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Clash of the Titans


As I write this the 2013 World Series is tied 1-1 and the scene is shifting to St. Louis. Game 2 was more entertaining than Game 1 due to its later resolution, but so far each game has gone to the club that didn't make the mistakes. The Cardinals were under extreme duress in Game 2 as falling behind 2-0 would make sweeping the Red Sox in St. Louis a near-imperative, and I don't see either team winning three straight. They are simply too evenly matched. For the first time since 1999, we have the teams with the two best regular-season records meeting.

When the inimitable and inevitable David Ortiz homered off the Cardinals' phenom Michael Wacha, it seemed like everything was going the Beantowners' way. But the Cardinals regrouped, rallied, and when catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia mishandled Jonny Gomes' throw, and when pitcher Craig Breslow, properly backing up the play, threw the ball down the 3rd-base line, the Cardinals took the lead and held on to win.

I find World Series where the home team wins every game to be at heart boring; the home crowd gets to scream at the top of its lungs, and you never hear that hush or gasp of despair as their heroes fall. I know that sounds cruel but to me it adds to the drama and creates a much more interesting story arc. It has been decades since the World Series was really central to life in these United States, so as a fan I concentrate on memorable story arcs. It was a different pace of life in the 50's and 60's and the off-season sports and 24-hour total cable saturation coverage were not a part of existence. Things really did slow down, even come to a halt, during that week in October.

Nothing of course is more boring than the nostalgia of a geezer, for what is a geezer but someone who is no longer young but not yet dead? I know that sounds sour but that's geezer humor for you.

I have good friends on both sides of the divide this year and eventually I will call to congratulate the winners and grieve with the losers, but I don't have a dog in this fight and so I am hoping for the best possible in terms of drama and heroic actions. In 2011, when the Cardinals staved off doom to win over the Texas Rangers, that was a good World Series; in 2012, when the San Francisco Giants grabbed the Detroit Tigers and threw them down the stairs at the outset, that was not a good World Series, except for Giants fans.

This year we have two brand-name teams with powerful and complete rosters, and so I am optimistic that there will be no shortage of memorable moments when all is said and done.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Joe Mancini. All rights reserved.
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