The Angels are in.
The Freeway Series is a real possibility.
The Yankees and Phillies are like traffic congestion right now to the average fan around Los Angeles. Both clubs in the L.A. market have advanced to the League Championship Series, the first time each has gotten this close to meeting the other in the World Series.
A day after the Dodgers swept the Cardinals, the Angels staged an unforgettable ninth-inning rally Sunday in Boston to sweep their nemesis, the Red Sox. The Dodgers will have home-field advantage this time when they host the National League Championship Series opener Thursday against the Phillies -- with game time expected to be 5:07 PT -- and the Angels open Friday at Yankee Stadium.
"Oh man, that'd be great for the city," Dodgers first baseman James Loney said. "We play those guys tough every time. We get a bunch of fans out there, too. It's definitely fun playing those guys, a great atmosphere."
"These guys [Red Sox and Yankees] are bests over here," Angels center fielder Torii Hunter said Sunday in Boston. "But I'll tell you, the West Coast right now is the Best Coast."
Hunter was careful to add: "I'm not that dumb [to talk much about it]. You don't want to get too far ahead of yourself."
To a man, everyone around the Dodgers and Angels who was asked about a possible Freeway Series framed his comment with exactly the same perspective.
Each club has a best-of-seven series in front of it that will be a thrill ride capable of going either way. But there is now a reality in terms of at least logistical planning. Many people are booking hotels in Los Angeles to cover a complete World Series stay, just in case.
Just ask Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who made a clutch Game 2 start against the Cardinals. Amid champagne spraying in St. Louis on Saturday, he said: "Totally too far to look in the future, but I'm sure it would be incredible for the city of L.A., and it would be fun for us, too. It'd be pretty crazy, I'd think. Travel would be nice."
Kershaw was born one year before the Bay Bridge Series of 1989, and he grew up hearing about what that event was like -- though those who lived through it remember the horror more than the Oakland A's sweep of the San Francisco Giants. This is the 20th anniversary of that one-market California World Series, which was marred by the tragic Loma Prieta earthquake.
One-city or Metropolitan-Area World Series
|Year||Winning team||Losing team|
|1906||Chicago White Sox||Chicago Cubs|
|1921||New York Giants||New York Yankees|
|1922||New York Giants||New York Yankees|
|1923||New York Yankees||New York Giants|
|1936||New York Yankees||New York Giants|
|1937||New York Yankees||New York Giants|
|1941||New York Yankees||Brooklyn Dodgers|
|1944||St. Louis Cardinals||St. Louis Browns|
|1947||New York Yankees||Brooklyn Dodgers|
|1949||New York Yankees||Brooklyn Dodgers|
|1951||New York Yankees||New York Giants|
|1952||New York Yankees||Brooklyn Dodgers|
|1953||New York Yankees||Brooklyn Dodgers|
|1955||Brooklyn Dodgers||New York Yankees|
|1956||New York Yankees||Brooklyn Dodgers|
|1989||Oakland Athletics||San Francisco Giants|
|2000||New York Yankees||New York Mets|
A Dodgers-Angels matchup also would end this decade on a similar note to how it began. In fact, what a contrast. Start with the Yankees over the Mets in the 2000 Subway Series, in America's largest city. Then possibly finish it with Angels vs. Dodgers in the 105th World Series, in America's second-largest city. Joe Torre, who managed those Yanks, manages these Dodgers.
Torre would be asked about it constantly. Just don't ask him about it now. He is maybe the last person to be caught looking beyond a postseason series. Mike Scioscia, the Angels' manager whose club won in seven against the Giants in a 2002 all-California World Series, answered the question in his postgame interview session on Sunday.
"We're not going that far right now. Believe me," Scioscia said. "We have a huge challenge in front of us. Before we talk about a Freeway Series, we're going to have to beat an incredible team."
The first one-market World Series was in 1906, when the White Sox upset the 116-win Cubs in six. The 1944 World Series was even on the same field -- Sportsman's Park, where the Cardinals beat the Browns (now Baltimore Orioles) in six.
Then, of course, there have been numerous Subway Series -- 14 in all -- going back to the halcyon days when New York was the unquestioned baseball capital of the world with the New York Yankees, New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers.
"Any World Series with L.A. in it, I'd be happy with," Dodgers catcher Russell Martin said. "I'm not going to think that far ahead, but a Freeway Series would be cool. We have to take it one step at a time."
How special would a Freeway Series be for the Weaver family and its two pitchers? Jered played a huge role in the Angels' sweep, while his older brother Jeff was performing admirably in middle relief for the Dodgers against the Cardinals club he helped to the 2006 title.
"I told him 'congratulations,'" Jered said Sunday, amid the champagne celebration in the Angels' clubhouse at Fenway Park. "I haven't had a chance yet to check my phone. I hope it's still dry. I'm sure I'll have a bunch of text messages. We're not going to talk about that yet. We've still got a ways to go. We'll see what happens.
"That would be real special for the family. No doubt about it. That would be real special."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less