Reviewing the 2008 World Series Program
- Updated: January 30, 2009
There is no doubt that the story lines for this year’s World Series were endless as the Phillies, a historic baseball franchise, were heading back to the Series to try to end a quarter century drought, and the Rays, who had never even had a winning season in their history, faced off.
As one can expect, there are the normal aspects of a season ending program such as the season in review and some of the post season events that had made news. Included in the team by team sections along with the rosters of the Rays and Phillies was a day by day journal of the events of the season that led these two teams to the series.
Surprisingly, most of the program (probably the three quarters of it) has very little to do specifically with the teams who were in the Series, making it even more interesting to baseball fans across the country.
There is truly something for all fans as Red Sox fans could spend time reading the interview with crazy closer Jonathan Papelbon and Royals fans can feel that their team is truly supported during an interview with actor Paul Rudd.
There are many writers in the program that many casual baseball fans have heard of such as Jayson Stark of ESPN.com and George F. Will, an author of many baseball books. During one section, Stark and another columnist named Bob Kalpisch debate which moment is the greatest in World Series history. (Stark points to game seven of the 1960 World Series when Bill Mazeroski homered and led the Pirates to the title and Kapisch points to Bob Gibson’s homerun in game one of the 1988 Series.)
There are also a few satirical stories written to peak those interests. One of these stories compares Francisco Rodriguez to Bobby Thigpen. (Rodriguez broke Thigpen’s record for most saves in a single season in 2008.) One of the comparisons is how each of the players used breaking balls. Rodriguez is said to use breaking balls as his, “go-to pitch,” while Thigpen uses it as his “favorite lover room activity.”
As one might imagine, history is abound during the program as many of the most famous games in World Series history are chronicled. Steve Krasner has a very interesting article entitled “Once in a Lifetime” about the 1918 World Series when the Cubs and Red Sox met in the Series. Krasner looks into the contrast in times as both teams were World Series regulars during this time and after that year, each team entered a nearly century long draught without a title (For the Cubs, it could be more than a century.).
While history no doubt has its place in the program, there is no doubt that much of the focus is on the incredible 2008 season. Jodie Jordan lays out the ten most dominant players in the league as voted by players, coaches and managers with Josh Hamilton finishing first while Pete Williams features the Rays in an attempt to explain the success of the young club.
Another ESPN writer, Jerry Crasnick, has a piece in the program about what it takes to have one of the greatest pitching seasons of all time. Featured in the article are Pedro Martines, Sandy Koufax and Ron Guidry (among others). All of whom, it could be said, experienced a good deal of success on the Major League level.
Their behind the scenes look at members of different organizations provided an interesting look into how baseball teams work behind the scenes. Since they did not only focus on the major members of the front office, the reader is able to better understand the idea that a Major League Baseball team is basically like any other big time business when it is operating off the field.
As one might imagine, there are many pages dedicated to an explanation of the brand new MLB Network. During this piece, the readers learn what thought has gone into the different programming that is going to be offered in a nearly obvious attempt by MLB to try to make the fans believe that they are not creating the network to make some more money.
Overall, the magazine was full of interesting content and boasted some of the best action pictures a baseball fan can ever hope to see. Even compared to last year’s program (which was also filled with great information) this is a step up in terms of the breadth of topics covered throughout the program.
The Grade: 4.75/5
Bill Jordan is a contributor to BaseballReflections.com. He can be reached by e-mail at BillJordaniv@yahoo.com.