Sox, Astros Set to Make Pitch for World Title

Roy Oswalt pitches, framed by huge portrait of Jackie Robinson. i i

Houston Astros' pitcher Roy Oswalt warms up for the World Series, framed against a huge portrait of Jackie Robinson on the outfield wall. Reuters hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters
Roy Oswalt pitches, framed by huge portrait of Jackie Robinson.

Houston Astros' pitcher Roy Oswalt warms up for the World Series, framed against a huge portrait of Jackie Robinson on the outfield wall.

Reuters

Two pitching-rich ballclubs meet in the World Series. The host Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros are definitely well-armed. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Ron Rapoport and Scott Simon preview the matchup.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Finally, time for sports. I've been waiting 46 years to read this intro. They put a White Sox cap on the Picasso statue in Daley Plaza. The mayor of Houston has declared a No Socks Week. 2005 World Series begins tonight in Chicago. American League champion Chicago White Sox vs. the National League champion Houston Astros. Sox haven't won the Series since 1917. The Astros haven't been in a Series since they were created in 1962. Calling this Series historic might actually be true.

Joining us now from Colorado Springs, Colorado, our own piece of history, Ron Rapoport.

RON RAPOPORT reporting:

Hi, Scott.

SIMON: Ron, what a pitching matchup tonight. Roger Clemens, the 43-year-old local legend of the Lone Star State, is going to start against Jose Contreras.

RAPOPORT: Jose Contreras, yeah, who is...

SIMON: Who must be 50.

RAPOPORT: Well, this is just great stuff, Scott. I mean, it's going to come down to the pitching. The White Sox don't have a single offensive player good enough to start in the All-Star Game, just some very good ones who play well with others, you know?

SIMON: Yeah.

RAPOPORT: And the Astros' best players over the years--Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell--they look to have an easier road to the Hall of Fame than the World Series. But look at this for a minute. The Astros have Oswald, Andy Petitte--and what's the name of that old guy who's going again tonight? Roger somebody?

SIMON: Jack Lemmon, I think.

RAPOPORT: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And on top of that, the best closer in the business, Brad Lidge. Now the Sox have Jose Contreras, Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland and Freddy Garcia. Scott, they won four games in a row. That's never happened before--complete games in a row...

SIMON: Yeah.

RAPOPORT: ...in the postseason. The Sun-Times published a graphic last week, had their pictures on Mt. Rushmore.

SIMON: Deservedly so. Listen, the Las Vegas betting line, as I understand it, favors the Sox. But I noticed today The New York Times and The Washington Post--East Coast media elite...

RAPOPORT: Yeah, what do they know?

SIMON: ...says that Houston is stronger. And they make the case that the Sox have not had--they didn't have to face Bartolo Colon against LA. They didn't have to face Curt Schilling when they played the Red Sox.

RAPOPORT: Well, with their pitching, Scott, they could have faced Walter Johnson and Christie Mathison(ph) and it would have been all right. If they can continue pitching that way--and by the way, rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, they do have a bull pen--they're going to be all right. I, you know--listen, I have to make a living in Chicago when the season's over; I'm going with the White Sox all the way here, but I just think that this is so much fun to see these two teams...

SIMON: Yes, right.

RAPOPORT: ...while the glamour teams are gone, you know?

SIMON: Yeah. Well, you know, I would add my own prediction except I don't want to affect events. We have that dark power, you know. So I think I'll just sit on it, and I think whoever wins, it's great for America.

RAPOPORT: Yeah, right, right.

SIMON: Don't you think so?

RAPOPORT: You sissy.

SIMON: OK. Thank you, Ron.

Ron Rapoport is a columnist for the Chicago-Sun Times, and lots of luck getting back on our show. He's our sports commentator here on WEEKEND EDITION, and aren't we lucky to have him? Tonight, the Sox vs. the 'Stros. World Series 2005.

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