Your World Series matchup is set - the Rangers in the AL, the Cardinals in the NL. Texas is making its second Series appearance in a row; the Cardinals are back for the first time since winning the Series in 2006. Below, a guide to the two teams in the Series, as seen by someone who didn't see either team play up until the past two weeks, except for the times the Twins played Texas.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
How They Got Here: Won the NL Wild Card after the ghost of Bobby Cox came back to run the Braves bullpen into the ground. The Cardinals were roughly 253 games back in the Wild Card race on September 1, but made up ground pretty much every day in September and then won the Wild Card on the final day when Atlanta choked for one final time. Beat the Phillies in the NLDS thanks to Chris Carpenter briefly becoming immortal; beat the Brewers in the NLCS because my prayers for something bad to happen to Wisconsin were finally answered.
Notable Former Twins: Nick Punto struck out four times in Game 6, but the Cards scored 12 runs anyway. Nicky has struck out 11 times in 24 at-bats this post-season, but he has not forgotten where third base is at any point, an improvement on his playoff tenure with the Twins. Kyle Lohse lost Game 1 of the NLDS and Game 4 of the NLCS, but has not destroyed any doors.
Cheer For Them Because: St. Louis, though being very close to the South geographically, is still somewhat Midwestern, or is at least more Midwestern than Dallas is.
Cheer Against Them Because: Tony La Russa looks like the kind of uncle that nobody wants to sit by at a wedding. Also, they just won the World Series five years ago, and nobody likes a show-off. Plus Whitey Herzog spent half his autobiography complaining about how the Metrodome was unfair. Whiner.
How They Got Here: Won the AL West by being the only half-decent team in the AL West. Beat the Rays in the ALDS because Tampa's luck finally ran out and because the Rays couldn't count on Evan Longoria to hit dramatic home runs every other inning for the rest of the playoffs. Beat the Tigers in the ALCS, for which I would be more than happy to blame Delmon Young. I want to point out that Delmon struck out three times and made an error in Game 6 of the ALCS, not to heap scorn upon him, but to remind you that it wasn't all clutch home runs with Delmon, and let's not forget why so many of us were happy to get rid of him in the first place.
Notable Former Twins: They're managed by Ron Washington, who used to play for the Twins and in fact with Gardy. Ron has that semi-crazy managerial gene that's most notably displayed by Dusty Baker, in that Washington often seems to do the wrong thing for the wrong reason and yet somehow everything works out fine.
Cheer For Them Because: Nolan Ryan is more fun to cheer for than Mark McGwire.
Cheer Against Them Because: If they won, people from Texas would be happy. Because their local TV contract may someday help ruin baseball. Because they don't play afternoon games at home because Arlington is too hot for human life in the daytime, and therefore anytime your team ends a midweek series there, they get killed the following night because they had to fly out of Texas at 1am after a night game.
WORLD SERIES SCHEDULE
Game 1: Texas at St. Louis, Wednesday
Game 2: Texas at St. Louis, Thursday
Game 3: St. Louis at Texas, Saturday
Game 4: St. Louis at Texas, Sunday
Game 5: St. Louis at Texas, Monday 10/24
Game 6: Texas at St. Louis, Wednesday 10/26
Game 7: Texas at St. Louis, Thursday 10/27
Your thoughts on the two teams, and your rooting interests, in the comments, please.