Bases empty, two outs, a 3-1 game, #8 hitter up. Nothing comes down to this.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Playoff Preview: Reds vs. Phillies

It's hard to get a handle on how this match-up will go down, since it isn't entirely clear who these teams really are. The Philadelphia Phillies are named after the city in which they play; they were formerly known as the "Philadelphias", and this was later shortened to just the "Phillies". This is an odd identity for a team; if the team is composed of an entire city, what part of it faces its opponents? The people? The buildings? The city as a collective whole, looming menacingly but moving glacially?

Cincinnati is equally confusing. The Reds were originally named as such in reference to their foot-related attire (they were once known as the Cincinnati Red Stockings), but the name is ambiguous enough that it may have taken on different meanings over the years. Philadelphia goes into this series blind, not knowing whether they'll be facing a squad full of high-socked men, communists, or hyper-intelligent shades of the colour red. Or perhaps all three.

So in a world of sports in which we're accustomed to 1-on-1 duels between fierce battle-tested men and/or creatures such as Giants, Bears, Cavaliers and Sharks, this National League Division Series figures to play out more like a siege. Cincinnati will gather all the socks, commies, and hues it can muster in an attempt to lay waste to the sprawling city of Philadelphia. We know they'll have plenty of firepower: NL MVP candidate Joey Votto led the Reds to scoring 790 runs, more than any other team in the National League.

Communists, high-red-socked men, and hyper-intelligent shades of the colour red will march on Philadelphia

On the other side, Philadelphia will barricade the streets, reinforce its strategic centers, and put out a call to arms to every last citizen. The city is a little bruised and battered after 162 games of regular-season assault, but has held up admirably, largely thanks to the terrific three of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt, who have commanded the city's defensive forces brilliantly. Much like soccer teams often do, the Phillies will retreat into their shell, relying on their superior defensive game in an attempt to expose flaws in the Reds' plans. Look for Cincinnati to tire of their full-on attack by the fourth or fifth contest, and for Philadelphia's turtle-like strategy to win out in the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment