Though it will feature the two best teams in baseball, this year's World Series will be painful for non-fans of the Red Sox or Cardinals. It's the least appealing matchup out of this postseason's 10 teams. It'll achieve better ratings than Giants-Rangers, sure, but why should any casual viewer feel compelled to watch the Boston Strongs take on the Self-Proclaimed Best Fans In Baseball?
The playoffs begin rife with possibilities, with all the potential storylines and droughts waiting to be broken. Unprecedented shit is happening on our televisions! Anything is possible! And yet, when it comes down it, one of the boring favorites will prevail. How surprising is it that two teams with nine-digit payrolls and the best regular-season records in their respective leagues made it to the World Series?
These aren't exactly two cities starved of glory, here. The Redbirds won their last championship two seasons ago; the Red Sox, in 2007. But look past the loathsome fans that spend substantial amounts of free time demanding to be adored—or ones that are plain obnoxious—and put your rooting interests behind particular players who truly deserve this chance at a ring. There are plenty to choose from.
Carlos Beltran is inarguably one of the best hitters in playoff history. Pipe down, Mets fans. The 36-year-old has a .383/.538/.921 line this postseason, and it's always a joy to watch his plate approach. Beltran's awesome arm in the outfield allows him to leave baserunners with regret at stretching out a play.
A healthy Jacoby Ellsbury makes any ball seem catchable. Ellsbury's been excellent at the plate in the 2013 playoffs, hitting for a .467/.525/.992 line. Factor in his speed, and he's an essential at-bat to watch.
Matt Adams is a fat baseball guy, and those guys are the best for raising your self-esteem. There's a great sense of accomplishment among all of us when a fat athlete does something extraordinary. Adams has struck out 12 times in 41 plate appearances this season, and the only thing more fun than a fat baseball player is a fat baseball player who swings hard and often.
The Red Sox's closer, on almost any other team, would appreciated by everyone. Koji Uehara had dreams of teaching gym but ended up as Boston's ALCS MVP instead. What a failure. Uehara was the best reliever in baseball this season and has an obsession with high-fives, which is just the best.
Both rotations are laden with superb pitching. It's a delight to watch young guys like Michael Wacha frazzle batters a decade older than him, or Clay Buchholz drop gorgeous breaking balls in for a strike. There's no dearth of quality starters for the World Series, and with two solid top-to-bottom lineups, the biggest question is, which gives out first, the quality pitching, or the quality hitting?
Sure, Boston and St. Louis are two fanbases (outside of New York) that couldn't deserve this success less. But if you go into this World Series accepting that one of them is going to win, and you're never going to hear the end of it, perhaps you'll be able to appreciate the actual players in the best pure baseball matchup we could have gotten.
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