Baseball fans rejoice.
The Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants have made it to the World Series, and once the first pitch is thrown on Wednesday night, we will each be able to bear witness to one of the more unique championship series that has happened in our lifetimes.
So what if we lost the entire east coast in the two League Championship series and the television outlets are crying over lost revenue, or that neither team has a $100 million payroll—Texas is below $60 million—or that the Yankee lineup and the Phillies rotation will not be seen again this October. I’m here to focus on the decedent positives. Here are the best reasons to love the 2010 World Series:
One reign of futility will end: The last time the Giants won a World Series, 1954, Willie Mays was competing with Duke Snyder and Joe DiMaggio for the title of “best center fielder in New York”, DiMaggio won the title by marrying Marilyn Monroe that year. Teams didn’t even play major league baseball further west than Chicago.
Rangers fans have not waited as long for a championship only because they haven’t even existed for that long. They began their hapless lives as the Washington Senators. First in war. First in peace. Last in the American League. Those Senators.
They weren’t even the cool ones that won a World Series in 1924 or were managed by Ted Williams for a few seasons. Those Senators became the Minnesota Twins.
One of these two clubs has to win the World Series, and it will be nothing like any of their fans who are not collecting social security has ever seen.
Both teams are likeable underdogs: On top of everything I said above, there are more recent debacles each franchise has had to overcome.
When I say “San Francisco Giants”, I am willing to bet Allen Iverson’s Turkish salary that the first image that comes to your mind is still the maligned Barry Bonds. He became the face of the steroid era and did more damage to the image of the sport than Tiger Woods would have if he played for the Mets.
That subconcious image should be of Kung Fu Panda’s doughy frame jovially manning third with an equally doughy Juan Uribe literally filling the gap at short, or Brian Wilson’s playoff beard, which should count against their playoff roster, or Lincecum’s contortionist routine to deliver in the high 90’s despite being listed under six feet tall. That’s a fun team to pull for.
They will still not draw as many cheers from neutral fans, because the Rangers have a World Series story that if it were turned into a movie, you would scoff at it for its unbelievability (editors note: that last word does not exist).
It is every classic underdog story rolled into one.
Before the season started, manager Ron Washington resigned from the club and admitted that he had been using cocaine, only management would not let him quit. (Character in need of redemption)
One of the players he manages, Josh Hamilton, was a promising young ballplayer with limitless potential until he fell into drugs that included heroin. Hamilton cleaned up and has redeemed himself by realizing his potential. (Feel-good character and quazi-role model)
The Rangers were bankrupt under owner Tom Hicks and had to be sold. (Team at its low point)
The commissioner continued to let them spend money on key free agents even though all their income came from revenue sharing. (Benevolent leader showing trust in the underdog)
One of the principle investors was none other than Nolan Ryan, the greatest baseball player ever to pitch in Texas. (Hero returning to save the club)
The team traded for the best available player in the game when a better offer was made by another team. (Luck, perhaps divine)
That same team that made the better offer, the Yankees—the reigning World Series champions with four times the payroll who used to routinely beat Texas in the playoffs the last time they were any good. They became the last obstacle the Rangers had face in order to get to the World Series and a chance to be the first champions in franchise history. (Overcoming the odds to defeat the antagonist)
The entire season plays out over-the-top.
Even if the Giants win, the average viewer will still have to feel good for the Rangers for getting this far, and cheer the team that saved itself from collapsing simply by playing their hearts out.
Like many here in New York, I was rooting for the Yankees as a loyal fan. But now that they are out I see no reason to abandon my high level of interest in the postseason. I want to see a fan base celebrate for the first time in most of their lives. I want to see Lee duel Lincecum. I want to see if this Rangers movie gets the Mighty Ducks treatment or the Rocky treatment. At least, as baseball fans, we are all going to win.
— Matthew Donato