They only play one World Series a season so, suffice to say, it is an event. The World Series is not like the Super Bowl or even Champions League, where neutral observers tune out of duty and the lure of a spectacle. The World Series still brings baseball back onto the radar of of fans who otherwise might not live and die with the six month grind from April through September.
If such a fan happens to flip on their TV to catch Game One of the World Series, they’re guaranteed to see a few things.
- A team they hate for reasons either non-specific (a general distaste for the perennial successful) or highly specific (wrongdoing at the hands of said perennially successful team)
- The best/most enviable/most complete clubs in Major League Baseball.
The outcome of the series is very much in doubt, as two evenly matched teams face off in the Fall Classic. What is very much not in doubt is the status of these two teams in the greater baseball sense – they are simply the best in the game.
What do you want – history? The Red Sox and Cardinals have it. Iconic uniforms? Yup. Recent success? Two World Series titles each since the turn of the century. They also stand testament to how quickly a team can turn around and how many different ways there are to skin a cat.
Marc Normandin of SB Nation and I spoke about the way the Red Sox used the financial freedom gained from their huge trade with the Dodgers to build a deep roster built to both survive and thrive during the long season.
And here is last week’s show, when I spoke with Will Leitch about the Cardinals.
Every World Series is too close to call. Crazy stuff happens over seven games, the “best” team doesn’t always win. Picking a best team between the Red Sox and Cardinals is a fool’s errand. Better yet, each team possess special skills and talents which can help cancel out what the other does best.
The Red Sox offense was more than just sluggers Mike Napoli and David Ortiz this season. They stole bases with great efficiency and impeccable timing in 2013. Adding Yadier Molina — not to mention the Cards’ pitchers ability to hold runners — to the equation could change the Sox approach on the bases completely.
These two teams are alike in many other ways. Given the make-up of their young core, the Cardinals could well be in the Red Sox position in a few years – plugging free agents into needed gaps while their entrenched core of players keep them among the league’s best. The Red Sox do not benefit from the Jonny Gomes acquisition or Shane Victorino if they do not have Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, and David Ortiz as their beating heart.
The Cardinals do not have the experience of the Boston Red Sox – though they’re disproving the value of experience in real time. The Cardinals cast of rookies are more battle-hardened than we realize, as the modern ascent to the big leagues features countless high pressure situations and gut checks. They, like Xander Bogaerts of the Sox, are not your average young players.
If nothing else, the World Series will be exciting. It’s the World Series, the excitement is baked right in! Or frozen in place, depending on the day. Here’s hoping for a great series free of ump shows and general griping. Hopefully the weather holds off the action on the field is the deciding factor, not the battle against the elements. Enjoy!