Thursday, September 25, 2008

World Series Wish List

As the season winds down, and is reduced to 10 teams realistically vying for 8 playoff spots, I thought it would be interesting to discuss what I consider to be the five potential World Series matchups with the most compelling storylines. Before I begin, though, let me just say, for the benefit of one particular fellow Yankees fan, that I'm not actually rooting for any of these scenarios that involve the Red Sox. I'm just acknowledging that they would make for some interesting post-season drama.
  1. Chicago Cubs vs. Tampa Bay Rays
    What could be more interesting than a matchup of the two teams that, for very different reasons, might be thought of as the least likely to reach, let alone win, the World Series? Obviously, the Cubs are far from a dark horse, but everyone knows their story. That is, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the last time they won it all, the longest streak of futility among major league franchises. The Rays, of course, are the only current team never to even make the playoffs. In fact, prior to this season, their best record was their 2004 mark of 70-91 (.435). This is only their 11th year of existence, but the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team that entered the league in the same year as Tampa Bay, have already won a World Series. Even worse, as far as the Rays are concerned, their counterparts in the sunshine state, the Florida Marlins, have been crowned champions of baseball twice in their brief 15 year existence.

  2. Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Boston Red Sox
    This matchup would feature Joe Torre in his first post-season matchup versus the Red Sox since 2004, getting the chance to enact a certain measure of revenge. Manny Ramirez and Nomar Garciaparra, the two malcontents run out of town, make their return to Fenway Park in games that couldn't possibly be more meaningful. Derek Lowe gets a chance to prove Boston management wrong for not bringing him back after winning three series clinching games in the 2004 post-season. Casey Blake gets another shot at the Sox after his Indians blew a 3-games-to-1 lead to them in last year's ALCS. Alright, so that part isn't such a big deal, but I happen to be a pretty big Blake fan, for some reason.

  3. Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox
    What could be better than a Windy City World Series? The only time these two teams met in the Series, it was 1906, a season in which the Cubs posted a .763 winning percentage, at 116-36. The White Sox batted .230 as a team that year, and went into the Series as a huge underdog, but defeated the Cubs 4 games to 2. The Cubs went on to dominate the Detroit Tigers in the two Series that followed, but haven't won it all since, losing 7 Fall Classics between 1910 and their last appearance in 1945. Could the 100th anniversary of the Cubs last World Series victory be the year that they finally get this monkey off their back, and could they do it against their crosstown rivals? Or, could the South Siders contribute to the misery of Cubs fans by winning their second Series in four years at the expense of their North Side brethren?

  4. New York Mets vs. Boston Red Sox
    Possibly the greatest postseason in my lifetime was 1986. The Astros-Mets NLCS matchup was riveting, with Mike Scott almost single-handedly pitching his team past the highly favored Mets, the team that, along with the 1975 Reds, won more games than any National League team since the 1906 Cubs. The ALCS was highlighted by Dave Henderson's heroics and the Red Sox overcoming a 3-games-to-1 deficit to defeat the California Angels. Of course, everyone knows what happened in Game 6 of the World Series that year. That is, what Vin Scully referred to as "...a delirious 10th inning". As a Yankees fan and typical New Yorker, I rooted for the Red Sox in that Series, but it was more because I was rooting against the Mets. Now, as a Yankees fan living in Boston, I'd be pulling for the Mets, which probably means that the Sox will win in some memorably dramatic fashion.

  5. Milwaukee Brewers vs. Minnesota Twins
    What would we call this, the I-94 Series? I know what the networks would be calling it: a ratings disaster. Why would I prefer this over an all-Los Angeles matchup between the Dodgers and Angels? Well, first of all, I don't need to tell you that the Angels don't actually play in Los Angeles, but let me answer that question with a question. Do either of these teams even sell out their home ballparks? I suppose they do, and actually I know that the Twins don't, but a Southern California series couldn't possibly compare to an all-New York or all-Chicago series. So, it really doesn't have any appeal to me. Twins-Brewers, though, would be a showdown for the ages. Also, it would be the third season in my lifetime (and this decade) that I visited the home parks of both World Series entrants. Can anyone venture a guess as to what the other two years were?

Of course, I left out the obvious one. But, do I really need to explain why Cubs-Red Sox would be an exciting matchup? Also, my apologies to the Angels and Phillies. It's not that I don't consider these teams interesting, it's just that I don't see any compelling drama in any Series involving either of them. That said, the Angels are still my pick to win it all.


  1. I want the Cubs to win! Also, can we not talk about 1986 ever?

  2. A great run down. Of course I'm cheering for the BoSox, but the Twins winning the Series would be great. I love how they are able to win by relying on their farm system.

  3. I'll put my preferences to win the Series into three categories...

    1. Love to see: Cubs, Brewers, Dodgers, Rays.

    2. Indifferent: Phillies, Mets, White Sox, Twins, Angels.

    3. Red Sox

  4. What??!!! I can't believe you... oh, you're not actually rooting for these scenarios. OK.

    Nice list. How 'bout Phils-Sox as a candidate for drunkest/most violent? Could set a record for DWIs on both the Jersey Turnpike and 95 in CT.

    Were your Series two-fers 2000 and 2004?

  5. I actually thought about that Phils-Sox angle, but couldn't describe it nearly as well as you have.

    2004 was one of the years. I road-tripped it to the old Busch Stadium, and, of course, went to a few games at Fenway Park.

    I made it to Yankee Stadium in 2000, but not Shea.

  6. What about the best story line: Angels vs. Cubs? Perceivably the best ball club in the majors against the loveable losers of the last century. It goes all the way to game 7 with the Angels holding a 1-run lead so they bring in Rodriguez. Cubs rally against the best closer in the game and win the first series in 1,000 years. Does this appeal to anyone or just Cub fans?

  7. Any Series that involves the Cubs winning appeals to me, and I also know at least two Red Sox fans who seem ready to root for the Cubs, over their team, to win it all.