The Fall Classic, 2011 Edition

The Fall Classic, 2011 Edition
It’s the final, crowning touch on the season, The World Series, The Fall Classic. I was in Chicago this week on business and Mick the bellman said to me, “I’m a Cubs fan but it’s the World Series and I’m watching it.” I talked with Ryan at the Enterprise car desk, and he said, “I’m a Cardinals fan and last night was tough to take.” In case you didn’t know it, Cardinals and Packers fans are the Fifth Column of Chicago sportsdom. There are a lot of them!

Seriously, though, both the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals have earned their way to the Big Stage, and based on the first two games, this could be a Series that is both memorable and an artistic success. The Rangers would appear to be the better team on paper, but so far the Cardinals have triumphed against two teams that also appeared to be superior on paper.

Benches and bullpens win in the post-season, and so far that has been the case in the Series. Allen Craig has delivered two clutch, run-producing pinch-hits; the Cardinals bullpen was stout in Game 1 and cracked in Game 2. Both games have been low-scoring and marked by defensive gems and surprising misplays. In short, this has all the ingredients of a classic World Series.

Speaking of being in Chicago, as I mentioned Mick the hotel bellman I asked him what he thought about former Boston Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein taking over as President of the Cubs. Mick said, “Tough to say they have so many bad contracts holding them down, but if he hires Ryne Sandberg to manage, that will be seen as something good.” I thought that was a perceptive and spot-on comment.

The value of having post-season games in your city cannot be overstated. Today in the New York Times I saw that thanks to (so far) seven post-season games at Busch Stadium III, the City of St. Louis has received over $2 million in taxes to help cover a $2.8 million shortfall, and that means teachers, police, firefighters, sanitation workers, etc. have been able to keep their jobs. I have often been skeptical of the claims by sports teams about the economic benefits of building tax-payer funded ballparks and such, but this is unalloyed good news and I for one won’t mind if there are two more games held by the banks of the Mississippi.

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