Five reasons to embrace Phillies-Rays matchup
Updated: October 22, 2008, 8:37 AM ETBy Jayson Stark | ESPN.com
You'll be living in a dreadlock-free zone when you watch the 2008 World Series.You won't be shocked to learn that Joe Torre no longer manages the New York Yankees when you watch the 2008 World Series.
Reason No. 1: Fresh facesOK, so Manny used to play for the Red Sox, and he's really, really good at being Manny. We get that. We've heard that. We don't need to hear it another 1.8 quadrillion times to make this World Series worth watching.
We always thought the best story lines were the freshest story lines. We always thought the best part of being a sports fan was the joy of discovery -- that first time you laid eyes on the rising stars and franchises who were redefining their sport in front of your eyes. Think Josh Beckett. Think K-Rod. Think Derek Jeter, for that matter. It wasn't so long ago that the big October stage introduced those guys to America. And how'd those fellows turn out? So this World Series is about Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford and David Price. It's about Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard. Every one of those men is a charismatic, jump-off-your-flat-screen talent whose run of glory will last for years. Many years. If you can't get your pulse racing over the chance to watch those guys put on a show for a week, you must be one of those people who thinks it's more entertaining to flip to the stock channels and watch your retirement portfolio blow up for another week.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty ImagesCole Hamels, 24, will start Game 1 for the Phillies.
Reason No. 2: Do you believe in miracles?Here's a warning for you: At no point in the next week will we allow anyone we know to utter the phrase, "Nobody wants to watch the frigging Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series." Or any variation thereof.
Rays through the years
Reason No. 3: The city that never celebratesIn Philadelphia, they're growing a little tired of hearing about how the poor, downtrodden, cursified Chicago Cubs never win. In Philadelphia, you see, nobody ever wins.
Phillies' World Series history
|1993||Toronto Blue Jays||L 4-2|
|1983||Baltimore Orioles||L 4-1|
|1980||Kansas City Royals||W 4-2|
|1950||NY Yankees||L 4-0|
|1915||Boston Red Sox||L 4-1|
Reason No. 4: The managersTerry Francona and Joe Torre are fine fellows. We know them well. We've seen them in action. And for those of us who write about baseball for a living, we've spent more time in October with them lately than with our wives, our kids, our pets and our house plants put together.
Reason No. 5: The ballparksThere's only one Fenway. There's only one Dodger Stadium. We'll just have to scrape through this World Series without them. And that's OK. Like Fenway and like Chavez Ravine, Citizens Bank Park and Tropicana Field have a chance to put their own inimitable stamp on this World Series. And there's no telling how much fun that might be. Citizens Bank Park is one of America's most beautiful new ballparks. The Trop is, well, America's most unusual ballpark.
What goes up in this park might not ever be found again.
--Cliff Floyd about Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field