Well, that was a set of games. At least, in the opinion of this writer, the “proper” result was achieved. I really don’t think it would have been “right” for the team with the worst regular season record of all the playoff teams – one that could only finish third in their division – to have won the Championship. Yes, the Phillies showed that they can compete with the best. But does that make them The Best?
One of the things that annoyed me quite a bit about the coverage was the very frequent mention that this was the Phillies’ first World Series appearance in thirteen years, as if that was somehow a huge “drought”.
Well, you know which teams are in a longer “drought”? Here they are, with the last time they appeared in a World Series:
Colorado Rockies (2007)
Detroit Tigers (2006)
Chicago White Sox (2005)
Miami / Florida Marlins (2003)
California / Anaheim Angels (2002)
Arizona Diamondbacks (2001)
San Diego Padres (1999)
Toronto Blue Jays (1993)
Oakland A’s (1990)
Cincinnati Reds (1990)
Minnesota Twins (1987)
Baltimore Orioles (1983)
Milwaukee Brewers (1982)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1979)
And of course, the Seattle Mariners have NEVER (so far) made it to the “Fall Classic”.
That’s HALF the teams in baseball that have had longer waits than the Phillies! So stop treating their “wait” as something “tragic”, OK?
I’d also like to praise the ESPN radio team. On FOX, John Smoltz and Joe Davis are fine play-by-play people and analysts. But they are CRAP when it comes to the commentary that makes watching the game enjoyable. I suppose it’s their corporate overlords that insist they spew out meaningless stats, but would it kill you to add just a touch more description? Don’t just tell us the batter fouled off a pitch – we can see that. Tell us where it landed. Was it a weak grounder? A hard smash? Hit into the upper deck? This is useful, especially if you’re not going to show it! On ESPN, Dan Shulman, Jessica Mendoza, and Eduardo Perez only gave all those extra details (in part because they had to, as no one could see the action), but they seemed to be enjoying themselves! I heard laughter on more than one occasion. You also don’t have to put up with annoying statistics and useless graphics covering the screen. You could also tell that the trio actually talked with the players and coaches.
The series itself started out dull. The first three were of little interest. Game 4, the combined no-hitter, was of interest only because of that oddity. Games 5 and 6 were the most exciting ones. Well-fought, tightly-played pitchers duels. For the most part, at any rate.
One has to mention the obvious question – do these Astros count as a “dynasty”? Two championships over six seasons (starting in 2017) may not seem like much, but they also won two pennants and one other division title over that span, and made it to the AL Championship Series every year. The simple fact is that the current playoff structure makes it virtually impossible for any single team to repeat as champion. It’s been over twenty years since we’ve had a repeater.
It must also be noted that over those six years, the Astros had a .622 winning percentage. Here are all the other teams that can boast a record at least as good, with two or more World Series wins:
New York Yankees: 1953-1958
St Louis Cardinals: 1941-1946
Philadelphia Athletics: 1927-1932
Philadelphia Athletics: 1909-1914
Chicago Cubs: 1905-1910
Pretty good company, right? And you’ll note there’s not a single team in there from the “Expansion Era”, nor when divisional play began.
Okay, you want to discount 2017 because they got caught stealing signs. So start with 2018 – and since then, they have STILL had the best overall record in the American Leauge.
I’d call that a dynasty.
Anyway, congrats to the Astros and their fans. A tip of the cap to the Phillies, too, for making it this far.
Now we wait for pitchers and catchers to report to Spring Training.