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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, June 24, 2024

David Heck | The Sauce

The World Series hasn't quite lived up to the grandeur that comes with the name over the past few years. Quite honestly, the matchups just weren't that exciting. I mean, Red Sox-Rockies? Was there ever any question? Most of the October drama in the past few years has come in the LCS, as the World Series hasn't gone past five games since 2003.

But that's not the case this year. The Phillies and Rays promise to provide one of the most thrilling and intriguing Fall Classics in years.

I'm not saying it's impossible that one team plays particularly well and dominates the series in four or five games. That can always happen. My point is, with this series, it doesn't even matter.

Was anyone in the country this excited about Cardinals-Tigers or White Sox-Astros? Or how about the seven combined World Series that the Red Sox and Yankees have played in since 1998? Didn't that get a little old?

Of course it did. Nobody wants to see the same team win a championship all the time. As a Yankees fan, sure their run was fun, but as a baseball fan, I recognize that the rest of the country hated us -- and with reason.

It's just like when the Spurs make the NBA Finals. Everyone is immediately disappointed, not because the San Antonio lacks talent, not because it has unlikable players, and not even because it plays a boring brand of basketball, though that's what a lot of people will tell you. It's because it seems the Spurs are always there. It takes away something from the Finals when the same team always makes it; how special could it be if there's not even variety or drama in who gets there?

That's why this year is going to be fun. We're seeing two of the least successful franchises in the game compete for the highest honor in the sport. We're seeing one team in the Phillies that has claimed just one championship in its 100-plus year existence versus another team in the Rays that, up until this year, was the least successful franchise in all of Major League Baseball; the fewest losses they had in any season was 91!

But that's not even the thing I like most. Look at both these teams' rosters. Not only do they feature young players who are fired up to be in the Series -- players that actually know how to do the little things, like run the base paths, play defense and manufacture runs -- but more importantly, they're all franchise-produced players. Both of these teams are almost completely homegrown.

That just doesn't happen anymore. When have we last seen two completely homegrown teams in the playoffs, let alone the World Series? You really have to go back to '97, when the Marlins took on the Indians in an epic seven-game spectacle. That series had everything, from superstar performances to a theatrical back-and-forth -- neither team won consecutive games -- to a Game 7 comeback. It even pitted two teammates against each other in a longtime feud that eventually led to a pseudo-death threat (Jose Mesa and Omar Vizquel: That's right, look it up).

And you know what the scary thing is? This year's matchup promises to be even better. Look at the names on these teams: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Evan Longoria, Jimmy Rollins, B.J. Upton, Cole Hamels, David Price. All of them are homegrown; all of them have a good shot at winning the MVP (my darkhorse pick is Shane Victorino).

These players have never known this kind of national spotlight, which also means they have nothing to lose. There are no A-Rods in this series; nobody's worrying about how they're going to let the team down, they're focusing on how to help the team win.

Look at the players on the mound and in the batter's box. You might see excitement, giddiness and determination, but there's one thing you won't see: fear.

So don't be afraid yourself to watch this World Series. In fact, do whatever you can to make sure you don't miss it. There might not be another one like it for a long time.

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Dave Heck is a junior majoring in philosophy. He can be reached at David.Heck@tufts.edu.


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