By Glen McKee, AngelsWin.com Senior Humorist
The playoffs are finally here and for the first time since Obama was still a rookie, the Angels are back in the playoffs. Time for the hacks to bust out their “LA Angels of Anaheim of Los Angeles of California of the USA of Earth! LOL!” lame-assed jokes. It’s also time for predictions – mine at the end of this – and for an examination of the possible playoff scenarios. From best to worst, here is what could happen in the playoffs and a helpful probability assessment of each scenario. If I don’t list it here, it simply cannot happen.
1. Best-case scenario: The Angels beat the Dodgers in seven games in the World Series. I know, I hear you asking “but Glen, isn’t the best case scenario the Angels sweeping the Dodgers?” No, that isn’t, because that doesn’t give the Dodgers any hopes to be dashed in the last game, in Anaheim. To make this scenario even better, imagine CJ Wilson outdueling Clayton Kershaw in Anaheim for the game seven win. Beautiful, ain’t it? Dodgers’ fans would be crushed. There is no scenario better than this. Probability: slightly better chance of happening than California having better-than-average rainfall this year.
2. Next-best-case scenario: The Angels sweep the Dodgers in the WS. This is second-best scenario only because the Dodgers would have no hope and the win would occur on their field. That would still be pretty sweet, but not as sweet as watching the hope slowly drain from their faces at the Big A. Probability: the same as Kate Upton dumping Justin Verlander and hopping aboard the Glen Train.
3. Third-best case scenario: The Angels beat the Dodgers in six games. I’m sure you’re seeing the common theme in the best-case scenarios: beating the Dodgers. That in itself would be great but it’s even greater doing it at home, because if it happens in the Latrine the Angels might not get out alive. Probability: greater chance of happening than of anybody saying Joe West is a good umpire
4. The Angels beat Dodgers in the WS in five games. They’ll need a police escort out of the stadium. Probability: even odds with Arnold Schwarzenegger ever again starring in a good movie. I miss you, Good Arnold.
5. The Angels beat the Nationals, Pirates, Cardinals or Giants in the WS. The amount of games and the opponent don’t matter in these scenarios. Winning a WS would be fantastic no matter which team the Angels beat, but the preferred NL opponent would be the Dodgers. Although you can make arguments for certain matchups having a bit more oomph: beating the Nationals because of Trout versus that one kid everybody used to talk about, beating the Cardinals because of Albert Pujols, or even beating the Giants again. I’d actually be a bit sad to see an Angels/Pirates WS because the Pirates are fun to root for. Probability: better chance of one of these happening than there is anybody remembering U2s new album after this year is over.
All of those are variations of best-case scenarios. What about the worst-case scenarios? Glad you asked. There are only a few to care about.
1. The Angels get to the WS and lose to the Dodgers, any amount of games. Self-explanatory. That would suck more than a million jet engines in front of a black hole. Probability: one percent chance of happening. If the Angels and Dodgers make it to the WS then that proves the existence of Baseball God and there’s no way, barring a lapse in attention, that Baseball God would let the Dodgers win that WS. Inconceivable!
2. The Angels don’t advance to the ALCS. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the Angels ended their playoff drought and also glad it happened in a year without the Red Sox AND Yankees in the playoffs. However, now that they are back in the playoffs, having it end so abruptly would suck. There’s no other word for it, even with all the injuries to the pitching staff for the Angels. Wow. Just imagining it bums me out a bit. It doesn’t matter who our opponent is, but if it’s the A’s it would suck even more. Gah. Give me the willies, thinking of that does. Probability: even odds. Playoffs are a crapshoot, every year there are surprise eliminations, blah blah blah.
3. The Angels get to the WS and then lose. This is only slightly less bad than the first scenario, but it is pretty bad. Getting to the WS would fire up all of the 2002 comparisons all over again, and to have the season end differently would make people remember the hell that was 1986 (yes, I know that wasn’t the WS, but yeah). So close but so far away is worse than not close at all. Probability: Worse chance of happening than of seeing Tony Romo in a playoff game in 2015.
4. The Angels get to the ALCS and then lose. Getting out of the ALDS intact would be great, but then blowing it directly after that would hurt. Not as much as getting to the WS and losing or not even getting to the ALSC, but close. I’d still consider it a good season if this happened. Probability: slightly better odds than of the new Bill & Ted movie being funny. Man, I don’t want to get my hopes up, but…
5. The Angels don’t get to the WS, and either Oakland or the Dodgers wins it all. Imagine Oakland winning and everybody slobbering all over Billy’s Beane all over again, and all offseason long. Imagine the Angels not making it to the WS and the Dodgers winning it all. I’d rather be repeatedly kicked in the nuts by Shaquille O’Neal wearing steel-toe sneakers for an hour straight than have either of those happens, and I’m not exaggerating. It’s OK, I’m already sterilized, so I wouldn’t be losing anything and after the first kick I’d be numb. It’s still suck, though. Probability: even odds with another El Nino happening this year.
6. The Angels don’t make it to the WS and any other team besides the Dodgers or A’s wins: This is the best of the worst-case scenarios. If the Angels don’t win and the Dodgers and A’s don’t win either, I’m making the De Niro “ehh, not bad” face. Sucks, but at least neither of those other teams took the championship either. I could live with that, kinda like mushrooms on a pizza. Not what I want, but tolerable. Probability: much better chance of happening that Trout’s first AB in the playoffs resulting in a K looking.
Of course there are other playoffs scenarios, but none of them really fit into best- or worst-case for the Angels and their fans. These are the best of the best and the worst of the worst. As for my prediction: nobody will accuse me of Homerism, other than for constantly using Homer as my avatar on the message board. I’m going with worst-case #4. The Angels will have enough magic to get past the first round but their starting pitching will ultimately betray them, and the offense won’t have enough left in the tank to bail them out. Still a good season, and I hope I’m wrong.