Tim Kurkjian: Diamondbacks-Rangers World Series ‘great for baseball’

Oct 26, 2023, 2:00 PM

How many diehard baseball enthusiasts could’ve predicted that the Arizona Diamondbacks would take on the Texas Rangers in the World Series back in spring training?

It certainly couldn’t have been many.

Both teams finished under .500 in 2022. In 2021, the Diamondbacks recorded a National League-worst 52 wins while the Rangers recorded 60.

Now, the script has been flipped. Both teams defied the odds and took down some of the league’s best in their efforts for a World Series appearance.

“I think it’s great for baseball,” ESPN’s Tim Kurjian told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Thursday. “I know I’m in the vast minority here … you’ve got two young, hungry, athletic, fast teams … and they’re going to show people who they are.”

The D-backs are fueled by youth. The team’s top performers this postseason, with the exception of NLCS MVP Ketel Marte (30), are all under the age of 26: Brandon Pfaadt (25), Gabriel Moreno (23), Corbin Carroll (23) and Alek Thomas (23).

Despite their lack of any postseason experience, the kids came out to play. They remained calm, cool and collected in loud and rowdy venues in Milwaukee, Los Angeles and most notably, Philadelphia.

Even after proving their legitimacy in sweeps of Milwaukee and Los Angeles, the Diamondbacks were still counted out in the NLCS against the Phillies.

“You don’t go into Philadelphia down 3-2 and win two games. You just don’t,” D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Thursday. “… And they had so much confidence going in. Every one of those guys looked me in the eyes and said, ‘We’ve got this. Watch this.'”

The Rangers can hit. They led the American League in runs scored, walks and slugging percentage. ALCS MVP Adolis Garcia, Corey Seager and Nathaniel Lowe have proved that the team knows how to hit the ball out of the ballpark.

They have more experienced starting pitching, with Nathan Eovaldi being one of the game’s best postseason pitchers.

But what the D-backs have learned is that they can overcome any obstacle thrown their way.

“They’re not scared. They’re fearless and they totally have all the faith in themselves. … It’s awesome,” Hall said.

The Diamondbacks begin their quest to a second World Series title on Friday in Arlington. The Fall Classic will return to Chase Field on Monday for Game 3.

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Tim Kurkjian: Diamondbacks-Rangers World Series ‘great for baseball’