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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Astros: Comparing the LCS Rivalries 

Has anyone noticed that Boston and New York are playing in the ALCS this season? FOX has only pimped it in about 300 commercials in the past three days. Surely there's at least three people in America that aren't aware of the ALCS's cosmic significance by now.

I kind of like the fact that Houston-St. Louis is flying under the proverbial radar. Astros fans and Cards fans know what's at stake, and I honestly couldn't care that ESPN spends 45 minutes discussing the Yanks-Bosox, while giving the NLCS a cursory glance.

That's because the NLCS is about baseball. It's two teams that want to win a championship. The ALCS is about hype and TV ratings. It's two teams that want to want to win a title, but more importantly, keep the other team from winning a title. It's about Evil Empires and ignorant curses and everything BUT baseball.

Houston-St. Louis has become one of the NL's best rivalries since the two teams were placed into the same division in 1994. Since 1997, one of the two has won every division title except one (2003), yet neither has advanced to the World Series in that time. One of these teams will do so this year.

2004 is about redemption for these two teams. St. Louis can exorcise the ghost of Don Denkinger, while the Astros do the same with the ghost of Fred Brocklander. Maybe the Cardinals can quit thinking, "what if we don't fall apart against Atlanta in 96," and maybe Houston can stop wondering, "what if we get it to Mike Scott in Game Seven back in 86."

The NLCS is two class organizations looking to climb to the top of the mountain. The ALCS is which "best team money can buy" can come up with the better t-shirt: "Jeter has AIDS" or "Pedro, who's your daddy?"

Give me the NLCS any day of the week. FOX can have their series and their ratings, but I prefer substance over style. And when it's all over, give me the Cardinals or the Astros sticking it up the east coast's ass in the World Series.


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