Back in the 80s, this happened often. In 1982, the Brewers battled the Cardinals in the World Serious, in 1985, you had the Royals and the Cards, in 1987, you had the Twins and the Cards. Since '87, the closest we've come to having two middle-American teams in the Series was last year, when the midwestern Chicago White Sox battled the southwestern Houston Astros.
That's close, but no cigar.
This year, it will be the most embattled city in the midwest, Detroit, against the St. Louis Cardinals, who banished the Mets in shocking fashion last night, 3-1. The look on Mets fans faces in that stadium last night was pure gut punch--they were certain their team was going to win, and the disappointment was profound when the Mets blew chance after chance to score despite good pitching from Oliver Perez and a great fielding play by Endy Chavez keeping them in the game. The game ended in a way that was simultaneously dramatic and anticlimactic--with the bases loaded, two outs, and Carlos Beltran at the plate, getting struck out on three pitches, the last one an amazing yakker that he took for the strikeout.
I'm of mixed feelings about the NLCS. As a Yankee fan, the Cardinals' victory does make my life a little bit easier. Nonetheless, I take no pleasure in the Mets' loss, and I have to admit that I was rooting a little bit for some of the Mets players--mainly Oliver Perez, who's a favorite of mine from his big season in Pittsburgh, but also John Valentin and Julio Franco.
But now, all that's left to say to Willie Randolph's crew is that it was a real nice run. See you next year. And on to Detroit.