In case you did not know, the 2009 Major League Baseball World Series begins Wednesday, October 28, and will feature the Philadelphia Phillies visiting the New York Yankees. These are two teams that have slid their way through the playoffs without much difficulty, and now, for the first time in the postseason, will take on some real challenges. The teams are fairly similar, consisting of some powerful starting pitching and home-run happy hitting, and it is doubtful that the series will fail to entertain. Both teams deserve to be in the position they are in right now, and there is no question that they are the two best teams in baseball. I have never been a band wagon fan, but under the circumstances I find myself jumping eagerly in with the Philadelphia “repeat” crowd.
I mean… come on, how could anyone not want the Phillies to take this one? Unless you are a native of the navy blue nation, you can’t possibly want to see the team that bought all the raffle tickets win the prize. The Yanks spat on the recession in ‘09, starting the year off with the construction of their fortress. This looming castle of pin striped evil cost a whopping $1.5 billion, but was nowhere near enough to satisfy the shopping craze of the New York Yankee front office. Like a teenage girl with her dad’s credit card, the Yankees organization went nuts. From Burnett to Sabathia to Texiera, the Bronx bombers have nine players with individual contracts exceeding $13 million a year. The Phillies payroll of $130 million pales in comparison to the Yankees’ bill of over $200 million, and the Phils don’t have a brand new stadium.
If not a Cinderella story, the Phillies-Yankees series has the makings of an upset. Not based on the quality of the two teams, as they are fairly similar, but based on the budget of each powerhouse. I do not want the Phillies to win as much as I want the Yankees to lose. If the pinstripes win this year’s World Series, it would strongly suggest that it is possible to buy championships. The Lee-Sabathia rivalry is nice (except to Indians fans), but the real battle here is the down-home characters working hard to take their team above the best roster money can buy.
From the superstar level play of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez, to the late blossoming Jimmy Rollins and Brad Lidge, the Phillies team has come together into the perfect Yankee-destroying machine. The Phillies are pretty much the Yanks of the NL, and with any luck will become the bane of New York’s home-run hitting frenzy. With Cliff Lee taking the mound in the first game, one can only hope to see the Yankees hitters stymied and unable to go yard at their home field. With a little bit of good fortune, Philadelphia will take game one away from CC Sabathia, nullifying the significant home-field advantage used so well this season by New York. The Phils may be the underdog, but the nation outside of NY is hankering for a repeat, and those who want to see America’s Pastime restored to its former, not financially controlled, prestige are cheering “Let’s go Phillies!”