Portland always disappoints me when the Red Sox aren’t in the playoffs, but this weekend raised the bar. Last night, I went to the bowling alley to watch the 5:07 Rays-Rangers game. I got there a little early and all three TVs were set to college football games. When 5:00 came, I had to request the baseball game, which was disappointing, but understandable. Today, I went to Rivalries, the area’s premier sports bar (still, I think), expecting to watch the 1:07 Rays-Rangers game, only to find twenty-something TVs all tuned to NFL games. When I asked the waitress if I could watch some playoff baseball, she said “which game?” and sent the manager over. The manager said he could only show eight games at a time and had requests for eight different football games. In short time, he did switch the TV in front of my table to the baseball game, but it was only for me, the one guy in the building who prefers playoff baseball to early fall football. Alas.
Meanwhile, the Rays lead the Rangers 5-2 late in game four. This presents a dilemma for those of us who like the Rays but are more concerned with the Yankees losing than with any particular team winning this division series. If the Rangers win today, they’ll be well rested in time to host game one against New York, and will have starting pitching advantages in at least four games in the ALCS, including the first two at home. Should this series go five games, CC Sabathia would face CJ Wilson or James Shields in game one, and Andy Pettitte would oppose Colby Lewis or Matt Garza in game two, giving the Yankees an excellent chance to go home with home field advantage for game three.
Fortunately, this is baseball, and anything can happen in the playoffs. I’d love to see David Price in games three and seven in the ALCS if the Rays have really found their bats.