Cold nights. Bright lights. Rowdy fans. The 2009 World Series will be the best we’ve seen since the Florida Marlins beat the Cleveland Indians in 1997. I know baseball enthusiasts wanted a Dodgers/Yankees showdown, but who wants to watch the most important series of the year played in daylight, in LA nonetheless? Not me. The World Series belongs under the lights, in the northeast. Ok, it shouldn’t be exclusively in the northeast. (However, a majority of sports’ most passionate fan bases reside in the northeast. This isn’t an east coast bias thing. It’s true.
The most significant reason is the environment. Here in the northeast, we spend half the year trapped inside. Other than amazing leaf color in the fall and some nice spring blooms, we’ve got very little to be excited about. Mountain and Pacific time zone fans have year round beaches, amazing mountains, canyons, and vast forests with unbelievable wild life. We have squirrels, Wbseries Media deer, and Ed Rendell. Northeasterners are better fans and more passionate because they have more time and fewer distractions. Look it up, I’m not lying. Oh yeah, most of us aren’t as rich as the southern California crowd either.)
OK, back to business. I expected a lot from the 2009 MLB Playoffs. After 3 sweeps, the 3- 1 & 4- 1 victories by the Phillies, and a less than thrilling 4- 2 ALCS, you could say I’ve been disappointed. Baseball can still make it up to me though. A seven (I’ll settle for six) game, back and forth, affair between the Phillies and Yankees will heal all of my 2009 playoff wounds. It’s not too much to ask for a competitive World Series, is it? Since the aforementioned 1997 series, there have been five sweeps, three 4- 1 thrashings, one 6 game series, and two that went the distance (7 games). For the most important series of the playoffs, that is less than impressive. Until recent years, I had the same gripe with the NFL Super Bowl. A season full of competitive games usually led to a humdrum blowout in the biggest showcase of the season. Don’t let me down, baseball. I can’t handle too much more.
By the way, I loved the 1997 World Series for several reasons. I’ll list them briefly for you.
– It was a wild series where neither team was able to string together multiple wins.
– It went the full seven games.
– There was snow in game three; this raises the excitement level by at least two points.
– In addition to the snow, 11 runs were scored in the 9th inning of game three.
– Darren Daulton was on national television, seven times.
– I loved watching Cleveland’s offense and hearing the tribal drum.
– It was the first time I saw a pitcher (Jose Mesa) with a crazy colored glove.
– Gary Sheffield’s batting stance.
– A walk- off, series deciding hit in the bottom of the 11th with two outs. FYI, this is the brief version. I loved this series.
OK, back to business (again). Every newspaper, sports network, website, and blog has already broken down every aspect of this series so I’m not going to bother here. Instead, I’ll give you a few other things to look for as the best World Series in over a decade unfolds (fingers crossed, fingers crossed).
This is one of the few World Series in the past decade where the two teams present an intriguing matchup without taking talent, rosters, managers, etc, etc… into consideration. The 2000 Series between the Yankees and Mets (existing hatred), and the 2002 Series between the Angels and Giants (EVERYONE hated Barry Bonds) were the others. The unique aspect of the 2009 Series is that the Phillies and Yankees don’t genuinely hate each other; the fans do. When fans have an extreme disdain for opposing fans, it often translates into the locker rooms, or in this case, the clubhouse. I’ve spoken with a few friends from the NYC area over the past few days and they’ve confirmed that Yankee fans are generally Giants fans. In case you’re new to sports, the Eagles have an arch nemesis that goes by, “Giants.” See, these fans really do hate each other. Combine the fan hatred with Rollins’ guarantee and the addition of Brett Myers to the roster, and I guarantee we will see some fireworks before this series is over. It’s un- Yankee like to brawl, but the stage and intensity may require some guerrilla tactics.
While I can’t confirm this, if you polled Major League Baseball pitchers on which ballpark they least like to pitch in, these two stadiums would be in the top three. Even the cold air won’t be enough to knock down the number of long flies we’ll see throughout the series. This series also pairs the most potent offenses in their respective leagues, two of the three highest slugging percentages in baseball (NYY 1, Boston 2, PHI 3), three of the top ten HR hitters in MLB this year (would have been four if A- Rod were healthy all year), and a total of 12 players with more than 80 RBI (Yankees- 7, Phillies- 5). So yeah, there’s going to be some offense in this series. I can’t say I’m disappointed either.