Thanks to our English language, "best" can be interpreted in a number of ways.
This wasn't the "best" World Series in terms of quality of play. Too much "Oh no" for that. This wasn't the "best" in terms of the winner. The Cardinals inspire as much thoughts of "dynasty" as the Giants did last year. Even less so.
But in terms of drama, excitement, stuff of which World Series Are Judged, then, yeah, this is the best World Series I have seen in 10 years, since Luis Gonzalez's barely there flair against Mariano Rivera in 2001. In fact, after a quick run through my brain of all the World Series I've witnessed since I started actively watching them in 1976, this series is in the top 10, easily.
After the insanity of Game 6, which we can rank up there with Game 6's from 1975, 1985, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993 (and 1981, if I get very biased), I settled in for Game 7 hoping to break a rack pack of 2011 Topps Update here on the blog, inning by inning.
But there's only one computer in our household and that was immediately commandeered by someone who didn't care about the World Series. No big loss, as I really wanted to focus on the game anyway.
So, here is what you missed when you should have been watching Game 7. A rack pack that has 2011 World Series references all over it:
#US69 - Gerald Laird
#US190 - Alexi Ogando
These really were the first two cards out of the pack. A Cardinal and a Ranger. Now you know why I wanted to do a live break.
Ogando just didn't have it in the World Series. I don't know what happened to him. Not many of the Rangers pitchers seem all that impressive (Derek Holland, an amazing exception). But Ogando was one who did impress, until the last seven games or so.
Also, see if you notice any similarities between Laird's Update card and his card from the 2009 Topps set (one of two cards he had in that set):
There's no photoshopping going on, but ... wow.
#US48 - Scott Hairston
#US213 - Louis Coleman
Hairston is going to be like his dad. It's going to be 10 years from now, I'm going to see Hairston playing for some team. and I'm going to say, "I thought he retired eight years ago!"
#US96 - Ryan Hanigan
#US205 - D.J. LeMahieu
I dropped the Hanigan card just now. Rats, dinged corner.
#US239 - J.J. Hardy
#US280 - Kyle Farnsworth
I didn't know Joe Maddon wore No. 70. I'm sure he wears it for a reason. Maddon doesn't seem to do anything without there being a reason.
#US251 - Justin Turner
#US245 - Kevin Correja
Here come the horizontal cards!!!!!
#US142 - Alex White
Diamond Giveaway code card
Please look at the front of Alex White's card. A bunch of stuff about Rockies, right?
Here is the back:
White is a Rockie on the front and an Indian on the back. I don't know if I've ever seen that before.
White was dealt to the Rockies in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade at the end of July. Perhaps Topps photoshopped the front but forgot about the back? Maybe there's a corrected version of the back out there -- although Topps doesn't seem to do that anymore.
Oh, yeah, I have a code to enter. Almost forgot.
I'll be right back.
I'm back. Here's the redeemed card:
1974 isn't too bad, but I've got it already. I'll match it up with a '79 Pete LaCock and see what Royals fan I can entice.
#US45 - Peter Moylan (gold)
#US287 - Matt Joyce, Rays (all-star)
The Moylan card will be headed to dayf, because he sent me a nice drawing that I've been derelict in posting. Of course, by the time I get around to sending the Moylan card, dayf's murals of ponies will be selling for millions and he'll have little use for gold parallels.
#US292 - Mike Adams
#US50 - Jered Weaver (all-star)
Another Texas reliever. I'd rather not be reminded.
#US230 - Miguel Cabrera (all-star)
#US268 - Yadier Molina (all-star)
I'm officially tired of the Molinas.
Done with the top half. So far, there are 2 Cardinals and 2 Rangers for the first 18 cards.
#US269 - Sergio Santos
#US99 - Carlos Villanueva
Orel Hershiser is mentioned on the back of Santos' card because Santos had a scoreless inning streak of 30 last year. Then Topps backtracks and says, well, 9 2/3s of those innings were in spring training, so it was really only 20 1/3. ... Orel is officially insulted.
#US221 - Jamey Carroll
#US295 - Wilson Ramos
Oh, good. I've ripped only one loose pack of Update prior to this rack pack and I'm already getting doubles.
#US135 - Grant Balfour
#US308 - Kyle Seager
Balfour (another dupe) is wretching all over Seagar's shoes.
#US73 - Juan Nicasio
#US136 - Brandon Crawford
The "rookie debut" date is nice. But both of these guys play for junk teams so I don't care.
#US164 - Hector Noesi
#US197 - Brandon League
This is the start of the Brandon League hot pack portion of the rack pack.
#US167 - Brendan Ryan, diamond parallel
Ryan was with the Cardinals at this time this year. That means he's a member of the unfortunate club that I've been tracking. Each year I list players who missed out on a title because they were dealt away from the team that would go on to win a title the next year. But they had to be traded within a year before their old team won the Series.
Here is the list with 2011 added. Remember, free agents and released players don't count:
1988 Dodgers: Pedro Guerrero
1989 A's: Greg Cadaret, Eric Plunk, Luis Polonia
1990 Reds: John Franco, Ron Robinson
1991 Twins: none
1992 Blue Jays: Jeff Kent, Rob Ducey, Greg Myers
1993 Blue Jays: Kelly Gruber, Darrin Jackson
1995 Braves: Tony Tarasco, Roberto Kelly
1996 Yankees: Sterling Hitckcock, Bob Wickman, Gerald Williams, Ruben Sierra
1997 Marlins: Dustin Hermanson, Joe Orsulak
1998 Yankees: Kenny Rogers
1999 Yankees: David Wells, Graeme Lloyd
2000 Yankees: Chad Curtis, Jim Leyritz, Hideki Irabu
2001 Diamondbacks: none
2002 Angels: Jorge Fabregas
2003 Marlins: Charles Johnson, Preston Wilson
2004 Red Sox: Brandon Lyon, Casey Fossum, Nomar Garciaparra
2005 White Sox: Carlos Lee
2006 Cardinals: Hector Luna
2007 Red Sox: David Murphy, Kason Gabbard
2008 Phillies: Michael Bourn
2009 Yankees: Wilson Betemit
2010 Giants: Fred Lewis, Omar Vizquel
2011 Cardinals: Colby Rasmus, Brendan Ryan, Blake Hawksworth, Trever Miller
Still plan to research pre-1988 some day.
#KC-108 Lance Berkman Kimball mini (my scanner detests Kimball minis)
#652 - Edwin Jackson, liquorfractor
Two guys playing for other teams last year who now have World Series rings. (I still think the Rangers should have pitched to Pujols).
#T60-115 Nolan Ryan, topps 60
#US134 - Michael Bourn
The best part of the offseason may be the fact that I no longer have to see Nolan Ryan making faces in the stands. I have no problem with Nolan Ryan. I like him. I have no problem with him making faces. Fox, on the other hand ...
#US130 - David Robertson (all-star)
#US91 - Brandon League (all-star)
Two Brandon Leagues in one rack pack!
#US88 - Orlando Cabrera
And a look at your future, Cardinals. I hope you at least make the playoffs next year.
But thanks for an entertaining series. I actually emerged from the Series liking the Cardinals more than when the World Series began. Congrats to former Dodgers Rafael Furcal, Ryan Theriot and Edwin Jackson, too.
Once again, money doesn't always buy a championship in baseball.
I guess that's good news for the Dodgers.
Bring on 2012.