MLB Jam: Bracket and AL Round 1

Perhaps because we have entirely too much time on our hands or perhaps because, hey, who doesn't like brackets?, we've now made a bracket for the MLB Jam business we've been bandying on about around these parts. Seeding was determined based on the team's performance relative to their league; the Yankees, for example, are the 1 seed in the AL because they had the AL's best record. Oh, and they get a bye (as do the Angels) because there're 14 teams in the American League for reasons unbeknownst to us...but at least it's easier to make brackets for 14 and 16 team leagues instead of 15. Yikes. Can you even imagine? And then, of course, we're going to play out this imaginary tournament. Because that's how committed we are to our readers (especially the one from Korea! Hi!). Here're the AL's first 6 games, after which our shiny new bracket will be unveiled! Rules: games to 21, 2's and 3's, win by 2, call your own fouls. Whee!

Game 1: (8) Tampa Bay Rays vs. (9) Chicago White Sox
The players:  Carl Crawford/Jeff Niemann vs. Brent Lillibridge and John Danks

It looks like this game features an egregious underseed in the Rays, who boast the athleticism of Carl Crawford and the 6'9''-ism of Jeff Niemann. Anyway, Niemann should easily handle Danks down low, but Lillibridge's strategy of falling over and calling a foul every time Crawford gets close to him keeps the Sox in the game...for awhile. Eventually, Crawford stops playing any offense whatsoever and just passes to Niemann for the easy buckets. Rays win, 21-16.

Game 2:  (4) Texas Rangers vs. (13) Kansas City Royals
The players: Nelson Cruz/Elvis Andrus vs. Yuniesky Betancourt/Jason Kendall

Erm...it seems odd to call a team at 13 an overseed, but, well, we did sort of intentionally make them the worst pairing in the tournament. So, we mean, come on, who picks these seeds? The Rangers are small, but the Royals are bad. Fans of first-round upsets (see also: people who enjoy puppies and sunshine) should avoid their eyes. Rangers win, 21-2 (Yuni lucked into an easy putback, much the same way he's been lucking into major league employment).

Game 3: (5) Minnesota Twins vs. (12) Cleveland Indians
The players: Joe Mauer/Pat Neshek vs. Fausto Carmona/Justin Masterson

This game could be close despite the presence of Joe Mauer since the Indians boast a sizable size advantage. We need to pick our adjectives better. Anyway, Fausto's run at the point starts out looking promising, as he threads the needle with some gorgeous passes, and shows deadly accuracy from 3 point land. But then, in a tragic case of fake sports imitating real sports, his control goes horribly awry - and Justin Masterson alone is no match for Joe Mauer. And, yes, Pat Neshek managed to score some points - but only because Mauer encouraged him to so he wouldn't feel bad. Twins win, 21-15.

Game 4: (3) Boston Red Sox vs. (14) Baltimore Orioles
The players: Dustin Pedroia/Jacoby Ellsbury vs. Matt Wieters/Brian Matusz

The chemistry of Wieters and Matusz stands in stark contrast to the constant bickering happening on the Red Sox squad, as Ellsbury (presumably a decent human being) can't stand Pedroia. Their arguments are punctuated by Pedroia making an Indian joke at Ellsbury's expense, followed by Ellsbury firing a bullet pass at Pedroia's head. Since Pedroia can't catch up with the high-n-in fastball, the ball catches him squarely in the nose, and the game is promptly called so the court can be mopped up. Wieters saves his inevitable heroics for another day. Orioles win by default, 9-5.  

Game 5: (6) Detroit Tigers vs. (11) Toronto Blue Jays
The players:  Justin Verlander/Rick Porcello vs. Mark Rzepczynski/Jason Frasor

Hey, an all-pitcher battle! Neat! Porcello and Verlander are tall, but as pitchers, are barely even athletes. Jason Frasor, as a pitcher, is barely an athlete, but he's got the Bobby Frasor Basketball Blood (that's how these things work, right?) and Rzep of course, bucks the trend by being in phenomenal shapeBlue Jays win, 21-10.

Game 6: (7) Seattle Mariners vs. (10) Oakland A's
The players: Milton Bradley/Franklin Gutierrez vs. Jack Cust/Jerry Blevins

Bradley, as predicted, goes the entire game without being fouled once, since Cust and Blevins are both terrified of him. With Bradley free to drive the lane every time and Gutierrez corralling every rebound and tip and swatting shots left and right, the Mariners make this game is a laugher - especially when Cust stops to take a smoke break midway through the game. Hi-larious, we tell you. Mariners win, 21-4.

Not exactly the most exciting first round, but, hey, a 14 over a 3 always makes for good fun!  Plus, we don't know about you, but the bracket just warms the heart anyway - which is certainly welcome in the frigid February days.

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