Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Detroit/S.F. match-up may disappoint, but it's still the World Series

I’ll be honest – I was hoping for a World Series matchup this year between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals.

Not only would it have been a matchup between the two ballclubs that finished the regular season with the best winning records in their respective leagues, I would have loved to see the frustration from Chicago Cubs fans as yet another city with a losing history made it to the series before their precious Cubbies.

WASHINGTON, AFTER ALL, hasn’t had any of its assorted baseball teams throughout the years play in a World Series since 1933. No D.C. ballclub has won the Series since 1924.

But that isn’t going to happen. The Nationals blew a playoff lead to the St. Louis Cardinals, while the Yankees who appeared so significant in the first round of playoffs against the Baltimore Orioles withered away into insignificance against the Detroit Tigers.

Those same Tigers who barely scraped past the Chicago White Sox will go into the record books as American League champions for 2012. They will take the field in San Francisco Wednesday night – where the World Series against the National League champion Giants will begin.

Detroit versus San Francisco. I’ve heard of worse series matchups, I suppose.

BUT THAT’S WHAT it’s going to be for the next few days – possibly through Nov. 1 if the World Series actually manages to drag through all seven games.

I must confess to being unsure of who to root for in this particular pairing. I am a fan of the American League, and I usually root for the American League champions come World Series-time (and the league’s All Star team come the All Star Game).

I know some White Sox fans are so appalled at the fact that their ballclub didn’t even make it into the playoffs that there’s no way they’d even think of rooting for Detroit. Although considering how badly the White Sox played the final month of the season, I’d argue they didn’t deserve a playoff spot.

But a part of me has to confess to admiring this particular version of a San Francisco Giants ballclub.

THEY WERE THE team that was one game away from elimination in the first round of playoffs against the Cincinnati Reds – then came from behind to win three straight games.

Then in the second round of playoffs against St. Louis, they were down 3 games to 1 – at which point Giants manager Bruce Bochy made a wisecrack about having the Cardinals “right where we want them.”

Yet as it turns out, the Giants then managed to pull off three straight victories against St. Louis to win the round, and the National League pennant.

That last game in particular amazed me – particularly the final inning when the rainfall that had been hitting San Francisco all day Monday came down in a deluge. If it hadn’t have been the final inning of Game Seven of the National League Championship Series, I’m sure the umpires would have delayed the event – if not postponed it.

WATCHING GIANTS’ INFIELDER Marco Scutaro struggle to avoid slipping on the slick grass while catching the pop-up that was the final out of the Giants 9-0 victory was a truly nerve-wracking moment. I’m sure Boston Red Sox fans, in particular, are wishing their last-place ballclub had never gotten rid of him. It also was more intriguing than the final presidential debate, which seemed more like Mitt Romney trying to moderate himself into another Barack Obama when it comes to foreign policy that I can envision his followers being utterly repulsed.

Washington continues to wait for World Series

It’s kind of difficult for me to think of rooting against this Giants ballclub – even if it has been a few years since an American League team won a World Series and the American League “fan” in me feels like it’s overdue.

And I’m sure Detroit Tigers fans are gleefully awaiting a chance to see if their team’s acquisition of rotund slugger Prince Fielder for a big-bucks, long-term contract will pay off.

Being able to say that the Tigers got a World Series victory in the first year of the Fielder contract will go a long way towards erasing the complaints that will arise in the final years of the contract when Fielder is nowhere hear the feared hitter he is now – but will still get paid as though he is.


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