Monday, October 25, 2010
World Series 2010
There are two teams remaining in the battle to be crowned as champions of North American baseball to become “World Series Champions”. The Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants will take the field on the West Coast Wednesday night to determine the victor in a best-of-seven final.
The Rangers disposed of the mighty New York Yankees in short order, with brilliant pitching, and timely hitting. The Giants outlasted the favoured Philadelphia Phillies to gain a berth in the final.
The Rangers and the Giants were not expected to get to the finals this year. In fact, if you were to lay your money down in Vegas last spring in support of that possibility, you would be a wealthy baseball fan. You might even be able to purchase a ticket for one of the games.
At the helm of the Texas Rangers is a wizened customer named Ron Washington. He assesses the Giants thusly, on the internet: “They are a very solid team. They can certainly pitch, and when you get to this point, pitching is the most important thing.” Sounds like a cool individual; however, if they focus on him when his base runners are in motion, he is certainly a whirling dervish. Keep your distance.
The Giants do have great pitching, led by Tim Lincecum. He has the credentials: two Cy Young Awards for being the best pitcher in the National League the last two years. He has the stuff: great control and a fastball that reaches into the upper nineties on most occasions. But he no more looks like major league pitcher than Rodney Dangerfield. Lincecum is not six feet tall, and weighs about one hundred and sixty pounds. He has droopy hair well past his shoulders. But he is the best.
Another interesting character emerges from the Giants’ bull pen in the late innings. Brian Wilson has one of the ugliest beards in baseball. There might be a touch of Grecian Formula in it, for effect. His hair is coiffed in the manner of Charlie Sheen, “Wild Thing” Vaughn from the movie Major League. He can mow batters down with great stuff. Like many other finishing pitchers, he often walks a batter or two in critical situations, driving Manager Bruce Bochy to distraction.
All Giants’ pitchers will be facing an awesome lineup when they take the field Wednesday. The first game is in San Francisco, as the National league won the All Star game this year, and the right to home field advantage in the World Series. That also means that Vladimar Guerrero will have to play outfield, rather than act as a designated hitter. The Giants may try to take advantage of Vladdy’s restricted mobility.
Guerrero is just one of the mighty bats in the Rangers’ dugout. Others include: Josh Hamilton, Jeff Francoeur, David Murphy, Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, and Michael Young. Don’t be surprised if you find Bengie Molina also rounding the bases for the Texans. He hit the for the most improbable cycle in baseball history this year, just a few games after he had been traded from the Giants to the Rangers.
The Rangers added Cliff Lee to their starting rotation this season. He will lead the troops into battle as their starting pitcher Wednesday night. All of the baseball pundits have him moving to the Yankees next season. That may be, but in the mean time, he has his work cut out for him in a Ranger uniform.
His duel with Lincecum will be a classic.
Buster Posey will be behind the plate for the Giants. One of the youngest players on the team at twenty-three, he is regarded as a major factor in their success, both with his bat and with his brilliant play in the field. Cody Ross came over to the Giants from the Marlins late in the season, but brought surprising pop to the lineup in the post season.
It is indeed a long season, with plenty of post season play. But we are now in the final leg, and these games are worth the price of admission. Pass the cracker jacks, if you don’t mind.
24 October 2010