MLB Playoffs 2019: The Definitive Prediction Special Edition Exclusive

Playoff baseball starts tomorrow. The last few months of the season have been quite a lull for me. Following my roadtrip – the Giants stopped playing competitive baseball and fell out of contention. The organization has been milking the Bochy retirement for all it is worth – and now our season is over.

Just because the Giants season is over does not mean that baseball is done. We have finally made it to the playoffs. The time of the year when we get to see the best teams square off. Also, the time of the year when Mike Trout starts his vacation – because he is never in the playoffs. If he was really that good, wouldn’t the Angels be perennial contenders? That is a post for another day.

Here we go – my thoughts on each series, and who I think will win the 2019 World Series.

Wildcard Round

Brewers @ Nationals

We have Brandon Woodruff facing Max Scherzer on the mound. I am not sure if I really need to write more about this. Scherzer is one of the best pitchers in the game, who else would you rather have on the mound in a win or go home situation? (Madison Bumgarner/Justin Verlander)

Nats win.

Rays @ Athletics

This is an interesting game. These are two teams I pull for year in and year out. Small budget teams able to put together consistent playoff seasons. It is really too bad that they are playing in a wildcard game. I think that playing in Oakland will be a huge advantage in this one. The fans will be electric. Marcus Semien is also one of the most underrated players in the game.

Athletics win.

Division Series

Twins @ Yankees

Two teams that hit over 300 homeruns! Can either team pitch though? The Twins are 0-5 in the playoffs against the Yankees. I think this is the year they end that streak.

Twins in 5.

Cardinals @ Braves

This is the most interesting series for me. I love both of these offenses. I think that the Cardinals have greatly underachieved this year – they have a solid mix of veteran and young bats throughout their lineup. I have been waiting for Goldschmidt to go off this season – I think that him and DeJong have a great series. The Braves have a similar mix of their own on offense, and are even more explosive with Freeman, Acuña, and Donaldson. The difference in this series is going to be the pitching – something tells me that the young arms for the Cardinals will show up – especially with Yadi behind the plate.

Cardinals in 4.

Athletics @ Astros

The Astros should sweep the Athletics. I do not see the A’s being able to take down Verlander, Cole or Greinke. Especially after burning their own ace in the Wildcard round.

Astros in 3.

Nationals @ Dodgers

The Dodgers have the experience, the pitching, the bats, the everything. The Nationals never live up to their ridiculous expectations. I give the edge to the Dodgers, especially with Scherzer not throwing game 1 for the Nats.

Dodgers in 4.

Championship Series

Twins @ Astros

The Astros are a complete baseball team, the Twins are still a few years away. The Twins will come back to earth after a big series win over the Yankees, The Astros will keep chugging along on their way to the World Series.

Astros in 5.

Cardinals @ Dodgers

The Dodgers have a better offense and a better pitching staff. I think the trio of Kershaw, Ryu, and Buehler will be hard to get past. The Cardinals are relying on a couple of young arms that are not quite experienced enough to get them over the hump.

Dodgers in 5.

World Series

Dodgers @ Astros

Oh man. A rematch of the 2017 World Series. The Dodgers will be returning for their third straight appearance, and playing to win their first title since 1988. So will this year be any different than the last two years?

Yes. I think this is where the Dodgers get over the hump. Why? They have to. This is their chance to avoid being Baseball’s Buffalo Bills. Clayton Kershaw will have an electric series and finally put to bed all of his questionable appearances in the postseason.

Dodgers in 6.

Wrap Up

For entertainment purposes – I truly hope I am wrong with my predictions. I would love a Rays vs Brewers World Series, or Braves vs Athletics World Series. I am rooting for new story lines to come out of the playoffs this year and for new stars to be born.

Who do you think will end their 2019 season in a parade?

– Buzz

West Coast MLB Stadium Tour: Rankings, Highlights, And The All-Roadtrip Team

This past week I embarked on a pretty cool experience. I have always loved baseball – and I have always found ballparks to be intriguing. Baseball stadiums are all unique and different – I wanted to experience more of them.

I called up my buddy – Uncle D-Bo – and we decided to check out five stadiums in six days. We covered around 2,000 miles – by visiting every MLB ballpark in California – and came away with quite a few thoughts.

The Best Hot Dog

Prior to this trip I decided that I was going to try a hot dog at every single stadium and give it an unbiased rating. The heavy favorite coming into this was the Dodger Dog at Dodger Stadium. I wanted to see if that lived up to the hype and how it compared to the other hot dogs.

  1. Dodger Stadium – July 24th, 2019 – 8.1/10: On first look this hot dog was skinny. The bun was a classic hot dog bun, and the dog tasted just right. At a baseball stadium I feel like this is what you would hope for if you were being optimistic. Is this worth the hype and the shitty parking situation? No. Is it good? Yeah buddy.
  2. Oracle Park – July 23rd, 2019 – 7.8/10: Solid bun. Classic hot dog taste. Could be warmer. All things considered this is a solid hot dog.
  3. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – July 29th, 2019 – 6.8/10: This hot dog had some girth to it. The bun was stale. Overall this thing was not terrible, and that says a lot considering I was pretty hot-dogged out at this point.
  4. Petco Park – July 28th, 2019 – 6.5/10: The bun on this thing was not good. It was…crispy on the edges. The meat was salty in a beef jerky kind of way.
  5. Angel Stadium of Anaheim – July 26th, 2019 – 6.1/10: Just a hot dog. About the quality you would expect to get at a JV high school football game. This thing was luke-warm. Did not want to get another one.

Best Fountain Coke

I am a big Coke guy. I’m an even bigger souvenir Coke for $9.50 kind of guy. Just like with the hot dogs I got a fountain Coke at each park.

  1. Oracle Park – July 23rd, 2019 – 8.5/10: Went down smooth and had good bubbles. Great flavor to it.
  2. Dodger Stadium – July 24th, 2019 – 7.7/10: I was happy to see that they gave me a lid and a straw – which was very rare in California. However, it was a paper straw. The Coke itself had good bubbles and flavor. It was less Coke tasting than I would want, but still good.
  3. Petco Park – July 28th, 2019 – 7.3/10: This was some movie-theater-quality Coke. Once again I was given a paper straw, but the Coke was tasty.
  4. Angel Stadium of Anaheim – July 26th, 2019 – 6.7/10: Whoa, this one came with a sippy-cup style lid. No paper straw needed. The best way to describe the ice would be “wet”. This was a pretty tasty fountain coke and the bubble…age was solid. This kind of tasted like RC Cola.
  5. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – July 29th, 2019 – DNQ (6.7)/10: They do no serve Coca-Cola products at this stadium. RC Cola. Kind of makes me think they snuck me an RC in Anaheim because I also had this at 6.7.

The Best Seat

I am a man that enjoys a comfortable place to sit. Like I have mentioned before – I’m 30 now. Gone are the days of slumming it at a stadium far from the view of the game. Am I going to sit in a section where I have to get my own concessions and wait in line to pee? Not if I can help it.

  1. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – July 29th, 2019 – Lounge 113: This was the best surprise of the trip. We sat in a section that was for season ticket holders. The chairs were plush leather seats – kind of like you would find in a fancy movie theater. In front of us we had a cabinet with cubbies to put our stuff and a TV underneath to watch the game. This was an awesome way to relax and take in a ball game. We also sat in the last row of this section – which kept us in the shade for the whole game. I could have napped here.
  2. Petco Park – July 28th, 2019 – Premier Club A: These seats gave us access to an exclusive restaurant/lounge area – we didn’t really take advantage of it, but getting our hands stamped made us feel cool. The seats were padded and wider and it felt like we had a good amount of leg room. Another section that was in the shade – hell yeah.
  3. Angel Stadium of Anaheim – July 27th, 2019 – Saint Archer Brewing Club 350: We actually discovered this area of the park in the middle of the game we went to on the 26th – so we decided to go back for another game the following day. This was the best value of the trip at only $14.50 a seat. We were far-away from the action down the right-field line – but it was awesome to take in the game from these seats. We had a table in front of us – wait service – and free soda refills. It was like going to a restaurant that happened to be at a baseball game – or being at a sports bar.
  4. Dodger Stadium – July 24th, 2019 – Executive Club Level 235: These were the most expensive seats of the trip. To get to our section we had to walk past all of the private suites. It was honestly kind of a cool area to be in. We had in seat wait service and a concession stand and bar with minimal waiting as well. The seats were comfy and we sat on the rail with a great view of the stadium. To top it off, Tommy Lasorda zoomed past us on his scooter as we were leaving the stadium.
  5. Oracle Park – July 23rd, 2019 – Club Level Infield 216: We had a great view of the game – we were right behind the plate and in front of Krukow, Kuiper and Flemming. Other than that, there was nothing too special about this spot compared to the other stadiums.

The Best Parking Situation

  1. Angel Stadium of Anaheim – July 26th/27th, 2019 – This was so easy. They have a huge parking lot and it takes just a few minutes to get in and out of that place. We did not experience a single wait time at either game we went to.
  2. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – July 29th, 2019 – The stadium is right off the freeway and they have ample parking at the park. With the amount of space they have to park it was pretty easy to get out of there. It took us about 10 min to get back on the freeway after the game.
  3. Petco Park – July 28th, 2019 – Parking was convenient but the attendants were clueless after the game. They forgot to open up one of the exits so we waited there awhile.
  4. Oracle Park – July 23rd, 2019 – The main parking lot is pretty close to the stadium. Traffic gets very clogged up after the games.
  5. Dodger Stadium – July 24th, 2019 – Getting into the parking lot was not terrible, but we arrived very early. Leaving the stadium was chaotic and unenjoyable. We somehow ended up in Downtown LA – thankfully my hours playing GTA V helped me navigate our way out of there.

The Best Gear/Team Store

  1. Angel Stadium of Anaheim – July 26th/27th, 2019 – The Angels get the nod for having the best gear and team stores. What set them apart from the rest was the variety of items they had. They also did the best job with player-specific items – which makes sense with two marketable players in Ohtani and Trout. Another cool thing – they had a value souvenir section for families.
  2. Oracle Park – July 23rd, 2019 – The Giants have a solid flagship store on street level. The cool thing about their store is it is a quick way into the stadium too.
  3. Petco Park – July 28th, 2019 – The Padres have a huge store near the Western Metal Supply building. I was also impressed with what the various kiosks had around the park.
  4. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum – July 29th, 2019 – Probably the smallest of all of the team stores. Even though it was small they had some cool items. The Green and Yellow is a good look.
  5. Dodger Stadium – July 24th, 2019 – Being a Giants fan, the Dodgers did not really stand a chance – I didn’t buy anything. For such a good team, most of the stuff they sold was pretty generic. They have a ton of marketable players but unlike the Angels they didn’t do anything about it.

The Team Of The Road Trip

All things considered – we saw 6 baseball games at 5 stadiums in 7 days. We wanted to compile the stats and see who the best players were based purely on games we witnessed.

PositionPlayerTeamStats
PAsher WojciechowskiOrioles7IP, 3H, 2ER, 1BB, 6K
CPedro SeverinoOrioles4/8, 2R, 2B
1BDanny SantanaRangers3/4, 2R, RBI, HR, 2B
2BJonathan VillarOrioles4/11, 6R, 2RBI, HR, 4SB
3BJustin TurnerDodgers3/4, R, RBI, HR
SSFernando Tatis Jr.Padres3/4, R, 2RBI, HR,
LFWil MeyersPadres2/4, R, RBI, 2 2B
CFMike TroutAngels4/13, 3R, 3RBI, 3 2B
RFNomar MazaraRangers2/4, 2R, 2RBI, HR
DHRenato NunezOrioles4/10, 2R, 4RBI, HR
PHGreg GarciaPadres1/1, 2RBI

Honorable Mention: Kole Calhoun, Marcus Semien, Alex Dickerson and Kevin Pillar.

The Best Player

For me, Fernando Tatis Jr. has that wow factor. It is crazy to see what he can do at just 20 years old. One of the most incredible things we witnessed was him getting brushed back with a fastball – and taking the next pitch over the center-field fence.

The Best Baseball Moment

We started the trip off on a great note. After an absolutely terrible game from Pablo Sandoval – he walked things off against the Cubs in extra innings.

Wrap-Up

All things considered – it was a great experience to visit each and every stadium in California. I know I will be back at Oracle Park sometime in the near future. I would love to spend a weekend or a series watching games at Petco Park. As a regular visitor to the Disneyland, I will seek a break from the crowds at the park by going to Angel Stadium. Hell, if I could snag tickets in Lounge 113, I’d happily visit the Coliseum again. That leaves us with Dodger Stadium. Honestly – kind of disappointing for all the hype it gets. Maybe things will get better after the reported renovations. At least they have the #1 hot dog on the West Coast.

– Buzz