On the eve of Game 1, Baseball Nation's crew of writers made their picks, shared anagrams for Ryan Theriot and offered nicknames for the series.
Rob: Let's start with the analysis. Give me your World Series prediction and one or two sentences of explanation.
Al: The Rangers will win in seven. These teams seem fairly evenly matched, and the Cardinals have the better manager; Tony La Russa always seems to come up with some angle that can defeat his opponent. But the Rangers have better pitching, overall, and I believe that will be the difference in a very close series.
Jeff: Gun to my head, I'd say Rangers in six, but I hate predicting series because there's pretty much no way to come away looking smart. The Cardinals have the better offense of the two teams, but not by much, and the Rangers are a little to a lot better at everything else. Seems just uneven enough to not be a complete coin flip.
Grant: The Rangers have one of the more complete teams I've seen in a while, but the Cardinals have Edwin Jackson, who is the reason you're here right now. If Edwin Jackson can orchestrate where Matt Joyce, Max Scherzer, Curtis Granderson, Ian Kennedy, and Daniel Hudson play, and if he can make up a 10.5-game deficit, he can win a lousy series against the Rangers. It's already done. Cards in six.
Rob: I've got the Rangers in six because a) maybe all this talk about Chris Carpener's elbow isn't just talk, and b) C.J. Wilson is bound to pitch at least one good game in this Series. Also, what Al and Jeff said (but not Grant).
That's with my head, of course. My heart's with the Cardinals. My grandma turns 89 the same day as Game 4, and Grandma's been a Cardinals fan since ... Well, let me put it this way ... My Uncle Marty, who's no longer with us, was born in the 1940s and named after Marty Marion, the Cardinals' MVP shortstop. I've got a baseball that Stan Musial and Whitey Kurowski signed for my grandfather in the late '40s.
That's on my mom's side. On my dad's side, I've got an uncle who still recalls, with great relish, watching Bob Gibson strike out 17 Tigers in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series, and that same uncle has seen a lot of the current team play for Springfield in the Texas League.
If the Royals were in the World Series, I would have to root for them. If the Red Sox were in the World Series against the Cardinals -- which of course happened in 2004 -- I would be conflicted. But anyone else? This is an easy one. Without even getting into the whole George Bush thing ...
Grant: If it's heart instead of mind? Rangers, easy. I'm a sucker for teams that haven't won before, and the Cardinals just won.
Aaaaand there's the fact that the Rangers were kind enough to let the Giants
win a World Series, which is something I never thought I'd see, and it's no contest.
Jeff: I don't have anything approaching Rob's family history, and the Rangers have certainly never rolled over to allow my team to win the Series. For me, this is all very simple and relatable:
The Rangers are in the AL West. The Mariners
are in the AL West. I like the Mariners, and the Rangers are a rival. Therefore, I cannot root for the Rangers to win the title. I don't care much for the Cardinals, myself, but they've never done as much to bother me as the Rangers have.
I was talking about this with Rob the other day, and there is some practical component - if the Rangers win the Series, they get more money, which is bad. But it's mostly emotional. I don't want to see the Rangers celebrating. I'm not prepared for that, and I won't be prepared for that until - maybe - after the Mariners do something first.
Grant: I felt like that about the Padres and Rockies when they made the World Series.
Al: I am a Cubs fan. Therefore, it is in my baseball DNA to hate the Cardinals, the Cubs' bitterest rival. I cannot root for them under any circumstance. Even the NLCS was difficult, because I can't stand the Brewers, either. Plus, Ryan Theriot didn't make any friends among Cubs fans with his "right side of the rivalry" comment. GO RANGERS!
Jeff: Well I think it's pretty clear now that Theriot was right.
Theriot could still lead the Cardinals to defeat with carefully placed TOOTBLAN
Jeff: Fun fact: Ryan Theriot, for his career, has been a positive baserunner.
One of the weirder things I've learned lately is that Theriot is actually a pretty good hitter against lefties.
Just kind of assumed he was all Punto'd out.
Al: Even more fun fact: Ryan Theriot was 4-for-10 in SB attempts in 2011.
Grant: Forty percent of the time, he's safe every time.
Jeff: Looking back, it seems Theriot has gotten worse and worse at stealing bases over time.
Anybody want to talk more about Ryan Theriot?
I would like to see many TOOTBLANs from him over the next week or so.
Jeff: Theriot, Punto, Schumaker, Descalso all on the WS roster.
Grant: Anagrams for Ryan Theriot:
Grant: Horny Attire. I Try Another.
Okay, I'm done, but it's one of the more anagrammable names out there.
Al: Jeff, looks like the Cardinals win the second baseman derby.
Jeff: Not too fast. An anagram of Ian Kinsler is A Sinner Ilk.
God, are we really doing anagrams? This shit is so played out.
Just like li'l Ron Washington.
There was lots more like this, but much of it wasn't suitable for the work environment, or even for the home environment. We would like your help, though, with nicknaming the 2011 World Series. So please vote in our poll!