I’m sad to say, I have no allegiance to either team in the World Series this year. Which really kind of stinks, since I am desperate for something to root for. (BTW, thank you Arizona Wildcats for pulling together a respectable football season and keeping me from sports harakare.)
So here I am, trying to decide who to support. I mean, it’s 7 stupid games. It shouldn’t be that hard to pick a team. And through my logical analysis and emotional introspection I’ve used to try to pick a team, it suddenly dawned on me that this World Series is a microcosm of the US Presidential election.
Let’s look at the Phillies. They have been a part of Major League Baseball forever, but yet have never quite been a team that everyone likes – or hates. They aren’t the Cubs, Yankees or Red Sox, even though they’ve been around just as long. They have produced some great players (Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Tug McGraw), but also have some “not so special moments” (like Pete Rose crushing Ray Fosse in an All-Star game.) And even when doing well, they’ve managed to annoy the press (Steve Carlton). Basically, they’ve been around forever, and have gone through both good and bad years. A few years ago, it looked like they had the big prize won, but then suffered an unexpected defeat to a team who ultimatley proved to not be worth supporting (Blue Jays). Now they have a new squad with new people (Howard, Utley, Rollins, Hamill) but are still perceived as that “old” franchise with the ornery fans.
Now let’s examine the Rays. On paper, this franchise is way too young to garner baseball’s greatest prize. I mean, it’s quite an achievement for them to even make it to the final two, but can someone show me anything they’ve accomplished before 2008? I know they had a lot of draft picks and a few experienced advisors, but until this year, these guys were simply idealists with a dream, and where heaven only lived on a whiteboard. They have no real history, save for a few veterans who have never achieved any similar level of success anywhere else. And yet, now Tampa Bay has die-hard, almost obsessive, fans who will shave their head and other body parts to support their team. Every young fan – plus old fans who love a fairy tale story about achieving greatness in record time – has become a loud, proud Rays fan.
Now let’s look at how they got here. While the Phillies breezed through their National League Primary, I mean Playoff, the Rays had to go to the late innings of Game 7, going toe to toe with an experienced, veteran, old school franchise that simply wouldn’t go away, even though it was apparent that they wouldn’t win. In fact, the Rays had a chance to knock the Red Sox out in Game 5 – up 7-0 in the 7th – but then inexplicably the Red Sox had one huge run, and managed to make life complicated for everyone involved, until finally succumbing.
So what do you think? Who do you vote/root for this World Series….