By Tank Spencer
It’s World Series time! Of course I’m jazzed… I’m a Red Sox fan. I’m really interested to see how the nation reacts to this series matchup between the Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. Will the matchup pull in great ratings? There were countless discussions around the station leading up to the close of the LCS about what if it were the Detroit Tigers against the Cardinals? Chances are viewership would have been way down. At least with one top 10 media market in the final ratings will at least be decent. Baseball needs that as it is losing an uphill battle with the ever-growing popularity of the NFL.
In the last decade or more the Boston Red Sox have become one of the nation’s favorite teams. Thank you to all of the bandwagon-jumpers. I don’t mean that as a pejorative, I’m sincere. Hell, I’m the product of a bandwagon-jumper. My father became a Red Sox fan in the 1960’s as an impressionable young boy awed by the greatness of one Carl Yastrzemski.
It’s because of the team’s national popularity I think more people will be invested. We’re so much like our bitter rival Yankees it makes us sick. The Sox spend a lot of money, have millions of fans across the country, win a lot of games (most years) and - like the Yankees – that makes others hate us. So whether it be Sox adoration or hatred, people will tune in.
I’m intrigued by a Harris Interactive Poll this year that said the Yankees are still America’s most popular team followed by the Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves. Not surprisingly the Dodgers are #4. That’s why I think a Dodgers-Red Sox World Series would have broken some records. Rounding out the top 5 is the Tigers. That is a surprise, but I guess all of the Magnum P.I. fans are still out there procreating.
As I’ve said before, I believe the Sox will win it all. Do I expect a third sweep of the series in 10 years? NO. In fact I’m rooting against it. Yet again the Sox are in the series and have home filed advantage. They need to lose two to return to Boston and finally win one in front of the home crowd. The city of Boston and Fenway Park has not hosted a Red Sox World Series clinching win since 1918. In 1975 the Beantown faithful had to watch the Cincinnati Reds celebrate in their stadium, as they did the St. Louis Cardinals in 1967. Both series won by the Sox this century (2004 and 2007) ended on enemy soil in St. Louis and Denver.
The Cardinals and Red Sox were the two best teams in baseball this year. Both teams bring more than capable pitching staffs. Game 1 will feature Red Sox ace Jon Lester against Cards #1 Adam Wainwright. Game 2 will send Boston’s John Lackey to the hill against St. Louis’ sensational rookie Adam Wacha. The good thing for the pitchers is neither team was efficient at the plate in their last series. The Cardinals hit .211 against Dodger pitching and against the Tigers Boston hit .202.
I expect the series to go at least six with Boston’s bats coming up clutch just as they did in the ALCS, ALDS and all through the regular season. It’s not just the big names that will produce. I can see someone like Xander Bogaerts or Jonny Gomes being the series MVP. However, when you have studs like David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester and the unstoppable, unhittable force of Koji Uehara… it’s anyone’s trophy to win.