This year’s World Series is going to be pretty good. The Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals will face each other in the Fall Classic. Of the eight teams that made it the postseason, Texas was the only one to make it back to both the Division Championship Series and the World Series. There will be a new World Series Champion this year: the reigning champion San Francisco Giants, despite injuries and a few players whose production fell off this season, finished with an 86-76 record, second place in the National League West, but eight games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks and four games back in the Wild Card Contention. For those who missed out on the playoffs, here is a brief synopsis on how both teams made it to the World Series:
After a brief setback in August, the Rangers were able to fend off the Los Angeles Angels to win the American League West Division for the second straight year. In the Wild Card Series, after losing the first game, Texas won three straight games to get by a very competitive Tampa Bay Rays ( a team that lost a bunch of players through free agency and trades in the off-season, yet Tampa made a serious charge in September to catch up and take away the Wild Card from the fading Boston Red Sox.) In the American League Championship Series, the Rangers defeated the evenly matched Detroit Tigers in 6 games ( Detroit, who won their first division title since 1987, has a really good team and it’s great to see the club bring a spark to a city that has experienced some hard economic times.)
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are a team that no one thought would have a winning record this season, let alone made it to the postseason. In June, the Cardinals was in first place in the National League Central, by the end of July, the Milwaukee Brewers took over the top spot after St. Louis started to fade away. On September 1, the Cardinals was 9 games out of the Wild Card, but slowly, the team start winning games, eventually catch and take the playoff spot from the Atlanta Braves ( as a Braves fan, it was tough to watch my team lose the wild card spot!) In the first round, the Cardinals did the impossible, beat the Philadelphia Phillies, a team with the best record in Major League Baseball and the odds on favorite to win the World Series Title. In the National League Championship Series, St.Louis was able to defeat the young and upstart Brewers in 6 games ( Milwaukee has a great team and it would be messed up if All-Star slugger Prince Fielder, a free agent, decided to leave the team.)
The World Series
The Rangers are making their second straight trip to the World Series. Last year was a series of firsts for Texas: the 1st time they won a playoff series; the 1st time; the 1st time they won an American League Pennant; the 1st time they played in the World Series. However, when Texas made it to the World Series, it looked like the team used up all its energy in getting through the first two rounds and San Francisco preceded to win the title in 5 games. This time, the Rangers, led by Ron Washington (my choice for Manager of the Year, enough through Jim Leyland had a great year as the skipper for Detroit Tigers) want redemption and win their very first World Series title. By the way, the Rangers are the first American League team to make back to back appearance in the World Series since the New York Yankees (1998-2001) and the first team since the Oakland Athletics (1988-89) to make it back to the Fall Classic after losing the Series a year earlier. The manager of that great Oakland Athletics team was…
…Tony La Russa, the current manager of the Cardinals. St. Louis is making its 18th World Series appearance and their third one since 2006, the year that they won it all against Detroit. Also, the Cardinals are looking for its 11th World Series Championship, the most in National League history and second overall, the New York Yankees hold the top spot at 27 titles. St. Louis has been on a roll since early September, taken teams apart in their path and if they don’t win the title, it will be a huge disappointment.