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This Week In Sports: Baseball Championships

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Last night's sport scores, Everton 3, Man. U., 1 - wait, did you say the baseball championships are on? Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: The Kansas City Royals blanked the Toronto Blue Jays last night, 5-0. And tonight, the New York Mets host the Chicago Cubs, zip-a-dee-doo-dah (ph). Our Tom Goldman joins us. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Good morning.

SIMON: Edison Volquez of the Royals was masterful on the mound last night, wasn't he?

GOLDMAN: Oh, boy. He threw six scoreless innings, throwing in the upper 90s at times - just imagine being thrown at in the upper 90s. Pitches ducking and darting everywhere, according to Toronto manager John Gibbons. Yeah, masterful's a good description. Volquez and KC's relief pitchers combined to hold the best hitting team in baseball to three hits; the Blue Jays' fewest ever in a playoff game. Now, Toronto's big bats should wake up. Remember the Blue Jays started slowly in the division series against Texas, losing the...

SIMON: Yeah.

GOLDMAN: ...first two games at home before winning three straight. But this is a really good start for the defending American League champs.

SIMON: Does it remind us that post-season good pitching can throw a wet blanket over good hitting?

GOLDMAN: It does.

SIMON: Tonight's game, Cubs against the New York Mets. The Mets are a great team, but the Cubs have won their - the last nine games against the Mets. But that was before the Mets took off after the July trading deadline. What do you foresee?

GOLDMAN: I see great things. As you mentioned, from late July to the end of...

SIMON: I'm holding myself back, Tom. You go ahead, OK. Be statesmanlike, yeah.

GOLDMAN: From late July to the end of the season, the Mets hit more homeruns and scored more runs per game than any other team in the National League. But the Cubs weren't - they were right behind, and their power-hitting has continued in the playoffs. In the first round versus the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cubs hit six homeruns in one game. That's a playoff record. So both teams obviously can hit and score. The Mets have more great starting pitchers, but the Cubs probably have better relievers overall. And the Cubs have Joe Maddon. He's a really creative manager who finds interesting ways to win ballgames, tight series. Many giving Chicago the edge to win, Scott, which...

SIMON: Yeah.

GOLDMAN: ...leads me to a question for you.

SIMON: Yes, uh-huh, yes.

GOLDMAN: We're still a ways off from this happening, but, as listeners probably know, you are part of the legion of Cubs fans through the ages who have not celebrated a World Series title in 107 years. So if the Cubs win, what will you do suddenly without that annual suffering in your life?

SIMON: (Laughter) You know, I've thought about that. I've thought about it all of my life as a matter of fact. I will lose a certain compass, but, you know, it's not just I've never seen them - my mother died at the age of 84. She never saw them in the World Series. Her father, a Chicago cop, would be a 104 this year. He never saw the Cubs win a World Series. I'm going to be glad that maybe we can crawl out of this dangerous, lovable loser mentality. You want to make life better for your children, right? And by the way, Tom, I am glad to dip into politics for a moment that the first president from Chicago is a White Sox fan. How would you feel about a Cub fan sitting down to negotiate with Vladimir Putin?

GOLDMAN: (Laughter) Good point.

SIMON: (Laughter) Oh, here, yeah, take it. Take it. Please, oh, no, no, no, my bad. Big NFL game tomorrow - Indianapolis Colts play the New England Patriots for the first time since Ballghazi. I'll bet those footballs are going to be pumped up for Tom Brady until they're the size of a Goodyear blimp.

GOLDMAN: (Laughter) Yes, some extra vinegar in this rivalry tomorrow, the Colts, of course, the team that tattled on Brady and the Pats alleged deflation of game balls which of course plunged our nation into Deflategate. Tom Brady, the New England quarterback, at the spry, old age of 38, has been on a mission this season, whether that's fueled by Deflategate, anger or just his innate competitive drive. Many are expecting that to continue tomorrow. New England should win. Don't expect 20, you know, Brady TD passes. If form holds, the Pats will dominate with their running game as they've done versus the Colts in recent years, but it will be great theater.

SIMON: NPR's Tom Goldman, thanks so much. Talk to you next week on - I hope - about the World Series.

GOLDMAN: (Laughter) OK.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.