Story lines abound, but World Series ratings may suffer without big markets

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OK, so this might not be the Most Viewed Postseason. But there will be plenty of other MVPs inside the ballparks.

Hamilton, who struggled through drug-addiction demons that nearly derailed his major league career before it began, led Texas back into the Series.

Pujols helped the Cardinals make a remarkable run in the final month that culminated with them earning a playoff spot on the final day of the regular season. Adding to the intrigue: The three-time NL MVP has spent his entire career with St. Louis, but can leave for a big-bucks contract as a free agent this winter.

“If you haven’t seen us playing and you think there’s no fun with the way we’ve been playing or the way Texas is playing, then you’re not really a true fan of baseball,” Pujols said.

Add in David Freese, the local guy who blossomed into a St. Louis star; Texas fixture Michael Young, who asked for a trade and then stuck around; and a plucky squirrel who scampers across home plate at Busch Stadium, and there’s ample to enjoy.

“It’s two middle-of-the-country teams,” Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler said. “I think it’s awesome that there’s no coasts here.”

Curt Schilling is eager to see what happens. He became part of postseason lore when he pitched with a bloody sock for Boston in 2004, and is a three-time World Series champion.

“There’s a ton of stories just under the surface of the fact that, yeah, maybe these aren’t two of the markets that jump off the page at you,” the ESPN analyst said. “But the amount of human interest stories involved in both of these teams getting back to this place and how they did that, from the front office on down.”

Mitchell Blaustein, from Sharon, Mass., wishes Schilling and the Red Sox were back this week. Rangers-Cardinals? Not so much.

“I would probably watch after somebody wins three games, out of curiosity. If it was the Red Sox, I would build my schedule around the games,” he said.

Jimmy Depuys said the World Series won’t be turned on in his sports-themed Marge’s Bar in Grosse Pointe Park, Mich. He’ll stick strictly to the NFL and NHL.

“It’s going to be only Lions and Wings from here on out,” he said.

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