This year’s World Series is more than living up to its nickname.
Donned “The Fall Classic,” this year’s rendition has been nothing short of an instant classic.
I don’t even have a horse in the race this year since my beloved St. Louis Cardinals sputtered at the end of a yo-yo like season that played with my emotions on an almost weekly basis.
And yet, this year’s World Series has been one of the most emotionally exhausting World Series I can remember watching.
Even without having a strong rooting interest other than hoping to see good games, I’ve often been left feeling like I am a fan of either the Houston Astros or the Los Angeles Dodgers at the conclusion of games.
But good games is exactly what baseball fans have been given with this best-of-seven series.
There was the pitcher’s duel between aces Dallas Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw in game one, that breezed to completion in less than three hours.
There was another pitcher’s duel in game two, until the game turned absolutely nutty and evolved into a home run derby with five home runs hit in the 10th inning or later, as Houston climbed back into the series with a 7-6 win to even the series at 1-1.
The Astros struck early in game three and held on for a 5-3 win in a game that was relatively normal, at least as far as this series is concerned.
Alex Wood was tossing a no-hitter for the Dodgers through 5 2/3 innings in game four, then gave up a solo home run to George Springer, causing Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to give him the quick hook.
I disagreed with that move at the time, but it worked out for the Dodgers as they went on to win 6-2 and prove yet again why I’m not a Major League manager.
Remember Keuchel and Kershaw, the two guys involved in the game one pitcher’s duel? Well, that certainly wasn’t the case when the two toed the rubber again in game five.
It seemed a foregone conclusion game five would be another pitcher’s duel between the two Cy Young winners.
Instead, it turned into one of the wildest, wackiest baseball games I’ve ever witnessed.
The Dodgers bolted to an early 4-0 lead against Keuchel and, with Kershaw on the mound, that’s normally good enough for a win. In fact, entering Sunday’s game, the Dodgers had posted a record of 100-1 in games when Kershaw gets four-plus runs of support.
So, I can’t really fault my dad for going to bed when the score was 4-0, assuming it was over with Kershaw on the mound.
But boy, was he wrong!
Shortly after he went to bed, the Astros tied the game at 4-4. But, the very next inning, the Dodgers delivered with a three-run homer by rookie Cody Bellinger.
Now, Kershaw was staked to a 7-4 lead. So surely, the game is all but over again, right?
Likely American League MVP Jose Altuve tied the game with one swing of the bat on a three-run homer of his own.
The two teams kept trading punches through 10 full innings and nearly five hours of baseball, until Alex Bregman’s walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning.
I watched the game with my friend Collin, who at one point, as the game slogged along, wondered if I planned to watch the whole game. I did, so he stayed.
He stayed, at least, until it became apparent the game was going to last for what seemed like forever, leaving in the seventh inning.
I was committed to watching the finish of the game, though, because even though my team wasn’t playing, I was invested in the game.
I was totally exhausted when I woke up for work Monday morning, but it was worth it to see the finish to the game.
On the brink of elimination, the Dodgers bounced back to win game six Tuesday night 3-1.
After what has been an extraordinary series, I’m hopeful tonight’s game seven will live up to the quality of the rest of the series.
Thankfully, I haven’t lived and died with every pitch of this World Series like I did with the 2011 World Series, when I still lived in St. Louis and attended game one of the series between the Cardinals and Texas Rangers, and stood outside of Busch Stadium during game seven, celebrating with the rest of the Cardinals fans when the team won its 11th World Series title.
As invested as I’ve been in this series and as exhausted as it has made me, I’m glad I’m not a Dodgers or Astros fan. I can only imagine how they feel.
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