An “Old School” Series?
By Anthony McClean, Editor – in – Chief Emeritus
NEW HAVEN (BASN/BASN NEWSROOM): Okay, raise your hand if you had the Giants and Royals in this year’s World Series pool. If your hand is raised, your pants are probably on fire like those guys in that insurance commercial.
Let’s face it, folks. No one, I repeat NO ONE saw this matchup coming. And in the big picture (and to MLB’s advantage), this has all the makings of an excellent Fall Classic. For all the whiners from New York, Boston, L.A., and other “large markets”, get over yourselves.
In this writer’s opinion, not having a “big market” team in the World Series isn’t a problem. The same was said about the Braves-Twins series in 1991 when it began and if memory serves me right, it was one of the best Fall Classics of all-time.
This series has some similarities to the Minnesota-Atlanta series. Maybe not the “worst to first” angle, but more so because of the unlikely opponents. Yes, the Giants have won two of the last three titles, but after losing Matt Cain earlier in the year many of us “experts” thought they were finished.
However behind the emergence of Madison Bumgarner as the new ace, veteran Tim Hudson recovering from last year’s injury, and the continued excellence of Bruce Bochy as one the game’s best managers, San Francisco finds themselves battling for another World Series championship.
As for the Royals, many thought they’d be contenders in the AL Central, but little else. And then after losing a key home series to the eventual division champion Tigers and having manager Ned Yost taking an ill-timed snipe at the fans, it looked even worse for the Royals.
Needless to say, but the Royals would rally and grab one of the final Wild Card spots. Eight postseason victories later, Kansas City not only finds themselves just four wins away from bringing home their first crown since 1985, but they also have the home-field advantage as well.
As we have all this postseason, we’ll take a peek at this matchup. This year’s playoffs have been one of the more exciting we’ve seen in quite a while. We’ve seen longtime postseason performers step up their game while watching the emergence of new stars as well.
I’m sure we’ll see a continuation of that.
GIANTS vs. ROYALS
Game One Probables: SF — Madison Bumgarner (18-10, 2.98 ERA) vs. KC — James Shields (14-8, 3.21 ERA)
How They Got Here: The Giants defeated Pittsburgh in the NL Wild Card game, eliminated Washington in the NLDS, and St. Louis in the NLCS. The Royals defeated Oakland in the AL Wild Card game, eliminated Los Angeles in the ALDS, and Baltimore in the ALCS.
Season Series: In a three-game series at Kaufman Stadium during the weekend of August 8-10, the Royals swept the Giants beating Bumgarner (4-2), Tim Lincecum (7-4), and Tim Hudson (5-0). They outscored San Francisco 16-6 during the series.
What To Look For: This year’s Fall Classic offers the ultimate in contrasting teams. San Francisco’s postseason experience versus Kansas City’s sudden emergence under the lights. The real difference could be whose bullpen can outperform one another.
Did You Know: While this is the second World Series with two Wild Card teams (The Giants fell to the Angels in seven games in 2002 Fall Classic), this is the first ever Series to match two teams with less than 90 wins. San Francisco won 88 and Kansas City won 89.
Outlook: At the end of the day, it comes down to what do you prefer — the guys with the postseason pedigree or the hot, young unbeaten squad. You have to respect what Bochy and the Giants have done to put themselves in position for another title. However, K.C.’s speed and defense have been just as enjoyable to watch even if you’re not a baseball fan. For now, I’m gonna stick with Kansas City because speed never gets into a slump. Royals in 7.