- The San Francisco Giants have won two World Series in recent years
- The Kansas City Royals haven't won one since 1985
- Giants roster has changed but their method of winning hasn't
- Royals don't pay attention to underdog label, they just go out to have fun
Tonight we find out whether it's time for a team of destiny or a team that's a new type of dynasty.
Kansas City Royals fans have really enjoyed this season of surprises, with their unheralded team battling into its first World Series in almost three decades.
And San Francisco Giants fans have really enjoyed the even-numbered seasons lately.
It goes like this: 2010, World Series champs. 2011, not even in the playoffs. 2012, World Series champs. 2013, a losing record.
Sure, you can argue that "dynasty" is a label that doesn't apply to a team that doesn't have a string of trophy wins and doesn't come into each new season as the favorite to win another.
The idea of any team winning titles every year pretty much evaporated in the last century.
No team has even won back-to-back crowns since the Yankees in 1998 and 1999.
So what's up with these Giants?
The secret of the Giants' success really isn't a secret. It comes down to good managing and great pitching.
Giants Manager Bruce Bochy told Sport Illustrated: "You have to keep calm any way you can and relay that to the players. This is a special group. They don't need a lot of help with that part. But the manager's job also is the feel you get for which guys can handle (pressure) and who can't."
That's what each of his Series winning teams have done, played with poise. They've won the tight games, buoyed by the superb pitching and fielders who don't make errors.
"Pitching and defense are going to win you games. I know it's a cliche answer, but until you can prove to me otherwise, I'll stick with that answer," Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt told MLB.com.
The Giants are not like the Yankees of the '50s when year after year they put the same nine on the field, and when Yogi Berra won more rings than fingers on one hand.
Sure, all-star catcher Buster Posey has been a constant, but Bleacher Report notes that the rest of the lineup card has changed.
"In the team's three World Series pushes, it has had three different second basemen, left fielders, center fielders and closers. It has had two first basemen, shortstops, third basemen and right fielders," writes Bleacher Report.
Bochy says having some fresh faces each year gives a fresh desire to win.
"That was part of our motivation when this whole thing started. Let's find a way to give them a chance and get them to the World Series," he told reporters before the Fall Classic began.
It also helps when the new talent fills in the gaps left behind by departures and injuries.
The big trouble facing the Giants on Wednesday night is the visiting team factor. It's been forever since a road team won a Game 7 in the World Series. It was 1979 when Pittsburgh took the title at Baltimore.
The Royals were involved in one of those games since, winning the 1985 World Series at home in a final game blowout. It was the franchise's last sniff of glory.
The likeable Royals have delighted not only K.C. fans but hardcore baseball fans, too. They have perpetually been underdogs and it's been refreshing to watch a small TV market team have a chance at a crown.
But the players don't think of themselves as party spoilers.
"We know we're a good team. To us, we're not the underdogs. We're just going out there and playing the game and having some fun," third baseman Mike Moustakas told MLB.com.
Manager Ned Yost said his team doesn't pay attention to what the media says. They are only concerned with playing their best baseball, and in October, they have been. And it's brought joy to fans all over.
"I think America has fallen in love with this group because of their energy, their passion, their fun-loving nature," Yost said before Game 7. "Even through the most stressful times, you can't (look) in our dugout and not see them laughing and having a good time with each other, and I think people love seeing that."
Yost also said he foresees this team being pretty good for years, given a young core of rising stars. Of course, even if they win tonight, it's too early to use that "D" word.