Almanac Baseball: World Series 2017

It seems the World Series has become a lightning rod for the turbulence sweeping the world in recent years. Commissioners Trophies have been presented to the Astros, Cubs and Royals in the past three years – as unlikely a trifecta of champions you could possibly imagine. But then maybe in a world where the Anglosphere trifecta of head honchos is Trump, May and Turnbull one could be forgiven that thinking that black is white and up is down.

 

The Cubs fairytale hasn’t quite been replicated with the Astros win but it does have its own sense of make-believe. The Dodgers have spent a lot of money since Magic Johnson and his buddies opened their chequebooks while the Astros have taken the approach of reaping a harvest after scorching the earth. They were, after all, the laughing stock of the MLB just a few short seasons ago. These two very different trajectories to the Fall Classic have made this series all the more interesting.

 

In a series of 7 games where 2 are already in the highlight reels for future generations (with one, Game 5, vying for the title of GOAT) managed to produce such an insipid finale. By the time of the final out, the hush over Dodgers Stadium was deafening in its awkwardness. The elation of the Astros players was stock standard but even that seemed to lack passion and intensity. The shot that made all the news was Carlos Correa proposing to his fiance. While I am as sentimental as the next man I was hoping for a bit more along the lines of Dusty, Jack and Rancey after the Tigers drought breaker. After all, this was the Astros first ever title.

 

While it may seem I am being dismissive of baseball’s showpiece, that’s not the case. I really enjoyed this series and warmed to some of the characters from Houston. The pocket rocket. Jose Altuve, didn’t quite fire but did enough. The leadoff batter, George Springer, made history by hitting 5 homers for the series equalling the record of Mr October, Reggie Jackson, and Chase Utley (who made some less than inspiring cameos for the Dodgers). The Astros pitchers were uneven but had an ace in Verlander and some remarkable relief by Peacock and Devenski. Most of all, I really enjoyed the passion of the Astros fans. The way their team rallied for them was inspiring. The Dodgers needed that lift from their fans in the last 2 games but it never materialised. Maybe that’s how it was meant to be. We all know Hollywood makes lots of duds these days.

 

Meanwhile, Houston no longer has a problem. The Apollo has landed and the battered city can take comfort in a well deserved win. Now it’s onto 2018 and a new fairytale, or in lieu of that a Red Sox win over the Dodgers would be good. I’d pay good money to see that movie.

 

 

About

Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.

Comments

  1. An excellent summary, Brian.
    Baseball is not really my bag, but I watched a fair bit of this series and found it enthralling.
    The see-sawing, high-scoring Game 6 was the highlight for mine.

  2. Good summary Brian. I really enjoyed the World Series and caught bits of most games live. The oscillating between pitcher and slugger dominated games was enthralling. The sliders and curve balls intrigue me and make it hard for hitters. Charlie Morton from the Astros was outstanding in his ability to keep the batters guessing.
    And then there was Game 7! A triumph of sabre metrics over believing your eyes! Doh. With only a scant look at all the pitchers in the Series – no-one was throwing “straight breaks” like Hew Darvish. The Dodgers had Warne and Lillee in the locker, but elected to go with Mick Malone! On the basis of ancient history data!
    Ruined a wonderful battle. After 3 innings it was “kissing your sister” as the Astros just played containment. Only game I saw all innings – and boring as batshit. Dave Roberts outsmarted himself.
    What about Tommy Lasorda in ’88 pitching Orel Hersheiser in every game in all conditions – starter; long relief; Hail Mary desperation??
    This year Dave Roberts and the Dodgers didn’t lose it – they gave it away!

  3. Thanks Ruminator, it was an enthralling World Series.
    You’ve nailed it in this piece.

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