The B(oston) List: Nine things to know as the Cards take on the Red Sox in the World Series
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 23, 2013 - Baseball heaven. Best fans in baseball. Cardinal Nation. Sea of red. Iconic. Insufferable. Poor sports. Full of themselves. Deadspin.
(Take THAT, Google Analytics.)
Moving on …
Here are nine things to know as the 2013 National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals take on the Boston Red Sox in the 109th World Series:
1. Unlike much of the postseason scheduling -- in which the MLB relegated heartland baseball to mid-afternoon cableland -- we're talking prime time now. The best-of-seven series will be televised on the Fox Network (Channel 2). Announcers Joe "Jack’s Kid” Buck and former Cards’ catcher Tim McCarver will once again call the games while fending off accusations of favoritism. (Or, tune in to KMOX 1120 for the warm, friendly voices of Mike Shannon and John Rooney.) ESPN Radio will also broadcast the games.
2. Here's the schedule: Boston hosts Game 1 (6:30 p.m. Wednesday) and Game 2 (6:30 p.m. Thursday). St. Louis hosts Game 3 (6:30 p.m. Saturday) and Game 4 (7 p.m. Sunday). If needed: Game 5 in St. Louis (6:30 p.m. Oct. 28). Game 6 in Boston (6:30 p.m. Oct. 30). Game 7 in Boston (6:30 p.m. Oct. 31).
3. Sports analysts are calling the teams evenly matched. They had identical regular season records -- 97-65 -- the best records in their leagues. It will be the first time since 1999 that the teams with the best American League and National League records will compete in the World Series.
4. St. Louis and Boston are meeting in the World Series for the fourth time. The Cards won in 1946 and 1967. The Red Sox swept St. Louis in 2004, ending the infamous 86-year-old “curse of the Bambino” that supposedly began when Boston sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Two key Cardinals were on the 2004 roster: manager Mike Matheny, then Cards catcher, and current catcher Yadier Molina. Cards fans will remember Boston's Mike Napoli, who was with the Texas Rangers in 2011 -- and probably still dreams of Game 6.
5. If you’re new to Red Sox baseball, meet the Green Monster. That’s the nickname for the green 37-foot-tall left field wall in Fenway Park. Though imposing in height, the wall is only 310 feet from home plate. (At its shortest point, Busch Stadium’s left field wall is 336 feet from home.) Fenway first opened in 1912; it is the oldest MLB stadium still in use.
6. We'll all be seeing red, since it’s the color for both teams. There will, of course, be more of it in St. Louis, where Busch Stadium seats about 46,000; seating capacity at Fenway is 37,493.
7. Both teams have long and rich histories; the Red Sox have longer beards. The Cardinal franchise dates back to 1882, when the St. Louis Brown Stockings were formed as an American Association team. Known as the Cardinals since 1900, St. Louis has won the World Series 11 times. Boston took the name Red Sox in 1908; the team traces its history to the Boston Americans, formed in 1901. The Red Sox hold seven World Series titles.
8. Cards ace right-hander Adam Wainwright will open the Series against Red Sox lefty Jon Lester. While much could be said about Waino’s presence on the mound, nothing says self-confidence like this video of the pitcher singing "Achy Breaky Heart” for charity. Embrace the mullet.
9. In terms of baseball gurus, the Red Sox have Bill James as their senior adviser on baseball operations. James coined the term "sabermetrics” -- the ultimate in baseball statistical analysis. Since he was hired by the Red Sox, Boston has won two World Series. That’s pretty heady stuff. In St. Louis, management also has a strategy -- one that includes scouting and drafting young players and teaching them about winning. It’s called the Cardinal Way, and it sounds like this: Wacha Wacha Wacha.