Series Brings Hope to Smaller Markets

Series Brings Hope to Smaller Markets

Perhaps the best part of this year's baseball postseason is that it gives hope. The way the Rangers and Giants have reached the World Series is a method within the grasp of almost any franchise.

It's hard. It takes several years of steady, patient progress. Having Yankee or Red Sox money would be easier. But it can be done.

In fact, in recent years, and especially this season, more teams than most fans think are already following this mid-budget method, including the substantially improved Reds and Padres, the under-construction Nationals and perhaps even the Indians.

Four teams show the trend most dramatically. Just three years ago, the Giants, Rangers, Reds and Rays all stunk. They averaged 91 losses apiece. Nobody predicted big gains for any of 'em. Yet Texas and San Francisco will start the Series on Wednesday night. The Rays were already in the '08 World Series and beat the Yanks in the AL East this year. The Reds just won the NL Central.

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