The NL can play ball too, just watch

For those of you who jumped on the baseball bandwagon this past week due to the excitement that the sport’s biggest rivalry brought to the table, let this be a reminder: that was just the appetizer.

Yes, Boston-New York is baseball’s main attraction, especially to the casual fan. Yes, this year’s ALCS might just be the best series we’ll ever witness in our lifetime, in any sport. But while the Red Sox thrilling, unprecedented comeback against the Yankees could be the equivalent of, say, a filet mignon, the upcoming World Series is definitely no mac and cheese.

In case you missed it (and I’m willing to bet most of you did), the NLCS was just as exciting as it’s AL counterpart. The St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros staged an epic battle, also going the distance, with the Cards edging baseball’s hottest team by defeating one of the sport’s all-time best pitchers in front of its home city that hosts what are widely known as baseball’s best fans.

The Cards overcame one of the greatest performances in postseason history by Carlos Beltran, who ironically, will probably end up smack dab in the middle of the BoSox-Yankees rivalry next year, sporting pinstripes of his own. Beltran, who was already slated to become one of baseball’s highest-paid players in this offseason’s upcoming free agency, could’ve very well tacked on another $50 million with his mind-blowing play this postseason.

It’s a shame most of you missed it, because all the guy did was tie the postseason record for homeruns, break the all-time record for most consecutive games with a homerun, single-handedly beat the Cards twice, once with his bat, once with his glove, and in the process established himself as the definition of a five-tool player.

While missing Beltran’s performance is regrettable enough, it’s not nearly as regrettable as missing the most lethal lineup in the league refuse to bow out without a fight. After jumping out to a quick 2-0 series lead, St. Louis suddenly found themselves down 3-2 after the Astros dominated in Houston, a place where they ended the season winning 22 of their last 23 games.

But the Cards didn’t quit. After blowing a ninth inning lead in Game 6, you could sense the impending doom. Hey, ask the Yankees. But Jim Edmonds refused to let the season end, hitting a walk-off homerun in the 12th inning to force a Game 7.

Edmonds then played the role of superhero again, making a diving catch early in the game that saved at least two runs, a play that no one else in baseball would’ve made, but that Edmonds has made routine over his career.

After that, the Cards were finally able to figure out Clemens, who had previously never lost a Game 7 in his career. After Albert Pujols doubled in the game-tying run in the sixth with two outs, Scott Rolen stepped up the plate and promptly drove one out of the park on the first pitch he saw. After that, there was no looking back, and one of the most entertaining series’ to date came to a close.

So, while I understand everyone’s fascination/obsession with Boston and New York, I feel compelled to let you know what you’d be missing out on, should you decide to bail on baseball until next postseason. This World Series should be just as exciting as the previous series.

There are so many storylines to follow. Obviously, Boston is trying to end the Curse of the Bambino. A team, no, an entire city, is trying to end the most notorious dry spell in all of sports, trying to rid itself of all the demons, ghosts, curses, and whatever else has been crushing Beantown’s collective spirit for the past 86 years.

While the Red Sox battle their demons, the Cardinals battle newfound expectations. Entering the season, they were picked to be a distant third in the NL Central, and ended up baseball’s most successful team. Anything but a Word Series championship is unacceptable.

This series showcases the teams that led their respective leagues in runs scored this season, so you can bet there will be plenty of fireworks. Two of baseball’s richest towns face off in what should be another thrilling affair. So I hope you didn’t get filled up on the league championship series. The main course is now being served. Do yourself a favor, and enjoy.

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