Alright all you gridiron gurus, the trade deadline has passed and there's no meaningful football for the next few days, so it's time to prove you are all true sports fans by tuning into the Fall Classic.
Yes, tonight it's finally back—MLB's World Series. What used to be the pinnacle of the sports calender returns with a matchup that very few could have predicted.
The St. Louis Cardinals aren't supposed to be here. The Red Birds fought from 10.5 games back to take the Wild Card on the last day of the regular season. Then they proceeded to shock the hopelessly hyped Phillies dream staff in the NLDS and Braun, Fielder and the not-so-beastly Brew Crew in the NLCS.
The Rangers are back in the Fall Classic for the second consecutive year. Despite losing Cliff Lee to the Phils and Josh Hamilton to injury for a large chunk of the regular season, Texas outlasted the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to win the AL West. In the ALDS, they made fairly quick work of everyone's favorite underdog, the Tampa Bay Rays, before Nelson Cruz bashed his way through Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS.
So now it's Midwest vs. Southwest. The state with the Arch vs. the state with the Alamo. The franchise that gave us Bob Gibson vs. the franchise run by Nolan Ryan. Pujols/Berkman/Holliday/Freese/Molina vs. Hamilton/Cruz/Kinsler/Beltre/Young/Napoli.
The rally squirrel may have a hard time getting past this vigilant Texas border patrol.
Can the Cardinals continue their improbable dance with destiny or will the Rangers finish what they couldn't vs. the Giants a year ago?
So like Lewis and Clark, we start our expedition from the Gateway to the West.
Let's jump right into it and throw out 20 bold predictions for the latest version of the Fall Classic.