X-Factor is getting pre-empted for this shit?!
What’s the only thing less inspiring than an Obama-Romney election? Why, a Texas Rangers-St. Louis Cardinals World Series of course! Yes, that’s right; despite what watching ESPN may have led you to believe, there are baseball teams other than the Yankees and the Red Sox. There’s even something called the “National” league – where pitchers hit! What type of Bizarro world shit is that?!
Representing the American league for the second year in a row is the Texas Rangers. While most of their players are fairly under the radar, the one most people have heard of is 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton, who has struggled with addiction throughout his career – he’s been addicted to crack, heroin, alcohol and, most recently, Jesus. Frankly, I’m a bit worried about him. Shooting up is one thing, but that Christianity shit destroys your brain. It’s like that Neil Young song, “The Eucharist And The Damage Done”.
Beyond that, what the Rangers really have is a bunch of solid, but unremarkable players who most people probably haven’t heard of. Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler, and Elvis Andrus are all solid clubhouse contributors, but none are especially marketable. Same goes for Adrian Beltre, a player who’s been consistently good for 13 years now, but other than one 48 home run season in 2004, has never really been a standout guy. In this sense, the Rangers are a bit like the anti-Yankees — a relative lack of superstars, but a solid, consistent lineup that can produce runs. Unfortunately, that type of shit isn’t especially fun to watch.
As for the Cardinals, there’s a bit more star power. The biggest draw in the entire series is Albert Pujols. Even though Pujols is a personality-devoid automaton who’s most interesting quality is that he probably/maybe/hopefully hasn’t done steroids yet, he’s still easily the most important player in the series. The fact that Pujols is the game’s second most marketable player after Derek Jeter (who is also a robot) says a lot about how anonymous baseball has become. It desperately wants to be classy, even though has just as many cheaters, wife beaters and general assholes as any other sport. As a result, everyone wants to project the image of a mindless worker drone rather than someone who’s actually interesting to follow (well, except for this guy). If baseball started being honest with itself, we’d have a lot more fun personalities, and the sport as a whole would be a lot more entertaining.
After Pujols, the Cardinals roster consists primarily of guys you probably thought retired two years ago. Their biggest off-season acquisition was Lance “Fat Elvis” Berkman. Fat Elvis isn’t my sarcastic, mocking nickname for Berkman; it’s his actual nickname that his fans gave him. I wish they’d stop taking all the easy jokes. Last year, he was traded from the Astros to the Yankees, where he was so awful that even though all they gave up for him was a mediocre reliever who they barely used anyway, it still seemed like a bad trade. All of his power was gone, and whenever he took the field he looked like fat schlub who had no business still playing. It was just sad to watch. If it weren’t for Kei Igawa, Berkman would be the worst Yankee ever. Taking all this into account, how the guy managed to hit 31 home runs and become a legitmate MVP candidate is beyond me. I mean, it’s not like baseball has a history of steroid use or anything…
Now, the pitching matchups. In this aspect, the teams are fairly identical. Both teams have an unquestioned ace, and a bunch of mediocre-to-good guys who are fairly inconsequential. For the Rangers, that ace is C.J. Wilson. The series hasn’t even started yet, but Wilson already seriously hurt the Rangers chances. How? By being godawful in this year’s all-star game. He gave up three runs in one inning, which allowed the NL to cruise to victory. It’s worth noting that giving home field advantage in the World Series is idiotic beyond belief, but at least this year it gives us an interesting plot line. The Cardinals best pitcher is Chris Carpenter, who won the Cy Young in 2005. Carpenter has been notoriously erratic and injury prone (he missed nearly all of the 2007 and 2008 seasons), but when he’s on, he’s one of the best around, and this year he’s been pretty damn good.
Unfortunately, beyond Wilson and Carpenter, there’s no one to get excited about. The Cardinals other star pitcher, Adam Wainwright has been out all season, leaving the Cardinals with a hodgepodge of okay pitchers filling in the 2-5 spots. Plus, even if they come up big, they probably won’t pitch too long because the Cardinals are still managed by Tony LaRussa, a manager whose addiction to using as many relievers as possible is almost as bad as Josh Hamilton’s Jesus problem. Don’t expect any Don Larsen-type heroics from these pitchers. If LaRussa lets a guy throw more than 90 pitches, it’ll be a minor miracle.
There are some quality players in this World Series, but there’s really nothing to make it unique. Both teams sit on the precipice between establishment and underdog. There isn’t a Yankee-like villain to loathe, or an underdog team like the Brewers (Seriously, why did the Brewers have to fuck up the NLCS! It would’ve been a million times better with them!) to get excited about. Just two teams who always compete, but not on the level where it becomes especially obnoxious. It’s possible that the Series will get good ratings just because everyone is glad the Yankees aren’t in it, but don’t expect anything too entertaining. I’m expecting a lot of overthinking by LaRussa, and a lot of 5-2 snoozefests.
Oh, I should probably say who I think is going to win. Well, the Rangers were a bit better in the regular season, but the Cardinals finished stronger, and have been the hottest team in the league as of late. I’ll take the Cardinals in a close one because Pujols is scarier than anyone on the Rangers, and because I don’t think Jesus loves Josh Hamilton quite enough to give him a World Series ring.
The pick: Cardinals in 6