As selfish and absurd as it may sound, baseball fans deserve a World Series Game 7 — sports fans deserve Game 7.
Anyone who has paid even the slightest bit of attention to the first five games of the 2017 World Series has received multiple heaping helpings of excitement, but serving just nine more innings of this product would be nothing short of deprivation. The world needs the full seven courses.
This Fall Classic has had everything: clutch hitting, costly and un-clutch defensive and base running miscues, a never-before-seen display of power and the explosion of baseball’s bright future. One thing that has definitely not been at a shortage is entertainment. So much so that even the most devout Giants fan (and maybe a few Astros fans) must have an inner inkling of hope that the Dodgers will piece together a Game 6 victory Tuesday night to stave off elimination and force a decisive Game 7 — the most exciting phrase in sports.
“It feels like it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger, I don’t even know what to expect anymore. You think you’ve seen everything in baseball until you haven’t.’’
Following a somewhat to-script Game 1 that featured a pitching-dominant performance put forth by Astro ace Dallas Keuchel and matched Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw, decided by the Dodgers’ ability to launch two homers to just one by Houston, Game 2 was almost unanimously agreed upon to be the most exciting game in Fall Classic history.
But seven extra-inning runs, leading to a 7-6 Astros victory in Los Angeles initiated in the first postseason career blown save by one of baseball’s best relievers, wasn’t enough to remain the most exciting game in this series for more than four days.
Game 5 included 25 runs and saw seven lead changes (including ties), ending in another one-run, 10-inning triumph for Houston — hosting its final game of 2017.
Astro manager A.J. Hinch was in disbelief, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle:
“Just when I thought I could describe Game 2 as my favorite game of all time, I think Game 5 exceeded that and more. It’s hard to put into words all the twists and turns in that game — the emotion.”
Twists? Turns? So far, there have been a World Series record 22 home runs, led by yet another record eight in Game 5, 41 pitching changes, 1,401 pitches thrown (including 332 in both Games 2 and 5), 27 runs scored in the seventh inning and later and 81 total hits. All in the first 48 innings.
Two home runs apiece have come off the thunderous bats of Houston’s youthful left side of the infield. Rookie third baseman, 2015 No. 2 overall draft pick, Alex Bregman, 23, has added one RBI in each game. No. 1 overall pick in 2012 and 2015 AL Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa, 23, has knocked in his own five runs and scored three more.
The Dodgers have put on their own display of young stars, with last season’s NL Rookie of the Year Corey Seager, 23, homering once and scoring four runs, and the likely 2017 award winner Cody Bellinger, 22, adding another long ball along with four RBIs, two of which coming in those late-inning comeback rallies.
Having tomorrow’s stars deliver on the game’s greatest stage today only makes the already rich excitement of the series become greater. Not to mention the worldwide introduction of one of the sport’s most gifted talents, the elderly (by his team’s standards) Jose Altuve, 27, who has hit two of his seven postseason homers this season in the World Series — the seven is one short of the all-time record for a single postseason, held by Barry Bonds (2002), current teammate Carlos Beltran (2004) and Nelson Cruz (2011), by the way.
Now, most fans can admit to be watching the clock slowly tick to Halloween’s first pitch, none of whom — save for perhaps those in Houston — can honestly say their hopes are for this baseball season to end three to four hours later.