When the two League Championship series open in less than 24 hours, neither of the teams with 100+ victories will be present. In the next chapters of a very exciting postseason, here is a look at the teams and how they got here.
Chicago Billy Goats (95-67) and New Britain Bombers (99-63)
The Billy Goats entered the postseason with a Wild Card spot, finishing second to the mighty Trenton Fire in the AL EAST. After defeating the Salem Whips in 5 games, the Billy Goats matched up well against their division rivals, and while Trenton had the best record in the regular season, Chicago defetaed them in 5 games to take the series. Young Quinton Hansen has pitched brilliantly in the postseason, including a 5 hit shutout in the Game 5 clincher against Trenton. Rookie Thom Monroe has continued to be the offensive behemoth that carried this team all season long. Kevin Rolls (51 HR in regular season) has struggled in the post-season with a .175 AVG, but is due to break out of his slump any time. 21 yr old staff ace Gerardo Cedeno got 17 wins in the regular season, and is a Cy Young candidate. This is the 2nd consecutive post-season appearance for the Billy Goats, and their young core will likely take them to many future postseasons.
The New Britain Bombers are no strangers to the postseason, with their 5 consecutive appearance being as close to a dynasty as any of the current teams in this world. The Bombers' post season success has hinged primarily on the bats of D'Angelo Gil and J.T. Stowers. Stowers, who came in a late season trade, only hit .250 with 1 HR down the stretch with the Bombers, but has redeemed himself in the postseason. Louie Gonzalez has carried the post-season pitching for his team, but 17 game winner Javy Sierra is yet to make a single appearance. The Bombers are the slight favorites to win this series and make their second straight World Series appearance.
Burlington Bison (90-72) and Portland Rain (96-66)
To say that the Bison have no business being in the postseason would be an understatement. The 90-72 Bison surprised by claiming a Wild Card spot in a season that saw them move from Iowa City in a self-proclaimed "rebuilding" effort. The team's offense is a combination of mid-season veteran acquisitions (Eddie Ingram, Felipe Vega), unsigned free agents acquired mid-season (Jayson Penny, Tony Zito) and a handful of franchise veterans, they have no power, but have good pitching and defense. Leadoff man Aaron Bailey has consistently set the table in the postseason and Richie Johnson has been the team's best hitter. The Bison squeezed by the El Paso Fighting Tacos in 5 games and surprised everybody by defeating the world's best team, the 105 win Buffalo Blizzard, in the second round of the playoffs. Pitcher Ismael Alvarado has shown the consistency in the postseason that he had lacked in previous seasons.
The Portland Rain is a solid team with an incredible balance of power, pitching and defense. Their three regular outfielders are silver sluggers, seven regular players hit 15 or more homeruns in the regular season, all 5 of the regular starters reached double digits in wins, and rookie closer Benj Kent nailed 33 saves in 37 opportunities. Often underrated centerfielder Robb Gant has been outstanding in the postseason, exceeding his regular season performance (which was already MVP worthy). Cody Miles has been arguably the Rain's best postseason pitcher this season, but S14 All-Stars Bip Bartee, Vasco Picasso and Vic Cordero carry impressive track records and will likely carry the Rain to another straight World Series appearance.