Since I did not write a column for this week’s paper, I will go ahead and talk some sports today, basically because I am bored and want to kill time until lunch.
The Houston Astros beat a team that I and many others thought were the real deal Holyfield. I thought the St. Louis Cardinals were going to roll through the National League and then roll through the World Series. It just looked like it was their year. They had better pitching and only a somewhat less potent offense than last year. They just ran into a team that has played the best baseball since the all star game. Don’t let it be said that a great team cannot be beaten by a hot team every time.
I first realized the Cardinals were in trouble when baseball pundits kept talking about how an injured Reggie Sanders was going to hurt them significantly. Excuse me? Is this the same Reggie Sanders who went 0 for playoffs with the Reds? The same Reggie Sanders who didn’t even have a foul tip against the Braves in 1995. The same Reggie Sanders that had 16 at bats and 10 of those ended in strikeouts. If the Cardinals were pinning all their hopes on Reggie Sanders then they had bigger problems than his injury.
In the end, twas pitching that killed the beast. The Astros have the best rotation and the best closer in baseball. They shut down one of the highest scoring teams in baseball and except for an Albert Pujols homerun that is still circling the globe, they made it look easy. The Astros also put some runs on the board. This was the thing that I thought would kill them. In the end they showed themselves to be the better team.
We now have a World Series between a team who hasn’t been to the World Series since 1959 and a team who has never been to the World Series. The Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros begin the battle on Saturday. Fox is now wondering aloud, “Who are the ad wizards who came up with this matchup?” It won’t send the ratings through the roof, but I wouldn’t be surprised if people watch this Series.
There are a few reasons people might be interested in the 2005 World Series. One is that this is a Series of firsts. First time ever for Houston and first time back for Chicago since 1959. My favorite line throughout the playoffs this year is about the Chicago White Sox. They have thrown a World Series since they last won a World Series.
It is the first Series for Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, two guys who have entertained baseball fans for what seems like 50 years. I am glad these two have their chance to win a championship. I do wish Bagwell was in a little better health and could help out more and hopefully he will be able to DH. I am also saddened that Larry Walker will not have his chance to win a title as this is supposedly his last year before retiring. He was one of those players that put everything on the line and unfortunately all those years of line putting showed in the NLCS.
Another reason this Series may bring in some viewers, at least for games 1 and 5 can be summed up in three words. Clemens, Clemens, Clemens. Roger Clemens is the biggest name in this Series. People will watch him because he is the greatest and this could be it for his career. He could go out on top if he wins the Series. I don't know why he would because he is as dominate as he ever was.
This also brings to mind another reason people will watch. Clemens and Andy Pettitte are most known for their postseason with the New York Yankees and Clemens also with the Red Sox. Just because those two teams are not in the Series does not mean they can’t be injected into it throughout. I can already hear the announcers as Bagwell comes to the plate for his first at bat talking about how he was a lifelong Red Sox fan and was drafted by the Sox and then traded to Houston. Fox will be too scared not to try to inject Yankees and Red Sox into the Series because it is scary enough to have a World Series without either of those teams.
All in all, I plan on watching most of the Series because I am a baseball fan and I watch no matter which two teams play. I hope it a 7 game affair because that is what we all want. There's nothing like a game 7 with everything on the line. I believe that, big shocker, this will be a Series dominated by pitching and a team that can scratch out 3 runs a game will win this Series. I believe that the Astros are just so hot right now and because the Pujols game did not kill them, that they will take the World Series in 6 games. As you know, my predictions aren’t exactly the greatest so don’t be surprised to see dancing in the streets in Chicago this Halloween.