Baseball fans are renowned for their fierce dedication to our national pastime. You can site the insane ratings and incredible profit made by football or the superstardom current in the NBA, but Major League Baseball will always have a special spot in America’s heart. The World Series is the culmination of a grueling season and exhausting postseason. It should be a big deal.
Hearing the negative remarks swirling around the 2010 World Series between the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants is flat out depressing. Has the MLB fan base really become so dependent on having a “big name” team in the series? Are people honestly going to give up on the biggest event in baseball just because the East Coast is not represented? The great thing about baseball is that every year anyone truly has a chance to win (even you Pittsburgh; miracles happen). With an endless supply of incredible story lines, talented players, and two teams who deserve to battle for a championship, why are baseball fans turning their back on the Fall Classic?
The World Series can be magical without the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Cardinals, or Phillies. The Ranger’s story is absolutely inconceivable. Not only is this the first World Series in franchise history, but Texas had never even won a postseason series until 2010. Add in the fact that this team was put together while bankruptcy was declared and the team was sold is beyond impressive. Now, as the Rangers are at their peak, one of the greatest pitchers in history is running and owns a part of Texas baseball. Nolan Ryan’s presence makes this series even more compelling as the Rangers have finally turned the corner under his leadership.
Currently, Cliff Lee pitching in the postseason is one of the most astounding events in sports. He has a control of his pitches and a dominance of the strike zone that baseball has not seen since Greg Maddux. Lee is getting into Sandy Koufax territory posting a 7-0 record with a 1.26 ERA in his postseason career. He doesn’t throw 97 mph and does not have a huge 12-6 curveball, but he is as dominant as anyone in the game. In Game 1, when Lee faces Tim Lincecum, spectators will be viewing one of the best match-ups in World Series history. Not watching should be considered a baseball sin.
The journey of Josh Hamilton is a saga every baseball fan knows by now. His incredible expedition back to sobriety has finally found the World Series. Watching Hamilton’s teammates support him by showering him in Ginger Ale to avoid an interaction with alcohol was simply inspiring. Add in comeback player of the year Vladimir Guerrero, who was shunned by the division rival Angels, and the Rangers bring plenty of drama to the ballpark.
The San Francisco Giants have lived under the shadow of Barry Bond’s syringe for what seems like forever. Finally, the Giants have been able to build a team that the city can call their own. It is not a team ruled by a flawed superstar who slowly drained out chemistry until only his oversized locker and massage chair were left in the clubhouse. The Giants are a special group made up of veterans looking for a last shot at glory and young stars looking to make their mark on the game.
Aubrey Huff has waited 10 years to get to the postseason and after being the most stable bat in San Francisco, he is looking to finally win a ring. A similar story exits in the case of Pat Burrell who the Rays gave up on and was given another chance by the Giants. Burrell knows what it takes to win a championship and will provide an excellent clubhouse presence aside from his ability to hit the long ball. Do not forget Cody Ross, who was claimed mostly in order to block the Padres, but has become the symbol of the Giants bandaged offense.
If anyone, Tim Lincecum has become the face of the franchise with his two Cy Young awards and freakish hair. San Francisco has embraced “The Freak” and Lincecum has responded. He has the ability to completely dominate any offense at any time, which the Braves found out during his 14 strikeout performance in the Division Series. Buster Posey jolted the Giants anemic offense to life when he was named starting catcher in June. The young catcher may be the future of the Giants, but his ability to produce now is what has San Francisco buzzing.
Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Howard are not in the World Series and it does not matter in the least. To consider yourself a true baseball fan and shun the 2010 Fall Classic is simply hypocritical. Expect this to be an extraordinary series with unforgettable moments and tremendous hustle from every player. Despite what many believe, the World Series can still give you goosebumps without pinstripes, curses, and a top five payroll. So, will you tune in? Are you a real fan?
Prediction: Rangers win in 7 games when Michael Young hits a two run homer against Brian Wilson in the 10th inning of Game 7.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times