Yankees stand in Phillies' path to history
New York expects 'a battle' as Philadelphia seeks repeat
George Steinbrenner is Bronx-bound. So are the Philadelphia Phillies, for Wednesday night's start of the 105th World Series.
Short rest vs. long rest in the World Series
|2008: Phillies (6 days between games) over Rays (2)|
|2007: Red Sox (2) over Rockies (8)|
|2006: Cardinals (2) over Tigers (6)|
|1995: Braves (6) over Indians (3)|
|1991: Twins (5) over Braves (1)|
|1988: Dodgers (2) over A's (5)|
|1981: Dodgers (0) over Yankees (4)|
Significant? History's answer is no. The Phils had a similar wait problem last year, after also ousting the Dodgers in five while Tampa Bay went seven games with Boston, and defeated the Rays. And in the 2007 World Series, the Red Sox, after only two off-days, swept the Rockies, who had an eight-day rest. All told, four of seven Series between teams with a rest differential of three-plus days have been won by teams on short rest.This Fall Classic reunion generations in the making certainly arrives through a time warp. In 1950, the Yankees were the defending World Series champs -- and swept out the Phils for the second of their still-record five straight titles. Then, the 59 years between meetings is the longest wait for a Classic rematch (and will remain so, until the Red Sox and the Pirates, opponents in the very first modern World Series in 1903, get around to meeting again). As a final historical note, those 1950 Phillies were defined by pioneer closer Jim Konstanty -- the bespectacled reliever whose 22 saves at the time were the second-most in history -- pretty much the way unflappable Mariano Rivera comes closest to defining this era's Yankees. So much for history. Because there is so much to these teams' presents and presence, two heavy-handed, strong-armed, ice-blooded teams who could pass in front of a window and mistake it for a mirror. To former Yankees manager and latest Phillies victim Joe Torre, the chief parallel between them is that look in their eyes. "As far as the similarities between the Philly club and the Yankees, there's a lot of fearlessness," Torre said. They've punched out entire divisions and two playoff foes to step into the diamond ring against each other. If the World Series had a promoter, it would have to be Don King, bringing us The Thrilla in Philadelphia. Of course, the teams haven't really waited 59 years to meet again, only five months, since the Phillies took two games of a three-game Interleague series in Yankee Stadium on May 22-24. That precedent gives little insight into what will ensue. While in those games the Yankees did start their World Series rotation -- A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte (who started their lone win) and CC Sabathia -- the Phillies were "sandbagging." Cole Hamels did start, and got the best of Sabathia, but the other two games were started by a pitcher who may continue his inactive postseason (Brett Myers) and another likely to be in the bullpen (J.A. Happ). On the other hand, the dozen homers smashed in those games by the teams could be a harbinger of the mashing to come.