>Since The Common Man has split the day chasing The Boy and worshipping at the alter of the porcelyn god, he has not had a chance to write the massive, detailed, funny, insightful, and moving World Series Preview he had planned. He'll try to get to that tomorrow morning, assuming he hasn't flushed away all his internal organs by then, and have a regular post up in the afternoon as well.
But since the series is about to start, here's The Common Man's prediction snapshot for the 103rd World Series.
1) Rays win in 6. Shysterball points out
"I think prognosticators do that because if they say a series will end in four or five games, they are saying something bold about one team's strength in relation to the other's. To call for a sweep is to suggest a hopeless mismatch. To say five is only a tad better. A fella can piss off readers when he does that and, even worse, someone may later say that he was really, really wrong! At the same time, if he says seven, he's basically saying he has no idea which team is better, and hey, anyone can do that. "Saying six is a difference splitter. By saying six, Johnny Expert is basically saying "I think team X is better than team Y, but not so much that you can later rub how wrong I was in my face, OK?"
Still, The Common Man picks the Rays because they look better on paper, the AL is better than the NL for the umpteenth straight year, but the Phils are good enough to homer their way into a couple of wins.
2) Key Players. For Tampa, their starters (Kazmir, Shields, Garza, Sonnanstine) need to go deep and limit the exposure of Tampa's bullpen. Out in the bullpen, David Price needs to be the monster he is. For Philly, it will essential for Pat Burrell and Chris Coste to get hot and hit the pants off of Kazmir. And Hamels needs to be lights out, because...
3) Philly (and Cole Hamels) need to beat Scott Kazmir twice. Hamels is the only elite starter the Phils have, and they'll need to luck into two more wins from Myers, Moyer, and Blanton in order to pull this off. So...
4) If Philly loses game one, it's essentially done. Sure, stranger things have happened, momentum doesn't really matter, baseball's a funny game, yadda, yadda, yadda. But unless the Phils get an out of nowhere performance from one of their other starters, The Common Man doesn't see how they keep up with the Rays' consistent offense and sparkling pitchers.
5) Ryan Howard has to be a monster in games 2-4 and 6-7. He's a hell of a hitter, very strong, but definitely not used to facing the caliber of righty starters that the Rays are going to throw at him (again, AL > NL).
So there you go. Good luck to both teams, since The Common Man doesn't really have a horse in this race. The Common Man now is going to collapse in a chair and pray the world stops spinning.