ST. LOUIS -- Only twice before during the Wild Card era have the clubs with the best regular-season records in their respective leagues both advanced to meet in the World Series. It happened with the Braves and Indians in 1995 and again in '99, when the Yankees faced the Braves. Add 2013 to that list.
The Cardinals and Red Sox, both 97-game winners during the season, rode their best records and home-field advantage to a fourth Fall Classic meeting between the two storied franchises.
"I think the good storyline is you have two teams that have the best record in the game matching up in the World Series. I think that's nice," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. "I think a lot of times, it doesn't work out that way historically, but this year, it did. You look at their club and obviously they're a very good team. The way we always look at things here in St. Louis is we worry about ourselves. Obviously, we have to play them, but if we play our game, we feel we have a chance to win."
The Cardinals, however, believe that the similarities between these two clubs extend beyond their records.
"You watch what they've been able to do compared to a year ago and you respect that kind of fight," manager Mike Matheny said. "That's the kind of team they have. They're a gritty team. I was listening to a lot of things that they had to say and it sounded very similar to a lot of things that we take pride in -- that this is about us, it's not about an individual. It's about doing the little things right. It's about family. It's us considering each other and thinking about the team, and those sort of things ring real true with us and what we've been able to do. You look at them and they had a strong season just like we did. It'll be a well-fought series."
Most of what the Cardinals know about the Red Sox comes through reputation and sound bites. They have had advanced scouts watching all of Boston's postseason games in preparation for this matchup, but the Cardinals have not met the Red Sox on the field since a 2008 Interleague series.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.