As we await the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers, some thoughts. . . which I share in my blog so as not to antagonize (or antagonize less) fans of other baseball teams. . . .
1) I'm pleased and excited for the Astros, a fine and impressive up-and-coming team. They beat up on "my" Red Sox quite effectively a week or two ago. . . and the story of Houston (which has never won a World Series) is a pretty compelling one, especially in light of the hurricane of last month. The Astros are wearing H STRONG patches quite reminiscent of the B STRONG patches the Red Sox wore in 2013, when they dramatically lifted the spirits of Boston in the aftermath of the tragic Marathon Bombing earlier that year.
2) It goes almost without saying that I have a great deal of antipathy for the New York American League team -- whose name we prefer not to say in our home. . . The possibility that they were going to go to the World Series and possibly win it was really upsetting me more than it should have. It's only a game, right? Yet after the Astros came from behind (series-wise) winning the last two games at home after the New York team had passed them by with 3 wins at home following the initial 2 Astro victories, I felt like. . . I really WILL be able to sleep this winter after all. Part of the strong feeling about that had to do with. . .
3) The New York Team disposing of the Cleveland Indians, who haven't won the World Series since 1948. Having been such loyal Red Sox fans, we know how tremendous was the lift of overcoming the 86-year drought. . . and then winning twice more within the next 9 years. This was a very promising Indians team, and they were on the cusp of beating the New York team. . . but then that Stadium Magic kicked in -- magic that almost did in the Astros as well.
4) So after watching the New York team beat up the Indians and Astros at home, it was really really satisfying to see them score a total of THREE runs in the FOUR games in Houston. The truth is, though, this New York team shows a great deal of promise, and my son, Ben, who is a minor league broadcaster and has met quite a few of these players over his several years in the business, tells me that Aaron Judge, who I'm sworn to "hate," is one of the nicest young men he's met in the game and has a compelling personal biograrphy, etc.
5) Back to the Red Sox. . . they chose to fire John Farrell, their manager, seemingly within minutes of being disposed of by the Astros. In part, I fear that they'll bring on another curse -- after having disposed of Terry Francona pretty unjustly some years earlier. A happy development, though -- today they named Alex Cora their new manager. Alex played for the Red Sox for a number of years in the mid 2000s and is currently the bench coach of the Astros. The nicest thing about his selection is that he's a Spanish-speaking (from Puerto Rico) man of color. As the Red Sox were the last major league team to integrate, it's a final step in the right direction. Will they win the World Series next year? Truth is, I don't care. Unlike many New York fans, I really enjoy seeing the World Series trophy be enjoyed in many locations, ESPECIALLY those who haven't EVER seen it in their city before -- or haven't experienced it in my lifetime.
6) Finally, back to the World Series which starts Tuesday. Two terrific teams that are fun to watch. As a Red Sox fan, I've seen a LOT more American League ball than National League in recent years -- and I often find a lot of inexplicable bad fielding or failure to master basic baseball behavior in National League games I've seen. . . but who knows? The Astros made some GREAT defensive plays in their recent series -- and wouldn't have prevailed without it. Ask Greg Bird, who was twice thrown out at home plate in almost impossible plays
The Red Sox flag flies in front of our home from Truck Day (which precedes PitchersAndCatchersReport) to the end of the World Series -- no matter who plays or wins. Almost time to take that baby down and bring it in for the winter. . . but in the meantime. . . PLAY BALL!