Only a wizard could have predicted at the beginning of the year that the San Francisco Giants would be playing the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. Considering the Royals were once given the same odds of winning the World Series as the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks, they were no favorites by any stretch of the imagination.
The players on the field will ultimately win the Series for one side or the other, but they're not all a fan has to consider when picking a favorite for the Fall Classic. We've graded each team's non-team essentials, from stadium eats to celebrity support, to help you choose a side, if you haven't already.
Ballparks: Kauffman Stadium vs. AT&T Park
Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium is one of the game's most beautiful ballparks, in part thanks to the fountain in the outfield. According to the Royals, the fountain is 322 feet wide and is the "largest privately funded fountain in the world." Just don't try to jump in.
The fountain and the Jumbotron in center field, crowned with the Royals logo, give the stadium a modern look even for a ballpark that opened in 1973.
The Los Angeles Times recently named it the best ballpark in the MLB. The view of the San Francisco skyline as well as McCovey Cove in right field make it one of the most scenic stadiums in baseball.
Kauffman Stadium: B+
AT&T Park: A
Mascots: Sluggerrr vs. Lou Seal
Sluggerrr made his debut for Kansas City at the beginning of the 1996 season. His 19th season as mascot has been undoubtedly his most exciting.
While a lion, the king of the jungle, makes sense as the Royals mascot, integrating the crown as part of Sluggerrr's head is a little puzzling, not unlike the decision to add two more R's to his name.
Lou Seal began representing the Giants in July 1996, just a few months after Sluggerrr.
Lou Seal's significance to the team is historical: For about 75 years, they were the New York Giants first. During their time in the Big Apple, one of their minor league teams was the San Francisco Seals.
You've got to respect the organization taking it back to its roots. Safe to say, Lou Seal is a better mascot than the "Crazy Crab."
Lou Seal: B
Fan bases: Royals fans vs. Giants fans
The San Francisco Giants are hard to beat on this front. They ranked fourth overall in fan attendance in 2014, according to ESPN, and were ranked the No. 1 fan base in the majors last year by Business Insider.
Royals fans, on the other hand, ranked near the bottom in MLB attendance, and understandably so. Fans can only take so much heartbreak until they stop showing up.
But in the playoffs, they have made their presence felt during the Royals' emergence. And the team has definitely given them something to cheer about with their exciting play on the field.
Even given how lively Kansas City fans have been during September and into the playoffs, Giants fans make sure to be there and loyal all year round.
KC Fan Base: B+
SF Fan Base: A
Celebrity fan: Paul Rudd vs. Steve Perry
Actor and overall funnyman Paul Rudd has been celebrating Kansas City's success in a big way. Rudd, who grew up in Kansas, is a longtime Royals fan.
After Kansas City beat the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS, he was so elated he floated the possibility of holding a kegger at his mom's house. (Just make sure to bring the five-dollar cover charge.)
Former Journey lead singer Steve Perry is a huge San Francisco fan, and he brings the energy for their playoff games.
Perry's lip-syncing from his group's biggest hit has given fans some extra juice, and possibly even inspired the team too.
Paul Rudd: A
Steve Perry: A
Team song: "Don't Stop Believin'" vs. "Don't Stop Believin'"
This is where things get a little interesting.
For years, the Royals' sixth-inning song was "Friends in Low Places" by Garth Books, until earlier this year. With their "Play It Forward" contest, the Royals gave their fans the chance to vote for a new sixth-inning song entirely.
Kansas City fans decided that Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" would be the best way to pump up the hometown faithful.
The problem for them, of course is the aforementioned Perry's allegiance to his Giants. The song became a staple anthem for San Francisco in 2010 on their way to the World Series. This postseason is no different, as Perry has continued to rile up the crowd in the eighth innings.
While the Royals don't intend to change their sixth-inning song, they might want to consider a temporary change to Lorde's "Royals" for the Series, especially since local radio stations have already taking to warring with it.
Food: BBQ vs. everything else
Kansas City is known for its barbecue, and it's no different at Kauffman Stadium. Those "brisket-achos" sure look delightful.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants' culinary offerings are as diverse as the city is. Fans' food options range from Mexican to Caribbean to seafood, along with classic ballpark staples. This wide array of cuisines gives San Francisco the edge.
Kauffman Stadium Cuisine: A-
AT&T Park Cuisine: A
World Series experience: 1985 vs. 2012
The Royals went 29 years between World Series appearances. That year was also the last time they made it to the playoffs. During that time, Kansas City finished with a losing record 21 times, so to call it a rough stretch for the franchise would be a serious understatement.
To put things in perspective, 14 of the 25 players on their current roster weren't even born the last time the Royals won the World Series.
Kansas City only has two players (possibly three, depending on how manager Ned Yost sets his roster) who have World Series experience, but they are hoping their grit can help guide them, like it has throughout the playoffs.
Unlike the Royals, the Giants have not had to wait as long between World Series appearances. San Francisco is hoping to win their third title in five years and become a dynasty comparable to the New York Yankees of the late '90s, who won four World Series in five years.
San Francisco has kept the same nucleus of players together and has experienced remarkable success during the past five years. They currently have 14 players who were on their 2012 World Series roster, and eight players who were on the 2010 roster.
Royals World Series experience: C
Giants World Series experience: A
All that said, the Kansas City Royals have played out of their minds in the past month. On baseball's biggest stage and without much playoff experience, they have gone 8-0 in the playoffs. They beat the Oakland A's in the Wild Card Game and swept the Los Angeles Angels and the Baltimore Orioles. Although World Series experience is invaluable for the Giants, no one can underestimate all the momentum the Royals have right now. Kansas City has become the fan favorite, the team to root for if you aren't a San Francisco Giants fan.
Their speed will ultimately make the difference for the Royals, who accumulated almost three times the number of steals as the Giants during the season. They will make things happen on the base paths and manufacture runs through their small-ball play in ways that the Giants can't.
The clock won't strike midnight for Cinderella.
Royals win in 6 games.