You know, everyone makes an awful lot of the Rays managing to make the playoffs in the AL East, but guess who’s been to the World Series the most since 2004? It’s the Cardinals.
Of course, I’m not really a Cardinal fan and I don’t believe in rooting for the division when your team doesn’t make it (familiarity breeds contempt, after all), but it’s worth noting that a six-team NL Central is generally a pretty rough division to play in, bad reputation notwithstanding. That may or may not all change after these playoffs, but it’s definitely more true than people realize.
As for this World Series, I’m both rooting for the Rangers and I think the Rangers will win, but I don’t think that anyone that’s picking the Rangers right now really appreciates just how good the Cardinals are. This team isn’t in the World Series by a fluke. They pounded the ball all year, they got hot in the second half, and they’re rolling. If the Rangers’ pitchers don’t show up more than the Brewers’ did, there’s a good chance this series will end the same way the NLCS did. With the Cardinals pounding a team that everyone thought was better into submission.