The World Series begins Tuesday, which means we'll have had four full days without baseball. Once the dates are scheduled, the series isn't going to be moved up, and MLB carefully planned these dates so they'd have fewer conflicts with NFL games. Last year, when the WS began on a Wednesday, if it had gone the full seven games it would have been up against NFL games four times (Thursday, Game 2; Sunday, Game 4; Monday, Game 5 and the following Thursday, Game 7). Starting a day earlier means there's a NFL head-to-head just once in a full-length series (Game 5, Sunday).
Will that help baseball's TV ratings? Have some compelling games like we've had in the earlier rounds and the answer might be "yes."
Well, no. But then, you didn't predict this either. Neither did the so-called experts and neither did I at the beginning of this season, though I did have the Royals hosting the wild-card game, something virtually no one at those other sites did.
So, here we are. The Royals are seemingly everyone's darlings, although the Giants appear likeable enough. Who should you choose? Here are some tips.
Why you should root for the Royals
As a Cubs fan, you're certainly familiar with a World Series drought, though you're entitled to laugh a bit at Royals fans who think it's been a long time. Their "drought" is 27 percent as long as the Cubs', and even their "drought" of not even getting into the World Series is less than half as long as the Cubs'.
You didn't need to be reminded, I know. How about this: I know many of you here are in your 20s. If you were born after October 27, 1985, the Royals haven't even been this far in your lifetime. Heck, more than half the Royals' active roster wasn't alive when Kansas City last won the World Series. (Just out of my own curiosity, if you were born after that date, let us know in the comments.)
Kansas City is a nice town, their fans are about as polite as they come, they have a great ballpark and awesome BBQ, although I'm getting a bit tired of seeing national baseball writers constantly tweeting about the latter. It's got the fantastic Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which is almost worth the trip to K.C. all by itself.
You can't afford to live in San Francisco. You can afford to live in Kansas City. If you live in Chicago or the Midwest, you could drive to Kansas City for the games, if you could get tickets. You can't drive to San Francisco from Chicago in less than four days, and if you did that, you can't park your car there without paying about half the value of your mortgage, if you can even find a parking space.
The Royals have an all-time record of 9-3 against the Giants in interleague play, including a sweep just two months ago at the K. And the Giants have won two of the last four World Series. Enough, already.
Why you should root for the Giants
You're a Cubs fan. You're a National League fan. You root for the N.L. team no matter what, and these upstarts from Kansas City bunt way too much. I mean, how can you win games doing that?
The Giants have good fans, longtime fans who reflect their city and their team's history quite well, very much like Cubs fans do. They're impossible to hate; even when their team gets into a kerfuffle with the Cubs, as they did during the Tarpgate game last August, everyone makes nice and they figure out a way to solve the problem.
They've got probably the best manager in baseball, someone who's constantly working way ahead of his opponents and a man who might become a Hall of Fame manager someday. His opponent is constantly being mocked, even by his own team's fans.
While you still can't afford to live in San Francisco, it's a fantastic place to visit with all kinds of things to see and do, great restaurants and nightlife and scenic views from just about anywhere that are among the best in the world.
The Giants have won two of the last four World Series and this would make three of five, and we haven't had a dynasty like this in baseball since the late-90s Yankees, and it's not easy to do in this age of free agency. Besides, the Giants lost 86 games last year and are in the World Series and the Cubs lost 89 games this year and... naaaaah.
And you are sick of that Lorde song, aren't you?
Seriously... like the Royals against just about anyone they've played so far in this postseason, they are a study in contrast to the Giants. The Royals didn't hit home runs during the regular season, but they are crushing long balls so far in October. The Giants have a few more power hitters than the Royals, but they had hit just two home runs in the postseason before their three-homer outburst in their NLCS-clinching game that included a game-tying blast and a walkoff.
Both teams have solid starting pitching. The Giants' bullpen is good; the Royals' is somewhat better once you get to the seventh inning.
The Royals seem to have the magic pixie dust that had previously been a postseason staple of the Cardinals the last few years. (Thankfully, it finally wore off in St. Louis.) I just don't think Kansas City can keep this going long enough to win it all; they remind me, as I've written before, of the 2007 Rockies, a team that had a run like this that ended after their league championship series. And just remember, this isn't a matchup of the best teams in baseball this year, but simply those two clubs who were best able to survive their league's postseason tournament. It's the first World Series ever* with neither team having 90 wins. (*In a non-shortened season.)
Giants in seven. (Hey, I've been wrong before.)