MLB's best set for unique World Series
A World Series like no other begins on Tuesday night with a rare match-up between Major League Baseball's best battling for the title.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are pursuing redemption, the Tampa Bay Rays are seeking acclaim while MLB is relieved just to reach the championship of the pandemic-delayed season.
Attendance will be down to about 11,000 in the smallest crowd for a Series game in more than a century.
The best-of-seven Series will be played on artificial turf for the first time since 1993, at the new $1.2 billion ($A1.7b) Globe Life Field, home of a Texas Rangers team eliminated on September 20.
Traditional post-game victory celebrations are barred.
However, surroundings are largely irrelevant to the favoured Dodgers and under-the-radar Rays.
LA, baseball's biggest spenders with a payroll of $95.6 million ($A134.7m), return to the Series for the third time in four years as they seeks a first title since 1988.
Tampa Bay, among the major leagues' poorest draws and lowest-salaried rosters at just $28.9m ($A41m), made it this far only once before and lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008.
Perennially unable to get a new ballpark built, the Rays have said they are exploring splitting future seasons between St. Petersburg, Florida, and Montreal.
While the Rays - who topped the American League with a 40-20 record in the abbreviated regualr season - beat Houston for the pennant on Saturday night in San Diego, they had to wait until Monday to travel to Texas.
The Dodgers, like the Rays, went to a Game 7 to win their league pennant after their MLB-best 43-17 regular season campaign.
Tampa Bay are known best for innovative thinking and hard-throwing relievers, referred to by manager Kevin Cash as a "whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 miles an hour."
"They didn't make it to the World Series on accident," Dodgers star Mookie Betts said.
"It's not going to be easy by any means."
Regardless of the Series result, it is quite an accomplishment for MLB to get through an extraordinary campaign due to COVID-19.
This will be the first Series entirely at one ballpark since 1944 at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis - and the fourth overall.
The Yankees and Giants shared New York's Polo Grounds in 1921 and 1922.
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