New Faces, Old Stars On Deck For World Series 

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Groundskeepers at AT&T Park in San Francisco paint the World Series logo onto the field.

Groundskeepers at AT&T Park in San Francisco paint the World Series logo onto the field before the Giants and Texas Rangers started team workouts Tuesday. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

When the lights come up for Wednesday night's World Series opener in San Francisco, they'll be focused squarely on two teams more accustomed to the shadows.

Before tonight, the Texas Rangers had never made it to baseball's biggest event. The hometown Giants made it in 2002, but they haven't won it since 1954 — when they were the New York Giants.

The Rangers toured AT&T Park in San Francisco on Tuesday, looking up and gawking like a bunch of tourists as they walked around the ball field. First baseman Jorge Cantu stood and watched, mesmerized, as a groundskeeper sprayed bursts of blue paint onto a World Series logo.

Texas Rangers' ace Cliff Lee throws during a workout session.

Rangers' ace Cliff Lee throws during a workout session Tuesday. Lee is scheduled to start Wednesday night in Game 1 of the World Series in San Francisco. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

"You know what? I wasn't like admiring the painting or anything. I was just thinking to myself, like, 'wow we are really here,'" Cantu said during the media day event.

For some, it was their first trip to AT&T; for many, it was their first trip as players to a stadium decked with World Series bunting. And for hundreds of reporters, it was a chance for a crash course on all things Rangers and Giants.

Rangers batting coach Clint Hurdle talked about how lots of elements came together to make this season so successful for Texas. One of those factors was the addition of veteran slugger Vladimir Guerrero.

"Almost anybody I've talked to in the media is surprised at the year he's had based on what they saw last year," Hurdle said. "Well, that's good for Vlad."

Signing pitching marvel Cliff Lee didn't hurt things for Texas, either. Manager Ron Washington said that when general manager Jon Daniels told him that lee was coming to the Rangers, "my reaction was, 'Good job, John. You're the man!'"

In the postseason, Lee is the man. He's gone undefeated in the playoffs for his entire career. He's a lock — a sure "W" — and one of the reasons why Texas, along with its powerful lineup of hitters, is favored as the series gets under way.

That's music to San Francisco right fielder Cody Ross' ears

In the "getting to know the Giants" part of media day, Ross attracted lots of attention. He was the closest thing to a breakout star the team had during the playoffs, and when he's not flashing his ever-ready smile, he's bashing home runs — two in a single game off previously invincible Roy Halladay in the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Giants pitcher Brian Wilson's ink-black beard has spawned a "fear the beard" mania in San Francisco.

Giants closing pitcher Brian Wilson's ink-black beard has spawned a "fear the beard" mania in San Francisco. Eric Risberg/AP hide caption

toggle caption Eric Risberg/AP

But it's not power that drove the Giants, it's pitching. Veteran first baseman Aubrey Huff said that, with all due respect to Lee and Halladay, people better not forget about their staff.

"That Philly series, everybody was talking about their big three," Huff said. "Well, hell man, we got [a] big four. You know, I think you just get that East Coast bias. Nobody really sees the West Coast; everybody's already asleep by then. We've got some tremendous pitchers."

The country may not be sold on this season, but putting hard-throwing closer Brian Wilson in front of the microphones will help. His bushy black beard has spawned a "fear the beard" mania in San Francisco.

Wilson told reporters Tuesday that the whole beard thing came about when he "went on a road trip, forgot a razor, came home, cleaned up the neck and just missed the rest of the face." After that, he said, "it took on a life of its own."

Not unlike these two teams that pushed aside the heavyweight Phillies and New York Yankees. They're both hoping to pull in a title — and maybe some skeptical fans along the way.



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