Even though we are in the middle of the NFL season which reigns King, we would be remiss to not discuss the upcoming World Series match-up between the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers.
When the playoffs first started, both the Giants and the Rangers were long shots to make it to the World Series. Most pundits had a re-match of last year’s series finale between the Phillies and Yankees, which the Yankees won 4-2. Somewhere along the line, someone forgot to tell the Giants and Rangers.
The Giants enter the World Series after defeating the Atlanta Braves in the Divisional Series and then the Phillies in the National League Championship Series. The Giants were last in the World Series in 2002, losing to the Anaheim (Los Angeles of Anaheim) Angels 4-3. This group of Giants are led on the mound by Tim “The Freak” Lincecum. Lincecum has already been announced as the Game 1 starter. The Giants offense is led by rookie catcher Buster Posey and Cody Ross, who was claimed off waivers from the Florida Marlins in August. Imagine how many teams that were pushing for a playoff spot back in August missed out on Cody Ross and are now at home cursing every time they see Ross get a big hit. If the Giants have a lead going into the 9th inning, good luck trying to score a run against Brian Wilson and his beard. During the playoffs, Wilson has been lights out (with the exception of a blown save against the Braves).
The American League is represented by the Texas Rangers. This is the Rangers first ever appearance in the World Series. The Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the Divisional Series and then held off the Yankees in the Championship Series. The Rangers were the last team in the Major Leagues to win a playoff series when they defeated the Rays. The Rangers are led on the mound by the deadly Cliff Lee who has 34 strikeouts and a .075 ERA in the playoffs! The Rangers offense is led by Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, and Vlad “The Impaler” Guerrero.
There are going to be some very interesting story lines as we enter into the 108th World Series. Besides Lincecum, what Giants pitcher will step up and be able to make the big pitch to get the important out? Can the Giants offense stay hot? For the Rangers, can they do enough to convince Cliff Lee to stay after this season and not be wooed by the big dollars and bright lights of New York? How will the young players handle the pressure?
An interesting fact to take with you as the series starts on Wednesday. Texas catcher Bengie Molina will end up with a World Series ring no matter who wins. Molina was traded to the Rangers from the Giants on July 1st after playing 61 games with the Giants and 57 with the Rangers.
I know Major League Commissioner Bud Selig was looking for a ratings bonanza with a rematch between the Phillies and Yankees, but perhaps a good series with some fresh blood will reinvigorate baseball fans.