World Series Yields Big Victory for Baseball

by on January 28th, 2011
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The World Series wasn’t missing that much for baseball fans. Of course, it would have been better for this fan if the Philadelphia Phillies were there instead of the St. Louis Cardinals, and Texas Rangers fans probably weren’t too pleased at the end either.

However, aside from not having the Phillies or a down-to-the-wire Game 7, the World Series had pretty much everything else possible on display. And even though the ratings might not reflect it, the battle was a big win for the game of baseball.

The mere fact that this series actually went the distance was a major achievement, especially considering the last decade. Ever since the San Francisco Giants and the then-Anaheim Angels went seven games in 2002, each World Series since then had either been short or relatively lopsided. Even when the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox broke their legendary droughts in 2004 and 2005, they drained all the suspense out of it with easy sweeps over the Cardinals and Houston Astros.

But luckily, it seems that the Fall Classic is more likely to be a classic in a year with a 1 at the end. Just like the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins did in 1991, along with the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, the Cardinals and Rangers entered into baseball lore in more ways than one in 2011.

It says something that Albert Pujols’s three home runs in Game 3 didn’t even top the list of incredible feats and plot twists in this World Series. Instead it was just one of many big developments, including the Game 2 meltdown from the Cardinals, Derek Holland’s Game 4 dominance, the bullpen phone mishaps in Game 5 and Chris Carpenter’s return on three days’ rest in Game 7. And that doesn’t even include Mike Napoli’s MVP-level performance, David Freese sneaking up to become the MVP of another playoff series or Allen Craig’s four go-ahead hits.

Yet even all of these events will likely pale in comparison to Game 6, which joined the ranks of the most legendary games in World Series history. That certainly couldn’t be said about any Fall Classic game in the last 10 years, especially since so many of those series’ never got to Game 6.

For the first time since 2001 and 2002, the baseball season did not end with a whimper instead of a bang. Of course, there still had to be a bit of a whimper since Game 7 was decided pretty quickly, although the previous game set the bar a bit too high anyway.

Nevertheless, after the Cardinals, Braves, Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox ended the regular season, and after the way the Cardinals and Rangers got to the World Series, it would have been so easy for the Fall Classic to look anticlimactic again. Instead, baseball is riding more momentum into the offseason than it has in almost a decade – and unlike the NFL and NBA, it won’t be able to ruin it with labor disputes.

Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Phillies since he was eight years old.

Other stories from this contributor

World Series Game 7 encapsulates world champion Cardinals

World Series Game 6 evokes ghosts of Puckett, Buckner

World Series Game 6 more like Game 7 for Rangers?

World Series Game 6 may need to be delayed a few days

World Series Game 5: Rangers inexplicably steal 3-2 lead

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