After this intermission brought to you by Major League Baseball we are about to have a World Series. This will be a World Series with no real favorite and if the post-season to date is any indication it should be completely unpredictable.
The Tuesday night start to the Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants will occur at Kauffman Stadium in K.C., but with these teams there is no such thing as a home-field advantage.
Both clubs started the playoffs with a Wild Card game, and progressed through the Division Series and league championship series without regard for games played at home or away, so there is no reason to believe it will start to make a difference now.
Both teams were underdogs when October play began and since they can’t both be underdogs now the Series is basically a toss-up. The Giants won the World Series in 2010 and 2012, so they have more championship seasoning. The Royals haven’t won a Series since 1985.
Since the Royals feature more anonymous players, more young players, more new guys, they should probably maintain their underdog image. But if anyone has watched the Royals this fall as they compiled an 8-0 playoff record so far, it’s difficult to think of them as anything but a team of destiny, a team on a roll, a team with so much momentum that the Giants need to clear the tracks because this express train is coming through.
A Royals championship would be refreshing for baseball because this team has been built from scratch by front office leadership with a plan over the last several years after putting up with a long drought between titles. The Royals are the anti-big bopping team, the squad with the fewest home runs in the majors this year. They win with speed on the bases, legging out infield hits, and with great gloves in the field. If that’s not a throwback combination, to oh, 1915, what is?
The Giants have been just about as good in the playoffs and in a body-for-body, position-by-position comparison San Francisco looks like the better team. Several of these same guys, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, and Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval, have been through all of these World Series wars of recent vintage and come out winners. The Royals’ best players, from Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain to Salvador Perez may have watched prior Series on TV.
Yet the Royals have re-energized baseball this October with their unexpected feats. The community of Kansas City is nearly out-of-control with excitement. Unless the Royals have used up the magic potion that manager Ned Yost used to get them this far, it seems unlikely that any kind of mano a mano comparisons are worth the trouble.
Madison Bumgarner is the scheduled opening game pitcher for the Giants unless he wakes up with a hang nail. James “Big Game” Shields should be on the mound for the Royals. Bumgarner has thrown better so far in the post-season, but again, it’s all fresh starting Tuesday.
If the World Series follows the script of the post-season then we should be in for several one-run games decided late, and a few extra-inning games thrown in to keep things honest. Although neither team has lost much of anything lately, this figures to be a Series that goes seven games.
Unless, of course, the Royals just keep on astonishing the world, win four more in a row, and complete the 2014 playoffs with a 12-0 mark for the ages.