On Wednesday, those two teams will meet in the 2011 Fall Classic. The St. Louis Cardinals, who capped off a miraculous September run to steal the Wild Card from the Atlanta Braves. They will host the Texas Rangers, who are playing in their second straight World Series.
St. Louis is the first Wild Card team since the 2006 Detroit Tigers to have home field advantage in the World Series. The 2004 Boston Red Sox are the last Wild Card team to host the World Series and win it. The latter knows a little bit about miracles, especially when the comeback against the New York Yankees in the ALCS and the end of an 86-year curse were complete with a sweeping of the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series.
Nonetheless, there will be a lot of offense in this World Series. Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre have powered the Rangers to their second straight AL pennant and will be the most important offensive pieces to bring them their first World Championship.
The Cardinals have a lot of fire power of their own. Albert Pujols is the best player in baseball. He is supported by Lance Berkman, who won Comeback Player of the Year, David Freese and Matt Holliday.
For St. Louis, it will be Pujols’ most important series. In the final 4-7 games of his contract with the Cardinals, a successful World Series will mean a larger pay day. If he stumbles, it could take some dollars off his next contract, which will still be quite hefty.
As a Cardinals fan, winning the World Series will mean a lot more than another ring. If they win and Pujols shines, it could really help the team’s chances in keeping the best player in baseball and arguably Cardinals history in St. Louis for the rest of his career a better likelihood.
A championship for the Rangers is also incredibly significant. A year removed from their first AL Pennant, the Rangers are looking to finish what they started last season and win the World Series. They also have the opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong, especially those who though Cliff Lee’s departure was going to hurt a young pitching staff. The critics were down on C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis to pick up the slack and both quieted the critics easily.
Game 1 starts Wednesday evening on FOX (time yet to be determined but the 8:00-8:30 ET time slot is expected). The Cardinals have slated their ace Chris Carpenter as the Game 1 starter and the Rangers will either go with Wilson or Lewis.