Wednesday, October 13, 2010

8 Things I Already Hate About The ALCS

By Tony Mangia

Another Fall, another Yankee playoff. This year the Bronx Bombers face the Texas Rangers in the ALCS. A lot has been made of Rangers finally winning a playoff series--tired of it already--and how the Yankees will be headed west to Texas to open the best of seven playoff on their quest to the World Series. The New York tabloids will have a field-day with their usual biased us vs. them comparisons. The Big Apple--no New Yorker ever called it that--against the Lone Star State. The city-slickers battle the hillbillies. Who cares! here's what is really going to annoy Yankee fans during the upcoming games.

TBS. Two words, Tim McCarver. He is filled with more hot air than Conan's promotional blimp. Bob Gibson got it right when, once in a mound conference, he told the know-it-all catcher, "When you learn to throw a fastball then you can tell ME when to." McCarver's subtle slaps against the Yankees' brass while in the broadcast booth this summer, in defense of his fired former-teammate Joe Torre, was none of his business. Joe came back for Steinbrenner's memorial service anyway.

Instant Replay Debates. Yankee fans were all for the idea last week after the umpire's (no six umps) blown call could have cost the Yankees a win. MLB, forget about the umpire's feelings. Just install a reviewing booth. Even pro bowling has replay to go with the trash-talking now.

Josh Hamilton's Past. Everyone knows its a great story of redemption and he is might be the league MVP but enough of Hamilton's ginger ale celebration shower in the locker room after the Rangers beat the Rays. When he said, "This stuff burns your eyes just like the other stuff," I wondered if his nostrils burned too.

Claws and Antlers. I don't know how this "tradition" started. The antler hands for a great speed play and claw hand to signal a great long-distance play. There are tee-shirts and I'm sure there will be crab and moose hats filling Rangers Ballpark out in Arlington (where exactly is that anyway?). Out of this ever-ending custom of teams not used to making the playoffs coming up with child-like team good luck charms appears this novel idea. Two years ago it was cowbells and mohawks introduced by the 300 or so Tampa Bay Ray fans. There have been hankies, towels, upside-down hats and monkeys. Where are they now? These cute animal parts will soon fade faster than Carl Paladino's political chances. Oh yeah, New York accepts the blame for introducing the "wave" at Shea Stadium.

A.J. Burnett. Alright, blame him for the shaving cream "pie-in-the-face" ritual after a walk-off win but hate him more for being named the number four starter. The $82 million, tattooed, door-punching and mysteriously black-eyed pitcher has been named to start the pivotal game. Should Yankee manager Girardi have gone with Javier Vazquez and will he pull Burnett at the first sign of trouble? Let the debate begin...and go on...and on...

Brett Favre's Text Messages. There is no way to avoid the Vikings quarterback and his Tigeresque ways. Will Jennifer Sterger cooperate with the NFL? Will Favre pay off the comely reporter? Will Rachel Nichols camp out on his Mississippi lawn?  Which joint on Favre's body will finally cause him to miss a start?  There is no avoiding Favre anywhere, anytime.

Cliff Lee's Greatness and Status. Sure, Lee is 6-0 with an ERA of 1.44 in the playoffs. He pitches complete games and strikes out at least 10. Well Andy Pettitte has 19 playoff wins and five rings to show for it. Get over it Yankee haters. Everyone knows that Lee is just auditioning for the Yankees and will probably be checking out the home team lockers in Yankee Stadium for next season. Hey Cliff, there are some nice homes across the George Washington Bridge that you might find in your $200 million price range.

Empire State of Mind. New Yorkers will have to endure the incessant playing of the Jay-Z song once again. At the stadium, on radio stations and TV commercials. Please make it stop. The Joy Behar Collection of Christmas Carols would be a welcome relief.

Honorable mention: Mayor Bloomberg (Thanks for jinxing the Yankees by already planning a parade), the humongous Steinbrenner Plaque (I'm sure there will be plenty of sentimental shots of the gargantuan monument) and The Hughes Rules.

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