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Fall Classic?

Written by: Peter Coolbaugh

Instead of going into depth on some Orioles affiliated story, I decided to launch into my autumn dissertation on the World Series, an event that is very important to me.

Last year, I had the very rare privilege of attending a World Series game. Took my father and uncle to Game 3 in Philadelphia. A lifelong Phillies fan, it was a dream come true for my dad and that once-in-a-lifetime experience that he will never forget. The Phillies won that game and the series for the second ever title.

Now, here we are in 2009. MLB is still an uncapped league with the large markets spend spend spend, and usually do very well. Of the 30 teams in MLB, 12 of them had 2009 payrolls over 100 million dollars. Six teams of the eight that made the playoff came from this "rich dozen". Only Colorado and Minnesota did not and both of them were out in the first round. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself at http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/team/philadelphia-phillies/salary

So we have two clubs with history and massive payrolls in the World Series. Let us take a look at each club individually.

The defending NL champion Phillies are now in the playoffs for the thrid straight year and in a quest for back-to-back WS titles. This is a franchise that dates back to 1883 but whose past is littered with a lot more futility than wins. The Phillies are the only team in pro sports to lose 10,000 games. And while they have had numerous hall of fame players on their roster over the last century, the franchise is associated more with losing than anything else. They were the last original NL team to win a title, finally grabbing the trophy in 1980. There is the famous Phold of 1964, Black Friday in 1977, and other signature events that haunt die-hard Phillies fans to this day. Winning the championship in 2008 game the city and its fans something to smile about for a change and now they look to add another to their mantle.

For the Phillies, this is their 7th WS appearance. They won NL titles in 1915, 1950, 1980, 1983, 1993, 2008 and now 2009. Of those initial 6 appearances, they only won two championships including being swept by the Yankees in 1950. Maybe time for some revenge?

The acquisitions of Pedro Martinez and Cliff Lee during the summer certainly helped get the Phillies back to this round. But their bullpen is suspect and with the powerful offense of NY, one can see a slight edge being given to NY.

Speaking of the Yankees, this is their 40th appearance in the World Series. Their first was in 1921, and their first title came in 1923. Now with 26 titles to their credit, the Yankees look to add another and their first since 2000. Consider that the American League has won 61 of the 104 World Series' to date. Of those 61, 26 belong to the Yankees. Pure domination like never seen before in any sport. Names like Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, and now Jeter are all remembered for their feats in pinstripes. And while you might hate the Yankees, you have to give them props for being consistent. They have won a World Series title in every decade since the 20's with the exception of the 1980's. A history like no other, and no one can argue anything against that.

The Yankees have won 26 titles. St. Louis is in 2nd place with 10 titles. The Athletics are in third with 9 championships to their credit. Ironically, 5 of those came during the club's years in Philadelphia and they moved in 1954. They have since added another 4 during their stay in Oakland.

Now, in the 105th World Series, we see two of the oldest and most historic clubs going head to head. The Phillies are in search of their third championship and the first back-to-back for the NL since the 1975-75 Reds.

As a Baltimore fan, I am supposed to hate the Yankees. As the son of a Phillies fan, I am supposed to be rooting for them. To be honest, I am indifferent. Both of the clubs bought their way into this round by having super high payrolls. The Yankees win all the time, or so it seems. The Phillies won last year. I am going to remain neutral this season, but if the Yankees win the first 2, then the Phillies are dead in the water.

Let's watch and see and then wait for spring training.

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