Around the Dorm

Editor-in-Chief Bobby Olivier gets creative as “The Ref” in Week Six of Around the Dorm. Correspondents Kevin Lee and Josh Steele, and Managing Editor Caroline Russomanno act as the players and are challenged to answer whether it will be the Yankees or the Phillies who make it to the World Series this year, what will it take for LeBron James to be loved by fans again and who has the best facial hair in the MLB this season.

1. Both the Phillies and Yankees clinched playoff spots this past week. Which team has a better chance of making it back to the World Series?

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KL: The flexibility of the MLB postseason schedule gives teams the ability to shorten their pitching staffs to three starters. This would be highly advantageous for the Phillies considering that they have three legitimate aces in Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. Furthermore, the Phillies will be playing against weaker competition in the NL, whereas the Yankees will most likely have to face the Rays (8-10 regular season record against them). Even if the Yankees have the option of shortening their rotation to three starters, they don’t have much backing up CC Sabathia. In addition, if the Yankees do not win the AL East, they will not have home field advantage in any of their playoff matchups. However, the Phillies will most likely have the best record going into the playoffs, giving them home field throughout. I fully expect the Phillies to be making their third world series appearance in a row, barring any significant injuries.

JS: I would have to go with the Phillies. Starting pitching plays a major role in determining who advances in the playoffs. This is clearly where the Phillies have an edge over every other team. This factor combined with the resurgence of the Philadelphia offense and the fact that the whole team is finally healthy definitely gives them an advantage. Not to say that the Yankees are not capable of flipping the switch and powering themselves to the World Series again, but I think Philadelphia has a much better chance.

CR: I’m one of those people both hoping for and dreading a rematch. I think both teams have a good chance to make it to the World Series, but if I had to pick one, I’ll stick with my Yankees, as predictable as that may be. Simply put, the Yankees come alive in October like no other team. While I think it will be easier for the Phillies to make it due to the teams they’re playing (if Atlanta makes it, we all know Bobby Cox implodes in the postseason, and while the Giants have some of the best pitchers in baseball, so do the Phils), I think the Yankees have a better chance. Why? Because they have the most experience of any team in the postseason and the best winning percentage in the postseason with .602. They’ve been in the World Series seven times in the last 16 years. The Phillies have only been twice in that same time. I know the Phillies had a great record in September and the Yankees fell apart a little, but the numbers speak for themselves — the Yankees have a little more in them in October — more omph in their step, more power in their bats and more nasty in their pitches. After all, they had Mr. October AND have Mr. November …

BO: Kevin gets 3 points here for mentioning that the Yankees will have to go through the Rays to get to the World Series – a difficult task. Carrie, even though I don’t agree with everything you said, you still made a thorough argument – 2 points. Sorry Josh, not enough to support your answer – 1.

2. The Miami Heat began camp this past week, and it is time for LeBron to put up or shut up after becoming one of the most hated figures in basketball this offseason. What will it take for LeBron to win back America’s hearts? A ring? More? Less?

KL: To win back America’s hearts, LeBron will need a time machine to change this past offseason. I’m not saying that LeBron doesn’t have the right to choose what team he wants to play for, but it was his

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antics that infuriated everyone. All the shenanigans leading up to his “Decision” was childish. There was no professionalism in the way LeBron carried himself, especially when Cavs owner Dan Gilbert had to find out LeBron’s decision over national television. Not only did LeBron lack professionalism, but also he was egotistical. I’m sure LeBron loved every billboard of himself, every Family Guy cartoon made about him and every time he heard his name on ESPN. Personally, I don’t think an NBA ring will repair his image. Instead, I think that if LeBron wins, people will be angrier because it’s safe to say that in many people’s eyes the Lex Luther of the NBA will have prevailed.

JS: Typically I would say that he would have to average a triple-double and win a ring while taking the MVP award for both the regular season and finals. But I believe this situation is slightly different for two reasons. First, the bar has been set so high for LeBron that anything less than greatness is failing. Secondly and most importantly, greatness is measured in rings. No matter how many titles this group goes onto win, Wade will always have one more ring than LeBron, making it impossible for LeBron to achieve greatness and in turn win back America.

CR: I don’t think LeBron James will ever truly win back America’s hearts. Why? Because of all this stuff about how the backlash from “The Decision” was racial. Really, LeBron? Really? You’re going to play the race card? In an interview for CNN, James said, “It’s always, you know, a race factor.” This was in response to a question about race being part of the reason why his popularity has declined so much. I personally think America has grown tired of everyone — including every nationality — always blaming race. No, it’s not because you’re black, LeBron. Shaquille O’Neal has played for half the NBA and no one ever even cared. Because he has class. You insulted the people of Cleveland, and you tricked the nation. People dislike you because you dealt with this move in an immature way. Will a ring help his image? Maybe. Winning does heal many wounds. But I don’t know if Americans, who KNOW it isn’t race that has them pissed off at James, will be able to forgive him, especially now.

BO: You all pretty much said he will never win back America’s hearts, but I like Carrie’s take on the race card – 3 points. Kevin gets 2 points for calling LeBron the Lex Luther of the NBA. Josh, again, too little, too late – 1.

3. Players like Jayson Werth and Brian Wilson are always complimented, or at least recognized by their facial hair. Who has the best facial hair in baseball right now?

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KL: Carl Pavano has the best facial hair. If Pavano were to wear a green shirt, blue overalls and a green hat, he would easily be a real-life Luigi. Let’s just hope that Pavano doesn’t sign with the Athletics or else I’d actually think that I’m watching a Super Smash Bros. game. Also, how many other players have their own Facebook page dedicated to their mustache? That’s right, “Carl Pavano’s Mustache” Facebook page has over 2,300 members. Clearly, Pavano’s mustache is the best because he’s not only getting compliments from his barber, but he’s also getting compliments from his teammates when he takes the mound. Ever since he has tried out the new mustache, he has been able to stay on the field, while compiling one of his best seasons statistically.

JS: This is a tough one. After much debate I have concluded that Jayson Werth is the clear-cut winner. Not only do I respect his choice of facial hair now but he has proven that he can rock many different styles in the past while still looking sharp. Hopefully for his sake, his new look will help his team do better in the playoffs this year than they did last year.

CR: Right now? Darn. I wish I could invoke Johnny Damon a la 2004 or Goose Gossage with that huge handlebar. But since I have to pick currently, I’ll go with the entire (or most of) the Blue Jays on Sept. 29 when they played the Yankees on Cito Gaston night. The fact that most of the team used lampblack to paint on the Jay’s manager’s famous ’stache was a great tribute, and for a few innings (since most took it off after their first at-bat), the Jays were rocking slighty crooked, badly done fake mustaches that meant a whole lot to one man. They definitely get the prize for the most meaningful whiskers.

BO: Kevin gets the 3 points here, and the win for making me laugh out loud imagining Carl Pavano as Luigi. Carrie, I like the sentimental touch – 2 points. Josh, I agree that Jayson Werth’s facial hair is awesome, but he does teeter on the edge between baseball player and looking like a heroin addict – 1 point.

Kevin wins this week’s AtD, 8 – 7 – 3