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Puffing in the 2012 Baseball Playoffs

Putting a Wrapper on the Season that Was with Our Guide to Smoking in MLB's Playoff Cities
Alejandro Benes
Posted: October 4, 2012

(continued from page 2)

Like I said. Take your pick.

THE NATIONAL LEAGUE

In addition to the Nats, congratulations to the Cincinnati Reds, a team with one of the most interesting closers, Aroldis Chapman, in the game. He throws up to about 103 mph and mixes in a slider that breaks so much it sometimes hits a right-handed batter’s back foot after the ball crosses the plate. Kudos to the San Francisco Giants for withstanding two steroid suspensions and for picking up Hunter Pence from the Phillies, but more importantly, it turns out, for acquiring Marco Scutaro from the Rockies. Both helped Buster Posey, a NL MVP front-runner take the Giants to the top of the west.

The Braves will play the reigning world champion St. Louis Cardinals in a one-game playoff for the wild card berth. I am picking the Braves in this one. In a departure from previous years, the wild card team will play the winner of its division, the Nationals. The series would start the first two games in Atlanta. Really dumb. Still, I think the Nats win this series.

The interior of the Carnegie Club in New York City.
New York City's Carnegie Club has been completely refurbished and has three flat-screen TVs so you can watch the Yankees and smoke a cigar.
If you’ve not gotten the sense that I think that while the excitement this new deal created for more teams was good, the one-game play-in is really dumb. The Braves had six more wins than the Cards. Bud Selig (MLB commissioner), call Gary Bettman (NHL commissioner) for advice on how to make the regular season almost meaningless.

I like the Reds against the Giants, but this is the toughest series to call. If the Giants pitchers—all of them—pitch the way they are capable of doing, they can shut down the potent offense of the Reds. The Reds have Johnny Cueto leading a decent starting rotation.

In the NL championship, the Reds beat the Nats.

THE AMERICAN LEAGUE

Yeah, yeah, the Yankees are in. Can they hit enough homers in a short series? Probably. Can they pitch well enough? Big question with no Mariano Rivera. The O’s have to keep their magic going. They ended the season without starting rightfielder Nick Markakis only to see his fill-in, Chris Davis, hit a bunch of dingers to carry the Birds. We’ve talked about the A’s, but what about “La Potencia” (“The Power”) otherwise known as Yoenis Cespedes, the Cuban who has found asylum in the Oracle Stadium outfield. (That park still sucks.) The A’s kiddie-corps pitching staff continues to impress.

Detroit finally took the lead over a surprising White Sox team that saw Adam Dunn come back and pound the ball with his usual fervor. The Tigers probably should have been on top wire-to-wire, but, you know, it’s not where you start, it’s blah, blah, blah.


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Comments   1 comment(s)

Alejandro Benes — Newbury Park, CA, USA,  —  October 11, 2012 2:44pm ET

As usual, my predictions are working out REALLY well. NOT!


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