Wednesday, December 8, 2021
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Another (Baseball) Season You Wouldn’t Expect

Fans of baseball never grow tired of seeing historic accomplishments on the diamond. Calling an accomplishment historic sometimes takes a creative imagination. This year, a designated hitter named Evan Gattis hit 11 triples but never stole a base. Last year the American League MVP Mike Trout struck out 184 times, but as the youngest player to reach 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases, it can easily be forgotten.

Much has changed in the Major Leagues since the first World Series in 1903, when one man pitched five complete games for the losing team. Today’s most dominant pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, was the first starter to strike out 300 batters in a season in 13 years. Somehow he’s lost four postseason starts in a row, all to the Cardinals. The Cardinals lost their ace and three outfielders to injuries, but still finished with the best record in baseball. They were also accused of hacking into a Houston Astros internal database, according to the New York Times.

The Royals had a chickenpox outbreak in September, their only losing month of the season (11-17). After last year’s historic win in the wild card game against a pitcher they’d lost to multiple times in the regular season, the Royals start the postseason facing another pitcher they failed to beat during the season.

Last year’s World Series champion, the San Francisco Giants, maintained their established pattern of winning the postseason and taking the next year off. Since 2010, the Giants have won every even year’s Series (‘10,‘12, and ‘14) and missed every odd year’s postseason.

And then there’s the Chicago Cubs. They won 97 games, 2 more than the American League’s top-seeded Royals, but are the second wild card team in the National League. If ESPN does a 30-for-30 documentary about the Cubs this season, it would have to be about Anthony Rizzo, only the second player to hit 30 home runs and get hit by 30 pitches in a season. Unless they win the World Series for the first time in 106 years. You never know what to expect.

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