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Some Quick Thoughts On Day 1 Of The Playoffs

When we're dealing with a day as busy as this one, other work obligations keep me from being able to pay much attention to LL. I figured I would drop by when I found a little window of time to leave a few notes.

  • This might sound kind of silly and meaningless, but the thing that stood out to me the most about Roy Halladay's no-hitter is that I think everyone could feel it by the third or fourth inning. It was in the top of the fourth that the TBS broadcasters started talking about Halladay's perfect game in Florida, and as early as it was, I got it. It made sense to me. Halladay was pitching that well. Every single pitch he threw had the perfect movement and the perfect spot, and it's like he took luck right out of the equation. There wasn't enough luck in the world to give Cincinnati a base hit.

    I mean, they didn't even come close. In Felix Hernandez's Fenway one-hitter, he only allowed the one hit, but there were near misses. There were great plays behind him (some by Jose Lopez!). They say that every no-hitter needs at least one guy in the field to be a hero. The only guy in the field who had to be a hero for Roy Halladay was Roy Halladay. The box score reads 12 groundballs, three fly balls, three pop-ups, and one line drive.

    As much as we all love Cliff Lee - and for good reason - Roy Halladay is the perfect pitcher. He isn't literally perfect, as he has allowed baserunners before, but he is everything anyone could ever ask for. He's flawless. He even manages to be the rare likable superstar on account of his professionalism and humility. We're a nation of haters, and no one can hate Roy Halladay. It doesn't work. Your brain won't let you.

    Kudos to Roy on throwing arguably the greatest game in playoff baseball history.

    The Reds had the NL's highest team OPS.

  • Coming into the playoffs, the popular sentiment was that the Phillies were going to steamroll their way to a world championship by riding their top three starters. In response, a number of articles were written about how, while the Reds might be an underdog in the NLDS, they aren't without their strengths. Well sure, the Reds have their strengths. They made the playoffs. But let's be real. What are the chances they could win three of five games when all five games are started by Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, or Cole Hamels?

    I don't like to bring this up when Game 1 - and especially that Game 1 - is already in the books, but what the Phillies have put together just has the feel of being unbeatable in a short series. It obviously isn't literally unbeatable, but no opponent is going to face happy odds. They might be one shutdown closer away from being the best-built playoff team in at least recent history, and Brad Lidge is no slouch. 

  • Today I learned that the Phillies have some of the best fans, and some of the worst.

  • Rays/Rangers: 3:06
    Phillies/Reds: 2:34
    Twins/Yankees: 3:47

    Fuck you, Yankees.

  • I have this annoying habit where, when I feel like I've come up with a good soundbite, I'll want to repeat it over and over until I'm sure that as many people have heard me as possible. And my annoying soundbite du jour is that the Rangers didn't trade for Cliff Lee to start in the regular season; the Rangers traded for Cliff Lee to start in the playoffs, and today they got exactly what they traded for.

    That was the Cliff Lee we all fell in love with. That was the Cliff Lee that took six seconds between pitches and put everything exactly where he wanted. He had some struggles early on, and he allowed a handful of line drives, but it was clear when he got into a groove, and when the Rangers scored their fourth run, you knew it was over. When Cliff Lee is going, there are no sustained rallies. There can only be isolated singles and solo home runs, forgotten as quickly as they occurred. I'm happy for Cliff, and even if he's pitching for the Yankees six months from now, at the moment he's still a guy for whom I wish all the success in the world. He's Roy Halladay's left-handed American League equivalent, and, boy, wouldn't that be something in the Series?

  • A good number of Twins fans booed Alex Rodriguez when he came up to bat. Now, I get it. I understand why people all over the country want to boo Alex Rodriguez. He's eminently booable. It is remarkably easy for anybody to find something about him they dislike. But then, just the other day I was reading the Wikipedia entry for 'Minnesota nice', and booing Alex Rodriguez doesn't seem to fit the stereotype at all. Booing Alex Rodriguez is mean-spirited, and direct, and somewhat confrontational. Booing Alex Rodriguez is not courteous, and it is not mild-mannered. Booing Alex Rodriguez makes the fans in Minnesota seem a lot like the fans everywhere else.

    Mind you, this is not a criticism of the fans. People are free to boo whoever they want, and I'm not one to judge. Rather, this is just an observation that either the people in Minnesota aren't as nice as they're made out to be, or Alex Rodriguez is sufficiently evil to transcend the social norm. 

  • Mariano Rivera has gone nearly 41 years without ever knowing the sound of a baseball hitting the sweet spot.