It’s always a pleasure to watch a performer at the absolute top of his game, flawless in his execution and impeccable in his artistry. The 2010 baseball postseason afforded you all that opportunity.
No, not Cliff Lee. I mean, seriously. He was OK, but did you watch the World Series? Imperfection made a late appearance.
No, not Tim Lincecum. The Freak was pretty good, but his postseason ERA was 2.43, and he did lose a game. Did you not see the word “flawless” in the first paragraph?
No, only one person ran the table, from Day One of the Division Series to last night’s World Series clincher.
And that person was Larry Stone. Yes, Larry Stone is going third person, because that’s how Larry Stone rolls. Like it or lump it.
Here is the proof, my column that ran on Oct. 4 in the Seattle Times. The one that correctly predicted all seven postseason series, including the Giants’ World Series triumph over the Texas Rangers.
Yeah, I’m gloating. I’d be gloating more if I had actually had the courage of my conviction and put some money down in Las Vegas, but I’ll settle for the deep satisfaction of knowing that my statistical acumen, keen insights and shrewd analysis for once worked out.
Mainly, I’m gloating because I know that never in a million years will I replicate this kind of success. So I’m going to milk it for all its worth.
For the next 24 hours, just call me No-Stone-damus. Here is my official statement, released by my publicity staff. And to CMH of Santa Maria, Calif., who said in the comments section: “Larry – don’t bet the farm on this prediction. Save some bucks for brain surgery. There just might be a few scrambled wires in there…just kidding,” here’s my classy, gracious response….just kidding.
Let’s go through the postseason series by series:
Giants vs. Braves
My prediction: Giants in four.
What I wrote: “Lincecum and Cain — aided and abetted by San Francisco’s shutdown bullpen that is led by fiercely beareded closer Brian Wilson — will pace the Giants past Cox’s Braves.”
Series result: Giants in four. Lincecum pitches two-hit shutout in opener, striking out 14. Cain doesn’t give up an earned run in 6 2/3 innings in Game 2, and Wilson saves two of the wins.
Phillies vs. Reds
My prediction: Phillies in three.
What I wrote: “The Phillies will overwhelm a Reds team that led the National League with 790 runs but isn’t quite ready for prime time after its first winning season since 2000.”
Series result: Phillies in three. They outscored the Reds 13-4 with two shutout victories, one of them a no-hitter.
Rangers vs. Rays
My prediction: Rangers in five.
What I wrote: “If Hamilton can bash like he did much of the season, and the Rangers get as much mileage out of Cliff Lee as I think they can, they’ll prevail in five.”
Series result: Rangers in five. Lee went 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA, allowing the Rangers to survive Hamilton’s 2-for-18 effort.
Yankees vs. Twins
My prediction: Yankees in four
What I wrote: “The Yankees simply have too much firepower for a Twins team that is well-constructed to endure in a 162-game race but falls short in a short series — particularly with Justin Morneau still benched by a concussion.”
Series result: Yankees in three. The Twins lost in the first round for the fifth straight time — four of those to the Yankees.
League Champion Series
Phillies vs. Giants
My prediction: Giants in seven.
What I wrote: “The GIants don’t have nearly as potent at attack as the Phillies, who scored the second-most runs in the league. But they have momentum on their side, having run down the Padres from a 7 1/2-game deficit on July 4.”
Series result: Giants in six. They hold the Phillies to 10 runs in their four victories.
Rangers vs. Yankees.
My prediction: Rangers in seven.
What I wrote: “Yes, I realize the Rangers have never even won a postseason series — losing all three times to the Yankees — but every curse must end.
Series result: Rangers in six. Cliff Lee (8 innings, two hits, no runs, 13 Ks) and Colby Lewis (2-0, 1.98) were stronger than any curse.
Giants vs. Rangers
My prediction: Giants in seven.
What I wrote: “You can take that to the bank.”
Series result: Giants in five. Wish I had taken it to the bank.
Larry Stone is getting tired, so Larry Stone is going to rest now. He needs his energy to harness his gift so he can predict the results of today’s election, the Super Bowl champion, the Academy Award winners, and the Mariners’ No. 2 draft pick next year.
But in parting, here’s one final, modest thought.