And the Astros. A prohibitive favorite versus a decided underdog. Delicious. Who'll be the unlikely hero of this installment of the Fall Classic? It's interesting when a player leaves the team he came up with for the pot of gold at the end of the unrestricted free agent rainbow. Said player usually manages a decent career while banking coin, but it seldom seems to translate into fan and team glory. 30 year old Bryce Harper, an acknowledged five tool star when he did just that four seasons ago, looked to be following suit...until this season's playoffs started. He's one of the few superstars who has a knack for producing in the clutch. Despite being relegated to DH duties virtually the entire season due to injuries, he's still produced. Yesterday, his 8th inning, two run dinger off of Padre reliever Robert Suarez put his team into the World Series for the first time in 13 years. The Phillies' legacy is primarily one of losing. Despite being around since 1883, they've only won eight NL pennants and two...Two...World Series titles, the first not until 1980. The franchise has done markedly better since moving into The Bank in 2004. The 2008 champs featured guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Pat Burrell, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, a rejuvenated Brad Lidge and World Series MVP Cole Hamels. They beat Joe Maddon's Rays, then lost the 2009 Series to the Yankees. You have to like the Astros going into this World Series, however. Four years after long time owner Drayton McClane sold the club to Jim Crane, and two season after switching to the American League, Houston has been on a relatively unprecedented post season appearance streak. They've been playing extra October baseball since 2015, minus one hiccup season in 2016. They won the Series the very next season, and have been contenders since. Oh, and they've come out the other end of the sign stealing scandal without missing a beat. That's still a very big bone of contention for many, including myself, during this extended run of success, but nobody seems to bring it up much these days. Suffice to say they've maintained and exceeded the success displayed during the sign stealing seasons (2017-18), presumably "clean," i.e., playing without cheating, so we'll see. Should be competetive...and less watched, TV ratings wise. The suits in NYC probably drank heavily after the Yanks and, before them, the Dodgers, fell short of making it to the WS for the umpteenth time apiece. I was hoping for a Yankees-Cardinals World Series. They haven't met each other in the big show since 1964, pretty much the end of the Yankee dynasty era that ran from Ruth, Gehring, DiMaggio, Mantle and Maris, the mid '20's to mid '60's, when CBS ran them into the ground from '65 thru' '73. Some guy named Steinbrenner bought them then. At any rate, I'd like to see what kind of modern day TV ratings a St. Louis-New York Series would draw. Alas, not this year. By the way, the Cardinals are the only NL club to have a winning record agains the Pinstripers in World Series play: in five head to head meetings, St. Louis has won three ('26, '42, '64) and lost two ('28, '41). Back to the present...Game 1 isn't until Friday, October 28th...four full days of no baseball. Boo. Just another by-product of the curse of the endless playoff. But...this Series is guaranteed to have at least one and, potentially, FOUR games in November... Now that's insanity. Won't matter weather wise in Houston, which isn't normally too chilly in November but, hey, the retractable roof at Minute Maid Park still appears to be working just fine. Philadelphia could get interesting. Game 4 and possibly 5 and 6 are outside at Citizens Bank Park. Average weather numbers for South Philly the first three days of November: 24% rain chance, average low temp.: 38 degrees; average hi temp., 60 degrees. Odds are games in Philadelphia, which would all most likely be night games (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Nov. 1,2,3, hello TV ratings) won't be too wet, chilly or windy...if you play the odds. Good thing they're not in Denver... At any rate, the TV suits are unhappy...again...which makes me, well, happier.