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World Series Diaryland: Everybody Wants to Reach Out And Touch Cole Hamels

Each day after the World Series, this space will serve as a reason to rundown all that happened in the Fall Classic the night before. Since nobody's watching it, this seems like a fine idea. Plus, the Phillies are involved, and you know, I'm quite fond of those guys. Historians are quick to point out that the 10 out of the last 11 World Series, the team that won the first game went on to win the whole thing. The last team to lose the Series in four straight after winning the first game? The Wheeze Kids of 1983, who took a 1-0 lead over the Baltimore Orioles only to get shellacked by Rick Dempsey and crew. History is both for Philadelphia and against us at the same time. But I'll enjoy the brief restoration of faith thanks to Cole Hamels' performance last night. Of course, all of this could disintegrate after Larry Johnson's idol, Brett Myers, takes the hill tonight. A split would be a great thing on paper, that is unless you have to wheel out Jamie Moyer for Game 3. Moyer goes against ALCS MVP and professional spitter Matt Garza. If Moyer spit as much as Garza did throughout the ALCS, he'd probably dehydrate and die.Ryan Howard is stricken by some kind of monster: Last night before the World Series, Leitch and I played MLB 2008 Rays vs. Phillies before hand because he likes to do these sorts of things. Most of the time it's because he fancies himself a master a sports video games and secretly is considering a run at the Kotaku job , but I also think he firmly believes the video game's outcome will be a good indicator for the real game. (Another fun fact I found out about Mr. Leitch last night: he used a wooden bat in both Little League and high school baseball. Who's surprised?) In our MLB game, the Rays beat the Phillies 10-5, after Evan Longoria (or "Number 3") busted it wide open in the 7th with a three-run homer. Ryan Howard went 1 for 4, with three strikeouts and a garbage home run in the top of the 9th. Not surprisingly, Howard's video game ABs with me mashing buttons and wildly power-swinging at balls in the dirt remarkably resembled his plate appearances last night. The Phillies should hire Tom Emanski to follow around Howard the rest of the Series. He could be like Howard's personal Phil Towle. Honestly, Howard was seriously considered an MVP candidate going into the playoffs. Think of how absurd that is. I'd rather have So Taguchi looking befuddled and fouling pitches off for five pitches in the clean-up spot right now. Thank God Howard''s such a great defensive player or else he'd be a liability to the whole team... B.J. Upton's hustle is Supafly: Buck and McCarver tried to act like Upton "stumbled" out of the box after his momentum-killing double play in the third inning, but anybody really watching the game could see that Upton was just dogging it as usual. Didn't you see his boxer shorts hanging out of his pants in the batter's box? And rolling his eyes every time the third base coach tried to talk to him? But the great thing about Africa-America's Baseball Hope is he does have a canon for an arm. Clearly, this is a skill Upton developed as a teenager hurling beer bottles at police cars. If you have a mancrush on Cole Hamels, you might be a homosexual: Yeah. Sorry Dave Lazare. I didn't have a lot of faith in Cole Hamels as the ace of the Phillies staff. And if you remember, he wasn't. That was Brett Myers. Last season Cole went through some bratty growing pains with contract disputes and the way the Phillies were riding him so much. He wants to get paid. John Smoltz reached out to Cole to give him some advice, since he'd been through similar issues with the Braves when he was less bald and essentially told him to "settle down." Smoltz also said he wouldn't be surprised if Cole was out of whack for the first half of the season. He wasn't. It's just the team didn't score any runs for him and Cole's win-loss record suffered. Last year in his one post season Hamels looked shaky, sweaty, nowhere close to the playoff titan he's been so far this year. Now everyone loves Cole Hamels: his boyish charm, his politeness, his cagey gamesmanship, his Flowbee haircut, his change up, the fact that he loves the Beatles even though he's deaf. He's the man-boy everyone wants to be. And also, remember, Cole Hamels "married a dirty minx" from Survivor. She's the one on the right in this photo:


Hooray. Sieve-fisted fiends: One of the first things everyone of my friends with American League rooting interests said once the Rays made it was this: "You're going to HATE Grant Balfour by the end of this series." But why? I love feisty Australians. Then you see why. He grits. He stomps. He yells into his glove. He's the type of guy you'd imagine kicking a dog for crying too much. But he is effective. And if there's any person you'd like to see get shelled just so you can then watch him destroy the dugout once he's yanked, he's the guy. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Ben Zobrist, who has both the name and demeanor of a someone who should be a bass player in an indie rock band. In fact, "Zobrist" is a pretty excellent band name on its own. It could be a fusion rock power trio. And I just realized after that sentence I may have just ingested too many drugs and cocoa puffs.

Oh, and in Why Can't Us? news: Dan Levy is doing the morning talk show circuit in Philadelphia. If the Phillies continue to win , I'm almost convinced he'll be master of ceremonies at the parade down Broad Street. Three more to go....

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