So, tonight is Game 1 of the World Series.  Two excellent teams facing each other.  Who am I rooting for?  The Phillies (which is not easy for a DC sports fan to say since the Eagles, Phils, 76ers and Flyers are enemies of our local teams).  So, if I’m not a Philly fan, why am I rooting for them?  Here’s why …

First, I think the Yankees have a team full of quality players, such as Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettite, etc — who play the game the right way and seem to be good citizens.  And, their manager, Joe Girardi is cut from the same cloth.  It’s nothing against the players.  And, the team has not broken any rules in assembling the team.

But, I strongly dislike the fact that a team can go out and spend that kind of money to try to win a world championship.  The MLB system is broken … it’s simply not fair that a team in the largest market and with the largest local TV contract … can go out and spend that type of money.   They spent over $440 million in acquiring free agents this year.  That’s over $440 million!!!  They signed the two best free agent pitchers available and the best hitter available.

Fortunately, the other leagues — NFL, NBA and NHL — have a salary cap in place — so this injustice doesn’t happen in the other leagues.  Could you imagine if the Lakers in the summer of 2010 signed LeBron James and Dwayne Wade to free agent deals so they could play alongside Kobe and Lamar.  Well, if the NBA had no cap system in place, that’s what could happen.

I do enjoy the fact that the Yanks have spent this kind of absurd money in the past decade yet they haven’t won a World Series since 2000.   It shows that money can’t necessarily buy world championships.  And, I’ve enjoyed seeing the mid-market teams, with much, much smaller payrolls win the championships this decade.

So, what’s my prediction?  I’m going to say the Phillies will win in 7 games (originally, I thought they’d win in 6 games but I’m going to stretch it to 7 games).  I think they have an outstanding manager in Charlie Manuel — who’ll steal a game or two with his old-school experience.  And, they’re offensive line-up is terrific up and down the order … J-Roll to Chase Utley to Ibanez to Ryan Howard to Victorino to Werth … an outstanding mix of power, hitting and speed.  And, they have a strong starting rotation.  Of course, the key will be the bullpen.  Plus, the guys have experience from winning it all last year … and the team is full of players who play the game the right way.   My prediction for MVP?  Jayson Werth.

I hope everyone enjoys the Fall Classic.