Almanac Baseball: Away, Away – The World Series 2019




Away, away is my favourite song from the ‘Weddos’. It is a paean of longing and aching for better days but also one of redemption. In sport, playing away is normally viewed as a disadvantage. The longing for home and the warm embrace of your loyal fans can affect many top athletes. In this year’s World Series we have seen that maxim completely upended.


The best of seven game format is used in the postseason of three major American sports – NBA, NHL and the MLB. In excess of 1400 series have been played across the three sports and not one had ever had the first six games all go the way of the away team until this Fall Classic. For good measure, the Washington Nationals decided to make the record even more impressive by winning Game 7 away to claim their first ever Commissioners Trophy. In an amazing spectacle, the Nationals took the first two games away to the Houston Astros and returned to DC thinking they would clinch the series at home in front of their expectant fans. The World Series hadn’t been played in the nation’s capital for close to nine decades so there was a lot of pent up hunger for this magical conquest. Alas, the Astros swept the three game series and it was them returning to their fans cock-a hoop of their second World Series in three years. The Nationals, however, liked the idea of making history and proceeded to do so with their 4-3 victory.


So in the end the men from DC created a Marvel (seems all entertainment these days is couched in terms of superhero movies). Watching the ebb and flow of a titanic struggle between these two worthy contenders was a joyous experience. The legend of many deciders in the past has been created by walk-off wins which is really the ultimate expression of home ground advantage. The fact we didn’t get that this year, and it never appeared likely, does not diminish it one little bit. The contest between bat and ball was riveting with each having their period of dominance.


The Astros have a roster of superheroes who mostly had their cameos in capes. Hitters like Springer, Altuve and Bregman at the top of the order were all great. The lower order struggled in the early games but Alvarez, Correa and Chirinos all played their part when needed. Their aces, Verlander and Cole, had patchy efforts of frequent brilliance but some poor options at critical times.


Not many of the Nats players would have been considered superheroes at the start of the series but developed superhuman powers over the journey. Their hitters were generally getting on base less than the Astros but some of their clutch moments were simply superb. Homers to Rendon and Kendrick, for instance, in the top of the seventh in Game 7 were the sealers and they just seemed natural postscripts for the archives.


But the final word should always go to the pitchers. They are the true supermen of baseball. Max Scherzer overcoming injury to pitch five innings in Game 7 and team up with Patrick Corbin to seal the victory was inspirational. However, it was the MVP of the series, Stephen Strasburg, that deserves the greatest accolades. He went head to head with Verlander in Games 2 and 6 in front of raucous Houston crowds and towelled him up good and proper both times. His Game 6 effort, in particular, will be the stuff of legend and myth making for many years to come.


Houston didn’t become Tigerland. After winning in 2017 and facing a debutant this year, they seemed to believe destiny was theirs for the taking in much the same manner as Richmond. Instead, the Nats showed a lot more fortitude and gumption than the Giants. I’m not sure if DC is anything like Blacktown, but right now Nats fans have been given hope after a long wait. After all, good things come to those who wait.




To read more from Brian the Ruminator, click here.



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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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.




  2. The DC’s were also the DARK HORSE besides being a marvel. I can’t believe all games were won by the away team. By the way Dark Horse also publishes the TERMINATOR comics (they’re bloody good also). Quite appropriate I think Cheers

  3. Great Series. Great baseball. Great theatre. Love the tactics and drama of baseball. Managers like poker players (except when the Nationals’ Dave Martinez got ejected from Game 6 for cheating/yellow at the plate umpire over a interference call). Astros looked to have their nose ahead most of Game 7 but scattered hits rather than the bunching you need to score. Nationals hitters came through in the clutch late, while the Astros stars couldn’t deliver. Series of inches.
    The Almanac’s own Brad Carr now lives in DC and was at Game 4 with his son (which Nationals lost). Brad also came home for the Eagles 2015 Grand Final but stayed in US for 2018. He is a happy jinx. If the Eagles make the GF next year I will be asking Peter Dutton to revoke his passport.

  4. george smith says

    I’m glad that the Nationals won the series after the crowd booed the Trumpster. Had they lost, the fops, courtiers, rednecks, Neo Nazis, Thatcherites, Rupertarians, climate change denialists and other assorted urgers would surely have mocked the crap out of them as snowflakes for daring to criticize their hero. Now the dark side is a bit worried…

    Something similar happened to Gough Whitlam in 1975. Haydn Macauliffe invited him to a footy match in Brisbane where the crowd savagely booed the prime minister.

    Gough said: “Macauliffe, why didn’t you tell me you were so unpopular up here?”

  5. That whole series was most enjoyable, great pitching, some lusty hitting, outstanding fielding and some queries about umpire decisions. Also the New York Yankies were eliminated earlier – much to my delight.

    Anyway, much as i enjoyed it, I still think our NIGHT BASEBALL in SA in the fifties and sixties was much more enjoyable. Many of the old players I have interviewed said that it was the best days of their life.

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