Once the World Series matchup was set, one had to expect that there would be some remarks about how this would be the World Series no one would care about. After all, this is not a matchup of teams that involves the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees or the Los Angeles Dodgers. Aside from Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, neither team really has a player that resonates on the national stage.
When coupled with the fact that both teams came through the Wild Card game, it should be no surprise that there would be commentary denigrating both teams. In fact, ESPN recently had an article calling the upcoming matchup the worst World Series in history. It seems that there has to be some sort of negative connotation when two teams that were not considered powerhouses during the regular season end up getting through the playoffs.
While it is easy to harp on the Giants strength of schedule or the fact that the Royals play in the American League Central, that should not diminish what either team managed to accomplish. The Royals not only overcame a four run deficit in the eighth inning of the Wild Card game, but they also knocked off the Los Angeles Angels and the Baltimore Orioles, who had two of the three best records in baseball. The Giants, meanwhile, defeated the team with the best record in the National League in four games, the Washington Senators.
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Even though the Royals have not been to the postseason, let alone the World Series, in 29 years, the same does not hold true for the Giants. In fact, they may be on the verge of becoming somewhat of a dynasty, as this is their third World Series appearance of the 2010’s. As it stands, the Giants have won their other two World Series appearances this decade, and appear to be well set up as the Team of the Teens.
Both teams, even though they did not win the division, still finished with a better record than the 2006 Cardinals, who won the World Series despite finishing the regular season with only 83 wins. While that team had Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen, they managed to make the postseason because they played in a weak division. The Philadelphia Phillies, who missed out on the postseason, actually had a record that was 2.5 games better than the Cardinals. Yet, that team still manages to escape being referred to as one of the worst postseason entrants. Perhaps star power really does matter.
Yet, despite what ESPN and fans in major markets would desire, the Royals and Giants are set to face off in the World Series in only two more days. The Royals will be bringing their exciting blend of speed and defense that took the American League playoffs by storm, while the Giants will counter with some of the best hitters in the National League, and a top ten pitcher in Bumgarner.
Although the major media markets may disagree, since the guaranteed draws of the Red Sox, Yankees, Cardinals and Dodgers are not involved, this should still be an entertaining World Series. Hopefully, the Royals keep their amazing run alive, and can take care of the Giants.