World Series 2016

world-series-2016-chicago-cubs-cleveland-indians

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, hold on tight because one of the most epic episodes in the history of all sports is about to begin. It will probably be one of those things that people will remember forever. Like, in 2112, (Rush nod totally intended) there will be talks of: “Man, can you imagine what it was like to be alive in 2016 and have witnessed the World Series?”

You couldn’t have scripted something like that. What are the odds? I mean, if it had happened in a movie everybody would say: “Right, right, it’s the movies.”

But the fact is that it happened in real life and now we are on the verge of what it promises to be one of the greatest World Series ever. It’s actually hard to fathom, I have to keep pinching myself but tonight a team that hasn’t won baseball’s greatest honor in 68 years, will face another that hasn’t in 108.

I can only imagine how fans in both Cleveland and Chicago are right now. I bet people didn’t sleep, can barely work or pay attention to anything else. Hell, I’m a Red Sox fan and I can barely wait!

Anyway, let’s stop fooling around saying how great it will be and try to predict what might happen.

Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians

Yes, I was miserably wrong about the Cleveland /Toronto series. I didn’t think the Indians could pull it off and they did it with a bang. I mean what a work Allen, Bauer, Kluber, Miller and Tomlin are doing, not to mention that they will have Salazar back. And there’s the offense with Lindor, Napoli and Crisp hitting very well. They are a rather tight team right now and have a manager that knows what it is to be in a World Series with a team that doesn’t win in a long time.

As for the Cubs, I almost got it right. I never thought Kershaw would be so miserable in game 6. That said, with a rotation that includes Hendricks, Lester and Arrieta with support from Montgomery and Chapman, and a team of young guys that don’t seem at all bothered by the draught, Chicago emerges a heavy favorites in the World Series. Joe Maddon may be a little eccentric but there are few people in the league that knows baseball the way he does and the hitters are also on fire. All in all, the Cubs seemed poised to win the title that has eluded them for more than a century.

This is a mere guess, but I think it will be Chicago 4-2.

The countdown has begun.

Current playlist

Listening:

Grand Magus – Sword Songs

Subrosa – For This We Fought the Battle of Ages

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – Night Creeper

Reading:

The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass – Stephen King

October 1964 – David Halberstam

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

Add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/carlo.antico

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico

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MLB Championship Series

jays-indianslos-angeles-dodgers-vs-chicago-cubs

I couldn’t make predictions for the Wild Card games and the Divisional series due to a lot of work, but I’m not letting the American League and National League finals start without having my take on it.

The greatest thing about this year’s baseball finals is that every team involved doesn’t win a World Series in a long time. The Dodgers won last time in 88, the Blue Jays in 93, the Indians in 48 and, of course, the Cubs in 1908! Therefore, emotions will run high on both series.

Let’s get down to the brass tacks.

ALCS: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Cleveland Indians

I was positive the Blue Jays would get trounced by the Rangers, but not only they won, they swept the series. With Russel Martin, Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Edwin Encarnacion the Jays have a good attack and a solid defense, which also has Kevin Pillar. And the pitching is good, specially Marcus Stroman. On the other side, to my total chagrin, the Indians also swept my beloved Red Sox (when your only good pitcher plays as bad as Porcello did, you can’t expect to win in the Postseason) and are very confident. Andrew Miller is playing well despite his age and Kipnis, Lindor and Napoli are hitting well. However, let’s remember: they played against a team with SERIOUS pitching issues in ALDS. I really wanted to see a World Series between the Indians and the Cubs (it would be historic) but I think the Blue Jays will pass. Toronto 4-2.

NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs.

Buckle up everybody, this one promises to be EPIC. Two of the most traditional franchises in baseball and the Cubs with their best team in years. Chicago never had a greater chance of stopping their 108 years draught. If Chicago indeed breaks their curse that would skyrocket Theo Epstein -Young Theo, as he was known in Boston – profile to unimaginable heights. I mean he would be the man behind ending both Red Sox and Cubs draughts. It’s not something to overlook. However, they will face a rather driven and tight team (as their great victory against the Nationals showed last night). How about a potential pitching battle between Kershaw and Arrieta? And also the hitting battle: Turner, Utley, Pederson and Reddick are playing great and Adrian Gonzales can show up now and again for the Dodgers. Bryant, Rizzo, Zobrist and Heyward are also playing great and Russel and Almora Jr. can show up for the Cubs. It’s one of the most anticipated series ever and I’m really looking forward to it, but I think the better pitching staff (aside Arrieta, Hendricks, Strop, Wood and a closer like Chapman) will prevail in the end. Chicago 4-3.

It all starts tonight and I can barely wait!

Current (and rather long) playlist:

Listening:

Nails – You’ll Never be One of Us

Black Stone Cherry – Kentucky

Heart – Beautiful Broken

Ace Frehley – Origins Vol. 1

Volbeat – Seal the Deal and Let’s Boogie

Meat Loaf – Braver than We are

Purson – Desire Magic Theatre

The Struts – Everybody Wants

Cheap Trick – Bang Zoom Crazy… Hello

Blood Ceremony – Lord of Misrule

Watching:

The Walking Dead – Season VI

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

Add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/carlo.antico

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico

    

MLB Division Series

After some good Wild Card games, the Division Series are turning out to be absolutely amazing! We had controversy, great comebacks, a record 21 HR day and the eminence of “The Prophecy” becoming true is getting closer and closer.

Of course when I say “The Prophecy” I’m referring to the Cubs winning the World Series in 2015 as shown on Back to the Future II. They still have to beat the Cardinals (not easy by any stretch of imagination) and win the NLCS to even get to the World Series, but each game they win is a step towards making real the world’s greatest coincidence.

Anyway, let’s break down the games and try to predict what might happen in them.

ALDS

Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays:  I must admit I never saw that coming. After the Rangers won two games in Toronto, to me it was all over but the crying in this series. But Toronto offense woke up in Arlington and Rangers pitchers were no match for them. Tulowitzki, Bautista, Donaldson, Encarnación and Martin are among the greatest hitters in the league and you can’t take that for granted. They will face Hamels in game 5 but I don’t think Toronto will choke again at home; especially because Fielder and Hamilton are not at their best. Blue Jays win.

Houston Astros vs. Kansas City Royals:  And how about what happened yesterday afternoon at Minute Maid Park? One of the greatest comebacks ever! Down 6-2 on the eighth inning, the Royals fought back and scored 5 runs to make 7-6 and two more in the ninth to finish 9-6. It was reminiscent of the unbelievable comeback last year against the A’s. And this also shows the heart of this KC team. This team is hard to count out until the last out. In celebrating the late great Yogi Berra who passed away this year, with the Royals: “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Although Cueto will pitch next game and the Astros seem a better team, I don’t think the Royals will let it slip away. Royals win.

NLDS

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets: A game involving teams from New York and LA would naturally draw attention and excite rivalry. But after Chase Utley controversial slide on game 2 this one was taken to the next level. First of all, let me give my opinion: I think he went out of his way too much to avoid the double-play. But I’m sure he never intended to harm Tejada the way he did. The suspension was at the same time fair and a little too much. Fair because those “avoid double-play” plays are kind of too hard and this needs to be better assessed. A little too much because this kind of punishment for that never happened. According to Joe Torre there are talks with the player’s union to regulate this kind of play, which is great, but leave the punishments for next season, when everybody will be aware of it. Besides, I heard Cal Ripken JR. comments last night and he said that playoff games are played that way. And who am I to argue with Cal Ripken Jr.? Anyway, the fact is the Mets came out for blood last night and just slaughtered the Dodgers, even after giving in three runs in the beginning. Now, they will have to face Clayton Kershaw (whom they already beat in LA), but at home. I don’t think the Dodgers will handle the pressure. Mets win 3-1.

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs:  This is the series that’s capturing the imagination of everyone, even those who are not such huge baseball fans. Obviously, I’m talking about the prophecy on Back to the Future II that the Cubs would win the World Series in 2015. Again, they still have to beat the team with the best record in the league in the regular season and the second most winning franchise in baseball history just to get to the NLCS. So, it is still a long way to go. And they already used Arrieta in game 3. Today, they’ll be facing the Cardinals best pitcher (Lackey) albeit with only a three days’ rest. I’m in a tough position here, because not only the Cardinals show to be stronger in this kind of games but because I’ve been saying ever since All-Star break to my friends that they would win the World Series this year. But my love for Back to the Future is stronger than my reasoning. Cubs win 3-1.

Current playlist:

Listening:

Death Angel – Darkness Descends

Watching:

Jurassic World

Angels and Demons

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

Add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/carlo.antico

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico

MLB Wild Card

MLB playoffs are upon us and today the fun begins. Personally, I loved the introduction of the Wild Card game in the MLB. The atmosphere is electric and there’s nothing like a win or go home game.

I love baseball in October. The games are charged with such tension and thrill that you’d be hard pressed to find a sport with more emotion come playoffs time.

Therefore, without further ado, let’s see what I think about the two Wild Card games this week.

ALWC

Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees:

Probably the greatest adversary the Astros will have to face tonight is history. It’s not easy to face the New York Yankees and their glorious history in an elimination game at Yankee Stadium, even if it’s the new Yankee Stadium. That being said, we’ll probably have a great pitching battle. Dallas Keuchel (Astros) will be pitching with a three day rest – which can be an issue – but he is a top 5 ace and one of the favorites for the AL CY Young Award. Masahiro Tanaka had 0.89 WHIP in September and is also brilliant. And he’ll be pitching at home. With such hard fought battle at the mound, the hitters will be decisive. Brian McCann, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran are all great hitters and let’s not forget Alex Rodriguez who’s been bad since the start of August but can lit up anytime. On the other hand, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer are also great, but maybe not so ready to face the Yankees on the road. And Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller in the pinstripes bullpen might be clutch in swinging this in favor of New York. I’m picking the Yankees without any conviction.

NLWC

Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

First of all, I’m gonna be honest and say that with the poor Red Sox season this year, I really want the Cubs to win it all. For one simple reason: it would make the Back to the Future trilogy even more spectacular. Can you imagine? The Cubs actually win the World Series in 2015? It would be bizarre and wonderful at the same time. It wouldn’t be against Miami like in the movie, but that doesn’t matter. Anyway, I really like this Pirates team, especially because of Andrew McCutchen but they had a tough battle in front of them, even playing at home. Gerrit Cole is a first class pitcher, pitching with a six days rest, but he will face Jake Arrieta. The Cubs pitcher threw three shutouts (one of them a no-hitter) and had a 0.86 ERA in the regular season. It will be hard fought and great fun to watch and together with the pitching battle we gonna have a great duel at the plate: Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant (probably NL and MLB rookie of the year) against Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez. Melancon, Bastardo and Soria might be decisive in the Pirates bullpen in the duel against Cubs’ Grimm, Strop and Rondon. All in all, it will be down to how long Arrieta will be able to stay in the game. Just like with the AL game, I’m picking the Cubs absolutely not sure about it. It’s a choice more based on Robert Zemeckis than Joe Maddon.

Next week we will already have an idea of who will be closer to play on the Championship series.

Current playlist:

Listening:

Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls

Metallica – Master of Puppets

Reading:

Hemingway – Kenneth S. Lynn

Watching:

Pet Sematary

Back to the Future trilogy

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal” winner of the NABE Pinnacle Awards 2014 Fall edition.

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

Add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/carlo.antico

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico