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Prediction for October: A Fall Classic by the Bay

Branden Lombardi
By Branden Lombardi
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 2, 2003

I wanted to write a moving, serious column this week about how much I love our national pastime.

I wanted you, the reader, to see what an impact the game of baseball has had on my life.

I wanted you to know that baseball has been a part of my life from the time I was in the womb, and that many of my greatest memories are linked to the greatest game in the world.

I wanted to tell you how I lived at the Oakland Coliseum growing up, reaping the benefits of my dad working for the Oakland A's.

I wanted to tell you about the fact that, by the time I was nine, I had been to more playoff and World Series games than the Chicago Cubs.

I wanted to tell you about my mom, a stickler for education, letting me miss school so we could go to playoff games.

I wanted to tell you about playing catch with a Cy Young winner and MVP by the name of Vida Blue.

I wanted to tell you about the mistake I made when I met Ken Griffey, Sr. and then later complained to my parents that, "I got Ken Griffey, Jr.'s dad's autograph."

I wanted to tell you about learning heartache from the game of baseball. My teacher: The gimp, Kirk Gibson. It was horrible, gut-wrenching and I wanted to cry I was seven.

I wanted to tell you that I love baseball so much that my girlfriend made me promise that when I propose to her, I will not do it with a message on the JumboTron at a game.

I wanted to tell you about my role model and friend who plays the game the same way he lives his life: full of passion.

But then I thought, "Who cares about my life?"

So with the desperate need to please the readers I have, (see, fraternity brothers ARE good for something!) I present you with my predictions for the playoffs and the World Series.

League Divisional Series

Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs

I just don't understand Cub fans. You haven't been to the playoffs in five years; you haven't won a postseason series since you won the World Series in 1908. It must be the beer at Wrigley, because you root for the Cubbies no matter what which is nice. This year, they face the Braves, a team that likes to hit the ball HARD. They struggled against the Braves this season, but this is the playoffs, and with their pitching, it's tough to bet against the Cubbies. I'm going with Ferris.
Prediction: Cubbies in 5.

Florida Marlins vs. San Francisco Giants

Growing up in the Bay Area, the NL team I liked was the Giants. I was at Pac Bell Park for the first game ever three years ago. Yet moving to Phoenix has converted me to a D-backs fan, and I have begun to loathe the Giants. I know Florida manager Jack McKeon has decided he will not pitch to Bonds if he can help it, but at 72 years old, he is due at least a few senior moments that will allow Barry to swing the bat. It's a fish fry.
Prediction: Giants in 4.

New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins

For the past few weeks, I have had Reiki treatments. Reiki is like massage, and it helps you align your body's "shakras." Crazy, I know, but it clears up my mind and body. Even with all the Reiki, I still want to pick the Twins, for two reasons. First off, I HATE the Evil Empire known as the Yankees, and two well, I just hate the Yankees. The problem is, the Evil Empire swept the Twins this year. Luckily, I am broke and can't bet on this one.
Prediction: Twins in 5

Oakland A's vs. Boston Red Sox

Red Sox fans are wicked proud to be back in the playoffs. This time is going to be different, they say. The Sox are going to redeem Buckner for his impression of a croquet wicket back in '86, they say. Goodbye, curse. Too bad Master Theo and his team are looking ahead to a LCS showdown with the Evil Empire, and are forgetting that they have to play a little series with the boys from Oaktown. The A's pulled off another one of their second-half runs, and with my hometown roots intact and honoring my buddy Andy in Denver, the curse will continue.
Prediction: A's in 5.

League Championship Series

Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants

Bonds vs. Sosa. Sammy vs. Barry. Two of the most prolific home run hitters face off in the LCS. Too bad neither will be a deciding factor in this series. This one comes down to pitching, as most playoff series do. While part of me is tempted to go with the nostalgia of the Cubs in a World Series, I haven't been boozing it up that hard this semester either, so with a clear mind, I go with the smart choice. The Giants head to the Fall Classic with redemption on their minds.
Prediction: Giants in 5

Oakland A's vs. Minnesota Twins

What guy in America wouldn't trade places with Barry Zito? The dude has surfer-boy cool, a killer left arm, and that damn guitar surely gets him more chicks than he needs. He'll have more hotties chasing after him as he leads the A's to victory in an MVP performance. Billy Ball is finally validated as the A's take the Twinkies to the limit before finishing them off in fantastic West Coast style. World Series, here I come!
Prediction: A's in 7

2003 World Series

Oakland A's vs. San Francisco Giants

No Earthquakes this time; just a grudge match between the 415 and 510 area codes. The A's pitching is tough, but their hitting is, well, suspect. No McGwire, Canseco and Steinbach means no ring. Barry walks away with his ring, the MVP award and the greatest career ever. Meanwhile, I walk away broke, despondent and crying. Life isn't fair.
Prediction: Giants in 6

Even if my predictions end up being wrong, I know two things will come out of this year's playoffs: New memories will be made, and at least I know Kirk Gibson won't make me cry again.

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