EL BARRIO, EL FALLS – Happy Monday, everybody! Do my fellow NYers know the official beer or hard seltzer of the Jets or Giants? I ask because the Bills have an official beer sponsor, who also has hard seltzer. This company has endorsement deals with Bills players but also with hard seltzer company. This is definitely a small market thing. Anyway, here are the topics for today: MLB Playoffs, Jets and Giants win.
Maybe Rob Manfred deserves an apology. The head office in NY has argued that by creating more playoff spots, baseball was only keeping up other sports. Football has 12 teams, while the #NBA and #NHL have 16. So #MLB expanded their playoffs to 12 teams. They created 2 more Wild Card spots and did away with one-game play-in. Instead, we have a structure where the 2 division winners get byes and the 3rd division winner, along with best 2nd place team, host the remaining two teams that had the best records for 5th and 6th. Now we had a 2 out of 3 Wild Card series, 3 out of 5 division series, best 4 out of 7 Championship series.That set the table for this year’s playoffs which could not have been a better advertisement for the new structure.
In the National League, the Phillies played rope-a-dope and let the #Mets and #Braves battle all year for the winner of the NL East. Come playoff time, the #4 seed Mets didn’t have enough in the well to beat the #5 seed Padres and lost 2-1. Meanwhile Philly upset Cam James’ Cardinals 2-0. In the division series, both the #Padres and Phillies played their divisional foes, the #Dodgers and Braves respectively. The underdogs won those 3-1. So in the NLCS you have the #6 seed Phillies up against the #5 seed Padres.
In the American League, #5 seed Angry Ward’s Mariners upset the #4 seed Blue Jays, while the #3 seed Cleveland Guardians managed to get by the #Rays… The #2 seed #Yankees came back to tie the series 2-2, with the decider tonight. Meanwhile the #1 seed Houston Cheaters – I mean Astros – have swept Seattle and await the winner.
The thing that has made these playoffs great is we have seen the basic ingredients for great baseball series (plural). Dominant pitching, clutch hitting, extra innings, bullpens under pressure, big-time players living up to the hype, while other ones failed. Most importantly, no-name, bottom-of-the-order guys come up big, with the glove and bat.
NY Jets Coach Robert Salah, would like to hear some apologies, too. People laughed at his “we are taking reciepts of the naysayers” thing but here his Jets sit 4-2. They are only a game behind in an AFC East that is arguably the best division in the NFL. Gang Green went to Green Bay to take on Aaron Rodgers (or Shailene Woodley’s ex, as my wife knows him). The Packers are struggling this season with a young receiving group, but the Jets’ young guns are delivering on all sides of the ball. They blocked a field goal, blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. The defense got sacks, a fumble and an interception. The offense scored running the ball and throwing it around with confidence. It is always weird to remember how young QB Zach Wilson is, as he says stuff like, “I have been watching Aaron play since I was 8.” (Wilson is 22). He added that he emulated his game around him.
Salah has this young team playing better than most predicted. It may not mean playoffs but they look like they have a chance of having a winning season. That would be extraordinary progress for year 2.
Brian Dabol may also deserve an apology, as well. After the Brian Flores fiasco, there were questions as to whether Dabol was another under-qualified white guy that got the job over the more qualified Flores. Well, #Dabol has the #Giants playing good football and winning games. Daniel Jones is looking like a solid QB, the offense is unspectacular but getting the job done, while the defense has looked super impressive – making big plays at just the right time. Yesterday they got the key interception to set up the go-ahead touchdown and ultimate victory.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below. Come back tomorrow for Ben Whitney, who will review future Super Bowl-winning Giants and Yankees loss to the Guardiac Kids.