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Thank Goodness! Astros Sent Home and World Series Gets Two Winners

October 18th, 2020 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

Two cloying realities confronted Major League Baseball as the 2020 playoffs reached the League Championship Series.

–One was the lingering odor of scandal-not-really-resolved — the Houston Astros’ schemes for stealing signs in the 2017 and 2018 World Series and the involvement of players — none of whom were punished.

–The other issue was the awkwardness of a losing team, like the Astros were in the regular season, making a run in baseball’s expanded, 16-team pandemic tournament.

If they were going to get away with high crimes and misdemeanors (sports division), isn’t there some way we could get them out of the playoffs after that 29-31 “regular” season?

The fear that a bad team would get to the World Series was one that was cited from the moment the new arrangement was made. More money, more TV games, but what if a loser — or two (!) — could slip into the 16-team postseason and go on a run. And that was what the Astros, eternally unrepentant, were doing.

In the first round, they ousted the Minnesota Twins in two games. In the divisional round they rolled over the Oakland Athletics, 3-1, despite a critic with a megaphone at Petco Park calling down “shame” and “cheater” at the Astros who played on those 2017 and 2018 teams. The Astros shrugged and moved on to the last hurdle before the World Series.

They lost their first three, in the best-of-seven ALCS, but then ran off three victories over the best-in-the-league Tampa Bay Rays (40-20), leaving the Astros one victory short of arriving in the World Series as the first losing regular-season team to crash the game’s biggest party.

Thank goodness for the Rays, who eked out a 4-2 win over Houston yesterday to secure their place in the World Series and send home the game’s most-loathed team.

The team that escaped any punishment of players for the sign-stealing scandal ended with the Astros casting themselves as persecuted underdogs who were ready to poke public opinion in the eye.

Thankfully, MLB got lucky. The Rays will represent the American League and the National League will send forward the Dodgers (43-17) or the fast-improving Atlanta Braves, with the third-best record (35-25) in the NL.

So, an attractive World Series, and nary an Astro to be seen.


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