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Puffing in the 2011 Playoffs—Where to Smoke A Cigar in Baseball’s Postseason

Cigar Aficionado's guide to where you can smoke in MLB’s playoff cities.
Alejandro Benes
Posted: September 29, 2011

(continued from page 2)

A notable accomplishment was Mariano Rivera breaking Trevor Hoffman’s save record. And congratulations to Derek Jeter for becoming the first Yankees player to get 3,000 hits, and to Jim Thome for passing the 600 home run mark.

And finally, can we say goodbye forever to Manny Ramirez? And maybe Carlos Zambrano? A question all to itself: What is up with Nyjer Morgan?

The year ends with big question marks about two certified superstars and where they will end up next season. Albert Pujols, who, despite injuries early in the year, still hit .300 with 37 dingers, was in the last year of his contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Prince Fielder, the Brewers first baseman, is a little younger and has a slightly lower average than Pujols, and has already said this is likely his last year in Milwaukee. The interesting stat to look for in both cases is the dollars each will get as a free agent.

For me, 2011 was a season mostly focused on baseball’s sometimes amusing ownership issues. Of course, the stadium closest to me is in Chavez Ravine. In addition to the Dodgers, the Mets are in the most dire financial straits. There are too many teams and not enough major-league talent. That, I think, was made clearest in Houston as Drayton McLane tries to sell the Astros to controversial businessman Jim Crane for $680 million, the second-highest price for a major league team. Whether MLB will approve the sale remains a question. The biggest concern, reportedly that $300 million of the deal would be debt-financed, is that Crane would become another Frank McCourt. Anyone got Mark Cuban’s phone number?

THE PLAYOFFS

The last week of the regular season might indeed prove more exciting than any playoffs. The wild finishes in the Wild Card races make the match-ups in the postseason a lot more interesting than they appeared to be a month earlier.

Here’s who’s going to play who in the first round of the playoffs and who’s going to win each round. A lot of my picks are based largely on how teams are playing now, not their head-to-head records.

AMERICAN LEAGUE PREDICTIONS

Oy. The Yankees. Again? The Bombers, with the league’s best record, will play the Detroit Tigers, a team that hits the ball well and pitches better. This one begins in the Bronx and I figure about three rain delays in the series. That benefits the Yankees because they could then pitch C.C. Sabathia and Iván Nova in all four games needed to win.

The Tigers boast Justin Verlander, a lock on this year’s Cy Young in the AL and late-season acquisition Doug Fister, an impressive number two starter. The Tigers also have baseball’s best closer, Jose Valverde, who notched 49 saves without blowing one this year. I pick the Tigers in five.


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Comments   8 comment(s)

David Savona September 29, 2011 4:53pm ET

I like your story, but not your picks. Yanks in five.


Arthur Pappas — MA,  —  September 29, 2011 5:03pm ET

May I also make a shamless plug for Cigar Masters in Worcester MA as a great place to watch a game (even though the Red Sox broke our hearts)?


Chris Homan — Coldwater, OH, USA,  —  September 30, 2011 7:49am ET

I'll be watching playoff baseball from the comfort of my own home, with good cigars and scotch on hand, being that my team didn't make it. I really don't care who wins, as long as it's not the Yankees. The only team in professional sports that I loathe more is the Green Bay Packers.


David Savona September 30, 2011 9:43am ET

Funny Arthur, all my friends who are Red Sox fans have shown zero interest in watching the playoffs this year. And Chris, why all the Yankee hatred?


Alex Benes — Newbury Park, CA, USA,  —  September 30, 2011 2:21pm ET

Watching from home is the best, really. I turn my screen towards the porch and look through the glass door. I light a big cigar and pour a huge glass of rum and sit back. It's always good weather here!


Chris Homan — Coldwater, OH, USA,  —  September 30, 2011 5:58pm ET

David,

I've just never liked the Yankees, and them winninng everything under the sun, going out an dspending money on big-name guys, and having the sports media ramming them down my throat every day gets really old. I know there's a lot of history there, and i can appreciate that, but I just can't stand the Yankees.


David Wisniewski — Pennsauken, NJ, USA,  —  October 1, 2011 8:19pm ET

Total agreement with your view on the Yankees, but I want to see them represent the AL, so, the Phils can put those cry babys and their bandwagon fans in their place, once and for all.


Chris Homan — Coldwater, OH, USA,  —  October 7, 2011 9:10am ET

Ding dong, the Yanks are GONE!!!! :)

Sorry, couldn't resist.


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