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And The World Series Champ Is . . .

By George Ofman

A year ago both the White Sox and Cubs were in the playoffs. Federal investigations were called off when Major League Baseball confirmed this rarity actually occurred.

Neither team fared very well. The Sox were ousted in four games by the Tampa Bay Rays while the Cubs . . . It's truly not necessary to hash over this disaster again, is it?

Well, at least we don't need Jacques Rogge to announce our Chicago teams won't get past the first round.

That's because they didn't make it past the regular season.

But it won't stop me from telling you who win the World Series.

I know. I have inside information . . . and a deck of tarot cards.

In all honesty, picking a World Series champ these days is a crapshoot. There hasn't been a back-to-back champ since the Yankees won it in '98, '99 and '00. The last National League team to win consecutive titles were the Cincinnati Reds in '75 and '76.

Sorry Philadelphia, it ain't happening again!

But a National League team will capture the title this year and it's a team that has won the Series nine times.

Yes, the St. Louis Cardinals will rule the roost. Eat your heart out Cubs fans.

Funny thing is, Tony LaRussa has won a World Series title only twice in his illustrious 33-year managerial career.

His first championship was with the 1989 Oakland A's, who beat the San Francisco Giants in the fabled earthquake series. His second came three years ago when the St. Louis Cardinals, who won all of 83 games in the regular season, beat the Tigers four games to one.

By early November, LaRussa will win his third and his Cardinals will beat the Yankees in the process.

Unfortunately, my wife says I can't book your bets.

There are several reasons I'm picking the Cards. Two of them happen to be named Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainright. They remind me of a bit of Koufax and Drysdale. They're almost unbeatable. They combined to go 36-12, with Carpenter's 2.24 ERA the league's best. Wainright's ERA was fourth-best. One-two punches like this don't come around very often. The last dominant pair was Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, who led the Arizona Diamondbacks to a World Series title over the New York Yankees in 2001. Johnson and Schilling were 1-2 in ERA and combined to go 43-12. That said, the D-backs needed seven games to win it all.

I also like the Cardinals because of a fellow named Albert Pujols, who is the best hitter in the game and, who once again, will win the Most Valuable Player award. St. Louis also added Matt Holliday in mid-season and he has had a profound effect on the Cardinals' offense. And the team's bullpen, which lead the majors in blown saves just a year ago, boasts a closer in Ryan Franklin who converted 38 of 43 chances.

Picking the Cardinals isn't exactly what you would call a no-brainer. They open on the road against the Dodgers, who led the National League with 95 wins. The Dodgers possess a slew of solid hitters, yet not one starting pitcher with more than 12 victories. The Cardinals beat the Dodgers five times out of seven in the regular season, with Carpenter winning two games by scores of 6-1 and 3-2. Wainright tossed eight innings of shutout ball in L.A. for another victory. The Cardinals then would likely play the Phillies, whom I expect will defeat the Rockies. Philadelphia won four of five from St. Louis and possess three of the most dangerous left-hand hitters in the game in Utley, Howard and Ibanez.

I don't care. The Cardinals will prevail.

Bring on the Yankees. What a storied Series this would be. The last time these two giants met was way back in 1964 when St. Louis stunned the Bombers in a seven-game series.

So, if you believe in my theories and expertise and have a solid life insurance plan to go along with a 401k that doesn't resemble a 201 S, you too, will pick the Cardinals.

Just don't call my lawyer if the Rockies win.

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George Ofman, an original member of The Score and a veteran of NPR, has covered more than 3,500 sporting events over the course of his career. Comments welcome.

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Posted on Nov 26, 2021