Game One: Houston is Hamstrung
In the end, I decided to root for the White Sox. (I didn’t decide after they won the first game. I was wearing my old school black hat with “SOX” written in red-outlined letters for the pregame, I assure you.) I like the National League better, and I love Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt, and I have nothing but respect for Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, but I just didn’t grow up going to Astros games the way I did White Sox games. Granted, more often than not I was rooting for the visiting team at all of those Sox games, but I guess I grew at least a small affection for the franchise. And my favorite player on the current team, Joe Crede, should have won the ALCS MVP and very well could be the World Series MVP if he keep playing like he did tonight.
The story going in was whether the Chicago bullpen would be functional having basically been given the Championship Series off; going out, the big question is Roger Clemens’ health. Andy Pettitte hasn’t looked invincible in the postseason so far like he used to be for the Yankees. Oswalt has been lights-out, but thanks to Albert Pujols he can only pitch twice in the World Series. Generally it’s better to have three dominant guys like Houston than four solid guys like Chicago has, but it doesn’t work if one or more of them isn’t healthy. Even though I’m pulling for the White Sox to win (which I think they will), I want to see Clemens pitch well in at least one more game – this could be his last World Series, and you always want your team to win against their opponents’ best guys.
As for the bullpen thing: well, I thought that was a bit overblown. It’s the nature of relief pitching that sometimes you’re going in every night and sometimes the phone just doesn’t ring. Ozzie and Don Cooper weren’t going to let their guys’ arms go dead. It doesn’t make any difference to your muscles whether you’re throwing in the bullpen or on the mound in a game. The best thing about Chicago not trying to go for four straight complete games in the World Series is Ozzie’s “send in the big guy” Bobby Jenks signal being showcased on the national stage. (Is it just me, or does Bobby Jenks look a great deal like a grown-up Bobby Hill?)
When I was little, I used to watch the World Series every year and dream about what it would be like for the Cubs to play in one. During college, I as much as assumed it inevitable that the A’s would be there sooner or later. This year, I am daydreaming about a World Series at Coors Field. It’s very beautiful in Colorado this time of year (as best I can tell, it’s more or less always beautiful in Colorado) and seeing the nearly always half-empty Comiskey Park full of Sox fans makes me wistful about what postseason Coors would be like. How many people there will remember the Aaron Miles/Danny Ardoin/Jamey Wright/Dustan Mohr era?