Well, that was a decent series, huh? Bit of an anticlimactic Game 7, this still has to be considered one of the greatest World Series of all time. Or at least one of the most exciting. Crazy what happens when the two best teams in the league play a seven game series. When the dust settled, the Astros were finally world champions for the first time.
The most obvious storyline for the Astros was the effect a possible title would have on the city of Houston after the devastation of Hurricane Henry. It’s an uplifting story, but I’ll let the people who have real connections to the city dive into all of that. I’ll just say I’m happy for them and I’m grateful that they beat the Yankees. It would feel a little cynical to suggest having their homes (the Astros also have many Puerto Rican players) get destroyed by natural disasters would give them any kind of extra motivation to win the World Series, but I also don’t think you can discount the emotional lift they got every time they played in Houston. I mean, Minute Maid was rocking every night. One of the craziest baseball environments I’ve ever seen on TV. The Astros provided a much needed distraction for the city, and I think relished that role. Or they were just really, really, good and would have won no matter what. Who’s to say?
I’m always fascinated by teams who win either their first ever championship or their first in a super long time. Will they go the route of the Bulls, Spurs, Warriors, Pats, Blackhawks, or Red Sox and ride generational talents and, in the Red Sox’ case, deep pockets to multiple championships? Or will the go the way of the White Sox, Carolina Hurricanes, Mavericks (still love Dirk, though), or Saints where when we look back in 20-30 years, we ask “wait, that team won a title?” I think the Astros are most likely to be the former. For starters, they’ve got elite talent. Going up the middle, their second baseman and shortstop are future Hall of Famers barring injury and their centerfielder is an All Star. That’s three of the four most important positions on the field filled by three of the top, I don’t know, 20-25 players in the league? Then they have two Cy Young winners, one of whom is a lock for the Hall of Fame? And solid players on the corners, including a defensive wizard third baseman that everyone kind of forgot was a rookie this year? That sounds like a recipe for success, to me. Their core guys are still just entering their primes. Yes, the bullpen is capital B BAD, but all those years of tanking gave them a rich farm system they can use to acquire better, more trustworthy arms if they feel the need. They just kind of have that look, too. Most championship teams have it, sure, but if you watch sports long enough you start to recognize the teams with the different mindsets than anyone else. The combination of results and reputation that feed not only their own confidence but lower the other team’s. The Astros just kept coming back, kept getting up off the mat. The Yankees had them dead to rights and they just brushed them off. The Dodgers should have won this series in all honesty, but their bullpen, which had been untouchable all year, started to legitimately believe they couldn’t get anyone out. You see it with the Pats. The run is probably over, but you saw it with the Giants, especially when Bumgarner was on the hill. You see it with the Warriors, and the Cavs (against the East), and with Duncan’s Spurs, and all the great NBA dynasties. Other teams are going to start wondering if they can actually beat them as Altuve and Correa go back to back for the millionth time. Unless there’s some kind of disastrous injury or something of the like, the Astros aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Some random thoughts:
- Hard Hittin’ New Britain’s own George Springer was named World Series MVP. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but both he and I went to the University of Connecticut. I’m not saying that means I deserve a ring, but I’m not saying it doesn’t mean that, either.
- I love live TV marriage proposals so much. Maybe because they’re always really awkward and forced. Maybe it’s because there’s always the slim chance she says no. Maybe it’s because I enjoy other people experience a moment of joy I’ll never have. Either way, I’m glad Carlos Correa chose last night to propose, regardless of the fact that he couldn’t have picked a worse time or place.
- When did Yu Darvish become bad? So weird.
- Andre Ethier has looked the same since ’09 and I don’t think he’s played more than 20 games in a season since then, either.
- Astros wearing orange in game 7 is an unfair advantage.
- Everything about Evan Gattis is awesome.
- I hope having a huge World Series means Joc Pederson is back, both because I love him and because I have an odd obsession with Jewish athletes.
- It sucks Kershaw couldn’t get it done, but I think the universe decided that letting both Kershaw and the best redhead athlete in America win a championship would be too much.
- Not to make everything about me and be “insensitive,” but I feel a lot better about the Pats’ playoff chances now that Houston’s cashed in it’s Disaster Team voucher. Don’t need to be worried about facing the Good Mojo team come January.
- But seriously, donate to Houston and Puerto Rico hurricane relief
- Can’t wait for April. Red Sox World Series Champions 2018