OK, the 2008 World Series won't go down as the most exciting one ever played. Yet, I personally will remember and appreciate it because of how legitimate it is and how both teams got there fair and square. Not always the case in sports these days.
In all sports, the post-season has too many teams. I always have and always will believe that a team should have to "win to win". This business where a second or third place team can go on to win the championship demeans the regular seasons.
Having said that, it brings to mind the beauty of this year. Both teams in the World Series won their respective Eastern Division. Even though both had to beat the "Wild Card" team which, in my opinion, had no business being in the post-season, the Phillies and Rays each defeated one other Division winner. That is as fair as it gets.
In addition, we are fortunate because the abomination known as "interleague play" during June did not allow the opportunity for the Phillies and Rays to have already played each other. That adds still more legitimacy to this year's World Series.
Not only did both teams take equal steps to get to the Series, but there is no regular season matchup to go by, and that is as it should be.
Before you start questioning me on this, look back at recent years.
The 2007 Series included the Colorado Rockies, who technically did not win their Division. In fact, their finishing 1/2 game back deprived us fans of at least 1 "win or go home" game to finish up the regular season. (And we saw the added excitement in 2008 with the White Sox literally playing 4 American League teams out of 4 consecutive games to win the A.L. Central and then get into the ALDS vs. Tampa Bay.)
In 2006, it was Detroit which finished in second place. While some fans complain about the Cardinals winning only 83 games that season, they should have been complaining because the Cardinals won it all by beating a team that folded down the stretch and failed to win its division.
In 2005, Houston did not win its division, and it showed as they were swept by the White Sox, who led wire-to-wire that season.
And on it goes.
Please. If we are not going to remember this 2008 World Series for in-game excitement, let's remember it for being legitimate. That's a winner in my book.