At the onset of both League Championship series, the consensus was that the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies were going to play deeper into October. The San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers? They were the underdogs, only there for show. Well, that’s why they play the games. We think this series has as many subplots (if not more) than one with just about any other combination of teams. These are four of them we’re looking at come Wednesday night.
- Does good pitching always trump good hitting? The Giants’ staff of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez led a rotation that had the best ERA and strikeout total in the Majors. The Rangers come in winning each of their playoff games by an average of 5.5 runs behind the hot bats of Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Vladimir Guerrero. Immovabale object, meet unstoppable force.
- First title in a long time… or ever? The Giants haven’t won it all since they resided in Brooklyn 56 years ago. That’s longer than the Rangers’ franchise has been around, fifty years of futility that hasn’t even seen a trip to the Series.
- Redemption stories. Over the past year Lincecum, Hamilton and Rangers manager Ron Washington have all been involved in well publicized off-the-field drug issues, which they have put behind them. Nice to see one or two of them win a title after cleaning up.
- The hair. The Rangers aren’t exactly the (literally) clean-cut, ’80s-era Steinbrenner Yankees. But between Lincecum’s shaggy ‘do and closer Brian Wilson’s dyed-black beard, the Giants are obviously a team deeply rooted in San Francisco’s devil-may-care attitude. We’d love to see one of them propose shaving their heads or beards off if they win. Now that would be more interesting than a rehashed rivalry.
Is there anything we missed? Leave us a message in the comments letting us know what you’re looking forward to in this year’s World Series!