Go ahead, call me the Ryan Howard of the sports blog world since and I swung and missed on my World Series prediction.

That pick of the Philadelphia Phillies winning in six games was off the mark, kind of like most of the swings of Howard, the prolific power hitter who struggled with the solid pitching of the New York Yankees while striking out a World Series record 13 times.

I had the number of games correct — six — but the wrong team. It was hard to choose a winner from these two great teams and the 50-50 proposal was kind of like the Phillies throwing Brad Lidge in to close the game — hope for the best and get ready to duck.

The Yankees are the deserving champions and outplayed the Phillies for most of the series. Philadelphia had two players performing at peak efficiency — second baseman Chase Utley and left-hander Cliff Lee — while the Yankees had a ton of players getting it done at a high level.

Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada have now won five World Series rings with the Yankees, a hard-to-believe feat in an era where very few players stick with the same team for even a decade. The quartet won their first title in 1996 — the same year that Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins graduated from high school and was picked in the second round of the draft.

To further drum in the point, the aforementioned Howard was a sophomore in high school and Utley was a junior when the Yankees’ foursome won their first ring. Cole Hamels, the MVP of the 2008 World Series when the Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, was all of 12 years old and still a few years away from enrolling at Rancho Bernardo High.

In fact, Hamels might be the main reason my pick didn’t pan out. He was sensational last postseason but was shaky throughout the 2009 postseason. The Yankees smacked him around in Game 3 and he uttered afterwards that he couldn’t wait for the season to end.

Come again? You are playing in the World Series and you can’t wait for your season to end?

The sad thing is the Phillies would’ve been turning to Hamels if there had been a Game 7. With that kind of mindset, the Yankees would have had a field day against the pitcher who can now answer to this nickname: “Lump of Cole.”

Think about this — the Phillies No. 1 and 2 pitchers in the World Series were Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez. Lee was acquired via trade in late July and Martinez was signed off the scrap heap and joined the team in mid-August. How bad would the Phillies’ pitching had been if they hadn’t made those acquisitions?

Yankees manager Joe Girardi did a fantastic job setting up his starting pitching and used Major League Baseball’s dumb postseason scheduling format to his advantage. Girardi needed just three starting pitchers — CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Pettitte — and his strategy worked out superbly.

I was fine with Hideki Matsui winning MVP honors despite him being a part-time starter (three of six games). His hitting performance in Game 6 was incredible and I’m sure his large legion of fans in Japan were ecstatic over his six-RBI performance in the decisive game. Alex Rodriguez — who has declared he’s half-man, half-horse — finally won a World Series ring and Johnny Damon’s stellar base running in the ninth inning of the pivotal Game 4 (won by the Yankees) will be remembered for a long time.

Another feat that will be recalled often down the line was the performance of Utley, who hit five homers to tie Reggie Jackson’s record for most home runs in the World Series. “Octodaddy” nearly became only the second player from a losing team to win World Series MVP (Bobby Richardson, 1960 Yankees, is the only one).

What won’t be remembered is how MrSportsBlog swung and missed on his pick. I was looking forward to a Game 7 on Thursday night but I’m perfectly fine that the series ended in six games for one significant reason:

The “Lump of Cole” wanted the season to end.

Who in their right mind would want to make him work one more day when he’s only getting paid $4.35 million this season?


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