Friday, June 10, 2005

Hey, Yankees- What Took You So Long?

On one episode of Seinfeld, Newman had helped Elaine kidnap a neighbor's yapping dog that was keeping her awake at night. Which set up what I think is one of this show's funniest scenes. When the police finally closed in and came to his door, Jerry's merry nemesis, cigarette hanging from his lower lip, made only one sarcastic statement to the police, opening the door with this greeting: "What took you so long?"

That's the question I have for the Yankees this weekend.

It's not like they couldn't have been here sooner.

Busch Stadium, Jr. opened in 1966. Since then, the New York Yankees have played in nine World Series: 1977, 1978, 1981, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003. The St. Louis Cardinals have played in six World Series: 1967, 1968, 1982, 1985, 1987, 2004. That means for 15 of the past 39 seasons, a whopping 38% of the time, either the Yankees or Cardinals have been contestants. And yet they have not met. The Yankees have not been to St. Louis since the 1964 World Series. Making today's visit by the Yankees their first to this version of Busch Stadium. And judging from how the 2005 Yankees are playing, probably their last.

The only possibilities for the Cardinals and Yankees to have met in the World Series, strictly speaking, would have been the years that both were in their respective league championship series at the same time. This happened in 2004, 2000, and 1996. The closest a Cards-Yanks Series came to happening would have to be last year, save for the Yankees coming from ahead to blow a 3-0 deficit to the Red Sox.

Had it happened, it would have given an interesting historical twist to the series:
- These two are historically the most successful clubs in each respective league, based on World Series won (Yankees 27, Cards 9).
- It would have been the 40th anniversary of the 1964 World Series.
- In 1964, the Cardinals had only one more full season at Busch 1 before moving in to a new ballpark, the present Busch Jr.
- In 2004, of course, the Cardinals were looking at only one more full season at Busch Jr before moving in to a new ballpark, Busch III.
- Tim McCarver, one of the Cardinals heroes of the 1964 World Series, was one of the Fox Sports announcers for the 2004 Series.
- Mike Shannon, another Cardinal, announced the 2004 Series for St. Louis.
- Joe Buck, Fox Sports World Series announcer for the past nine years, is a Cardinals TV announcer, and,of course, son of the legendary Jack Buck, who along with Harry Carey was a Cardinals announcer in 1964.
- Joe Torre, Yankees manager, is a former Cardinals player and Cardinals manager.
- The Cardinals and Yankees have met a total of 5 times in the World Series. The Cardinals have won 3 series, 1926, 1942, 1964. The Yankees won in 1928 and 1943. The Marlins and Diamondbacks are the only other teams who have beaten the Yankees in the World Series more than they have lost to the Yankees (of course, they've each only met one time).

But ifs and would have beens are not something to waste much time thinking about.

Let's move on. This series should be fun.

Yanks-Cards at Busch Jr. tonight. It's about time. But better late than never.

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