Having secured their place in the Series by edging out the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Philadelphia Phillies will face the Rays after two days of travel and rest. The games will all be on FOX, all times Eastern:
Given that the American League won the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium back in July, the American League contender--the Rays--will have home field advantage. For the first time in awhile, home field advantage may play an even bigger role in the World Series. Assuming that the 2005 World Series was played at Minute Maid Park instead of the Astrodome and the 1995 Series was at Progressive Field, it has been quite some time since a home team's advantage has come on turf. Not only will astroturf play a prominent role in the game, the dome at Tropicana Field will prove to be an obstacle. Perhaps the last time turf played a role in the Series was back in the early 90s--1991 at Minnesota and '92 and '93 at Toronto.World SeriesGame 1: Wed. Oct. 22 @ Tampa Bay, 8pm
Game 2: Thurs. Oct. 23 @ Tampa Bay, 8pm
Game 3: Fri. Oct. 25 @ Philadelphia, 8pm
Game 4: Sun. Oct. 26 @ Philadelphia, 8 pm
Game 5: Mon. Oct. 27 @ Philadelphia, 8 pm
Game 6: Wed. Oct. 29 @ Tampa Bay, 8 pm
Game 7: Thurs. Oct. 30 @ Tampa Bay, 8 pm
Despite the challenges posed by the location, the Series will bring new excitement to a nation just being introduced to the young Rays and even a few of the young Phils.
Players to watch? I think we know from the ALCS that B.J. Upton deserves special attention. But their entire roster is full of young, fast, talent. Navarro, Pena, Crawford, Longoria, Price, Garza, Kazmir, Balfour. And don't forget the two veterans of the team--Cliff Floyd and Dan Wheeler. The NLCS introduced us to the Flyin' Hawaiian Shane Victorino. He is by no means the stand out of the Phils, but he's fun to watch. Keep an eye on the Big Man, Ryan Howard. Chase Utley is amazing. The young catcher Ruiz has skills behind the plate the Phillies have been lacking in previous seasons. And of course there's the pitching. Lidge. Madson. Moyer. Hamels. Both teams will bring the pitching and both teams will bring the running game. It may just be a matter of who can get the hits.
So, now we wait. Wednesday can't come soon enough!