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Monday, May 2, 2016

BASIC BIITTNER : Fifth Consecutive UWS

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

(Photo)
The late cartoonist Frank Miller made his (and many Yankee fans') feelings clear in this classic cartoon.
(written on Oct. 23, 2008)

Well, it's October 2008, and I guess that means it's time again for the championship showcase of the former American pastime.

On Wednesday evening, in the unlikely setting of Tampa Bay, Florida, the fifth consecutive "Unofficial World Series" got underway in that hallowed baseball cathedral, Tropicana Field (otherwise known as Metrodome South).

The all-time losingest team in the history of professional sports, the Philadelphia Phillies, are playing an 11-year-old franchise, the Tampa Bay Rays, who last year had the worst record in baseball, and have since changed their team nickname. Must have worked.

The Rays have a roster of young players that no one had ever heard of until a couple of weeks ago, and I think they might be the same group of players who wore Colorado Rockies uniforms in last year's Series - although I can't be sure because, frankly, I don't remember those guys' names that well.

The Phils, one of the oldest franchises in baseball, are in the Series for just the 5th time in the last 58 years, and won it all just once, in 1980, because: 1) they had players named Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Tug McGraw and, yes, Pete Rose, and 2) they were playing the Kansas City Royals, who at the time were the same "age" (11 years old) as the current Tampa Bay franchise.

As a public service, I would like to clear up a few misconceptions you may have as this year's UWS begins.

1) - The Rays' Evan Longoria, this year's likely AL Rookie of the Year, is NOT, I repeat, NOT the twin brother of "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria (also known as "Gabby" and "Mrs. Tony Parker") despite their "twin sounding" names.

2) - The Rays' manager, though he looks like it, is NOT really a professor or banker who just chooses to wear a baseball uniform.

3) - The Phils' current home stadium is named after a bank, so it is not an official big league stadium. Nor is the Rays' Orange Juice Field.

4) - Though the Phillies wear red uniforms, that's okay, because they (and the Reds) have done it for years, unlike all of the "jump on the red bandwagon" teams.

5) - Fox television will not be claiming record viewer-ship for the series (unless, of course, Simon, Paula and Randy judge the Star Spangled Banner performers).

6) - The Rays will not be Cinderella at this ball, because 1) unlike the 1950 "Whiz Kids" and 1983 "Wheeze Kids", both losing Phils' WS teams, this year's Philadelphia team doesn't have a cutesy nickname; 2) the Phils are a better, more experienced team than the Rays; and 3) because I predicted they would win it all during the last week of the regular season. And, as you can see from my "Beat the Press" picks ... okay, forget that reason.

I just hope that the almost 46-year-old former Cub Jamie Moyer throws a shutout for the Phils in the deciding game.

Play ball!

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner