This World Series could be good, bad or ugly
The big, bad Yankees are finally out and for that most of the country can be grateful. Instead of constantly hearing about the ghosts of past greats at Yankee Stadium, this postseason we can focus on the present at not-so-historic Tropicana Field.
Instead of filling up seats in the Bronx, they'll be taking them out, just in time for the holiday gift-giving season.
But that's not the only thing different about a World Series that has every chance to be truly memorable and an equal chance to be truly forgettable. There's a surprise team from Florida, chances of an all-Chicago or all-LA matchup, and a Boston team ready to lay claim to a dynasty of its own.
About the only certainty is that the Cubs will implode at some point because they are, after all, the Cubs.
Keeping that in mind, here's a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly matchups that could be this year's World Series:
CUBS-RED SOX: This is the ultimate matchup, one that makes Bud Selig and Fox television executives drool at the mere thought. The backdrop alone would make this worth tuning in for, but this World Series would have more story lines than just the two classic ballparks. The Red Sox would be staking a claim to dominance much like their pinstriped rivals, trying for their third championship in five years, and you might have heard something by now about the Cubs trying to win their first World Series in exactly 100 years.
The only downside for long-suffering Cubs fans is that Boston would have the home-field advantage. But after waiting since 1908 to win the World Series, they could wait a few more days to play at home.
RED SOX-DODGERS: Imagine Manny Ramirez returning to Fenway Park to hit two home runs over the Green Monster in Game 1. OK, just imagine him returning to run hard all the way to first base. Either way it will be a show, made all the better should Joe Torre be able to exorcise some Fenway demons while dressed in Dodger blue.
METS-ANGELS: Yankees-Dodgers would have been better, especially with Torre against his old team. But New York versus Los Angeles is never bad, and what better way for the Mets to leave Shea Stadium than with a World Series title? Unfortunately that won't happen because, as all Mets fans know, their team is filled with a bunch of choking dogs and will be lucky just to make the playoffs.
CUBS-WHITE SOX: Yes, we know the Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908 and that such a warm and fuzzy occurrence would be even more warm and fuzzy for Cub fans if they could do it against their crosstown rivals. But any magic about the Cubs and White Sox playing each other evaporated with interleague play and, outside of Chicago, who really cares if the north side is better than the south. About the only fun for the rest of the country would be watching Ozzie Guillen chase rats down the right-field line.
DODGERS-ANGELS: Back in the day when the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees all played in New York it wasn't a big deal when two teams from the same city met each other in the World Series because it happened quite often. It doesn't happen that often anymore -- Mets-Yankees in 2000 were the only ones in the last 50 years -- but Los Angeles is the wrong city to make it happen. The Cubs and White Sox at least inspire passion from their followers. In LA, fans get worked up trying to figure out the best inning to leave the ballpark so they can beat traffic.
TWINS-BREWERS: The Twins are a decent enough story, a young team that wasn't supposed to do anything this year after losing Johan Santana to the Mets. The Brewers aren't bad, either, especially if they make the playoffs after firing their manager with just two weeks left in the season. Match them together, though, and you've got a dud of a World Series played out in small-market Midwestern cities that not even the super-sized presence of Prince Fielder can save.
RAYS-DIAMONDBACKS: Let's get this straight: Eva Longoria is one of the stars on "Desperate Housewives" who is married to Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs. Evan Longoria is the third baseman for Tampa Bay who always seems to hit crucial home runs. That should take about 10 minutes for Tim McCarver to explain during Game 1, after which there will be little left to do other than ponder the dismal ugliness of Tropicana Field and wonder why Randy Johnson is always so surly.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlbergap.org
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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