Sports Commentary: Series picks

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An interesting way of selecting a World Series favorite

By Mike Forster

 You’ve got to cheer for some team in the World Series.  It’s the American way.

This year, I face a quandary in trying to pick a team:  I like ‘em both.

In fact, at different points in my life, I followed the Giants and the Rangers.

I’ve lived in a few different locations in this great country of ours.  With each new move, I try to root for the local teams.

That doesn’t mean I abandon those teams I’ve cheered for all my life, such as the Cubs.  I just add on.

In fact, I lived in Texas and near San Francisco.

More specifically, I lived in El Paso, Texas and Monterey, California.  I lived in both  courtesy of the U.S. Army.

My time in El Paso gave me a taste of things to come if I continued to misbehave in this life:  Everything was hot.

It was a mean and nasty hot.  The kind of hot that makes you spend a lot of time in movie theatres.

Hot sand.  Hot pavement. Hot buildings.  Hot car interiors.  And the food?  Oy!

I recall stumbling into a Juarez burrito bar where a giant of a biker dude recommended I get the house special.  And that I get it “extra spicy.”

Thanks to following his advice, I spent two days writhing in pain, clutching my gut  in a personal vale of tears. 

I came away from my time in El Paso with some Mexican blankets, an onyx chess set, some black velvet artwork and an affinity for Tums.

My memories of Tejas are not fond.  Sorry, Rangers, I can’t root for you.

I lived in California because the Army, in its wisdom, determined that it wanted to send me to Monterey to study Italian at the Defense Language Institute.

That year was a mix of immersion in the language of Dante and immersion  in the waters of the Pacific.  Thrown into the mix were some trips to ballgames at San Francisco and Oakland.

I took to both the Giants and A’s that year, as well as the Raiders and 49ers.

When I was in Monterey, the Giants were good.  In fact, two years later, they were in the World Series.  Against the Oakland A’s, of all teams.

I stopped following the team though, and I know little of today’s Giants.

This current crop does include a former member of my Cubs, Mike Fontenot.

It also includes former Phillie Pat Burrell.  My brother Dan, who lived in Philly, used to call Burrell, “Pat the Bat,” when Burrell was mistreating the ball.

Of course, Burrell’s bat would cool down midway through the season.

At that point, he became, in my brother’s eyes, “Pat the Glove.”

The San Franciscans have some tremendous pitchers, including this Lincecum guy, who is lights-out, by all accounts.

They also have some pitchers with serious beards.

Take a look at reliever Brian Wilson.  His beard would make a mountain man feel like a little girl. 

I, on the other hand, grow a weak beard.  When I do try to grow one, I get a beard  that is spotty, at best.  And mostly white.  It’d be as if moths got into your Santa disguise.

So, in a nod to my old beachcomber days, and because I have beard envy,  I’m going to pull for the team of which I know little:  the Giants.

By the way, following my stint in Monterey, I had a pretty good grasp of the Italian language.

As a result, the Army, in its wisdom, stationed me at...drum roll...Fort Riley, Kansas.

The wife has a theory on that move.  According to her, I was sent to Kansas to defend the nation’s breadbasket, in the event some Italian foods company tried to take over the Kansas wheat fields for its pasta production.

What’s worse, I had to follow the Kansas City Royals.