Well we're through a full round of action in the vaunted MLB Jam tournament, so the field's starting to get whittled down (as opposed to the tournaments where more teams join as it goes on). Today is the first time that our top 2 seeds in the AL will get to take the court, as the Yankees and Angels were off cooling their heels while their potential opponents scrapped to the bitter end. Will they be too rusty to play up to their lofty ranking? ONLY ONE WAY TO FIND OUT! You know the rules by now - games to 21, 2's and 3's, win by 2, call own fouls AND WE'RE OFF.
Game 1: (1) New York Yankees vs. (8) Tampa Bay Rays
Players: Andrew Brackman/CC Sabathia vs. Carl Crawford/Jeff Niemann
The Yankees have an enormous size advantage here, as Brackman is somewhere from 6'10'' - 7'0'' and Sabathia is...well, girthy. Crawford's the only real speedster on the court, though, so the Rays have that going for them. Unfortunately, it's not enough, as Sabathia displays the vaunted fat-guy-at-the-Y accuracy from deep that even today boggles the minds of our top scientific minds (or maybe just us) and goes on a 3-point spree that buries any hope the Rays had of upsetting the old guard. Yankees win, 21-12.
Game 2: (4) Texas Rangers vs. (5) Minnesota Twins
Players: Nelson Cruz/Elvis Andrus vs. Joe Mauer/Pat Neshek
Mauer Pauer, baby. The be-sideburned one celebrates the imminent signing of his 7 or 8 or 10 year deal by going buck wild on the formidable Rangers duo, nullifying the Rangers' significant size/athleticism advantages. There's just really nothing you can do when he decides to turn it on like that, we guess. And, like last time, Mr. Neshek is permitted by the graces of Mr. Mauer to score a bucket...but only one. Twins win, 21-8.
Game 3: (14) Baltimore Orioles vs. (11) Toronto Blue Jays
Players: Matt Wieters/Brian Matusz vs. Mark Rzepczynski/Jason Frasor
We don't know what it is about supremely talented young catchers that inspires so much fanbole, but we're totally buying in. Much like with the Mauer Pauer Hauer that was on display in Game 2, Matt Wieters takes it upon himself to thoroughly dominate the Jays, despite their basketball pedigree (Frasor's brother) and superior fitness (Sztep with Rzep) (we can't believe he's not made that a real venture yet. There's money to be had, Mark!), and the O's cruise to a victory. The Wieters/Mauer showdown can't be far! Orioles win, 21-11.
Game 4: (7) Seattle Mariners vs. (2) Los Angeles Angels
Players: Milton Bradley/Franklin Gutierrez vs. Jered Weaver/Reggie Willits
The Mariners got by in Round 1 by virtue of the fact that everyone was terrified to foul Milton Bradley and Franklin Gutierrez utilized his defensive wizardry to haul down rebounds and block shots by the metric ton (just kidding...we don't use the metric system here). And, well, Jered Weaver and Reggie Willits aren't exactly the type to mess with that formula. Weaver's got the height, but his surfer bro mentality relegates him to outside shots and soft D, while Willits' speed proves of minimal effectiveness since Weaver never lets him have the ball - much like Mike Scioscia never lets him play. Remember what we said about fake sports imitating real life? Yeah. It's a bitch, huh, Reggie? Mariners win, 21-16.
So after the top half of the bracket went all chalk on us, we have the pleasure of a 7/14 matchup in the 3rd round. Such things will happen when the seedings are established entirely independently of actual basketball talent, we suppose, but either way it's kind of neat. Anyway, it's time for the updated bracket, and you can expect the NL's 2nd round either tomorrow or Friday depending on how motivated we get.