Major League Baseball’s big stage called ‘The World Series’ has been approaching by the day. While The World Series is baseball’s ultimate prize, most daily fans actually look forward to the eight team playoff tournament in which the crowd of eight narrows down to the two Series entrants. For 2009, we are again seeing some familiar teams from the past five years as participants in the postseason with the New York Yankees, Anaheim Angels, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals, and LA Dodgers. In the AL Central, the tie breaking game between the Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers is to be played on Wednesday and will determine the final entrant.
It’s difficult to see why the Yankees would not be considered the favorite to take the title as Yankee’s team captain Derek Jeter acknowledges that ‘all of the teams who are going to the playoffs are good, but as long as we keep playing the way that we have been, we feel good about our chances.’ A rich history of 26 World Series titles gives the Yankees bragging rights as ‘by-far’ the most out of any team in MLB history (the Cardinals are 2nd with 10), but the Yanks have had a dry spell since 2000
The Red Sox beat the Angels in the ALDS in 2004, 2007 and 2008, and they're going to be up against each other once again. The Angles have had a pattern of losing in the first round, which is something that their frustrated fan-base is hoping they avoid this year. Motivated by the loss of their young starting pitcher Nick Adenhart during the first week of the season, Manager Mike Scioscia said that he ‘is proud of where we’ve gotten so far and we are all conscious of the challenge we will face. With the memory of Nick Adenhart in our hearts, we are motivated to give it our all.’ Meanwhile, the Red Sox turned in yet another 90+ win season in the wicked AL East, adding Victor Martinez’s .303 batting average to an offense that also boasts Jason Bay (36HR/118RBI), Kevin Youkilis (.307/27/94), David Ortiz (28HR/97RBI) and 2008 AL MVP Dustin Pedroia. Boston’s playoff pitching rotation looks to be Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
The Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series last year, they've wrapped up their third consecutive National League East title this year, and they're looking towards getting past the pesky Colorado Rockies in the first round of the NL playoffs to defend their World Series crown. The Rockies have never tasted the victory of winning a World Series before, having been swept at the hands of the Boston Red Sox in 2007. The Phillies have had another monster year at the plate, leading the NL in home runs and RBI.
Owning one of the most famous moments in World Series history with a Kirk Gibson home run against the Oakland A’s in 1988, the LA Dodgers haven’t come close to repeating their World Series run since then, winning only one postseason series since that 1988 title. In addition, the Dodgers have been fairly criticized for possessing inadequate starting pitching to pass through the gauntlet of the MLB postseason format. If matched against the Cardinals, whom have possibly the two best starting pitchers in the NL in Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, the Dodgers have an unlikely chance reaching the Series.
Winning the World Series is what every team and player strives for. As the winner’s experience, it’s not only about the team and its players, but it's about representing the team's home city and state, and mostly, their devoted fans. All fans watch their team’s spring training in March with the hope that their city will host the World Series Champion Parade at the conclusion of the Series in October. This year, the Yankees seem to have it all, so we will soon see if downtown New York gets to experience another victory parade for their favorite team.