Houston Astros win first World Series title in franchise history

Ethan Neal, Reporter

For a few of us, it is has been a fantasy of ours to not only play baseball, the greatest game on Earth, at the Major League level, but to qualify for the most rewarding series of matches between the best of the best. Though some of us can only dream about being a part of such an event, each year we have the privilege of viewing the annual “fall classic,” or World Series, on the screens of our televisions.

Knowing that the sport has been around since the nineteenth century, it is mind boggling for any baseball fan, casual or obsessed, that for a handful of the thirty existing franchises, not one world series title has been claimed, despite the long history of their award winning-players, and one hundred plus winning seasons. Yet, before the 2017 Major League Baseball season was underway, one of the western division teams of the American League, the Houston Astros, were stuck as being one of the thirty teams without a world series trophy to show for. With key players, such as Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel, Carlos Correa, and George Springer, was it time for the Houston ball club to finally make their mark in history?

The thought was hard to imagine. The winners of the 2016 finale, the Chicago Cubs, performed exceptionally well, once again, shutting down division foe, St. Louis Cardinals. The New York Yankees certainly looked tough to beat, with rookie phenom Aaron Judge at the plate. Other teams, including the Cleveland Indians, Washington Nationals, and Boston Red Sox, played with the passion and hope of being number one.

But during the regular season, it was the Los Angeles Dodgers that stunned the baseball world, winning a grand total of 104 of 162 games. Similar to Houston, the Dodger roster was stacked with big name players, Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig, Kenta Maeda, and breakthrough rookie, Cody Bellinger. With the squad, continuing to win, while under the direction of manager, Dave Roberts, it was as if the bandwagon was much too clustered by July. By September, the final month of the regular season, both the Dodgers and Astros had found themselves to be division champions in their own rights, leaving one side not so surprised, and the other side curious, as to whether they would actually make it past the A.L.D.S.

One month later, the group of underdogs, the Houston Astros, indeed advanced from the A.L.D.S., as well as the succeeding series, the A.L.C.S. The Dodgers, being from the National League did the same, but by different name, as their series are referred to as the N.L.D.S. and N.L.C.S. For the 2017 World Series, spectators across the globe would witness power against power. For the first time in baseball history, the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers would compete for the prize, the winners of the 114th World Series.

One game after another was something of a thriller. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw limited the Astros to only a single run in game one. Game two became a full on slugfest for the Astros, with home runs blasted by young star and outfielder, George Springer. Again, game three went the Astros’ way, as Lance McCullers Jr. led his team to a 5-3 win over Los Angeles. Onward, game four proved that the Dodger still had the fight in them, winning 6-2 in Houston. Game five went to Houston, and game six went in the favor of the Dodgers. The series was now tied, with both teams claiming three wins each. In a remarkable sequence of events, the split tie only meant that a game seven must be played out, to ultimately show the world, the best baseball team on Earth.

Lance McCullers Jr. of the Astros and Yu Darvish of the Dodgers were the game seven starters. It was up to them, and their offensively charged teammates to bring the hardware home. Yet, by the first three innings of the finale, the match was clearly one-sided. Errors, fielder’s choice, and another blast by Springer had lifted the club to a 5-0 lead in just the first half of the third inning. At that moment, all of the bandwagoned fans of the Dodgers from July quickly lept of to separate themselves from what had turned into a poor pitching outing by Darvish, and a declining offense out of nine batters. The Dodgers, the team of 104 wins, struggled to capitalize when it mattered the most.

On the night of Nov. 1, in front of the blue crew crowd of the Dodger faithful, for the first time in team history, the Houston Astros were World Series Champions. No longer burdened nor mocked as one of the ball clubs with zero titles in franchise history, the team continually made big impacts, scoring at the right time, and leading the charge with a tremendous rotation.

Almost expected, outfielder George Springer was named World Series M.V.P., or most valuable player for reaching base 29 times, and belting five home runs, tying a fall classic record only claimed by Reggie Jackson and Chase Utley.

In an interview conducted by MLB.com, Springer shared his feelings, saying, ”It’s unbelievable. It’s indescribable. When you get to spring you know who you have, you see what you have, and there’s always that thought of “we could do it” but the 162-plus games is a lot of games. And a lot of things have to go right in order to get here.”

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Astros are introduced before Game 2 of the World Series.
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