Yankees big hitters should see them to the World Championship
Everybody criticises the New York Yankees for being arrogant, superficial and run by ego maniacs but, for the first time since Autumn 2000, it seems the combination is to bare the biggest reward possible, the World Series.
George Steinbrenner may have stepped aside over recent years but that hasn't meant the Yankees penchant for acquiring high end free agents has cooled.
In this year's off-season the Bronx Bombers brought in Gold Glove 1st baseman Mark Teixeira and two top pitchers in AJ Burnett and former Cy Young winner CC Sabathia - the result being a baseball club as close to perfect as we've seen this century.
They've had to deal with the fall from grace of last year's ace Chien-Ming Wang but Joe Giradi's men were never likely to struggle too much with a hitting line-up that spells danger from lead-off right down to their number nine.
Their surge to the best record in the Majors was fully expected, as was their passage to the World Series but does this mean the reigning champs, the Philadelphia Phillies, are yet another formality stood in their way?
They very easily could be, especially if Sabathia blows last year's AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee away in the series opener at the new Yankee Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The Phils need to get off to a good start, and a battering for their ace certainly wouldn't signify that, although it may be unavoidable if ALCS MVP Sabathia continues in the same vein that made him baseball's best pitcher down the stretch.
It isn't just that either though with Alex Rodriguez showing exactly what he is made of after years of being labelled a post-season choker, while AL MVP candidates Teixeira and Derek Jeter are the type of professionals that attract success.
The Phillies answer to the Yankees big three, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, can be equally as brilliant but nobody can deny they have the same consistency of the Evil Empire's star men.
The good news for the Phillies is that Ryan Howard is on fire after batting .333 in the NLCS including two homers and eight RBIs - he will need to at least match this production if their offence is to keep up with the pinstripes'.
Charlie Manuel's traditional big three aren't the Phillies only weapons - Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth make up a great top of the order - they just seem to lack the same depth as their big market opponents.
The difference between the sides may be more obvious judging from the projected game two starters, with the Yanks going for Burnett and the Phillies turning to former great, now not so impressive Pedro Martinez.
For me though there is one man who can be the difference between Philadelphia being challengers or also rans, last year's World Series MVP Cole Hamels.
Hamels is streaky, meaning sometimes he is great and other times just plain average, but if he can bring his best stuff to the mound when the series heads for Citizens Bank Park then his team could be in with a very real shot.
I'm sure any Yankees fan would agree that there are few people they'd rather face than an in-form Hamels, it's simply a question of whether he can bring it.
The uncertainty about the strength of that rotation does seem to make a second successive title look a long way off though and pretty much un-backable, in my eyes, at 6/4.
And I think it'd take either a brave man or a fool hardy man to look away from the odds-on 1/2 about the Yankees furthering their reputation as the most successful franchise in baseball history and claiming a 27th World Series.
As for the correct series score, I cannot help but think it may fall a little flat, or at least not go all the way to a game seven showdown.
The Phillies found the Rays too inexperienced and ill-equipped to take the Series last year as they romped to a 4-1 victory but the roles could be reversed this time around.
The Phils know exactly what it's about and what it means, they just might not realise quite how good the fully loaded Yankees can be (4-1 to the Yankees is priced at an enticing 4/1).
Let's face it as well, love 'em or hate 'em, the Yankees are due a new chapter to their legacy, especially in a year when heroes are needed to give added splendour to their brand new home.
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