But Series-ly, Folks

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Yankees... Padres? The 1998 World Series slate is set after San Diego finally finished off the heavily favored Atlanta Braves with a 5-0 victory Wednesday night at Turner Field in Atlanta. It's a matchup few expected. While the high-expectation Yankees are chasing history, the Pods are just chasing legitimacy: San Diego hasn't been to the Series since 1984, when team star Tony Gwynn was just a pup in an ugly brown-and-orange uniform.

Though the smart money remains on New York, the Padres pose some big problems for the Yankees. One is hard-throwing pitchers, who have given New York hitters the most trouble this season, and another is what is properly termed mojo: Staff ace Kevin Brown and catcher Jim Leyritz were Series heroes in the past two seasons. Still another is character: Like the Yankees, the Pods' people are hard to hate, with nice-guy Gwynn leading a whitebread team low on ego and high on winning. When the series opens in the Bronx on Saturday night, David Justice will be playing golf. Who are the Yankee fans supposed to scream profanities at? Gwynn? Hitchcock or Leyritz, both ex-Yankees? Not to worry -- the Bleacher Bums will think of something.

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