I’m not quite sure people expected to have this World Series. If you had taken a poll before the wild card round on which two teams would play in the World Series, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants wouldn’t be on the shortlist. Hell, they probably wouldn’t even be in the Top 5 choices with so many more “obvious” teams like the LA Angels, the Baltimore Orioles, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the LA Dodgers all in the mix. Yet here we are, a couple of days away from Game 1 of the World Series and the last two teams still standing are the Royals and the Giants.
I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like holding a ticket for either one of these teams, especially tickets that were punched when it seemed like both teams weren’t even locks to make it to the playoffs. I know that KC, at one point, had 33/1 odds to win the World Series.
Likewise, the Giants were priced as high as 25/1 at some point in the season. If you have a betting ticket with these odds, then you deserve your own Gatorade bath.
Right now, the odds for both teams have dropped, largely because they’re the last two teams in the hunt for the title, but more so because oddsmakers appear to be split on who the better team is. You can make a case for the Royals, which has played perfect baseball in the postseason. These cardiac kids have yet to lose a game and have relied on a steady dose of big plays, manufactured runs, stout defense, and a lockdown bullpen. On the other hand, the Giants continue to play their own style of grind-out wins, beating the St. Louis Cardinals by outhitting one of the best hitting teams in the big leagues.
Whatever their recipes are that have gotten them these far, it’s clear that these two teams may not be the best two in baseball, but they’re certainly the two hottest at the right time.
Sometimes, that’s all it takes to make a deep run at the post season. Just ask the Angels and the Orioles, the two teams with the best records in the big leagues, only to be swept out of their pants by the buzz saw that is Kansas City.
Entering Game 1, the Royals have been priced as short favorites at 4/5 odds with the Giants getting even money. Some books even have it as a 10/11 split, a concession on how close these two teams are to each other. The Royals have the benefit of having home-field advantage, which is a huge plus considering how Kauffman Stadium has effectively been turned into an outdoor asylum by a rabid Royals fan base.
But don’t sleep on the Giants just yet. They arguably have the best player on both teams in Buster Posey and they’ve got the only true lockdown ace on either pitching stuff with Madison Bumgarner. They’ve also befuddled opponents with guile and timely hitting, none more frustrating if you’re a Cardinals fan that saw St. Louis out-homer San Francisco, 6-0, in the first four games of the series only end up on the short end of a 3-1 deficit. Then in Game 5, the Giants turned the tables with their own long balls, none more important than Travis Ishikawa’s mammoth three-run blast to send the Cardinals packing back to the Midwest.
So here we are; two teams riding their own hot streaks, set to collide in what’s shaping up to be a real Fall Classic. As far as who I’m picking, I know where my allegiance lies and they’ll always be on the better story. Ring me up when the Royals bandwagon arrives because I’m all aboard the #TaketheCrown train.
Kansas City in 6.