So the baseball playoffs crank up today and that means ... predictions. But this won't be your normal, "I like Team A because of their pitching'' or "I like Team B because of the 3-4-5 hitters.'' Nope, if you're just a fan, you like teams and players for different reasons. Normally, you like your hometown team simply because they're your hometown team, you grew up watching them. I grew up watching the Pittsburgh Pirates, meaning I haven't had anything to root for in 15 years.
So that leaves me liking and hating teams for different reasons. So here's what I like and don't like about each of the teams fighting for the World Series.
Boston Red Sox
I like ... watching games from Fenway Park, still the best arena/stadium/field in all of sports.
I don't like ... that Red Sox fans act as if the Yankees are so good because they spend so much money. The Red Sox have the exact same philosophy. (I also don't like Curt Schilling because he talks too much.)
I like ... rooting for Cleveland because Cleveland never wins anything.
I don't like ... that the Indians are a small-market team and can build a winner while my small-market team (the Pirates) can't do jack.
I like ... Vlad Guerrero, who still doesn't get the credit he deserves.
I don't like ... their goofy name (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). Just pick one.
New York Yankees
I like ... Derek Jeter. My "love'' for him is well-publicized.
I don't like ... everything else about the Yankees, probably because they're just so good.
I like ... Todd Helton. It is good to see him in the postseason. Finally.
I don't like ... that the Rockies' Matt Holliday STILL hasn't touched home plate yet and maybe the Padres should be here instead of Colorado.
I like ... Chase Utley, perhaps my favorite baseball player right now.
I don't like ... that the only reason the Phillies are here is because the Mets practically coughed up a lung choking away the NL East.
I like ... Lou Piniella. Wouldn't you just love to see Sweet Lou be the Cubs' savior?
I don't like ... that if the Cubs win, they would lose that loveable loser tag. The Cubs never getting to the World Series is part of baseball's charm.
I like ... that the D-backs' success puts pressure on their expansion cousins (the Devil Rays) to get their act together.
I don't like ... I'll be honest, I don't know enough about them to not like something. Seriously, how many times did we actually seem them play this season?
So who wins? Well, here's a guess. In the American League, I'll take the Yankees to beat Cleveland in a surprisingly tough five-game series and then knock off arch-rival Boston in a seven-game thriller. In the National League, let's go with the Cubs over the D-backs, the Phillies over the Rockies and then the Cubs over the Phillies.
In the end? The Cubbies come up just short. Who will win it all? Even I can't believe I'm saying this:
The New York Yankees. I hate the Yankees. Except Derek Jeter. I love him.