Suddenly everyone is a Los Angeles fan. I’m talking baseball, of course.
The Los Angeles Angels took the American League West division and faced-off against the wild card Boston Red Sox.
The wild card, for those who don’t know, is an opportunity for the number two teams in both the American and National Leagues to enter the playoffs. This is supposedly justified by the fact that there are teams in competitive divisions (like the AL East featuring the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, the Baltimore Orioles, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Toronto Blue Jays – though the Yankees and the Red Sox are the only two “competitive” teams in the AL East as if evident from the six wild card slots that the Red Sox have garnered since its introduction into MLB in 1994) that will not get 1st place, but will end the regular season with better records than other division clinchers in the same league (see my previous baseball post).
Well, in a very non-Boston Red Sox playoff appearance, the Red Sox were swept by the Angels. Historically, Boston has consistently dominated the Angels in the playoffs. Last season the Angels went to the playoffs as the winningest team in baseball and were defeated in the first round (in four games) by the AL East champion Red Sox (the Red Sox went on to lose the ALCS against the Rays). But this season the Angels accomplished a clean sweep and will face the New York Yankees, the best team in baseball history and the winningest team of the 2009 season (103 wins) for the American League Championship Series – the most coveted pennant. From the looks of it the Angels will not pull through, but I’ll be rooting for them over the Yanks.
Now onto the National League…
Out of the four division championship series three have been divided by a sweep (four division championship series = eight teams: AL East, Central, West, wild card; NL East Central West, wild card). The Yankees swept the Twins (as I predicted: “the Twins…move on to an immediate elimination during the first round of the playoffs…have no chance…going up against the Yanks in the first round…“), the Angels swept the Red Sox, and the Los Angeles Dodgers swept the St Louis Cardinals. Currently the Philadelphia Phillies are leading 2-1 in the NLDS against the Colorado Rockies. The winner of that game will go on to play the Dodgers for the NLCS. [UPDATE: Phillies win NLDS and move on to face the Dodgers for the NLCS.]
The Dodgers spent a significant portion of this season with more wins than any other team. But in standard Dodger fashion they lost momentum after the All-Star break. By the end of the season their record was 3rd in the MLB (1st: NYY, 2nd LAA). Still, they took their division and will most likely take the NLCS.
If the Angels can win the ALCS (unlikely, but you never know when it’s Angels vs Yankees…) and the Dodgers can win the ALCS, the World Series will pit the Los Angeles Angels against the Los Angeles Dodgers, a first for Los Angeles. How exciting it is to have that as a possibility this late in the season! Deep down inside every Angeleno wants to see the two teams play one another in the World Series. Sure, they play interleague “Freeway Series” during the season, but that feud pales in comparison to the rivalry that would develop during a World Series. And with this possibility I find that many of my once-indifferent friends (there are many people that are indifferent toward baseball…) are suddenly the biggest Dodgers/Angels fans. I don’t necessarily blame them, but do you know what I am? I’m a Detroit Tigers fan.
PS. If by some odd chance there was an Angels/Dodgers World Series, my allegiance would be with the Dodgers 100%.