(RNN) – Wednesday night marks the start of the World Series.
If you gave up on baseball in May, July, August or 1994, here's your opportunity to get back in the game. The Boston Red Sox will meet the St. Louis Cardinals in a rare matchup of the teams that won the most games in their respective leagues. The last time that happened was 1999.
In other words, there's no underdog and it's easy to wish for both teams to lose. The Cardinals have the self-proclaimed best fans in baseball and are just all-around boring, while the Red Sox have gained a massive following by being the anti-New York Yankees, despite basically becoming the New York Yankees themselves and are equally insufferable.
It's the 19th World Series trip for the National League champion Cardinals and the 13th appearance for the American League champion Red Sox. The teams have met in the World Series three times before. St. Louis won in seven games in 1946 and 1967, and Boston won in a four-game sweep in 2004.
The Curse of the Bambino has been broken, so there goes the most interesting thing this matchup could've provided.
Below is a brief guide of how you can decide who to cheer for in a Series between two teams that are easy to hate.
I moustache you a question. Who doesn't love a good beard? The Yankees, that's who. The winningest team in baseball history has a policy that its players can't wear facial hair. So, what have the anti-Yankee Red Sox done? Why, they've grown terrible, shaggy beards for the playoffs, of course.
If you're a fan of pointless hockey rituals, facial steel wool, northeastern cavemen or have xyrophobia (the fear of razors), the Red Sox are your team. The boys from Boston appear as if they just woke up from a months-long nap and look more like Duck Dynasty rejects than a professional baseball team.
The Cardinals are the classiest organization in all of baseball. If you don't believe that, just ask them. During the NL championship series, the Cardinals shook their fingers and gave a stern facial expression to the Los Angeles Dodgers who had the audacity to be happy when they did something good.
St. Louis reprimanded the Dodgers for their unacceptable antics calling it "Mickey Mouse" behavior. Even the great Stan Musial's grandson said it was about "values" and not just winning but playing the right way. Celebrating is not to be tolerated, unless you're the one celebrating.
The Cardinals are the good guys. They're one of only two teams who have had six consecutive winning seasons (the Yankees are the other and their streak is 18) and have only had one losing year since 2000, and are the model MLB franchise. Everyone wants to be like them. They're the vanquishers of all that is evil. If you want to see the hero triumph and for baseball to maintain its integrity, the Cardinals are your guys.
Boston has the leg up on the pageantry of the event because it will play host to the first two games and the last two, if they are needed. Baseball pageantry is unlike any other, and Boston will take it a step further following the marathon bombing in April and the growth of the slogan "Boston Strong."
Fenway Park is one of the best atmospheres in all of sports and the Red Sox haven't been in the playoffs in three years, so they are the sentimental favorites. Also, you don't get to sing three words to Sweet Caroline at Cardinals games. If you think any of that matters, you have to go with Boston.
Actual baseball analysis
Both teams won 97 games, which were the most in their respective leagues. It wasn't surprising that the Cardinals did that, because they've long been one of the better teams in the game. But the Red Sox were coming off a season where they fired their manager after finishing last in the AL East.
Nobody scored more runs this season than the Red Sox, who had 80 more than the Cardinals even though St. Louis was third in MLB and the best team in the NL in that stat. The Red Sox had the second highest batting average (.277) in MLB and the Cardinals were fourth (.269).
But it's pitching where St. Louis has the edge. Opposing teams batted .248 against Boston and .249 against St. Louis, but St. Louis gave up 60 fewer runs and posted a better team ERA (3.42 vs. 3.79) and had 15 shutouts to Boston's eight. St. Louis walked 70 fewer batters, but struck out 40 less.
If you believe the old adage that pitching is what wins in the playoffs and want that to hold true, then you're rooting for St. Louis. It's a tough call, but the numbers lean slightly toward the Cardinals when you factor in the bullpen.
If, like most people, you have an actual job that requires you to be at work on time, maybe you shouldn't watch the World Series at all. The games start at 8:07 p.m. Eastern and will end just short of midnight, barring extra innings, rain delay, high scores and excessive pitching changes. (The Detroit Tigers got eliminated, so that last one might not be a problem.)
Both wear red and white. If you have erythrophobia (fear of red) or leukophobia (fear of white), you're in trouble.
And if you just hate baseball, except for Saturdays and Sundays, there aren't any good football matchups happening on different channels during most of the World Series games, so good luck.
Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
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