completing their first sweep of the Dodgers in 15 years. Exciting time are afoot in Queens, as New York takes its 1/2-game lead into Philadelphia this weekend for the first major challenge of the season. Of course, it would have been 1 1/2 games were it not for a late rally by the Phils in San Francisco yesterday, but I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth.
First place is first place, even if April is still April.
But the more pressing an exciting news comes in the way of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which, after a wild Game 7 that saw the No. 1 team in the League blow a 3-1 series lead in the opening round, hits Round 2 tonight with no break whatsoever -- a rarity for the NHL. Instead Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus gets underway in San Jose tonight, with the rest of the second round following suit tomorrow and Saturday. These aren't exactly the matchups I was expecting, peculiarly the 4, 6, 7 and 8 seeds were the ones to advance in the Eastern Conference, and with no Devils and no Capitals getting in the way I can't possibly imagine a scenario in which Sidney Crosby and the Penguins don't get to the Stanley Cup Finals.
And a rematch with the Wings for the third straight year doesn't seem all that crazy either. But of course, that's why they play the games.
And to that end, here are my certain to be just as wrong as they were in the first round predictions for the second round of your Stanley Cup Playoffs.
(4) Pittsburgh over (8) Montreal in five games
(6) Boston over (7) Philadelphia in six games
(1) San Jose over (5) Detroit in seven games
(2) Chicago over (3) Vancouver in six games
Yeah, I'm willing to bet at least on of those doesn't turn out right, probably Boston and Philadelphia, which some of you may recall is a rematch of this year's Winter Classic, and while I make no secret of disdaining Philadelphia, my only real hope for the rest of the playoffs is that the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup.
Of course, knowing my luck in the playoffs so far, they'll probably get swept.
Lastly, I came across this news item on ESPN.com today stating that, according to a report by the Nielsen Company, the most hated team in Major League Baseball is... wait for it .... yep, just who you thought it'd be.
The Cleveland Indians.
Wait, what? A team that continually has its heart broken and hasn't won a World Series in 62 years is the most hated franchise in the sport? I see no way that this is feasibly possible. For one thing, I've had nothing but pleasant experiences seeing the Indians in person. For another, Cleveland isn't exactly a city that overwhelms you with its power and arrogance.
It's Cleveland, for heaven's sake.
And lastly, their mascot, Slider, is adorable. I mean look at him. As I told a friend earlier today, the only thought in my mind when I see him is to pinch his cheek and call him "Shookums".
Even that Roger Dorn, is kind of fun in his own assholish way. Now, I know the Indians lose some cache now that Pedro Cerrano has called it quits, but seriously, someone please explain to me what is eminently hateable about this team in anyway.
I'll buy you a cookie if you can convince me. Let the contest begin.
That's all for today. Enjoy the hockey.