Boston came out strong, indeed. (See what I did there?) A Game 1 shellacking of 8 to 1 with Jon Lester on a 7.2 innings scoreless effort was lovely.
And then, on the not so lovely front, was the Buck and McCarver show (as well as the MLB on FOX pre-show) hurling such revolting and overused storylines down our collective throats like a well-meaning mother chasing a sick child around the house with a tablespoon of Dimetapp.
To that end, I have already read, seen and heard enough forced, overwrought and cheap plugs (Wassup to the great Pearl Jam), McCarver’s not-so-truisms and the ever-narcissistic Joe Buck “I-know-more-than-this-guy-about-the-game-but-I-will-let-him-have-the-last-spotlight-of-his-career” diatribes in one game.
This provided my muse for another edition of “The Hit List“: What are the top 5 overused World Series storylines … already?
5. 2011 World Series — We get it. The Cardinals were in the Fall Classic a couple of years back. So were my (and TTFB’s Todd Kaufmann) Texas Rangers. And yes, it was one of the best World Series ever. So, Joe Buck, for the love of Baseball Jesus, if I hear about David Freese‘s heroics among these World Series storylines one more time, I will personally train a real cardinal from St. Louis to poop on your newly tailored Italian suit. (Bird, holy man or whatever.) I’ll keep watching but my headphones blaring something ear-bleed inducing will be at the ready. My heart just can’t take the pains, congestion, aching and angina of
Nelson Cruz needing steroids to field better…eh, Rangers losing the World Series any more.
4. The Beards vs. The Birds — I suppose following a 162-game season, drawn-out postseason games and a World Series matchup teeming with similarities, the MLB Office of Marketing gets tired of thinking of crafty slogans and kitschy taglines. But someone please call Gillette because the best these dudes can get is a damn shave. They have facial hair. Yes, it’s novel. Not since the likes of ZZTop and their wanna-be cousins from Duck Dynasty have we seen the likes of this facial follicular madness. And Mike Napoli hasn’t shaved since the preseason. Betcha didn’t know that was among the World Series storylines? What about the blooming beards creating a ‘Band of Brothers’ mentality in the clubhouse? Heard about that novel connection? Have you heard catcher David Ross called “The Wolf” yet because of the gray patches in his mutton? And Koji Uehara, ALCS MVP, doesn’t have a beard. What a Benedict Arnold, right?! Well, stick around and you’ll hear it again and again and again and…you get the idea.
3. The Best vs. The Best — Not since 1999 have the two “best” teams in Major League Baseball been one of the World Series storylines. Both the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals ended their respective seasons at 97-65. Although each team have taken two completely different journeys to get to the Fall Classic, they are there. And allow me to help MLB writers everywhere for this moment: They are both good. They have each a rookie manager in the Dance. This is fourth time the Red Sox and the Cardinals have met in the World Series, last time in 2004 — the other two were in 1946 and 1967. And…that 2004 series was a sweep, in case you don’t hear that in the first few minutes of each game. Let’s see, eh, both wear red. Oh, with apologies to Josh Hamilton, both are stupendous baseball towns. And um, both live in relatively brisk climates. There are three Matts on the Cardinals (e.g., Holliday, Carpenter and the portly Adams) while there are none on the Red Sox. I can’t think of anything else. At least, until now.
2. Tim McCarver’s swan song — Frankly, many MLB fans wish Tim McCarver would just choke on a swan while trying to sing. Listen, I have to be honest, I don’t mind his homerish, novelty story telling musings whilst strolling down Amnesia Lane in his freshly oiled Rascal. Well, not too much. At times, the guy can drone on like a grandfather with the early onset signs of dementia, but he is uber-passionate about the game. That I can handle. However, when it comes to McCarver thinking the only World Series storylines with which we should be concerned is who in the hell were Lou Brock, Stan Musial and Bob Gibson, whelp…that’s when I wish Joe Buck with hammer the old codger in the side of his head with his microphone. Whether you love him or think he’s a few sheets in the wind every time he is on FOX, the guy is legendary for the game. Four decades played. Called 20 All-Star Games. And presided over 23 World Series. It’s been a great ride, Timmy, but that horse-drawn chariot lost its wheels a few hectares back. And while I am certain that Joe Buck will grace us with a magnanimous gesture and shed some of his well-shewn spotlight on Tim for a FOX montage, we all know Tim is ready to go out to pasture. Speaking of which, anyone with me on signing a petition to get Tim McCarver to call a Kentucky Derby? Just once? Anyone? Tweet me.
1. Fans — Before I go out on this flimsy, Weeping Willow branch to spout my view, I agree both “Red Sox Nation” and the allegedly “Best Fans in Baseball” at Busch are giants in fanaticism. It’s difficult to find more dedicated fans anywhere — and yes, that includes the Dogg Pound in Cleveland, the Black Hole in Raider land, anyone in New York for [insert your affiliation here] or even a Red Winger in Hockeytown, USA. They are great fans and easily “bucket-list” worthy for any lover of baseball. I understand this is one of the top viable World Series storylines. You know, just like it was in 2004. I’m talking to you, FOX, TBS and ESPN. Come on, already. Can we just concede that in Games 1, 2, 6 and 7, we will view a see of #BostonStrong and #RedSoxNation signs? Similarly, in Games 3, 4 and 5, the sea of Red will be chanting B-F-I-B at the top of its lungs? That said, can you name one group of rabid fans near the postseason, or knee-deep in it, that doesn’t consider themselves that best fans on the planet. Agreed, if you can look at it objectively, the aforementioned groups all deserve a nod. However, the postseason is not the time to shove it in our face like cake a Weight Watchers’ wedding. Even the Rays can get some love when it’s in the postseason despite the toilet that team has to float around. There are bandwagoners everywhere. The illustrious and ubiquitous “cocaine and boob job” crowd can be found in any sporting arena, any market, anywhere…just around postseason. That said, let’s tap the brakes a little TV people and let the fans do the watching and the players do the competing.