The Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are old hats at the World Series. In fact, Game 1 on Oct. 23 kicks off the Cardinals' fourth World Series in 10 years, the Red Sox's third in 10 years, and their second matchup together since 2004. As such, Boston and St. Louis look like the gold standard of their respective leagues in the last decade -- with the winner set to be declared the gold standard of all baseball.
There are some asterisks that can be made to this theory, given that the Red Sox haven't actually been to the World Series since 2007 and were in last place just last year. On the other hand, the Cardinals are in their second Fall Classic in three years and were a win away from a third in 2012. But before 2011, they hadn't won a pennant since 2006 and were annihilated by the Red Sox to end 2004.
The San Francisco Giants also have a claim as one of baseball's current dynasties, since they won a second World Series in three years in 2012, just like St. Louis is trying to do in 2013. Yet the Giants also missed the playoffs in 2011 and had a losing season this past year, unlike the Cardinals.
The Cardinals and Red Sox have had complete overhauls in recent years and still managed to win, although the Red Sox had to utterly collapse first. Yet when St. Louis lost Tony LaRussa and Albert Pujols after its 2011 championship, it came right back and almost won another pennant. Boston still had old standbys in David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury to provide continuity, though it did no good in its 2011 September collapse and lost 2012 season.
Whoever wins this World Series will have a third ring in 10 years, which may be too long to establish a full-on dynasty -- unlike the Yankees that won four titles in five years to end the 1990s. However, it will be the closest dynasty that baseball has, asterisks and all, at least until the Giants or the World Series loser makes another run.
The Cardinals and Red Sox start their final run at 8:07 p.m. est on FOX.