Tonight marks the start of the 2013 World Series pitting the National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals against the American League Champion Boston Red Sox.
With the American League winning this year’s All-Star Game, home field advantage falls to the Red Sox which means that Fenway Park will be host to yet another Opening Game of the Fall Classic.
The fact that the Red Sox made it to the World Series and have home field advantage should not be that big of a surprise to anyone who paid attention to the standings this year.
For most of the season the Red Sox were the most dominant team in the American League. And as champions of the American League East they played one of the toughest schedules in all of baseball with numerous games against the Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, and New York Yankees.
It should almost be a given that the winner of the American League East goes directly to the World Series each year since the competition in the division is that tough year after year.
After winning the East the Red Sox still had to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Division Series.
While the Red Sox were the best team in the American League for most of the season the Cardinals were setting the pace in the National League.
So while many times the best teams do not always make it to the World Series few could argue that the most dominant teams from the past season made it to the ultimate championship round this year.
And while I pretty much gave up watching baseball this season when the Rays lost in the Playoffs, I will likely tune into the World Series.
That is the magic of the World Series where people watch the games for the history and the excitement regardless of what teams they follow during the regular season.
And while I will watch the World Series I have yet to decide who I will be rooting for.
Nothing against either the Cardinals or the Red Sox but they really just are not teams that I can get excited over. I do not have ties to the New England region or the Midwest so there is no geographical link that would pull me one way or the other.
Also, can I in good faith root for the team that eliminated my team from the Playoffs? There are some that say that rooting for the team that eliminates your team allows you to say that your team lost to the eventual champion so that is a good thing.
There is another school of thought that says to root for the team that did not beat your team since one doesn’t want the team that knocked out their team to be crowned champion.
Of course there are other factors at play that would have some conspiracy theorists saying that the fact that the Red Sox are in the World Series has less to do with them playing better than the other 14 teams in the American League and more to do with the Hollywood element of what happened in Boston a few months back and the need to wrap things up with a pretty little bow.
For those who may have forgotten there was an attack during the Boston Marathon this year.
Following the attacks, the Boston Red Sox became a symbol of the region’s resolve and determination to fight back against senseless attacks.
Throughout Major League Baseball teams showed their solidarity for the people of Boston by among other things playing Sweet Caroline, a Fenway Park eighth inning staple in their ballparks as well.
As if that weren’t enough, there were even live performances by Neil Diamond pretty much everywhere you looked.
And of course there was David “Big Papi” Ortiz standing on the field at Fenway reminding people whose town it was with colorful language that any other time would have garnered a fine from the FCC for obscenity but was deemed okay as heat of the moment impassioned speech.
So with all of the factors listed above some would have just said then and there that the other American League teams were foolish if they thought that anyone other than the Red Sox would be in the World Series.
In fact I mentioned to several friends at the time how I figured that the perfect ending to the season in most people’s minds would be a Boston Red Sox Championship.
The only question remaining was which parts would Mark Wahlberg and Ben Affleck play in the inevitable movie about the Red Sox bringing the people of Boston together.
Of course the last time the Hollywood ending was put in play during the World Series it did not really go to plan.
Following the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, the Yankees made it to the World Series with even the biggest of anti-Yankees fans pulling for them since they represented the region and carried the memories of both those who had perished as well as those who were trying to rebuild their lives. The Yankees were even given permission from Major League Baseball to wear special caps honoring the fallen police and fire fighters.
In the Hollywood version of the 2001 World Series the Yankees would win in four games and the nation would rejoice and start the healing as Major Rudy Giuliani declared it Yankees day.
In the actual World Series of 2001 however the Arizona Diamondbacks were victorious in seven games proving that the Hollywood ending does not always happen the way people expect it to.
Fast forward to this year and the stage is once again set for a Tinsel Town take on the Classic. Of course there is still the whole matter of needing to play the games first to see who comes out on top.
So, time will tell whether the 2013 World Series ends with a Red Sox victory and ensuing Hollywood treatment or if it is another example of the underdog team winning against the will of all of those proponents of fate.
The only thing that is certain is that there will likely be mentions of the Boston Marathon attack tonight and there will be Neil Diamond; lots and lots of Neil Diamond.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some baseball to get ready for.
Copyright 2013 R. Anderson