Chin Music: Up Next The Playoffs for all the Marbles

By Jerome James Jr.
Updated: November 19, 2007

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA— The south Florida entrant into the World Series tournament must feel like the child who graduated from the Thanksgiving kiddie table to have dinner with the grown folks. They are the child prodigy that left elementary school and went straight to college. Sure they belong, but the grown folks will never see you as their equal.

Baseball history is littered with stories about this year’s contenders to the throne. Killebrew, Mantle, Banks, Aaron, Mays, Jackson and Yastrzemski are all part of the Who’s Who of baseball that played for the Magnificent Seven.

Sheffield is a good player, but his Hall of Fame status is still to be determined.

And, he wasn’t a lifer, just the south Florida entrant’s hired gun. A Wyatt Earp with a baseball bat. In fact, he’ll be in the Elite Eight playing for the southeast’s most dominant team with the politically incorrect name and chant.

Baseball purists or The Team That Money Built haters will be pulling for a re-enactment of the Battle of 1918. It was the last time the Midwest Baby Bears were in the seven game series. Pedro’s New England team has not won a series in that amount of time.

A purist will tell you one throwback battle every century will suffice their desires. It’ll almost be enough to make the Bambino spin in his coffin. Like somehow his trade harkened an era of poor play, bad management decisions and Bill Buckner’s between the legs tricks.

Black America will favor the Midwest Baby Bears. Cito Who? Dusty deserves one, we’ll say from barbershop chairs and living room gatherings.

The 10 black folks who will watch the tournament will want the brotha to take at least one in his managerial career. He had the Bay Area west team on the verge of one last season. The feats of Bondsian proportion faded with a seventh inning comeback from last year’s Magic Kingdom team. The defending tournament champions needed some real Angels on their pitching staff this year, instead of in Danny Glover’s outfield.

So here is a breakdown of the tournament for those vying for the crown:

Yankees v. Twins:

If you lose every game to a team in two seasons, it would follow that you’ll beat them at some point. Come on, even the Bengals can beat the Titans once in awhile. Like the NCAA team that wins in the conference tournament after losing two to the dominant team during the regular season, the Longjohn Nation’s team is hoping they can step up against King George’s Team That Money Built. Once again the purists will be hoping for that miracle.

That time when they can say that money isn’t everything.

You can’t buy a championship. Like, heck you can’t.

King George’s team was paid for this time of year. They enter with the best record in all of baseball and enough balance to get to their sixth tournament final (four championships) in the last eight years. On paper they are similar. The Longjohns have a slightly better batting average (.277 to.271) and King George’s crew has a slightly better ERA (4.01 to 4.41).

But, this is the time of year that The Team That Money Built is paid to play in. Maybe the Longjohns can win the season series next year.

Boston v. Oakland

If Mulder and Zito were healthy, then the scales would tip in the Bay Area East’s direction. They have the lowest ERA among all the team’s in this year’s tournament. If they both were healthy they would shut down one of the most prolific offenses in major league history. .Pedro’s New England team scored almost 1,000 runs this season. You have a minute to think about that. More than 960 runs in 162 games. Bay Area East scored 768. Pedro will be available for game one and game four or five.

Bay Area East had the second best record in the AL. The tournament usually brings lower scoring, better played games. But, Manny (I Still Want to Play For the Team That Money Built) Ramirez, David Ortiz and company have more timely hitters than Miguel Tejada and his friends. Plus, all the purists want to see Pedro’s New England nine play against King George’s Team That Money Built. It’s their year. Let them have this one.


Braves v. Cubs

As usual the southeast’s most dominant team with the politically incorrect name and chant is in the tournament. This is 12 years in a row. There should just be a permanent place in the first round for them. Now, the fact that in 11 years, they have won the tournament a grand total of one time is a problem. They have another problem this year. Despite tying for the best record in baseball and the best in the NL, they have… pitching problems.

They scored the second most runs in the majors, but the one thing that has been their moniker is now shaky. On the other hand, the Midwest Baby Bears had the best staff not wearing Los Angeles or Bay Area West on their jerseys. Just ask Al Davis how much offense matters in big games. He’ll grumble about the Tampa Bay Bucs and their defense and then tell you… not much.

The southeast’s most dominant team also had a bunch of errors.

The pitching staff allowed 663 runs, while teams scored 740 runs total. That’s almost an additional 80 runs thanks to no gloves. Sosa gives the Baby Bears enough of a threat and provides enough incentive to offensive teammates to push them over the top. Another win for the purists. Twelve years in the tournament, one championship. The Buffalo Bills probably aren’t feeling all that bad.

Giants v. Marlins

There is sentiment all around. Dontrelle Willis is starring for the south Florida Deep Sea Fish. It recalls days of Vida Blue and Bob Gibson and any other brotha with a big arm and a penchant to win early and often. But, the Fish have a problem. Not only is one of the best managers without a championship coaching their opponent, Barry Bonds plays for Bay Area West. Oh, by the way, the Bay Area West’s ERA was the second lowest among tournament teams behind Bay Area East. The best pitching staff this side of Hollywood, the scariest hitter (maybe of all time) and one of the best managers never to win a championship. It was a great year for the south Florida Deep Sea Fish, but Dontrelle, Pudge and the rest will be able to use this as incentive for next year’s run.