World Series Preview The Texas Rangers will face the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the 106th World Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco tonight. It has been billed as either a pitcher exhibition -- with the former Cy Young Award winners Cliff Lee of the Rangers and Tim Lincecum of the Giants meeting in the opener -- or a show of sluggers -- with Rangers like Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero vs. Cody Ross of the Giants. Guest host Jacki Lyden speaks with Sports Illustrated writer Pablo Torre for a preview.
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World Series Preview

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World Series Preview

World Series Preview

World Series Preview

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The Texas Rangers will face the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the 106th World Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco tonight. It has been billed as either a pitcher exhibition — with the former Cy Young Award winners Cliff Lee of the Rangers and Tim Lincecum of the Giants meeting in the opener — or a show of sluggers — with Rangers like Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero vs. Cody Ross of the Giants. Guest host Jacki Lyden speaks with Sports Illustrated writer Pablo Torre for a preview.

JACKI LYDEN, Host:

Unidentified Man: The Rangers are going to the World Series.

(SOUNDBITE OF BASEBALL GAME)

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

LYDEN: And that was last week at Arlington stadium. And to explain how things got to this point, we've invited Pablo Torre onto the show. He's a writer for Sports Illustrated, and he's with us from our New York bureau. Pablo, welcome back to the program.

PABLO TORRE: Thanks for having me, Jacki.

LYDEN: You know, can I actually ask you to bear with me for a moment, and this is sports after all, competition, and read something by sports writer from The Wall Street Journal that I thought was so delicious?

TORRE: Of course, go ahead.

LYDEN: I just was laughing.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

TORRE: And in Texas, where pitching has been the problem, they added Cliff Lee, a guy who's since entered the conversation with names like Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax for one of the greatest post season pitchers ever.

LYDEN: So, you know, I was just doing a little math here, you're talking 49 years since the Rangers have won a series, right?

TORRE: Mm hmm.

LYDEN: Fifty years for the Giants, so it's, like, this is a once in a hundred year phenomena for these two teams. What do you think that this series will look like, now that they've both improved so much over the summer?

TORRE: And then when you have these other characters, like Josh Hamilton, who may be the putative MVP in the America League; and another name, Bengie Molina, over with the Rangers, who may be the best story of all because he's guaranteed to get a World Series ring either way, actually, because he was traded from San Francisco to Texas at midseason. You sort of have a lot of interesting storylines here, but it'll start with pitching in game one.

LYDEN: Now, there's some other storylines, some other drama going on with these two teams, along the lines of redemption.

TORRE: Yeah, I mean, the number one story right now, you'd have to say, would be Josh Hamilton, who's an insane, insane tale. I mean a guy who was drafted number one overall by Tampa Bay as an 18 year old out of Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1999, was a total physical specimen, had every gift you'd want in a baseball prospect, and then gets addicted to crack cocaine.

LYDEN: And he's playing for the Rangers.

TORRE: For the Rangers. And he's wandering the earth in this time, literally sleeping in crack dens, and the backs of cars, and he'll talk openly about this. And eight years later, he resurfaces in Major League Baseball and is basically as good as people expected him to be as an 18-year-old. And to his credit, you know, he's literally found religion, he's a devout Christian and he's overcome addiction. And it's something that you haven't seen in - really in sports ever, really, an eight-year break and drugs not being able to kill the potential of a superstar.

LYDEN: You know, the teams have not been followed so much over the summer, other than by, you know, sportswriters and hometown people, of course, by ardent fans.

TORRE: Mm-hmm.

LYDEN: What about now that we've come to the series? Do you think that a lot of people are going to tune in?

TORRE: Well, we're calling it in the pages of SI is, the World Series for baseball aficionados. It's a World Series that you sort of need to have a little bit of baseball interest to get into. But once you will, I think you'll kind of enjoy it. I mean yes, it's true that they did knock off the Phillies and the Yankees, which doesn't help the ratings, but once you tune in I mean, this is going to be a very close series. And again, with characters like Josh Hamilton, with Tim Lincecum, with Cliff Lee, this are the names that I think the national audience will be familiar with, if they're not already, by the time this is done.

LYDEN: Thank again, Pablo.

TORRE: Thanks, Jacki.

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