The St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers begin the World Series tonight. Apologies to fans in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Once again a team from the AL East isn’t representing the American League. The all dominant, pitching superstar-laden Phillies aren’t representing the National League. This is good for baseball. Yes, it is good for baseball.
Unfortunately many fans of the game tune out when the Yankees are in the World Series. The age-old “hatred” of the Yankees keeps fans away. The Phillies and the Red Sox, unless playing each other, evoke similar feelings past Ohio and south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Small market teams, and non-East Coast natives just get tired of the post season dominance of East Coast teams. This season however, a different story has emerged. The Rangers repeated as American League Champions. They are on a mission to douse Josh Hamilton in ginger ale once more in 2011. The Cardinals are the kids who got lucky and now find themselves competing for a World Series ring. This lack of East Coast baseball is good for Major League Baseball. Having teams from the Mid-West especially keeps the game fresh. The Yankees and Red Sox bring history to the World Series. So do the Cardinals. The Rangers bring excitement.
Both St. Louis and Texas bring one more thing to the World Series: annual payroll’s under $100 million. Once again the game of baseball proves players are paid what their agents can negotiate; not what the player is worth. Payroll doesn’t guarantee championships. Some teams will never learn.
Regardless, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. Good luck to both.