A series for the ages
This year’s World Series is one that will not be forgotten, probably ever. Yes, I am talking about the fact the home team never won a game. It was the first time this has happened in the history of the game, which stretches well over 100 years. Thus, I think we can all agree the chances of this happening again are incredibly small. However, this strange occurrence should not overshadow the fact that this was an exciting series that went right down to the wire, with plenty of drama for all the people watching.
It played out to seven games and was not really decided until the final innings of the final game. In the process, the city of Washington D.C. finally won another baseball title and the franchise once known as the Montreal Expos captured its first-ever championship.
I think we can’t start this conversation without further discussing the fact the home team lost every game of the series. I have at least a partial theory on this. Washington used their two best pitchers — Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg — for all four games in Houston. This gave them a better chance to win those games. When the series shifted back to D.C., the Nationals lost this edge and Houston took advantage of it.
The Astros used their ace Gerrit Cole in the fifth game and went back to Houston up 3-2. Then, when Strasburg and Scherzer returned to the mound, the advantage went back to Washington. Home-field advantage in baseball is great, but it does not trump good pitching. The team with the better pitching usually wins and that is what happened in this year’s series.
We should not forget, however, that Washington had to come from behind to win both of the final two games. Houston led Game 6 at 2-1 until the fifth inning and the Astros were up 2-0 until the seventh inning of the final game. The Astros' bullpen was unable to protect what were fairly slim leads and this led to the drama I mentioned earlier. I thought it was very cool that the kind of ancient Howie Kendrick was the man who delivered the big blow in Game 7.
I feel like I’ve been watching Kendrick play forever and, if I’m being honest, I often have one of those “Hey, he’s still playing!” moments when I see him. As an old guy, I appreciate it when old guys succeed, so Kendrick’s blast certainly warmed my heart.
Finally, let’s all reminisce about the last time the nation’s capital hoisted the Commissioner’s Trophy. That was actually a trick, friends. The Commissioner’s Trophy came into existence in 1967, or about 42 years after the Washington Senators won the team’s only World Series. That team, also led by a great pitcher (Hall of Famer Walter Johnson) as well as Bucky Harris and Goose Goslin, defeated John McGraw’s New York Giants in seven games in 1924 to capture what had been the city’s lone baseball title.
Now, some 95 years later, a different franchise, one that used to be based in Canada, has replicated the feat. There’s no telling if it will take that long for it to happen again. Although I think if the Nationals can keep their top two pitchers throwing the way they did this October they will certainly have a good chance of winning another title a lot sooner than a century from now.