Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Ideal World Series is at Hand...

As you can tell, I've lost some fire for the presidential election. And my passion is now directed towards something that's a little more pure, and consistent: Baseball- and specifically, the world series. Here's a little background in case you're curious.

Growing up in southern California, i was raised a Dodger fan, with the likes of Lopes, Garvey, Russell and Cey. When I was 11, the Dodgers made the playoffs against the Montreal Expos. I went to a game with my dad and for some strange reason I fell in love with them. Sure I rooted for the Dodgers in the World Series, but I had found a new team. Since Montreal is sort of far from Southern California, I never went to any games, and we were a one game a year sort of family. I also adopted the Angles since we lived about half an hour from their stadium. Went to the famous Donnie Moore playoff game against the Sox in 1986. This was an era where fans would still rush the field, so with one pitch to go, me and my buddy Curtis and his brother and father were by the right field foul pole with one foot on the rail, when Dave Henderson tied the game with him bomb. We stood there for the rest of the inning sort of wondering what to do next and we eventually sat down and we lost. Being an Expos fan, I sort of rooted for the Mets that year because of Gary Carter, as well as my hatred for the team that killed the Angels that year. I then took a hiatus from baseball from about 1987 through 1992- something about college. But then in around 1992, my love for the Expos was reignited. From about 1993, I started fervishly following the Expos again and we had a great team that year. And in 1994 when we had the best record in baseball, my friend Matt (also an Expos fan) and I agreed that if they made the playoffs, we'd go watch every game.

1994 was the beginning of the end for baseball. With the strike, my Expos lost their core and the steroids era was officially born. The demise of the Expos then started the widespread description of "small market team" and they became the case study. We all know the list of famous "Ex-pos"- You want the list? Here's who left for more money either via free agency or trade (regardless of how their career went after they left)- Randy Johnson, Andreas Gallaraga, Mike Lansing, Larry Walker, Ken Hill, John Wetteland, Marquis Grissom, Rondell White, Wil Cordero, Sean Berry, Cliff Floyd, Jeff Fassero, Kirk Reuter, Moises Alou, Darren Fletcher, Carlos Perez, Mark Grudzialanak, David Segui, Henry Rodriguez, Ugueth Urtain Urbina, Pedro Martinez, Javier Vazquez, Carl Pavano, and oh yes, Vladimir Guerrero- and the Expos weren't even allowed to try and resign Vlad. And this is just post-1989 activity. Couple in skyrocketing salaries, no salary cap and Bud "the J-hole" Selig and his mission to eliminate small market teams like the Expos and Twins, and we have the MLB that we see now. Teams like the Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs, etc. always have plenty of money to sign big name players, and teams like the Royals, A's, Pirates, Rangers and Rays never have enough money to bring in real teams- and the Rays of 2008 will not be the same Rays in the next few years- the stars will be fleeced by the Yankees or other big market teams- how can you turn down $15MM+ from a big market team?

So let's focus on what we have right now. The Phillies are up 3-1 on the Dodgers. The Rays are up 3-1 on the Red Sox. First, imagine a Dodgers/Red Sox world series. That would be awesome- with the whole Manny thing and Joe Torre touch and history of each team, cross country fever. The idea of that series is making Bud Selig soil his shorts. But at this point it's not likely that the Dodgers and Sox will meet in the fall classis. In fact it looks like it'll be the Phillies and Rays in the World Series... and Selig will also soil his shorts, but on the backside.

Now as a baseball purist and fan of the underdog, I'm rooting for the Rays all the way, but talk about a ratings nightmare. Two east coast teams. One team that nobody knows about- that happens to play in a big carnival jumper. I'll watch every game, but the powers that be are not happy with their product and the nightmare that will ensue. It's sad that our national pasttime has devolved into more of a popularity contest with hopeless hometown fans. Just look at the Marlins after 1997- worst record in 1998 or even after 2003- missed the playoffs. So these Cinderella story seasons are just that, but with no sequel. Go Rays!

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