Well, let’s see: in 2007, I picked the Red Sox in six (they won in four over the Rockies). In 2008, I picked the Rays in 6 (they lost in five to the Phillies). In 2009, I picked the Phillies in 7 (they lost in six to the Yankees). That means if you’re a betting person, go with the Giants, because I’m taking the Rangers in seven. But the truth is that I’ll be happy whichever team wins.
The Giants pitching is incredible, their hitting is mediocre at best, they’ve got virtually no team speed, and their defense has at times been shaky. The Rangers, on the other hand, have pretty good pitching–their bullpen is weaker, as is their fourth starter, but their 1-3 starters can match up with the Giants’ pretty well–but their hitting is way better, their running game is the best in the majors, and their defense has been good enough (though putting Vladimir Guerrero in right field in S.F. may turn out to be a bad move). But the Rangers also have a secret weapon: former Giants catcher Bengie Molina, who knows the Giants’ pitchers better than any scout. The insight that he’ll be able to give the Texas hitters may well give them just enough of an edge to be able to out-score an anemic ‘Frisco offense. Hence my prediction that the Rangers will bring home the first World Series championship in the history of the franchise, as well as the first for the Lone Star State.
For the first time in a long time, I really don’t have a rooting interest, but not because I don’t care. I’ll be delighted to see either team win the crown. The Giants were my childhood favorite–Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Juan Marichal were my favorite players, and I continue to pull for the Giants when they aren’t playing the Braves (who I adopted when I moved to North Carolina and could watch them every night on TBS, at least once we got cable).
The Rangers, on the other hand, are a great story–a team that is exciting to watch, that no one expected to get there, one’s been through a lot of adversity getting out from under bankrupt ownership, one that had to beat the two Beasts of the East to make it, and one that includes perhaps the single most inspiring athlete in sports, Josh Hamilton, who has battled back from alcoholism and drug abuse to become the best player in the American League, if not all of baseball.
In addition, the Giants, who 17 pennants and 5 World Series in New York, haven’t won a championship since moving to San Francisco, while the Rangers–who started as the “new” Washington Senators when the “old” Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961–have never won one. So either way, somebody is going to get a very old monkey off their franchise back. What’s not to like about either result?