World Series: Pitting New York and Kansas City even before they take the field

World Series: Mets and Royals face off
World Series: Mets and Royals face off

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World Series: Mets and Royals face off 00:57

Story highlights

  • It's the Heartland vs. The Big Apple
  • Stadium food: There's the N.Y. hotdog and Kansas City BBQ

(CNN)It begins tonight. The World Series. The Fall Classic. The New York Mets vs. the Kansas City Royals.

Break out the Big League Chew. Fire up the grill. Crack a cold one.
All those other 100-and-some games? They were just warmups.
    It's time to start paying attention.
    Even before the two teams take the field, we're pitting them against each other in a segment we call The World Series: What You (Sorta) Need to Know:

    THE TEAM NAMES

    This is important, even if you don't know the difference between a pinch runner and a pinch of salt.
    Can't remember the cities? Don't worry about it. Liberally toss around the team nicknames and you should be fine.
    Both nicknames have a bit of history behind them.
    The Mets were named after an earlier New York team called the Metropolitans.
    The Royals moniker was inspired by the American Royal -- a long-running livestock show and rodeo in Kansas City.
    The winner: Both team names are true to their cities, but Kansas City gets the nod here because how many teams are at least partially named after a rodeo?

    THE SERIES

    Writers like to pin sexy names on big sporting events. There doesn't seem to be one for this World Series.
    The Heartland vs. The Big Apple just doesn't have much of a ring to it. Not like the "Subway Series" between the Mets and crosstown rivals, the New Yankees, in 2000 or the "I-70 Series" between Kansas City and St. Louis in 1985.
    As nice as the folks in Kansas City are, it's tough to come up with an image that can compete with New York.
    We toyed with calling it the "It's 1,203 Miles Between Our Stadiums Series," but it didn't get past the focus group.
    The Royals will just have to earn their respect on the field, because the PR team isn't getting much to work with.
    The winner: Here, the advantage goes to New York.

    THE FOOD

    A team's fan base runs on its stomach. Food is always a priority when it comes to sports.
    For the Mets, the ubiquitous New York hot dog gets the nod, even if it's made from processed meat. Not even the World Health Organization can ruin this yummy bit of stadium grub.
    For the Royals, Kansas City barbecue is king.
    The winner: Slow-cooked Midwestern beef is the best in the land. Slathered in tangy sauce, Kansas City gets two forks up in this Series showdown.

    THE HAIR

    Bad hair won't do when you're in the spotlight. Fortunately, both teams have players ready for prime time, and they're both pitchers.
    Taking the mound for the Mets with locks flailing is Jacob deGrom.
    Not only is he a great pitcher, but he has a cool nickname too: "The deGrominator."
    Oh yes, the ladies like him too.
    Kansas City counters with their mane man, Johnny Cueto.
    His dreadlocks are the thing of legends.
    So renowned are his dreads, even baby Royals' fans are sporting their own faux Cueto locks.
    The winner: In this showdown, you can't go wrong either way. Because of his moniker, deGrom gives New York the win by a hair.

    TO RECAP ...

    Fans of both teams have waited a long time for another title.
    Three full decades for the Royals. Their last World Series title came in 1985.
    It's been 29 years for the Mets, hardly a New York minute.
    For one of the teams, the wait is just about over.
    The rest can go back to ignoring the game for another year.