Both sides have their history on the line, too. Tampa Bay is looking to finish off its worst-to-first run and notch their first World Series in the history of the franchise while the Phillies are looking for their second title in 126 years and first major Philadelphia title since 1983.
With all due respect to the Rays, I'm rooting for the Phillies to win it all.
To me, I find it more important to give a tortured city and franchise a championship on which to hang their hats on. In terms of heartache and passion for sports, Philadelphia doesn't just beat Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg, it annihilates it.
I've been to Philly a couple times and the Phillies' ballpark (old and new) and the city reminds me a lot of Boston. I've heard a lot of people say the same, and I agree. A similar population, history and architecture are just some of the similarities between the cities.
Before the Red Sox exorcised their demons in 2004, the two cities were brothers in arms, and I've been rooting for Philly to experience what the city of Boston got to in 2004 ever since.
The Phillies have a couple of Red Sox connections on the team:
Jamie Moyer, their third starter in the World Series, bounced around for years before getting a shot with the Red Sox and then being moved to the Seattle Mariners for Darren Bragg, where Moyer blossomed into an All-Star starter.
Matt Stairs, who got a cup of coffee with the Red Sox in 1995, was acquired by the Phillies by the Blue Jays late this season and had a pivotal home run in the NLCS to power the Phillies past the Dodgers.
J.C. Romero, who closed out Game 4, was a Red Sox last year that was waived and moved to Philadelphia after the Sox tired of him walking everyone in sight. He became a force in the National League and is now one of the premier setup men in the league.
Former Red Sox starter and closer Tom Gordon is in the dugout, but not active due to an injury. He did contribute early this year and saved 34 games for the Phillies in 2006.
Catcher Chris Coste, who made his major league debut at age 33, was a minor league catcher for the Sox in 2003 before moving onto the Brewers and then, finally, the Phillies.
It should be no surprise, then, to hear that my favorite National League team is the Phillies and has been for a while.
They just knocked off the Rays in Game 5, where starting pitcher Joe Blanton hit a home run (yes, you read that correctly) to go up three games to one in the series.
Now, on Monday night, the Phillies send ace Cole Hamels to the mound. Hamels is on the cusp of being a legendary postseason figure: if he wins, it will be the first time a pitcher, much less a starting pitcher, won five games in the postseason. If you recall, Josh Beckett won four last year.
I know who I'll be rooting for. Who will you root for?