Oh, look, the Astros are back in the World Series. Third time in five years, in fact. It’s like they were really good at baseball this entire time. Of course, this reality only makes the illegal sign-stealing (and trash cans) back in 2017 and 2018 all that more infuriating.
To make it clear to everyone who may read past the first paragraph, for the record, the Astros did cheat. They were caught, or, more accurately, ratted out. In the grand scheme, that distinction means little. While other clubs may have their own malfeasances to hide, it doesn’t excuse Houston’s actions. Punishment was eventually handed down, whether you care to admit it or not. “Apologies” were issued. Various analysis and studies indicated that while the scheme was effective, at times, it was possibly more detrimental than reasonably assumed.
I can’t tell you, the reader, what to think in any case. But I do urge for you to research the subject and digest as much of the available information as you can. Form your own opinions, please. I write all of this to prepare for the inundation of sign-stealing narratives and stories that is surely coming for at least the remainder of the week. On this front, it’s going to be a long freaking series.
But, in the words of Tracy Lawrence, “time marches on.” The Astros clearly earned their spot in this year’s World Series by eliminating the White Sox and Red Sox. Primarily thanks to an offense that is relentless at generating contact, Houston was able to withstand the loss of Lance McCullers Jr. in addition to their other starting pitchers throwing a combined 6 2/3 innings in Game 1 through 4 in the ALCS. Game 5 will forget be known as the “Framber Valdez game.” The Luis García we fell in love with reemerged in Game 6. The bullpen did an absolutely admirable job of holding down the fort when very little was going right. It also helps when Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker reminds everyone that there are more to these Astros than 2017.
Their opponent today is none other than a familiar NL foe (to the fans, anyway) in the Atlanta Braves, who also earned their spot in the Fall Classic by defeating both the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers. The former had a terrific pitching staff led by Corbin Burnes while the latter won 106 games in the regular season. Not an easy task in the slightest.
For Game 1 of this World Series, the Astros will send out Framber Valdez to start things off while the Braves counter with an old friend, Charlie Morton. That’s a fun matchup! Plus, I’m ready to hear Dusty Baker tell stories about Hank Aaron, Joe Morgan, Jimmy Wynn, and the other greats recently lost. I’d also like to revisit my desire to send the Braves home for the winter. It’s all about the games in front of us at this point, even if I have to mute the audio when trash cans are inevitably mentioned.
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