Tuesday, October 27, 2015

World Series 2015: Someone has to win

I'm a firm believer in the idea that if you're going to watch any kind of sports contest, you should pick one team to cheer for. I don't buy the "it doesn't matter who wins, I just want to see a good game" argument. (Though I may have used it in the past. Consistency is overrated.) It doesn't matter if you know anything about the teams, or how you pick which side you're on. If you have something invested in the outcome, even if it's nothing more than that you like one set of uniforms better, it's more fun to watch.

So why watch at all, if I have to search for reasons to prefer one side or the other? Championship series have the best drama, with every moment magnified. You never know when you'll see an improbable comeback, or a great performance in front of the biggest audience of the season. But most importantly, it's the last baseball I'll see for months!

The Mets have a lot going against them in my personal baseball franchise rankings. They start well down the list simply for being from New York. (Los Angeles teams get the same treatment.) Then there's the fact that they beat my Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. They've had all kinds of iffy things going on with their ownership in recent years (though that is getting better). Did I mention they're from New York?

The Royals aren't much better. They took the AL Central title this year from my second-favorite MLB team, the Detroit Tigers. I was enjoying watching the Houston Astros make an improbable playoff run this year...until the Royals pulled off a crazy comeback in game 4 of their ALDS, and finished the Astros off in game 5. The Toronto Blue Jays were exciting to watch, making a run with all of Canada behind them, before the Royals beat them in the ALCS. At every stage of the season, the Royals have beat some other team that I'd rather have seen advance.

That's not to say that neither team has anything good going for them. Both have exciting players, particularly pitching (mostly starters for the Mets, mostly bullpen for the Royals). There's the insanity that is Daniel Murphy's postseason for the Mets, and the insanity that is Ned Yost's managing style for the Royals. A Mets win would make cross-town-rival New York Yankee fans sad, and a Royals win would make Missouri-state-rival St Louis Cardinal fans sad. All good things.

As for who I think is actually likely to win, well, that's a toss-up. Seven games may sound like a lot, but in baseball terms it's a blink of an eye. Even the worst teams can win four out of seven at some point in their season. The great young starting pitchers of the Mets might completely shut down the Royals hitting. Or the Kansas City bats might eke out enough runs to take the lead into the late innings, and then their great bullpen locks it down. Or maybe we'll all be surprised and there will be a few shootout games that look more like the Kansas City Chiefs are playing the New York Giants. You'll see a whole lot of predictions around the sports world, and some of them will be right, but only by chance.

So what's the deciding factor here? Clearly, we need to go to the mascots.
In case there's any confusion, that's New York on the left.
A guy with a baseball for a head vs the king of beasts? (Albeit one with a strangely deformed skull structure.) I don't think there's any contest here. Royals it is!

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