World Series Preview, Part 1
The Series is finally set: Yankees vs. Phillies. Throughout the regular season, the Yankees were the best team in baseball, by far. The Yankees only rival, in the regular season, was the Angels, whom they have now dispatched. On top of that, the American League has been the stronger league, as measured by interleague play and the All Star game, for the last six seasons, dating back to 2004. Given these basic points, I think we can safely declare the Yankees world champions and start the victory parade tomorrow. Except that nothing I have just written predicts who will really win the World Series.
The American League has been dominant for the previous five seasons, yet they only lead in the World Series, 3-2. In the end, one team plays another team to determine the World Series, not one league against another. In that respect, the Phillies suddenly look like a much better bet. Though they were only the 2 seed in the weaker league, that is no bar to victory. Since the institution of the Wild Card in 1995, the number 1 overall seed (team with the most wins in the major leagues) has won 2 pennants (1998 Yankees and 1999 Braves) and one World Series (1998 Yankees.) This year’s Yankees make it 3 pennants.
The Phillies are the first team to make consecutive World Series since the 1998-2001 Yankees, the first National League team since the 1995-96 Braves. As should be noted with both predecessors, the 1996 Braves and 2001 Yankees lost the Series. Experience, it seems, is overrated when determining postseason winners.
This is enough to clear the ground before predictions. Tomorrow I will do position-by-position breakdowns of each team and pick my winner. A little over a week later, my prediction will be proved wrong by actual events. What thoughts do you have on our upcoming World Series? What angles need to be covered before the Series starts?