The Kid puts the head in head-to-head matchups

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Ted Williams' frozen head

Editor's note: A new book by a former employee of Alcor, the company that froze Ted Williams' remains, alleges the baseball Hall of Famer's body was mistreated by the company. Alcor has denied the allegations and promises legal action. The alleged ordeal has left us wondering . . . what if? I know what you're thinking: Cremation is looking pretty good right now. Yeah, the ol' Splinter took some licks in life — broken elbow, neck problems, fighter-jet crash landings. But nothing as rough as the abuse I've taken in death. Course, these lab tech wusses would wait 'til I got no arms to take a run at The Kid. But if you think a few lumps are gonna keep Teddy Ballgame down, you got another think coming. Like I always say, there's no crying in cryonics. And look at the bright side, if I wasn't frozen in suspended animation, I wouldn't be able to weigh in on the 2009 playoff picture.

AL Division Series

Divisional Playoffs? Championship Series? I've just never been able to wrap my head around this nonsense. I guess I'm hopelessly old school just 'cause I think the World Series should be played between the best team in the American League and the best team in the National League. Eight teams make the playoffs? Why not invite everybody? Participation medals all around. I just don't get the appeal of having a team that won 86 games and lost 76 playing in October. It wasn't bad enough that you had to split the leagues into divisions and give the second-best team in the league a shot at the World Series. No, you had to keep meddling and add two more teams to the playoff format. So now over a quarter of the teams in baseball participate in a weak-ass "tournament" that waters down everything you fought for from April through September. Then again, if we'd had divisions and wild cards when I played, I would have made the playoffs 11 times instead of making one miserable trip to the World Series. (Yeah, Shaughnessy, I went 5-for-25. Everyone knows. It was 63 years ago, for chrissakes. Can't you and the Boston Globe just let me rest in pieces?) Am I bitter that my legacy will be as a loser while a bunch of Boston steroid freaks who backed into the 2004 playoffs as first runner-up in their division will be forever canonized as the great saviors of the Olde Towne? No. I'm bitter because a bunch of lab nerds are playing H-O-R-S-E with my frickin' head. Alright, alright, I can hear ya clamoring for my picks. Shut up, ya jerks. This is my column. Just for that I'm gonna tell a long story about saltwater fly fishing with Bobby Knight. Let me tell ya something about Robert Montgomery Knight ... (Editor's note: the full story will be available on Ted's head's forthcoming blog.) ... and I guess I kinda had to agree. It was sort of weird that we so preferred each other's company to spending time with our wives or children. But, hey, back to baseball. Angels over Red Sox in 5 Breaks my heart to pick the Halos over the Townies, but I'm still chapped about my visit to Fenway for the 1999 All-Star Game. There I was, coming off a stroke, and I find out later that I was taking fewer drugs than half those guys surrounding my golf cart. That's right, Nomar. In my day, we posed for the Sports Illustrated cover with our shirts on. Am I surprised to learn that Big Papi was probably juicing when he broke Jimmie Foxx's club record for home runs in a single season? Nah. But it does make me wonder what the ol' Thumper here might have done with a little boost from the pharmacists. I asked one of the nerds here at Alcor — one of the good ones — to take the sudden uptick Big Papi experienced upon arriving in Boston and apply it to my career. Here's what he came up with: After six seasons in Minnesota, Big Papi's home run frequency went from one per 25.4 at bats to one per 14.3 at bats, a 43.7 percent increase. Had I homered that much more frequently, I'd have finished with 749 career home runs. Hey, I get why guys did steroids. I'm a big believer in science. I even called my book The Science of Hitting. I should re-release it with a new chart, showing not just what I averaged for each pitch location but what I would have averaged on each location had I been on Primobolan. Anyway, I'm picking the Angels and all their little first-to-third gnats over the Red Sox boppers. And I think that nasty lefty Kazmir will win his start and be the difference. Yankees sweep Tigers/Twins Couple thoughts rattling around my rattled noggin: 1) no team that loses 76 games should be in the playoffs; 2) I don't care if your park is being used for an NFL game, a circus or an emergency medical facility. If it's unavailable for a one-game playoff, the game gets played at the other team's venue. Glad to see the whole world waiting another day to accommodate a frickin' Twins team that stands no shot of winning so much as a game against the Yankees. Course the best the Tigers could hope for is one win in the series in the game that big kid Verlander pitches, but I doubt they'd even scratch out that win. Especially with Miguel Cabrera doing his best Billy Martin, out carousing at all hours with the season on the line. Cabrera may have been drunk, but as much I hate to say it, these damn Yankees are loaded. Safe to say I wouldn't have hit .406 in 1941 had I had to face guys like CC Sabathia. People made a big deal of it that I looked out for Pumpsie Green after the Red Sox finally integrated in 1959. But I always believed in equality. I hated everyone equally. (The sad thing is I'm afraid they'll thaw me in 20 years and there'll be as few black kids playing in the majors as there were in '41. Someone's doing a crappy job of selling the Grand Ol' Game to inner-city kids.) The Yanks got that big ol' hoss at first base, Tex. I played with a guy named Tex, pitcher Tex Hughson. And if he hadn't gotten shelled in Game 4 of the '46 World Series Shaughnessy probably wouldn't feel obliged to remind everybody that I went 5-for-25 in that series. Anyway, that Tex on the Yanks is the real deal and you could combine the Tigers and Twins rosters and still not beat the Pinstripers.

NL Division Series

Phillies over Rockies in 4 Holy hell. Ryan Howard is a big fella and the ball jumps off his bat. I mean, ya know, on those rare occasions when it hits his bat. This cat has struck out 878 times in five-plus seasons. I struck out 709 times in 19 seasons. But he's got a World Series ring so I guess that makes me the bitter old man again. You want a little perspective on what it means to hit .406 over an entire season? Brad Lidge was just about the worst pitcher anyone's ever seen this season and guys hit only .301 off him. I hit .406 off everyone. The Phillies' bullpen is supposed to be their Achilles' heel, but with Hamels and Lee at the top of the rotation and Utley, Howard, Ibanez and Werth in the heart of the order, I don't see this one coming down to a battle of the 'pens. Cardinals over Dodgers in 4 I played against Red Schoendienst in the '46 Series. (No one cares that Red was only 7-for-30 in the Series because Pesky held the ball in Game 7 and they won.) Schoendienst managed Joe Torre in St. Louis. Now Torre manages the Dodgers. So, Joe, I ask you: As someone with a sense of history and the utmost respect for the game, why do you let that freak show of a left fielder desecrate the National Pastime by wearing his hair like that? Or is that just what happens to guys who take female fertility drugs? And they said I couldn't connect with the players when I was managing. Guy showed up with that filthy mop in my training camp, he could Kissimmee ass and get right back on the bus. When I walked down the street I wanted people to say, "There goes the greatest hitter that ever lived." When Manny Ramirez walks down the street people say, "That has gotta be the ugliest broad that ever lived." So I'm picking the Cardinals on principle. But I have to say, do you have any idea what kind of ribbing a guy would have taken in my day if his name was Pujols? We'd have never let up. We'd have been chirping on that top step all day long. Or at least until he hit one of his 450-foot rockets into the upper deck. Guess it could be worse. I played with a guy named Mike Higgins who we called Pinky. Imagine if Pujols' teammates did that. Pinky Pujols. Good thing the guy is the best player in baseball. And he'll have a whole lot more success against those Dodger rag arms than Torre's boys will have against Carpenter and Wainwright. Sorry to make what you lame-ass sportswriters do look so easy, but it sure ain't as tough as squaring up a round ball with a round bat or reeling in a 130-pound tarpon or flying a combat mission. I never did care for you hacks. But now I got bigger enemies. Right here in the lab. And when I get put back together, thawed out and reanimated, someone's in for a beating.
Tagged: Red Sox, Angels, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, Dodgers, Phillies, Cardinals, Rockies, Manny Ramirez, CC Sabathia, Brad Lidge, Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Howard

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