Back by popular demand, it's the glibbest of guides to the baseball postseason, written especially for the uninformed souls whose baseball acumen is as dull as Lena Blackburne Rubbing Mud. Even if you don't know Ryan Garko from Donnie Darko, we'll give you enough conversation fodder to keep you from making an ass of yourself at the local watering hole.
American League Division Series: Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Red Sox talking points: After missing the playoffs last year, Red Sox ownership spent big money to sign Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka this offseason. Show that you're not just another stupid gaijin by noting that Dice-K was Irabu-esque (5.19 ERA) after the All-Star break, forcing presumptive Cy Young winner Josh Beckett and ace reliever Jonathan Papelbon to pick up the slack. Also inform your party that no pitching staff in the American League can keep Boston's patient hitters down—seven regulars have on-base percentages over .360.
Historical context: The late-season slide that allowed the Yankees back into the AL East race reminded many Red Sox fans of 1978, when Yankees shortstop Bucky "F-ing" Dent helped end Boston's season with a heartbreaking home run in a one-game tiebreaker. George Steinbrenner apparently offered the 55-year-old Dent "Roger Clemens money" to come out of retirement for this year's stretch run. Negotiations stalled when Dent demanded that Steinbrenner also sign former roommate Paul Lindblad, who is dead.
Conversation starter: "He might not have led the world in walk-off homers this season, but David Ortiz just had his best season ever."
Conversation stopper: "Andrew Dice Clay would have been about as effective as Dice-K this September. Speaking of which, anyone up for The Adventures of Ford Fairlane?"
Angels talking points: While the John Kruks of the world love the Angels because they know how to play small ball, the rest of us wonder how this team, with an awful bullpen and a lineup filled with Punch and Judy hitters—Reggie Willits, Chone Figgins, the great Maicer Izturis—dominated the AL West. You, however, know that one Vladimir Guerrero makes up for a roster's worth of good efforteers. (If somebody asks why the amazing Guerrero didn't win in Montreal, vigorously deny that there was ever an MLB franchise in Montreal.)
Historical context: As the Anaheim Angels, they won the World Series in 2002. As the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, they have a good chance of taking home the 2007 title. The Mighty Ducks of Baseball of Anaheim (Down Los Angeles Way) are looking like strong contenders in 2012.
Conversation starter: "Vlad is a great player, but Garret Anderson's insane second half drove the Angels into the playoffs."
Conversation stopper: "My money's on Criss Angel in the World Series of Magic."