Bronx, NY – If it’s Saturday and I’m still drawing oxygen, it must be time for another Angry Ward column. I am actually starting to like my “new” role as MtM’s Omega Man. I’ve been eating nothing but Soylent Green for the last week and a half (they served it at Matt’s wedding reception) and am starting to develop a taste for it. I have steeled myself and am ready to take on any and all bloviating pundits in this vast wasteland, including the one they call Francesa the Hutt. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, “Die you chalk-faced sports zombies!” Let’s get on with it then.
Peyton’s Face. I’ve now watched Bronco’s pitchman (and QB) Peyton Manning play two games this year and can say without hesitation that this will be his final year in the NFL. I also tend to agree with my friend Grote2DMax, who thinks he won’t make past game 6 of this year. Yes, Denver is 2-0 but that’s mainly because of their defense. Thursday night I saw Manning throw a ball 40 yards (around 13 yards more than I thought he was capable of) and it took every ounce of strength and body torque to get it out there. After he threw it he looked like he needed to take a nap. Throughout the first two games he’s been knocked around and picked off and generally mediocre to not-so-great. Look at his face after he misses an easy pass or gets knocked on his backside and you see a guy that is absolutely done. Opposing defenses know it, fans know it, Peyton knows it. Only the announcers won’t say it. They were talking about what a great Manning comeback Thursday night’s game was, when to everyone else it was the Chiefs who just plain crapped the bed. Manning was easily one of the lesser players on the field. Again, the Broncos are 2-0, but it’s over.
Not the Yanks’ Year. Now, before you Bronx Bombers fans start getting into a lather, this has absolutely nothing to do with the outcome of last night’s game against the Mets. In fact, the Yankees really impressed me this year. Like so many others, I just assumed they would finish in last place in the AL East. They got hot early in the season and their offense really carried what was always a highly-suspect starting pitching staff. They are a whopping 14 games over .500, which in this season of mediocrity makes them world-beaters!… or at least a team that can beat the crap out of the Minnesota Twins on a consistent basis. But the bottom line is this, the Yankees are not winning their division because the Blue Jays, out-Yankeed the Yankees at the trading deadline. This makes the Bombers a wildcard team. And it’s looking more and more like their opponent in that game will be the Houston Astros. In a one-game playoff, the Astros will throw Dallas Keuchel against Masahiro Tanaka. Let’s just say, I don’t like New York’s chances in that one. Sorry.
It May Be the Mets’ Year. The Mets are 21 games over .500? Is that even possible? That’s almost like MtM’s dwindling writing staff being named to People magazine’s “Most Beautiful People” issue. The Mets are getting the Dodgers in the NLDS. That’s all there is to it. And I like their chances. Sure LA has Zack Greinke-ifianakis and Clayton Kershaw, but their offense scares no one and the Metsies match up well. In almost all sports, playoff success is contingent on teams peaking at the right time, and right now the Mets are that team. The Mets are going to the NLCS. They are! Look, I’m much more comfortable being negative, but sometimes you just have to buy in. Done.
That’s all for my third column this week. Come back tomorrow for CheesyBruin’s NFL picks… which if you bought-in on the first week you took a bath. But, let’s face it, that’s just what some of you filthy animals need. I think the big man is gonna bounce back big, so tune in manana.