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Reading Room: A wild card of a World Series

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Plus: Quotes from Jose Abreu, awful postseason commercials, and a look into the minor-league compensation system

Jamie Squire

After a too-long layoff, the World Series between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants finally commences in Kansas City tonight.

Normally, this could be something of a story:

Had the Giants strung out the NLCS a little longer, perhaps this would mean something. But while the Royals' sweep of the Orioles afforded them five full days off, the Giants have spent the last four days doing nothing themselves.

It's cool that both teams have their No. 1 starters lined up for Game 1 -- James Shields and Madison Bumgarner -- but setting a hard date for Game 1 of the World Series runs the risk of wasting several good October days, and putting dramatic series-clinching victories well into the rear-view mirror by the time everybody gets a chance to watch baseball again.

That bothers me more than two Wild Card teams battling in the World Series, although Joe Sheehan has a point when he says the regular season loses a lot of meaning when this year's world champion will have won fewer than 90 games. I'm sympathetic to that argument, but playoff expansion goes hand-in-hand with league expansion, and if baseball is interested in supporting new markets rather than expanding, then that horse has already left the barn.

Christian Marrero Reading Room

Grant Brisbee's No. 3 is my No. 1. I really miss the days when prescription drug companies were terrified of listing side effects, and thus described a pill's purpose in a roundabout way.

Jose Abreu spoke to reporters on a conference call after winning the Sporting News' Rookie of the Year Award:

"For me, it means a lot that the players who play against me recognize my efforts and my numbers," said Abreu during a Monday conference call, with the assistance of interpreter Billy Russo. "I am thankful for all of them to give me support. I don't have words to describe what I'm feeling right now."

If he's feeling that good about this honor, just wait until he wins the official one.

Will Leitch doesn't really do rip jobs, but his post about Mike Matheny was about as close as he gets. That's why I'm glad to see the most recent wave of coaching changes reversing the trend of off-the-couch hirings, especially for teams that have immediate designs on contending. Even if bench coaches or third-base coaches haven't been the point men, they've seen (and had say in) real-time decision-making. That seems like an odd place to skimp in such a high-profile position and industry.

Reporter Brendan Kennedy offers a good, fair, in-depth look at the minor-league system -- the details of wages, why it's facing a lawsuit, why players put up with it, and why many do it with a smile. While we're talking about deficiencies, the underinvestment in minor leaguers always confused me. I understand why they'd prefer to not pay players, but you'd think an increase in meal money or team-directed nutritional programs would pay dividends somehow.