An all Chicago World Series?
White Sox and Cubs having stellar seasons
Good morning, all.
Let me be the first one to write about an all Chicago World Series. Well, I don’t know if I am the first one, but expect The Athletic, Sports Illustrated or some other on line website to begin speculation soon. And why not? As of this writing, June 14, both clubs are in first place in their divisions.
The Cubs were supposed to be in a rebuild. Isn’t that why Theo Epstein left with one season to go on his 10-year contract? However, it was felt the club had enough talent to contend, while rebuilding and so far under manager David Ross, they are playing championship-style baseball. Entering their four-game series with the Mets, the Cubs have won 15 of their last 20 games.
On the south side, meanwhile, the White Sox, who were expected to contend, are living up to expectations under 76-year-old Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa, even though the club has been beset by injuries. At 41-24, the White Sox have the second best record in baseball, trailing only Tampa Bay, their opponents this week in what should be a fun series in Chicago.
Will it be an all Chicago World Series? Who knows? But as we near the midway point of the season, it is certainly fun to speculate.
And speaking of Tampa Bay
How about the Rays? The defending American League champions have the best record in baseball and as of Monday, are a season-high 18 games over .500 after a 5-8 start. Critics can go after the club for being in the vanguard of changing baseball with their shifts, analytics, spin rates and other data. But the fact is, the Rays play sound baseball under manager Kevin Cash, now in his seventh season leading Tampa Bay. (As of Monday, Cash is 496-440 as Rays manager.) In the era of home runs and strike outs, the Rays steal bases. In fact, they have swiped more bases (34) than any other big league club since May 1.
Another thing they do is play baseball with a certain confidence and elan, all while appearing as if they have fun doing it, unlike the New York Yankees, whose players look as if they are on their way to have a colonoscopy every time they take the field.
Tampa Bay has one of the game’s lowest payrolls, play in an antiquated ballpark with attendance numbers mediocre at best, yet contend season after season. They used to talk about the Dodgers way of playing baseball or the Orioles way. In this era, it is fair to say their is the Tampa Bay way. The proof is in the number of front office people who have left the organization to go run other clubs, most notably the Dodgers and the Red Sox. In other words, there is a Tampa Bay tree.
There is still plenty of baseball to be played, but it is not going out on a limb to speculate that once again the American League pennant will run through Tampa Bay.
Wednesday, June 16 will mark 25 years since the passing of Mel Allen, the one and only “Voice of the Yankees.” In his prime, Allen was the most notable sportscaster of his era. In fact, he was one of the most notable voices of his era, including politicians, movie stars and other entertainers, according to a poll conducted by Variety magazine.
On one of my You Tube channels, I posted portions of a broadcast from the June 18, 1996 “Mike and the Mad Dog Show” on WFAN radio, two days after Allen’s death. The broadcast includes an interview Allen did with WELI Radio in New Haven in April of 1965, the season following his dismissal by the Yankees. It is listed below.
Later in the week, I will be posting on my The Baseball Podcast, interviews I did nearly 15 years ago with Curt Smith and Stephen Borelli, authors of biographies of Mel Allen. Enjoy.
Meanwhile, have a great week and as always thank you for subscribing to my newsletter.