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World Series Perspectives/Let The Post-Season Begin…

As I have shared in the past, once the Yankees are eliminated from the playoffs, my off-season begins. I invest so much energy in rooting for the Yankees that I just don’t have much of an interest in watching the other teams battle it out to see who is the best.

Last night was an exception to that rule. This World Series, once I was watching from afar and I saw that it was shaping up as something special. The baseball fan in me just had to watch Game Seven.

I’m glad I did.

The following are my random thoughts/perspectives (and such) from the game last night:

That was a super fun and super exciting game to cap off a great World Series. Both teams played well and made the game’s biggest series and biggest game one that was full of excitement.

I’d like to think that if they had the chance to get to the World Series, that the Yankees would have been able to give the Nationals a run for their money. From afar, the Nationals looked like an easier team to defeat than the Astros, but that just wasn’t so. This was a team that never gave up, never gave in, and played to win. The Nationals were a great club that was every bit as good (and proved to be better) than the Astros. If the Yankees had made it, they might have suffered the exact same fate as Houston.

This was a magical season for the Nationals. A really magical season. Sometimes fans get so caught up in their own hopes that their team is the team of destiny, that they neglect to see the special attributes that another team brings to a championship series. Any team that gets that far has fans and writers that have reasons to believe that they are actually the team of destiny.

The national announcers on Fox (not the Nationals announcers on Fox) don’t bother me as much, or at all, when they aren’t commenting on the Yankees. That being said, I would still love it if the broadcast networks brought in announcers from each team, who have been with their clubs all year, to call the games. I think that approach would add a great deal to the telecasts.

One reason the Nationals are so tough, I believe, is that they don’t strike out very often. Last night, the great Astros pitchers struck out only three batters in total. I know that a lot of writers and analysts state that the prolific amount of Yankees strikeouts isn’t a problem, but one simple fact is true – if you strikeout, you have no chance of reaching base (except if the catcher drops the third strike), but if you put the ball in play, you, at least have a chance to get on. When a ball is hit, things happen. Even more than that, watching a team hit the ball and forcing the other team to make plays is a much more exciting brand of baseball than watching slugger after slugger swing and miss all the time.

I thought both teams were going to bring the same strategy to the game last night – use your starting pitcher, both big time former Cy Young Award winners for as long as you can, and then go to your next ace starting pitcher. That’s what the Nationals did, going from Max Scherzer to Patrick Corbin. It seemed that the Astros were going to do the same thing. Even while Zack Greinke was dealing and pitching extremely well, Gerrit Cole started throwing in their bullpen.

My big second guess (which would have been a first guess) would have come when the Astros had Cole throwing in the bullpen the first time. Even though Greinke was dealing, it seemed they were ready to take him out for Cole. My thought there was “leave him in.” He was pitching great and I think it would have been the wrong move to lift him before it was necessary. As it was, I thought they lifted him at the exact correct moment. What was shocking, to me at least, was that the Astros went to Will Harris, who, like so many Yankees relief pitchers in the end, was running on fumes. Harris immediately gave up a homer and the Nationals took the lead. The bad decision wasn’t in leaving Greinke in, it was in who they brought in to replace him.

The one thought that will follow manager A.J. Hinch and the Astros all winter long will be the fact that they lost the World Series and never got Gerrit Cole in the game. How do you lose the biggest game of the year by breaking away from the supposed game plan and bringing in an inferior (and very tired) pitcher while leaving your best hope for winning standing in the bullpen? That decision will be a second-guesser’s delight whenever people dissect that game.

I believe the Nationals were the oldest team in baseball in 2019. I guess it’s not just about age, it’s about building a winning team. Still, I am glad the Yankees have such youth because their window of opportunity is still wide open.

Is it the 2020 season yet?

I would have to assume that Patrick Corbin is glad that he followed the money to Washington. It paid off financially and also with a World Series ring. As Yankees fans, we used to get incredulous when players would spurn the Yankees and just follow the cash. (Such as, “Hey, Robbie Cano, I hope you have fun in Seattle, losing, while we keep winning championships!”) The problem is that players are going to other teams, taking more money than the Yankees offer, and… also winning championships. When this happens, the Yankees lose one of their biggest selling points. “Come here, we always win.” (Except, now they don’t. )

I am VERY happy for the Nationals. My cousin lives in Virginia and has been waiting for a championship team for a long time. I am happy for him and all the Nationals fans.

One thing has definitely been true of baseball this century – teams/cities that have suffered without a championship have certainly reversed that trend. The Red Sox, White Sox, Cubs, Giants, Astros, Royals, etc… have all reached the top of the sport. As someone who just wants the Yankees to win every game and every World Series, I have to admit (ok, somewhat reluctantly) that this is good for the sport. Washington, D.C. hasn’t seen a World Series champion since 1924. Good for them. Good for them!

But I really hope 2020 will be the Yankees’ turn.

This was the first time that the home team didn’t win any games in a World Series. Many people will claim that “home field advantage” doesn’t matter. I don’t believe that, at all. The exception does not make the rule. (And talk about small sample size anyway…) This year home field didn’t matter, in this specific series. If I am a team, I would still play for home field advantage. If nothing else, it’s better to have more games at home for the fans to be able to attend. (That also helps financially, I have to assume.) Home field didn’t matter in the 2019 World Series. That does not mean it won’t matter in 2020 or in any other year. The exception does not make the rule.

It’s now the post-season. Let the hot stove begin to heat up. No matter what happens, it will be an exciting autumn and winter as we watch the Yankees moves and non-moves. One thing is for certain…we will have plenty to talk about!

Let’s go Yankees!

#WorldSeries

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