Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Thursday, October 21, 1999

Braves vs. Yankees
-- the Series as
it should be

I was pulling for a Subway Series in New York between the Yankees and Mets. But you couldn't ask for a better matchup in the World Series than the Yankees and Atlanta Braves.

After all, they are the two winningest teams in their respective leagues. Isn't that what the World Series should be all about, pitting the best two against each other?

None of that wild-card stuff for me. It might be great for keeping fan interest alive and boosting attendance. But it cheapens the Fall Classic.

As interesting as the World Series between the Mets and Boston Red Sox might have been, wouldn't you feel cheated if two teams that finished second in their divisions made it to baseball's ultimate show?

Imagine if those teams made it to the World Series. We'd be reading nothing but Bill Buckner stories until Saturday. Who can forget the 1986 World Series between the two, especially Buckner and the Red Sox fans who've never forgiven him.

The Red Sox enjoyed a great ride this season despite a one-man pitching staff in Pedro Martinez. He deserves the American League Cy Young Award but not the league's MVP honors.

Hey, his team only finished second in its division. MVP's should do more than play once every five days for their teams.

THAT was never more apparent than in the AL Championship Series. It wasn't the "Curse of the Bambino" that did in the Red Sox this time against the Yankees.

It's just that Martinez could get to pitch only once against the Yankees. As Yankee manager Joe Torre said, "The only good thing about facing Martinez is that we're 2-0."

The ALCS had its amusing moments since it pitted the worst two fielding second basemen in the majors - Boston's Jose Offerman, a designated hitter who thinks he can field, and Chuck Knoblauch of the Yankees, who can't throw to first base, a rather alarming inability when you think about it.

The Mets, too, also fell short of an amazing comeback because of a pitcher who couldn't throw a strike when he needed to.

Kenny Rogers should stick to singing. Excuse me? He's not the singer? Well, you could have fooled me on that 3-and-2 pitch with the bases loaded.

What a deflating and defenseless way to end a great championship series.

So we have the Yankees and the Braves in the World Series of the century.

It's billed as the World Series of the Decade, but with 36 AL pennants and seeking their 25th World Series championship, there's no question that the Yankees are the team of the century in any sport.

SO they deserve to win it and I'm hoping they'll do it in five games, ending it at Yankee Stadium where the celebration of the century belongs.

Of course, there's another reason why I'm pulling for the Yankees.

I'd like nothing better than to see Roger Clemens finally get his World Series ring. Every Red Sox fan should know by now you don't get it playing in Boston.

The last time I talked to the "Rocket," it was at Kapalua before he won an unprecedented fifth Cy Young Award and was traded to the Yankees.

When I see him next month, again in the Lincoln-Mercury Kapalua Classic, I hope to ask him how it feels to get that championship ring at long last.

Maybe Yankee manager Joe Torre will be at the Mercedes Championships again. But World Series rings are now old hat to Torre.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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