Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Not the End of the World

Some people have compared the Yankees-Phillies World Series as a worst-case scenario, a woeful end to the season, and an ugly pairing of Goliaths.

I won't name names or anything.

I'll be honest and say that baseball has been mostly off my radar the last few weeks. The Braves choked in the final week in going for the wild card, and since then my attention has been on football and only football.

But this series actually interests me.

I'm looking forward to seeing the two best teams in baseball, and clearly the best team from each league, battle it out in a heavyweight fight. The past several World Series have featured one or even both teams with little appeal to the whole country (2005), or a foregone conclusion (2004, 2006) , or a plucky team whose fans barely support it (2008), or a team that just got hot at the right time but was severely outclassed (2007).

There, now that I've pissed off readers in every time zone, let's look at each series.

2008: While the Phillies generated a lot of interest, the Rays were an out-of-nowhere team than was miserable for its first ten seasons before catching lightning in a bottle - and even then it took most of the season before people actually started going to the games, and most people thought going into the Series that the Phillies would finish it quickly - which they did.

2007: Red Sox sweep the Rockies who pretty much went on a sizzling tear to capture a weak western division and somehow get to the Series before getting trounced by Boston in a sweep.

2006: Cardinals! Tigers! Egads. Both with devoted local followings, but the Cards were almost a lock to beat an in-over-its-head Tigers team that fell back to mediocrity as quickly as it had risen up from a 119-loss season, as they missed the playoffs in 2007. This was probably the first year I felt guilty about not watching every game - or even more than one game.

2005: The White Sox were notable for breaking the Black Sox curse, which would have probably gotten more play if they were not following the Red Sox. Besides, the other Chicago team has the national following. The Astros had the worst record of any playoff team, and as the wild card was another team that just got hot at the right time but was in way over its head.

2004: This was an exciting postseason, yes, but does anyone think the Cardinals had a chance after the Red Sox came back from 3-0 in the LCS? I don't know anyone who game them a chance. I still watched every game, but you knew how the Series would go.

The last series with this sort of excitement was probably the 2003 series between the Marlins and...the Yankees. Yes, the Marlins had the worst record of any playoff team, but with 91 wins still can lay claim to belonging - and this series may have been another crucial point in finally bringing a halfway decent stadium to Miami. Unlike 1997, they did not gut the team, and eventually plans finally went through to build a new stadium (which is still one year away).

This year, though, the two teams featured are far and away the best in each league. Neither one snuck into the playoffs. Neither one waned at the end of the year. Neither one let up in the playoffs, with each cruising to easy victories.

I'm looking forward to it. I actually plan on watching the games this year, which I don't think I've done much of since...2003, actually.

As for who I am rooting for...well, it'll be tricky to explain to the kids. I used to live in New York and was a huge Yankees fan, but being here combined with the way the Yankees were going (bringing in cancers like Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield, etc.) made me turn on them entirely. I did make sure to take the kids to the old Yankee Stadium before it was turned down, but that was more for the stadium than to root on the Yankees.

I don't begrudge the Phillies much, and frankly I'd rather root for the team that beat the Braves and isn't completely full of steroid/HGH users.

Even though I think the Yankees will win (mostly due to the bullpen), I'd much prefer a Phillies repeat. If nothing else, it will shut them up about Donovan McNabb's piss-poor play lately.


BWoP said...

Oh sure, you just *had* to throw in a line about Donovan.

APOSEC72 said...

Yes, because he's been stinking it up against two really crappy teams and I'm stuck playing him against the Giants because Carson Palmer has a bye.


I am so pissed I picked him instead of Matt Ryan.

lightning36 said...

Ahhh ... thanks for bring up 2005. I had a guy in my office an hour ago and I was telling him what it was like to be in the stands for game one of the 2005 World Series. After waiting years and years for that moment I was not disappointed.