The New York Yankees aren’t playing in the World Series and as every self-righteous New York scribe is quick to remind you, any World Series without the Yankees is a World Series doomed to low ratings and snooze-filled games.Unfortunately, that claim is as accurate as it is self-righteous.
But it doesn’t have to be. We’re still psyched for the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants to get started tonight. Baseball fans should be pumped up to see these two young and exciting teams and there are plenty of intriguing storylines to follow.
- Don Larsen's perfect game in 1956.
- Sandy Koufax's Game 7 three-hit shutout on two days' rest in 1965.
- Jack Morris' 10-inning Game 7 masterpiece in 1991.
- Roy Halladay's no-hitter 2010.
We remember great World Series pitching performances years... decades after they happen. Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum have already shown flashes of historic brilliance this postseason. Their matchup in Game 1 (and in Game 5, if necessary) will be must-see TV.
When the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, every ink-stained wretch in the known universe wrote a breathless ode to Boston's cancelling of The Curse of the Bambino. We're often told the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will descend upon us when the Cubs break their century-long drought. Even the White Sox were feted for claiming their first World Series crown since the Black Sox scandal.
The Giants haven't won a World Series since 1954; they've won zero since moving to San Francisco. Meanwhile, the Rangers have never won one in their entire existence in Texas. Whoever prevails will stage a monumental celebration.
The front-runner for this year's MVP award, no player was better on a game-by-game basis than Hamilton this season. The Rangers' centre fielder hit .359/.411/.633 with 32 homers and 100 RBI in just 133 games. He's also one of baseball's best redemption stories, a former #1 overall draft pick who nearly washed out of baseball due to years of drug abuse before ever playing a major league game. Granted, you might get a little sick of Joe Buck rhapsodizing about Hamilton, but you can't take anything away from the Rangers' marquee player.
Raise your hand if you had the team with the worst record of any American League playoff entrant making the World Series. Or the team that didn't crack the National League playoffs until the final weekend of the season. Both these teams have been big surprises and anyone who tells you this will be a boring, predictable World Series is lying.
Any baseball fan who saw those sweeping TV views of AT&T Park and McCovey Cove (not to mention the Golden Gate Bridge and other San Francisco monuments) bathed in perfect October weather had to be insanely jealous not to be there. The Giants' fans have shown as much fervor as any die hards ever could, and their intimate, picture-perfect ballpark was made for the big stage.
Hamilton might be a great story, but for a real underdog, we prefer the Giants' Andres Torres. A 4th-round pick of the Detroit Tigers back in 1998, Torres played in just 89 big league games over four seasons in Detroit before seemingly disappearing. He re-emerged on the Giants' roster after four long years in baseball exile. Promoted to full-time duty this year at age 32, Torres hit .268 with 16 homers, 43 doubles, and an .823 OPS for San Francisco, playing strong defence and firming up a previously ugly centerfield spot for the Giants. Unless you're a Rangers fan, you have to root for Torres to do something special on the big stage.
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