Subway Series, those baseball spectaculars which keep one city in a frenzy and the rest of the nation looking on, are probably a thing of the past. In the past 15 years, many eastern franchises moved westward: the Giants from New York to San Francisco and the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, for example, so the chances of Subway Series became more and more remote.
But the 1974 World Series will offer a new variety: the first Commuter Series. This year Californians can ride the freeways between Los Angeles and Oakland to watch the Dodgers and Athletics battle for baseball's crown.
The rest of the nation need not be too disappointed, however, as they watch Californians basking in the 70-degree weather and drinking their Coors. A Dodger-Athletics matchup is the best possible exhibition of baseball talent.
Los Angeles used what must be about the best farm system in baseball to load its lineup with powerful young sluggers and provide an excellent pitching staff that won more than 100 games this year. The LA starting lineup reads like an All-Star roster for the year 1974. Steve Garvey batted .312 as he collected 200 hits and 21 home runs. Jim Wynn led the team in homers (32) and helped power the Dodgers to the NL pennant. Bill Russell, the write-in All-Star at short, and Davey Lopes carried the big bats for LA down the stretch at the end of summer.
The Dodger pitching staff led by Don Sutton, Andy Messersmith, Al Downing and Mike Marshall, the National League's best reliever, form the core of baseball's best pitching staff. An opposing batter must get the same feeling as a man sitting in a tank facing a bazooka: he doesn't have a chance.
Oakland is relying on much the same lineup that led it to two consecutive World Series titles. The keys in this year's Series will he how well Reggie Jackson can play in right field with his leg injury and whether Vida Blue can duplicate Tuesday's extraordinary pitching performance, when he mowed down the Baltimore Orioles, 1-0.
It should be a good Series with both teams sporting good hitting lineups and overpowering pitching. I think Los Angeles should take the Series without too many problems, though, in six, maybe five, games. Oakland is good, but in the end the Dodgers' pitching will just be too much for the A's.
A sampling of the Crimson sports staff shows Los Angeles to be a favorite.
BILL STEDMAN--"I'm shifting my allegiance. I have to go with LA this year. They have Davey Lopes, a local man from Rhode Island who went to LaSalle. LA to win in six."
KIM DAVIS--"Oakland in six. They better win, because I've got money on it."
TOM ARONSON--"The Dodgers over Oakland in seven."
JIM CRAMER--"LA in five. Alston sees Tommy LaSorda coming up on him and he wants to keep his job."
DENNIS CORBETT--"Los Angeles will win in seven. Any team that can beat my Reds can beat the best the AL has to offer."
BOB GARRETT--"Los Angeles in five. Any team that can keep Cincinnati in its place has done us a national service."
ANDY QUIGLEY--"Oakland in four. I just hate Los Angeles."
PHILIP WEISS--"Baltimore in six."
Jim Reinig's column will appear regularly each Friday in the Crimson.
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