Has the 2017 World Series Saved Baseball?
((World Series Trophy/Wikipedia))
If you haven't watched the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers, you've missed one crazy good and fun matchup.
An already dramatic series was made even crazier over the weekend when the Astros took a 3 games to 2 lead in the "Best of 7" series after a 13-12 extra inning win that featured 8 home runs and two of the best pitchers in baseball (Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Kuechel) all season long getting shelled---and pulled after 4 innings.
If any of the previous 5 games are an indicator, Tuesday nights game 6 will be nothing short of a tension filled---drama fest.....
The game starts at 8:30pm eastern time and features the hottest pitcher on both squads during the playoffs---Justin Verlander of the Astros (yes, the former Detroit star) and Rich Hill of the Dodgers---a solid pitcher who threw a no-hitter earlier this season.
But there is a bigger question afoot. What has the insanity of these games meant for the game?? Major League Baseball is a marathon with 162 games in the regular season and now three rounds of playoffs if you're in the World Series.
And yes, if you ask someone in the middle of July on a 95 degree day game if baseball drags out and is boring--the answer is probably going to be---yes.
It's difficult---particularly in this "Short Attention Span" era to get anyone to focus on something for longer than 5 minutes---never mind 3 hours (normal baseball game time). Or if you want to take it a step further---for 6 months (a full baseball season). With 5 or sometimes 6 games played by a team each week---it's very hard to stay focused on the day.
If nothing else---this series is proving the adage "If you can make it through the set up---the payoff at the end will be more than worth it". (I may have made that up)
Baseball in its purest form is not for everyone. It's much like chess in that a lot of what is done is strategy setting up not the moment at hand but the moment soon to come. And that can make it dull on occasion. Watching this series---with guys like Astros 2B Jose Altuve (all 5ft, 6in of him) hitting homers like someone twice his size or rookie Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers hitting like he's been playing for a decade make the payoff worth the wait.
This series may not go down as the best "Pitched" series---but statistically, the hitters have been amazing. And while the argument "Are baseballs juiced" rages---the folks at the MLB Headquarters are likely smiling like a cat who caught the canary. Really, while the "Old School" baseball "Purists" rant and rage about the balls flying out of the park---really, who cares? It's fun...enjoy it.
Sure, there is something beautiful and artistic about a 2-1 or 1-0 baseball game with pitchers painting the home plate corners like an artist. And during the regular season on that 95-degree July day. That's fine.
But in October when you're competing with College Football and the NFL for TV eyeballs you have no room for complaints. Getting people excited about what you are doing won't work if nobody hits. And like I said, watching a pitching masterpiece can be fun for some---watching 8 baseballs fly over an outfield fence as hitters try to out do one another is a whole heck of a lot more fun.
Game 6 of the World Series is Tuesday night in Los Angeles. If the Dodgers win, Game 7 would be Wednesday night. And a Game 7 would be a perfect way to cap off one heck of a fun time....