Archive for October 8th, 2009

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins, Week 2 Power Rankings

TJ Lavin“I’ve never been under so much pressure. It’s time for me to take my stake in Real World/Road Rules Challenge history and beat Wes.”—Nick

“I don’t really think there’s a place for giving up in this game. I really am disappointed.…I guess Evelyn had hatred in her heart that’s deeper than her need for winning”—TJ Lavin

So I guess putting Evelyn at #2 last week looks rather dumb, but I don’t think it’s fair to hold it against me. How was I supposed to know she would essentially forfeit by walking off the platform of the glorified tug-of-war elimination?

The Ruins makes people do crazy things. Evelyn couldn’t decide if she wanted to forfeit or beat Kelly Anne, which led to a very odd spectacle. Kelly Anne was pulling with all her might, and Evelyn just sort of stood there contemplating. In the best of five series, she twice half-heartedly pulled Kelly Anne off her platform, and three times ended up walking off under her own power. I think this should actually reinforce my high ranking of her: The only way Evelyn goes home is if she decides to go home.

On the other side of the coin, Nick had his work cut out for him against Wes. On the same night that Alex Rodriguez ended his streak of 18 hitless postseason at bats with runners in scoring position, it was Nick from The Real World who was the athlete who most felt the weight of history on him. Everyone, Champions and Challengers alike, wanted Nick to send Wes home, but he couldn’t rise to the occasion; Wes won easily—or, as Wes put it, he won “with assertion.” Continue reading

MLB Postseason Preview: Red Sox vs. Angels

Boston Red Sox (95-67) at Los Angeles Angels (97-65) 

LAARed Sox

OVERVIEW

In 2004 and 2007, the Boston Red Sox swept the Los Angeles Angels in the ALDS en route to winning the World Series. I really hope that doesn’t happen again. People always make a big deal about Red Sox “having the Angels’ number” in the postseason. But the truth is that those teams were different from these teams: The Angels didn’t have Kendry Morales, Torii Hunter or Scott Kazmir, and Boston didn’t have Victor Martinez, Jason Bay or a steroidless David Ortiz. This series will actually probably come down to some marquee pitching matchups: Lester v. Lackey, Beckett v. Weaver.

THE LINEUPS 

It’s hard to believe, but the Angels more or less experienced no drop-off offensively when Mark Teixeira left last off-season. Kendry Morales, combined with the frugal but wise acquisition of Bobby Abreu, have actually made the 1-5 hitters in this lineup (Figgins-Abreu-Hunter-Guerrero-Morales) very scary.

The Red Sox lineup is harder to gauge: Jason Bay seemed like an MVP candidate for the first three months of the season, then cooled off dramatically, then picked it up a bit in September. David Ortiz had an atrocious first half, but has taken out the old syringe hitting stick and quietly become a power hitter again. Victor Martinez has been a great addition for them, but it puts them in an odd position of having to bench Jason Varitek (shouldn’t be that hard, but he’s the sentimental favorite and captain) or Mike Lowell. Continue reading