The two participants in the 2014 World Series are wild card teams. Both of those teams did not win over 90 games in the regular season – the first time it has happened in World Series history. One of those teams made its first appearance in the playoffs in almost 30 years.
In short, this past season has been “bizarro world” in major league baseball.
And this should make for one interesting preview. Speaking of which…
San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals. Here we go again: it’s experience vs. youthful exuberance. The Giants are playing in their third World Series in five years. Let me say that again: the Giants are playing in their THIRD WORLD SERIES IN FIVE YEARS. Giants manager Bruce Bochy has to be considered the best manager in baseball. If he does deliver San Francisco its third World Series title of the decade, no one would dispute his standing.
On the other hand, the Royals keep surprising the hell out of me. Looking back at the start of the post-season, I could easily say that Kansas City has no business advancing deep into the post-season – let alone the World Series. The Royals hitting does not scare most pundits, and their starting pitching does not give many to pause. Hell two of the teams they beat to get to this point (the Angels and Orioles) were far better teams on paper.
But the Royals have one thing that is totally immeasurable: heart.
Kansas City swept both Los Angeles and Baltimore, two of the best teams in all of baseball. And sure the Royals have a speedy team that is deadly on the base pads, as well as arguably the best bullpen in baseball. However, there was little doubt that toughness play a big role in the Royals reaching the World Series without even losing a game.
I’ve made the mistake of not picking the Royals in the AL Divisional and Championship Series, but I will not make the same mistake for the World Series. Call it destiny, call it selling one’s soul to the devil, but I do not see the Giants derailing the Royals a World Series title. Kansas City’s bullpen is way to strong to overcome, and it should put the finishing touches on what has been a magical season.