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How will first-timer Texas fare in Fall Classic?

How will first-timer Texas fare in Fall Classic?

ARLINGTON -- Since divisional play began in 1969, the Rangers became the 14th Major League team to make the World Series for the first time after they defeated the Yankees, 6-1, on Friday.

Sometimes lack of experience doesn't play a role for teams that play in their first Fall Classic. Of the 13 clubs that played in the World Series before this year, six of them went on to win a title.

Take, for example, the 1969 Mets. They were heavy underdogs against the Orioles, who had previous World Series experience three years earlier. However, the Mets went on to win their first championship in franchise history.

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Joe Garagiola Jr., senior vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball, was the general manager when the D-backs won their first World Series in 2001 over the Yankees, a team that had won three consecutive titles. He said the lack of Fall Classic experience doesn't play a role in the final outcome. If he had to give the Rangers advice, Garagiola would tell them to enjoy the moment.


"Obviously, you have to take care of business, but when you get the moments and they present themselves, you have to step back and say, 'Hey, we are in the World Series.'" Garagiola said. "That's what you dream about. The minute you are playing the games, you don't want the moment to go by in kind of a blur and then say, 'Gee, but that was fun.'

"I don't know how much of a factor experience is. I think any team that gets to the World Series comes in with a lot of confidence and they have been tested. I don't think anybody comes in overawed. The Rangers are a team with a lot of confidence. They are getting great performances from a lot of people. They have people in the organization who could offer them some counsel."

World Series debuts
Year Team Result
2010 Rangers ???
2008 Rays Lost to the Phillies in 5
2007 Rockies Lost to the Red Sox in 4
2005 Astros Lost to the White Sox in 4
2002 Angels Defeated the Giants in 7
2001 D-backs Defeated the Yankees in 7
1997 Marlins Defeated the Indians in 7
1992 Blue Jays Defeated the Braves in 6
1984 Padres Lost to the Tigers in 5
1982 Brewers Lost to the Cardinals in 7
1980 Royals Lost to the Phillies in 6
1969 Mets Defeated the Orioles in 5
Chart does not include teams that debuted in the World Series before divisional play began.

Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle is one person who can guide the team on what it's like to go to the World Series for the first time. He was a reserve when the Royals made it to the Fall Classic for the first time in 1980. They ended up losing to the Phillies in six games.

Hurdle was also the manager of the Rockies when they advanced to the World Series for the first time in 2007. They were swept by the Red Sox in four games. Since divisional play started, Colorado is the only team with first-time World Series experience to be swept.

Hurdle said lack of experience in the Fall Classic had nothing to do with the Rockies falling to the Red Sox. He said too many days off was the major factor.

After beating the D-backs in the National League Championship Series, the Rockies had to wait eight days before playing their first World Series game. Hurdle pointed out Colorado had won seven straight postseason games before it got swept.

"When a team gets hot, you can throw experience out the window," Hurdle said. "We had a team that had limited experience but was as hot as any team going into the World Series. [If I had to do it over again], I would have tried to stop the gap in the eight days we had off. That was part of it.

"We ran into a club that was hot, very good and talented. But the adrenaline that we had going through the end of the season through the Division Series and National League Championship Series was gone. We had eight days off. It was hard to keep that adrenaline the club had. But the Red Sox outplayed us."

The Rangers will wait until Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET before they play their first World Series game. No matter whom they face -- the Phillies or the Giants -- they will play against a franchise that has been to the World Series in the past decade. The Giants made it in 2002, while the Phillies were in the World Series the past two years, winning it all in '08.

But don't expect Rangers manager Ron Washington to overlook experience in the World Series. He didn't when his club faced the Yankees in the ALCS.

"You never can downplay experience, because sometimes this game can move fast and that experience can slow it down," Washington said before the Rangers won the AL pennant. "It continues to move at the pace that it moves, but experience does this to it, and sometimes youth can't slow it down.

"But it's not always the best team that wins; it's the team that goes out there and plays the best on that day. And that's the attitude my young guys have."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also can be found on twitter -- @washingnats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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