PROS AND CONS
It’s Tampa Bay Rays vs. Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, which starts Wednesday. Pros and cons of that matchup:
Pro: Young stars on the national stage. Chase Utley. Ryan Howard. Cole Hamels. Jimmy Rollins. Carl Crawford. Evan Longoria. Plenty of great young players on display. These guys should be household names.
Con: More of Rays superfan Dick Vitale on ESPN. I have a feeling the "mother ship" might interview him once or twice in the next few weeks. Ugh!
Pro: Hungry fan bases. While the Rays have only been around for about 10 years, their fans have watched some of the worst baseball in that 10-year span as any set of fans in big league history. And the Phillies have been around for more than 100 years and won only one World Series. Philadelphia has famously not won a world championship in the four major sports since the 76ers won the NBA title in 1983.
Con: There’s no enemy. It’s nice to not have the same teams in the World Series year after year, but there’s no one to cheer against. There’s no Yankees or Red Sox or Mets. Like it or not, those years when the Marlins beat the Yankees in the World Series like in 2003 are pretty sweet.
Pro: Chris Coste’s story continues. The Fargo native and former F-M RedHawks and Concordia College standout is a backup catcher for the Phillies.
Con: Minnesota Twins fans have to continue to watch Jason Bartlett and Matt Garza torture them with the Rays’ postseason run.
Pro: We don’t have to listen to Tim McCarver talk about how bad Manny Ramirez is for the game of baseball now that the L.A. Dodgers are out.
Con: There will be no more postseason at Fenway Park. Obviously, the World Series feels more appropriate at Fenway than it does at the Trop. I know only one person who has ever been to Tropicana Field, and he said the stadium is actually WORSE than what you hear about it. I went on vacation in Boston last year and took in a game at Fenway, and there’s really nothing like it. Unlike Yankee Stadium, Fenway has largely remained unchanged since it opened in 1912. The seats we sat in – the actually seats – were from the 1930s! I could go on and on about that trip, but you get the point.
Twins blogger Aaron Gleeman pointed out here that Joe Mauer’s batting title this season is the 13th for the Twins in their 48-year history. Mauer is third all-time on the Twins batting chart, behind only Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett. Wanna take a guess at who is fourth on that list? None other than one of my personal favorites – Shane Mack. Five or six years ago when I was in college, we had a neighbor who would wear a Shane Mack jersey occasionally. I always thought that was odd. Although I’m pretty sure if I was at Scheels and there was a Shane Mack jersey, I would buy it.
I’ve gone back and forth on this since last night. I’m glad the Phillies made it, because I felt they had the best chance of beating Boston or Tampa Bay. I really think this is going to be a close series.
The Phillies have the kind of weapons in their lineup to hang with a solid American League team. However, I think Tampa’s pitching is better, even with some of their bullpen struggles in the ALCS. David Price’s performance last night was huge in so many ways for a team that needed a lift from a reliever.
I’m gonna say Tampa Bay in 6 games. That’s right. The unthinkable. The Rays will be world champs.
However, I’m horrible at predictions. Just ask anyone that knows me. So if you’re a gambling man, go George Costanza on me and do the opposite by picking Philly in 4 games cuz I’m never right.
But I stand by Tampa in 6. I’m hoping for a good series.