After six uneventful playoff series thus far (thanks for nothing Minnesota, Colorado, St. Louis, L.A. Dodgers/Angels and Boston) fans are hoping for some added drama in the World Series, but that hasn’t been the case in the recent history of October baseball. Three of the past five World Series have been sweeps and you would have to go all the way back to 2003 to find a Fall Classic that went more than 5 games. That series featured an underdog Florida Marlins club taking down the vaunted New York Yankees on the strength of a heroic performance by a younger, svelter Josh Beckett. Well, those Damn Yankees are back in the World Series again, and while 80’s music fans across the country celebrate, the rest of the nation is left shaking their collective fists at a franchise that spent a quarter billion dollars on free-agents in the offseason. New York will be opposed by the defending champion and geographic rival (only 107 miles as the crow flies) Philadelphia Phillies, who are seeking to become the first NL team since the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds to repeat as World Series champs. The series boasts two franchises on opposite sides of the spectrum (the Yankees are a historically great team with 26 World Series Titles, whereas the Phillies were the first team in pro sports history to lose 10,000 games…the Pirates can’t be far behind) with plenty of interesting subplots (former teammates Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia oppose each other in Game 1) and two of the game’s best offenses. Undoubtedly every last detail of this series will be broken down over the next few days, from bullpens to offenses and everything in between…so who needs to hear more about that? No more talking heads droning on about left-handed hitters off the bench, here’s the information you really need heading into the 2009 World Series:
Worst Movie Set in City (Philadelphia–Rocky V vs. New York–Daredevil): Despite boasting a strong and stirring soundtrack that featured the work of Elton John and M.C. Hammer, Rocky V never really enjoyed the success of its predecessors. Actually, it was just terrible. Detailing Rocky’s retirement, training of a young boxer named Tommy Gunn and ending in a bizarre, acid-induced street fight, Rocky V is almost two hours of mind numbing agony and is one of the biggest box-office disasters of the 1990s, leaving a permanent scar on the Rocky franchise (since rectified with the release of Rocky Balboa). New York has seen it’s share of crappy movies, but arguably none worse than 2003’s Daredevil, a marvel flick based off a comic book of the same name. Starring Ben Affleck, the movie…well, nothing else needs to be said about the movie, it stars Ben Affleck. Sure Daredevil was bad, but Rocky V was historically bad. Advantage: Philadelphia
Best Obese Player (Philadelphia–Matt Stairs vs. New York–C.C. Sabathia): Let’s be honest, this category is a landslide. When sizing up these two, you’re not comparing apples and oranges, you’re comparing watermelons and pumpkins (because they’re huge). While the dwarfish Matt Stairs (who was cast as Gimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) can certainly pull his own weight, the 5-9″, 222-pound Canadian Crusher is no match for the 6’7″, 290-pound C.C. Sabathia. It’s Rocky vs. Drago all over again, but this time the bigger man (literally) comes out on top. Stairs is 0-2 with 2 walks so far in the postseason, Sabathia is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA. Let’s call this fight before it gets ugly so these two rotund diamondeers can get something to eat. Advantage: New York
Famous Food (Philadelphia–Philly Cheesesteak vs. New York–Nathan’s Hot Dogs): Unfortunately, neither of these foods will ever receive Dr. Oz’s coveted seal of approval, but that sure doesn’t mean they aren’t good eating. Philly Cheesesteaks have been around since the 1930’s and pack a menacing combination of beef, onions, peppers and of course, cheese. An average cheesesteak comes in at just over 700 calories, but that’s somewhat offset with an impressive 30 grams of protein. Nathan’s Hot Dogs are used every year in the World Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest (hats off to Joey Chestnut), and are so popular and revered for their flavor that President Franklin Delanore Roosevelt even served them to the King and Queen of England. A regulation Nathan’s Hot Dog has only 300 calories, but then again the serving size is much smaller. Nathan’s wins calorically, but Philly Cheesesteak takes the all important taste title. Advantage: Philadelphia
Mascot (Philadelphia–Philly Phanatic vs. New York–Dandy the Bird): The Philadelphia Phanatic is one of the best known mascots in any sport across the world and is only rivaled by the San Diego Chicken in popularity. It was also one of the first mascots elected to the Mascot Hall of Fame (yes, it’s real, and don’t forget to grab a t-shirt while you’re there). Conversely the Yankees don’t even really have a mascot, although the Geico googly-eyed money seems like a natural fit due to the team’s spending habits. The last New York mascot was Dandy, a pinstriped, mustachioed bird who wore a Yankees hat and entertained fans between 1980 and 1985 (he was famously beaten up by Yankees fans in the stadium’s upper deck). Advantage: Philadelphia
Nickname (Philadelphia–The City of Brotherly Love vs. New York–The Big Apple): Boasting murder and robbery rates three times the national average and a famous incident in which fans pelted Santa Claus with snowballs at an Eagles game, it’s easy to see why Philadelphia was nicknamed “The City of Brotherly Love”. Philadelphia, which translated from Greek literally means “brotherly love”, gained its name from William Penn who saw the city as a refuge for Quakers escaping persecution (and high cholesterol!). On the other hand, the origin of New York’s nickname ,”The Big Apple”, is still shrouded in mystery after all these years. Theories include everything from a brothel owned by someone named Eve to a sportswriter who referred to horseracing tracks as “apples” (with New York of course being the “Big Apple”). Regardless of how it got it’s nickname, “The Big Apple” doesn’t make much sense today, but then again neither does “The City of Brotherly Love”. Advantage: Push
Final Outcome: Well, the numbers don’t lie and it looks like the Phillies are a heavy favorite to capture the World Series. Philadelphia dominated New York in the head-to-head matchups, coming out ahead with the worst movie and the best mascot and food, while New York was only able to win the best obese player category (let’s be honest, that doesn’t count for much) and tie for best nickname. Extrapolating these numbers over the course of the series showed the Phillies winning in 7 games and Shane Victorino capturing MVP honors. Raise a cheesesteak to Philadelphia…your 2009 World Series Champions.
Filed under: AL East, Baseball, NL East, world series | Tagged: 2009 world series, Alex Rodriguez, C.C. Sabathia, City of Brotherly Love, cliff lee, damn yankees, Dandy, daredevil, derek jeter, Elton John, florida marlins, Josh Beckett, lord of the rings, matt stairs, MC Hammer, Nathan's Famous, New York Yankees, philadelphia phillies, Philly Cheesesteak, Philly Phanatic, quaker oatmeal, Rocky V, shane victorino, The Big Apple, william penn |