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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Root for the Cardinals

    So you’re looking for a team to root for in the World Series.

    It’s the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that’s always solid and seems to at least make the League Championship Series every year, and the Detroit Tigers, an afterthought in postseason predictions at the start of the season, in this year’s Fall Classic.

    It’s not like the past few years, where you had the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox breaking at least 86-year championship slumps, and there isn’t a New York Yankees squad like there has been many times in the past 10 years that makes it a no-brainer who you’re not rooting for.

    So, who should the typical Wildcat fan root for, the Redbirds or the Tigers?

    Judging by connections, it has to be St. Louis.

    For the Cardinals, it all starts with left fielder Chris Duncan, a Tucson native who attended school at Canyon del Oro.

    Duncan committed to play college baseball at Arizona, but after the Cardinals chose him in the first round (No. 46 overall) in the 1999 MLB draft, he went straight to the professional ranks.

    Duncan, who hit .293 with 22 home runs and 43 RBIs in 90 games, also has Arizona baseball in his blood.

    His brother Shelley Duncan is the Wildcats’ career home-run leader with 55, 19 higher than the next best total. Shelley is awaiting his chance at the big leagues, playing mostly for the New York Yankees’ Double-A affiliate Trenton last year but also getting some time at Triple-A Columbus.

    Shelley is still close to the program, organizing the annual alumni game in the past.

    This may be a bit more of a stretch, but Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein played for UA head coach Andy Lopez when he coached at Florida.

    The Cardinals’ leadoff hitter, just like UA senior pitcher Brad Mills, walked on to Lopez’s club, and the 5-foot-7, 165-pound Eckstein has since become a two-time All-Star.

    The closest thing the Tigers have to an Arizona connection is backup catcher Vance Wilson from Mesa, but with Ivan Rodriguez as the starting catcher, Wilson hasn’t even sniffed the field this postseason.

    Although you won’t see a current UA baseball player celebrating with his general manager dad, as Arizona’s Kenny Williams Jr. did with Chicago’s Ken Williams Sr. last October, if you’re not already a fan of one of the participants, root for the Cards.

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