As baseball begins what could be its final week of the season, this is the last chance I’ll have to continue my ongoing look at big league players born in the 1970s. They haven’t completely disappeared from the game yet — and won’t for a few more seasons — but they are an endangered and ultimately doomed group. But the ones still around have the chance to help their teams in the upcoming World Series.
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Even though both pennant winners this year are wild cards, it would be difficult to label the San Francisco Giants as an underdog. They already have won two titles this decade, and a third title in five seasons would put them in some pretty elite company in baseball history. The Kansas City Royals, on the other hand, haven’t been to the World Series since MTV played music videos and Dire Straits sang about it. They aren’t only due, they’re well overdue for their shot at the title.
Rooting for the Royals seems like the natural thing to do in this underdog-loving country of ours. Never mind that the Giants are a wild card team, just like the Royals are. In fact, the Giants had to win their wild card game on the road, unlike the Royals who had the home crowd on their side. But Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval and the others wearing the Halloween colors this week are the ones who are supposed to win.
My ongoing look at the remaining major leaguers born in the 1970s — what I am calling That ’70s Project — took at look at the teams in the two wild card games and discovered that the Royals and Giants had more ’70s-born players on their rosters than the A’s and the Pirates did. Regardless of whether or not they actually played in the game, their teams still emerged victorious. And now, with one final round of the season remaining, I have put the same theory to the test and learned that the Giants have a slight edge in this department.
The Royals have three players on their active roster who were born in the 1970s: Jason Frasor (born on 8/9/77), Josh Willingham (2/17/79) and Jeremy Guthrie (4/8/79). They also had Raul Ibanez on their wild card roster, but left him off in subsequent rounds of the playoffs. And that could be a critical mistake, if this crazy of mine holds any water, because the Giants actually have four such players on their roster: Pitchers Jeremy Affeldt (6/6/79), Tim Hudson (6/14/75), Javier Lopez (6/11/77) and Ryan Vogelsong (6/22/77). It’s the smallest of all possible margins, but just enough to suggest that the Giants will come out on top.
Predicting baseball results seems to be a fool’s errand. As I pointed out earlier in this offseason, 21 of the 22 writers for this website weren’t able to pick the winner of this year’s World Series. You just never know with this game, and that’s why it’s so much fun to watch.
Instead of looking at player matchups by position, or reading anything into the sweep of the Giants by the Royals back in early August, I’m just going up and down the rosters of each team, and applying my theory that having older players helps in the postseason. I’ll even make it the determining factor for this season. In about a week we’ll know if there’s anything to this or not.