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Giants v. Rangers World Series is Good for Baseball

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Red Sox fans typically have a deep philosophical predisposition for the underdog. It comes from many decades of hapless play from our team, which was either poorly managed or horribly unlucky, to the point that everyone, especially Red Sox fans, expected each season to end in crushing defeat.

With two World Series in the past seven years, $160 million in payroll, and ownership buying NASCAR and overseas soccer teams, it's fair to say the Red Sox are no longer the underdog. But if we can't win, I think there's still a tendency to favor the long-shots, the probable also-rans. That's why I'm so happy about how the playoffs turned out this year.

A Texas versus San Francisco world series showcases some of the best in the sport. Breathtaking pitching ("The Freak" and "The Doc"). Solid offense. Relief pitching that actually brings relief (sorry Tito). But it also shows that teams can turn around their losing ways and compete.

Before 2010, the Rangers had not only never been in the World Series - they had never won a post-season series to begin with. For years it seemed like all Texas would do was hit homeruns and pitch horrendously. But a determined rebuilding effort, aided by key trades (Tex) and acquisitions (Cliff Lee) has propelled them to the height of success. And while the Giants were in the World Series in 2002, they've had struggles in recent years (4 straight losing seasons from '05 to '08), not to mention all the controversy over Barry Bonds. Led by young stars like Buster Posey, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and Tim Lincecum they are an exciting team.

It could easily have been Phillies-Yankees again, but it's better this way. Sure TV executives will moan that two of the largest ad markets are being left out, and commentators won't get to fawn about Derek Jeter or Jimmy Rollins. But both teams have had more than their share of playoff appearances. As the NFL has shown, parity is good for a sport: fans are more excited and involved when the playing field is more competitive, and their teams can quickly rebound from losing seasons.

Competition is good for baseball - it will mean more revenue for the sport and more varied experiences for fans. It may mean less spotlight for the Red Sox, but when a team like the Rangers is embarassing the Yankees, you can't argue against that.