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Giants fans and Rangers fans, Yankees relievers and Cliff Lee vs. Zach Greinke

 

Gary Mintz, a Giants fan who lives in Long Island, visited the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia this past April. He decided that Ben Franklin, Philadelphian though he might have been, would look mighty fine in a Giants hat.

And if you've read anything about Mr. Franklin, you know that this Founding Father loved a good time. Which means that, had he been around today, he would've expressed disappointment that his Phillies lost and then hopped on the first horse to San Francisco.

I'm excited for Gary, whom I've never met, but with whom I've been corresponding for probably about five or six years. He became a Giants fan to honor his dad, who watched the New York Giants play in the Polo Grounds. He's had the 1989 World Series and 2002 World Series, neither of which concluded to his liking, and that's it.

I'm equally excited for Jamey Newberg, with whom I've been communicating for about six and a half years but whom I just met prior to ALCS Game 2 (scroll down for his mention of me). Jamey grew up a huge baseball fan in Texas, which is of course no easy task, and has loved the Rangers since the '70s. At least Gary Mintz enjoyed two World Series. Jamey? Nada, until now.

And in the next week to 10 days, one of them will experience the ultimate euphoria for the first time in his life.

I love covering baseball because I enjoy the game itself, and also because I love all of the off-the-field stuff. Can't wait, seriously, for the Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens hearings. 

But I also love bearing witness to significant events for a fan base. The 2004 Red Sox title, of course. The 1996 Yankees, as their fans weren't used to 17-year slumps. The 2002 Angels. The 2005 White Sox

The 2001 Diamondbacks? Not really. It might have been their first title, but those fans didn't have to endure much.

This Fall Classic should be good even without the history. There are compelling characters on both sides. The history, though, makes it awesome. And when it ends, I can't wait to check in with either Gary Mintz or Jamey Newberg to get a sense of what they're feeling.

(Well, if it's Jamey Newberg, he'll share it with his audience, and I'll link to it here.)

--Looks like Vladimir Guerrero will play the outfield in Games 1 and 2 (and 6 and 7, if necessary). Interesting decision. That AT&T Park outfield is pretty darn big. I'm not sure I wouldn't rather start David Murphy in Game 1 against Tim Lincecum and either Murphy or Jeff Francoeur in Game 2, depending on who starts for the Giants, and save Vladdy for a big pinch-hitting spot.

I learned of this Guerrero decision on Twitter.

--Thanks to Richie G. for alerting me to this Tom Verducci piece on Giants manager Bruce Bochy, and how well he navigated through NLCS Game 6.

--Erik Boland had the unfortunate task of Yankees locker clean-out yesterday, and among the few players who showed up was Damaso Marte, who declared that he wouldn't be able to pitch again until the second half of next year, at the earliest. Brutal. The three-year contract that Brian Cashman gave to Marte after the 2008 season remains one of Cashman's oddest signings since he gained full power following 2005.

Yes, Marte pitched wonderfully in last year's postseason. But if one transcendent postseason justifies what's looking like three otherwise wasted years, then sign me up for that evaluation philosophy.

--Joba Chamberlain's future is up in the air, Anthony Rieber writes, and this represents a case of the base numbers not telling the whole story. Chamberlain mostly lost the trust of his manager Joe Girardi by the time the postseason arrived, and that resulted from an odd regular season in which, basically, when he faltered, he struggled to control the damage.

Look at his 2010 splits. In high-leverage situations, constituting 96 plate appearances, hitters touched him up for a .354 OBP and .460 SLG. Let's forget about his 2007 rookie season, because that was unsustainable over the long run, and let's forget about his 2009 season, because the Yankees contributed to that mess. Let's look at 2008: In high-leverage situations, he performed worst of all, just like in '10, but the numbers were .324 and .315 in 110 plate appearances.

Maybe it's just a small sample. Fairly or unfairly, they have left an impression. Chamberlain will be an interesting item of discussion when the Yankees have the organizational meetings. With a seven-figure salary coming thanks to his eligibility for arbitration, I'd expect the Yankees to at least consider trading him.

--Thanks to JE for this link to It's About the Money Stupid, in which asking the question of whom the Yankees would be better off acquiring, Cliff Lee or Zach Greinke. I think the Yankees are going to wind up signing Lee, and if that happens, I won't be fully complimentary. They'll be assuming enormous financial risk, even given their massive resources.

One matter about Greinke: If the Yankees are on his no-trade list, then he could try to leverage that into a bigger payment from the Yankees, which would change the comparison equation. Ultimately, though, I think the Yankees will just do what it takes to sign Lee.

--Live chat Wednesday at 11:30. World Series preview, Yankees, Mets. Whatever you've got. I'll be in San Francisco. Where will you be? You'll be at the live chat, that's where you'll be.

--OK, I'll check in later after Joe Girardi and Cashman speak to the media at Yankee Stadium.

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