MLB needs the Red Sox

With potentially five teams from the top three media markets in the 2008 playoffs, Major League Baseball should be rooting for the Red Sox. Out of the 16 possible World Series match-ups only seven are enticing to the national media and three of them include the Red Sox. The reason behind it is simple: more storylines and a bigger audience.

Come on how many are really enthusiastic about a Tampa Bay-Philadelphia World Series? The match-ups involving the Sox will not just draw in devoted baseball fans but also many of the casual fans plus non-fans because of their stories.

First off, any series that includes the Chicago Cubs will get national spotlight, since it will be the first time the Lovable Losers made it to the Series in 63 years. A Windy City Fall Classic will pit the North-siders against the South-siders for a week in October. The folks on the left coast will flock to Chavez Ravine and Disneyland earlier than normal – second inning instead of the third – and stay later than the sixth but outside Orange County it is not going to bring big ratings. These four series will have stories of their own but they will not attract nearly as many views as those series that include the Sox.

Red Sox-Dodgers

No doubt about it this is the series Major League Baseball wants to see. At the trading deadline, Theo Epstein did what was best for the health of the franchise. He cut away the canker that threatened the health of the remaining 24. With the “OK” from the Commish, former Pirates outfielder Jason Bay was thrown into the middle of a pennant race while Manny Ramirez was sent to the Deep Blue Sea.

I am salivating at just the thought of Boston-Los Angeles Fall Classic. The stories would be endless. After losing the NBA Championship to the Celtics back in June, Los Angeles would be looking for redemption. If Sox win it would, no doubt, solidify the City of Boston as Titletown, USA with seven World Championships from three sports in eight years.

In addition to that there is also the Joe Torre-Terry Francona connection dating back to the 2004 ALCS. As well as Manny Ramirez leading the Dodgers to the best September record (16-5) of the eight playoff contenders while the Sox were a American League best 33-17 after the trading deadline. Do not forget about Nomar Garciaparra’s first return back to the city where he began his career. There list is endless but in essence it would be a Boston versus Boston Fall Classic.

Red Sox-Cubs

Until 2004, a Red Sox-Cubs World Series was a baseball fan’s dream. One team would walk away with their first championship in over 80 years while the other would be saying those four dreaded words: “wait ‘til next year.” Since the Sox swept the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series, a Red Sox-Cubs Fall Classic does not have the same meaning it would have had five years ago, but it still would be one for the ages.

Two teams playing in the two oldest ballparks in the majors, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. Both, partially, owned by big time media conglomerates. Both seem to have mirroring team histories in the playoffs from Curses to Bartman and Boone to the Sox in ’04 to, possibly, the Cubs in ‘08. Red Sox-Cubs facing off in the dead of fall for baseball’s championship. You, still, can not script a better World Series than that. Just rich in baseball history.

Red Sox-Mets

The Boston-New York connection plus retaliation for the Giants dashing the Patriots hopes of an undefeated season and becoming the first team since the 1972 Dolphins to do so. Nothing more there, though.

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