The World Series starts tomorrow, and I think it will be a good one. It's fairly uncommon for the best teams in both leagues to make it to the final series, and honestly with this expanded playoff format I wasn't expecting it to happen. Now, for most baseball fans like me, chances are your team isn't one of the two left standing. Who do you vote for when your team isn't playing? Personally, I base it on a few different factors. Let's see how the two teams stack up:
Former Red Sox Players
Rays: Jalen Beeks
Dodgers: Mookie Betts, Joe Kelly
What can I say, if I can't root for my team, I can root for guys who used to be on my team. The Dodgers feature two Red Sox legends in Mookie Betts and Joe Kelly (three if you included their manager Dave "The Steal" Roberts). Ironically the Rays' manager, Kevin Cash, is also a former Red Sox player, but the only actual players with connections to the Tampa Bay team are injured pitcher Jalen Beeks and former prospect Manuel Margot.
Shenandoah Valley Baseball League Alumni
Rays: Ryan Yarbrough, Mike Brosseau
|2020 Stadium Club|
#80 Mike Brosseau (RC)
Having two players on one team that have played in my area's collegiate summer league is quite impressive. Yankee killer Mike Brosseau played for my hometown team, the Waynesboro Generals!
University of Virginia Cavaliers Alumni
Dodgers: Chris Taylor, Josh Sborz
Go Wa-hoos! Living a short drive from Charlottesville, I've gone to a few UVa baseball games. The Dodgers actually employed two former Cavaliers this year. 2017 NLCS hero Chris Taylor is on the World Series roster, but pitcher Josh Sborz isn't.
Dodgers - 31 years (1988)
Rays - 22 years (never)
Does sympathy count as a personal connection? This will be the third time in the past 4 years the Dodgers have reached the World Series, and so far have no rings to show for it. Even the 90's Braves dynasty won at least one. The only connection I have to the Rays is that they're pesky divisional opponents for the Red Sox.
I've seen the Rays play a lot in my annual trips down to Florida, due mainly because the ticket prices tend to be cheaper when they are the opponent. The only current player I know for sure I've seen is Kevin Kiermaier. The Dodgers play in Arizona, so no memories there.
AL East Divisional Opponent Bias
Yes, I admit I have one.
Final Talley: Dodgers 5, Rays 2
I have a gut feeling the Rays are going to win, but I'll be rooting for the Los Angeles. As much as it'll hurt watching Mookie lead another team to victory, they're due.