Albert Pujols vs. C.J. Wilson. Josh Hamilton vs. Chris Carpenter. Fredbird vs. Rangers Captain.
Tonight begins the World Series that will set wooter against wooter. The Texas Rangers, representing Woot's Dallas-area HQ, will play the Cardinals in St. Louis, the hometown and spiritual home of Woot's creative and web development team. (Yeah, us St. Louisans are in Seattle now, but there's no baseball team up here unless you count the Mariners.)
But in our hearts, we all know there's really only one way to settle this: which team boasted the awesomest beard in the 1982 Topps card set? Friends, Texans, Missourians, I give you the masculine splendor of Bruce Sutter and Jim Kern, two pitchers with the beards of ten normal men.
Anyway, if I'd known the 2011 season would turn out this way, I would've waited another year to write that blog post from 2010 explaining to Rangers fans the emotions they could expect to feel during the World Series. I've seen the Cardinals play in five in my lifetime, and they ran the gamut from soul-deadening collapse to euphoric triumph. Now Rangers fans are a little older, a little wiser, and a little hungrier after their own soul-deadening collapse against the Giants last year.
Which reminds me: what baseball teams have currently played the most consecutive seasons without winning a World Series? The list goes like this...
- Chicago Cubs
- Cleveland Indians
- Texas Rangers
That's actually good news, Rangers fans. The former #2 on that list broke their championship drought against the Cardinals in 2004 in the most humiliating way possible for the Redbirds. You have my team to thank for their key role in turning the Boston Red Sox from lovable losers to insufferable d-bags. With this year's stacked Rangers lineup and lights-out bullpen, there's a strong chance Ron Washington and co. will soon be as widely loathed as the Sawx and Yanks!
But here's one thing missing from this year's World Series matchup: any sense of rivalry or history. This is as close to a throwback to the pre-interleague era as you can get: the two teams have only played each other for one lone series, in Texas in 2004, when some goon knocked over a kid in pursuit of a foul ball. He also got the contempt of a stadium full of his fellow Rangers fans, including an on-air scolding by Rangers announcer Tom Grieve, who called him "the biggest jerk in this park". The chump skulked out of the park early, but eventually gave the ball back to the kid.
So that was fun, but not much to build a rivalry on. Both local papers are doing their best to get the bad blood flowing with pieces on how the two cities stack up against each other. But while the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's comparison is right there for anybody to read, the Dallas Morning News puts theirs behind a paywall. I'll have to call this one for St. Louis by forfeit.
Others are getting into the act, too. A frustrated Cubs fan now living in Texas offers 5 reasons to hate the Cards, but I won't hold it against him: a lifetime of Cubs-induced trauma does ugly things to people. A comparison of local beers gives the nod to St. Louis (of course - go, Schlafly!). ESPN's Page 2 compares landmarks, jazz musicians, junk food and more before concluding that the cities are tied.
OK, but do the Rangers have anything as awesome as this video in their history? I highly doubt it! (Because I couldn't find one on YouTube!)
Beards, beers, and costumed sax solos aside, one thing should make both Rangers fans and Cardinals fans happy: while our teams are playing in the World Series, somebody in Boston is whining about it.
Let the trash talk commence in the discussion thread! And enjoy the World Series, everybody!