The 2010 World Series is set, and even if you know nothing (or very little) about baseball, don’t worry. By the time you are done reading this post, you will know everything you need to know about the Rangers and Giants to sound like you’ve been following the teams for years. But before we get into the history of each team, lets take a look at the World Series as a whole.
The San Francisco Giants will have home field advantage over the Texas Rangers, not because of anything they did, but because the NL All Star Team prevailed in this year’s exhibition matchup. It’s very important, if you are trying to fit in among baseball circles, that you point out the fact that you think the idea that home field advantage for the World Series can be determined by teams/players who aren’t even participating is ridiculous. Also, show your displeasure at the fact that you have to listen to Tim McCarver drone on for 9 innings and that you’d rather watch the games on mute.
The World Series is a best of 7 matchup, meaning that the first team to win 4 games will take home the title. Unlike some other sports, the World Series is a 2-3-2 series, meaning that San Francisco gets the first two home games, then the Rangers host three in a row, with the final two games being played back in San Francisco. As a new fan, you are allowed to have an opinion on this format, although it doesn’t matter which side you argue for.
New baseball fans might not realize the nuances between the American and National Leagues. Although the rules are essentially the same, there is one glaring difference between the two leagues. In the National League, each player must bat for themselves, meaning the pitcher, catcher, infielder and outfielders must be in the batting order. In the American League, each team is permitted to substitute one player on defense for a “Designated Hitter.” Usually the player replaced is the pitcher. Whichever league is hosting the game, their rules are in effect. So whenever the game is played in San Fran, the pitchers will have to bat. If the game is in Texas, each team gets to use a DH. To sound like a real fan, you can say that the American League is killing old school baseball. To stir up real controversy, make the statement that the advent of the Designated Hitter has led to increased steroid use in the Major Leagues. When the group is heatedly debating this, slowly back out of the room. With any luck you would have distracted them long enough to have first dibs on any of the party snacks that recently got put out.
Now for a little background on each team. *Disclaimer – While discussing the items in this post may make you sound like more of a fan, don’t expect it to get you out of any non-baseball related discussions. Those must be addressed and deflected at the individual’s discretion.
National League Representative – San Francisco Giants
The Giants made it to the 2010 World Series as the National League Representative. Their road to the World Series included winning their division (the National League West), defeating the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS (say it like that – its more fan friendly), and finally punched their ticket by beating the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS (see above).
Their home city is San Francisco, they play in AT&T Park, and their primary colors are orange and black. You can attempt to subtly wear these colors if you decide to support the team in the World Series, but please, for your own sake, don’t go out and buy a bunch of team-specific apparel. Just be subtle.
Notable Team Members
- Bruce Bochy – I think he kinda looks like Dennis Miller, but please form your own opinion before blurting this out.
- Tim Lincecum – his nickname is “the Freak” – don’t get confused.
- Matt Cain – just a downright great pitcher.
- Brian Wilson – He’s got a really cool looking beard. If you show up with a couple days worth of growth, you can claim that you are going for a Brian Wilson look – chuckles will ensue, although many of them will be forced.
- Catcher: Buster Posey (who is having an outstanding rookie year)
- Third Baseman: Pablo Sandoval also known as Kung Fu Panda. Just to be clear, however, none of the other Giant’s players are named after cartoon characters. Don’t try to associate anyone on the roster with a particular character – it will end in failure.
- Outfielder: Aaron Rowand – you should know this name only so you can jokingly take wagers as to how long before he smashes his face into the wall chasing down a fly ball.
- Willie Mays – Famous for an over the shoulder catch at the Polo Grounds. Also known as the “Say Hey Kid”
- Barry Bonds – the MLB’s all time home run leader. Numerous steroid allegations, but innocent until proven guilty. He will be the guy with the over sized head.
- Jeff Kent – he spent years with the Astros and Dodgers as well, but he really made his name as one of the first Power-hitting second baseman. You will never be able to sport a mustache like his. His nickname was “The Officer.”
- Originally the “New York Gothams” from 1883-1885, they then became the New York Giants until moving out west in 1958. They are an old club with a lot of history.
- They have a pedigree of winning which includes 5 World Series titles and 21 League Pennants
American League Representative – Texas Rangers
The Rangers made it to the 2010 World Series as the American League representative. They started off their playoff run by winning the American League West Division, beating the Tampa Bay Rays in an exciting ALDS matchup, and eventually knocking off the defending champion Yankees. If the topic of the Yankees series comes up, you can note that Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez (Yankees Players) made more money this year than the entire Ranger’s roster combined. Just hope that there aren’t any Yankee fans in the room (or accountants) because the conversation will get ugly quickly, although for different reasons. This is the Ranger’s first World Series Appearance.
The Texas Rangers Play their home games in Arlington Texas, just outside of Dallas. Their primary colors are red and blue. I say this only because if you show up inadvertently wearing these colors, you will probably be pegged as a Rangers fan. You will give yourself away immediately if you do not have a speedy response or if you just stand there dumbfounded.
Notable Team Members
- Ron Washington
- Cliff Lee – another amazing pitcher. Innocently ask if he did well in his last World Series appearance, knowing full well that he was the first pitcher since Deacon Phillippe in Game 1 of the 1903 World Series to pitch a complete game in the World Series with 10 or more strikeouts and no walks.
- Neftali Feliz – He holds the major league record for saves by a rookie in a single season, with 40, although this shouldn’t be brought up out of the blue, only if someone asks “Where did this kid come from.” Also, please don’t say “The Dominican Republic” in response to the prior question.
- Catcher: Bengie Molina – This guy is the definition of a Win-Win. He started the 2010 season off with the Giants, and is now on the Rangers. Why does this matter? Well, regardless of who wins, he will get a World Series Ring.
- Outfielder: Josh Hamilton – he is a comeback story for sure. He was a highly drafted prospect, slipped into alcoholism and drug use, and then came screaming back after getting clean. Please save yourself some embarrassment and avoid any references to his checkered past. You will only come off looking like an A-hole. I’m not being funny, that’s the truth.
- Nolan Ryan – Holds an insane amount of records related to pitching including strikeouts and no-hitters. He also likes to fight as evidenced by his run-in with Robin Ventura.
- This is the Ranger’s first World Series Appearance
- Before moving to Texas in 1972, they were previously known as the Washington Senators. Sadly, they didn’t win anything during those years either.
Congratulations on making it through the guide. You should now be able to speak intelligently about the teams, their histories, and at least a couple of players. Starting on Wednesday, I will have these cheat sheets available on wrist bands and on party plates (just move the Chex mix aside to read).