We’re down to the last hurrah of the long baseball season and in August who would have thought the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals would compete for the World Series title?
The Cards were 10.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the wild card race, but made a tremendous push in September and ended up taking the final National League playoff spot. Then the Cards took down the powerful Phillies in the NL Division Series and the hard-hitting, but poor fielding, Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Championship Series (a rematch, for those with long memories, of the 1982 World Series when the Brew Crew led by Cecil Cooper, Robin Yount and Paul Molitor, were in the American League).
The Rangers had a great year in 2011, despite the tragedy of a fan dying at one of their games, and surprised in a year when most experts figured the heavily bankrolled New York Yankees would emerge from American League.
But the Rangers clearly showed in the playoffs that settling for the title of 2010’s runner-ups just wasn’t good enough for Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and company.
Still, I'm taking St. Louis to win, as manager Tony LaRussa has all his players, including the hot-hitting Albert Pujols, the ageless Lance Berkman and the run-creation machine Matt Holliday, on the same page, I think their postseason roll will continue and they’ll capture their 11th World Series crown, their first since 2006.
But baseball’s not the only sport on my mind these days. The chilly temperatures outside mean it’s hockey season, and the Lakehead Thunderwolves are in full gear now, after a slow start. The Wolves dropped a pair to McGill on home ice to start the season, but scored two impressive wins in Ottawa over the Gee-Gees this past weekend, winning 4-2 on Friday and 3-1 on Saturday.
From my observation, it looks like coach Joel Scherban and his staff have put together a solid team for this season, the two early losses to a top 10 team aside.
The addition of netminder Jeff Bosch should shore up the goaltending, and he should form a nice tandem with the returning Alex Dupuis.
The increased size and defensive skill on the blue-line is clearly apparent. Even though the scoring has been mainly done by the big line of Matt Caria, Ryan McDonald and Trevor Gamache, a leg injury to McDonald pushed Adam Sergerie on that line for the Ottawa series, and it paid dividends.
His veteran playmaking and scoring skill will be a bonus as he likely finds himself back on the second line. And, third-year centre Andrew Wilkins looks like he could be ready to break out, with a pair of beautiful goals in the sweep.
This weekend the Thunderwolves are on the road to play the York Lions, and you can hear those games on Rock 94.
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