An Unusual World Series
As I wrote a couple days back, this year’s World Series may be the most unusual, unexpected Fall Classic ever. Tonight Game 1 of the World Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Texas Rangers takes place in Arlington, Texas. I think it’s going to be a very entertaining series on numerous fronts. The DBacks are this year’s Cinderella team that has key role players up and down the line up, emerging rookie and young stars, a tremendous amount of team speed and athleticism, and two great pitchers in Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly. Tory Lovullo has deftly managed his bullpen. His staff made huuuuuge adjustments in quieting the Phillies bats in Games six and seven in the NLCS. The Diamondbacks are no joke. They are a legitimate NL Pennant winner that could win the World Series.
But it will not be this year.
The Edge to the Rangers
That’s because the Rangers have too much firepower up and down their line up. I watched quite a few of their games in the postseason and the most impressive aspect of this team in my mind, is their depth offensively. Every batter has speed, power or both. Every Ranger hitter is a solid threat at the plate. There is no way for an opposing team to shut them down entirely. If the DBacks score early to put pressure on the Rangers relief corps there is no guarantee the Arizona bullpen can keep the club Texas quiet for a whole game, over a seven game series I don’t see it happening. There are two more major advantages for the Rangers. The first is their experience. With Marcus Semien, Corey Seager and Nathan Eovaldi the Rangers have veteran leadership and the World Series moment will not be too big for them. That’s not the case with the DBacks.
Bruce Bochy, Difference-Maker
Lastly, the Rangers have the biggest edge in Managers. Bruce Bochy is on his way to the Hall of Fame. His (and his staff’s) ability to find edges, to make adjustments, and to manipulate a bullpen to their advantage are unparalleled in the modern game. It’s just part of his greatness. I don’t believe there is a better postseason Manager in the game today and this postseason Bruce Bochy demonstrated, once again, how adept he is at winning elimination games and taking advantage of every matchup, be it in a line up, defensively, or on the mound, in other words, in every aspect of the game of baseball. Remember those stolen bases in Game 7 of the ALCS? That was not part of the Rangers’ profile during the regular season. But they were a key part of that win.
Final Prediction: Rangers in six games.
Here is the World Series schedule: All times ET
Friday, Oct. 27
AZ @ TEX, Game 1, 8 p.m. (FOX)
Saturday, Oct. 28
AZ @ TEX, Game 2, 8 p.m. (FOX)
Monday, Oct. 30
TEX @ AZ, Game 3, 8 p.m. (FOX)
Tuesday, Oct. 31
TEX @ AZ, Game 4, 8 p.m. (FOX)
Wednesday, Nov. 1
TEX @ AZ, Game 5 (if necessary), 8 p.m. (FOX)
Friday, Nov. 3
AZ @ TEX, Game 6 (if necessary), 8 p.m. (FOX)
Saturday, Nov. 4
AZ @ TEX, Game 7 (if necessary), 8 p.m. (FOX)
Dusty Baker Announces Retirement
Yesterday Dusty Baker announced his retirement. The former Giants, Reds, Cubs, and Astros Manager will be in the Hall of Fame. Book it. His steady hand earned the Astros the World Series victory last year. He also brought the team respectability and stability after their cheating scandal. Remember when he was hired and everyone thought it was a temporary move to rebuild the Houston club in time for some young gun to win with them? Nope! Dusty took them to the promised Land in his third season on the job under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. For that alone he deserves a place in the Hall of Fame.
This is from the ESPN report: “Baker ranks seventh with 2,183 wins, and all eligible managers with 2,000 wins are in the Hall of Fame. He became the first Black manager to reach that milestone and would be the first inducted into Cooperstown. He compiled a record of 2,183-1,862 (with one tie) across 4,046 games on the bench for the Giants (1993-2002), Cubs (2003-06), Reds (2008-13), Nationals (2016-17) and Astros (2020-23). He is the only manager to lead five different teams to division titles and was the National League Manager of the Year in 1993, 1997 and 2000.”
This too is quite special:
“I was kind of mad at the world when I got through playing. Like a lot of African-Americans and Latin players, there aren’t jobs, really. I was going to go home. And then my dad told me, ‘After all the people you’ve met, it’s not up to you to take with you and possess what they gave you. It’s up to you to pass it on to somebody else.’ That’s what I’ve tried to do.
” haven’t made my mind yet on what I’m going to do, but I’m going to go home to talk to my daughter, who thinks she’s my mother, and spend some time with my grandkids and let the Lord tell me where to go and what to do with my life,” Baker said. “I still feel like I haven’t done what I’m supposed to do in life, so I believe the Lord has some great things ahead for me.”
Buster Olney has written a fantastic profile of Baker’s career at ESPN.com. It’s a must read.
Throw in all his other Managerial victories, his exceptional career as a player, his class and the dignity with which he has always played and managed the game of baseball, and you get a special career. Apart from questioning some Managerial moves (2002 World series) you cannot say one bad thing about Dusty Baker the man, or the player. He was always a class act and one of my favorites.