguez wasn’t pitching, but I’ve just got this feeling that the New York press is going to find a way to blame this on A-Rod. (What do you know, the New York Daily News is running an on-line poll asking if A-Rod is a bust if the Yankees don’t win the Series.)

Hey, have you guys been watching the playoffs on TBS? Are you planning to do the same thing I am and not watch Frank TV? Frank Caliendo’s shtick is fine in small doses on Mad TV, or on Fox NFL Sunday, but really, do they expect us to sit through half-an-hour of him doing a bad Al Pacino or Robert DeNiro? And he calls that a Jack Nicholson impersonation? Good job TBS. You’ve convinced me not to watch.

And Dick Stockton’s been pushing this thing from People magazine about the sexiest fan. Supposedly, you nominate a person for sexiest fan, and the winner gets to go the World Series next season. I’ve got a nomination, and she’s already involved with Major League Baseball.

Ladies and Gentlemen, baseball’s sexiest fan, Alyssa Milano.

-- John Royal

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