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Baseball's Final Four: Who do you Hate Less?

AN Thursday lineup:

On now: A look at this season's Final Four
5PM: Open Thread - NLCS Game 1
9PM: Scrapbook Memories - 1989 World Series, Game 2

Coming in November: A's Decade (2000-09) in Review. Something even the kids can enjoy!

While A's fans bemoan the fact that it's been three long years since their team last appeared in the ALCS (obligatory historical reference), this season's League Championship Series' offers a smorgasbord of storylines, which I may or may not get to before I step into a meeting.

In the Senior Circuit, we have the first NLCS rematch since the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros traded pennants back in 2004-05 (on their way to getting swept in the World Series). Which reminds me of another thing that drives me crazy about ESPN newscasters. When they say something like "It's the first time this has happened since...", I expect it to be from a long time ago. But it's almost always recent. And they say it like it's been forever! "...since 2006!" And yes, I realize that depending on the feat, three years can be an eternity. Don't ruin this for me.

Things happen in cycles, don't they? The Phillies and Dodgers first met in 1977, then again in '78, and once more in 1983. But until they hooked up last season, it had been a while since either had stood on the porch of the World Series (LA, 1988; Philadelphia 1993).

The Dodgers, of course, have not won it all since The Year We're Not Allowed to Talk About, which has restored my faith in a higher being, while the Phillies are trying to become the first National League team since the 1995-96 Atlanta Braves to make back-to-back trips to the Fall Classic, and the first NL squad since the 1975-76 Reds to hoist that pretty trophy in consecutive seasons.

In fact, no Major League club has held the title for more than one season since the New York Yankees of 1998-2000. And as they are quick to remind us, that really is forever in the Big Apple. For the first six seasons of this decade, either the Angels or Yankees made it this far, but never together; this is the first time they will meet head-to-head in the ALCS (the Angels have twice defeated the Bronx Bombers in Division Series play, in 2002 and 2005).

Anaheim is the sentimental pick, but surely there is no shortage of Nick Swisher fans here, and I am guessing the TV people are hoping for an LA-NY Classic.

But I am sticking with the team I rooted for last year: the Phillies. Who do YOU like?