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Best 8 Out Of 15?

We are loving it.

Absolutely loving it.

The 2017 Baseball World Series between the Las Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros has been magical. Simply magical.

Except for a relative “blow out” of a 6 – 2 Dodgers’ win in game four, (and even that was a tight game until late) the games have all been edge of your seat, hang on every pitch, what is going to happen now, did that just happen games that restore in us the reason why we love sports.

All images in this post courtesy of the AP

The love started years ago, playing catch with dad along the side of the house. We played Little League and marched in opening day parades. We followed our home team religiously and listened to the broadcasts games on little AM radios.

And the first time we saw a major league field? Well, the only thing better than that was the Coke, peanuts and hot dog we purchased at the game. It was stunning and as a child, filled us with awe. (And don’t forget the program so you could tell the opposing players and best of all, keep score using a little golf pencil they gave you.)

People talk all the time as to how the pace of baseball is too slow and too boring. That may be true in some cases as we wish batters would stop stepping out of the batter’s box and adjust their batting gloves after every single pitch. But baseball is a thinking game. Part of the joy is asking yourself and those around you “what would you do here? What pitch? What location?” The same is true on offense. Do you bunt? Put the runner in motion? Try to steal a base?

The questions are endless and it is easy to get immersed in a game.

This is especially true when it seems that each play, each out, each pitch seems to have the game hanging in the balance.

Such has been the Dodgers – Astros series.

It’s been brilliant.

Decisions that players and managers have made can be questioned, but the game has been won and lost on the field by the players. There have been great at bats that seem like a struggle between two titans. There have been great plays all over the place, including plays at the plate.

Sunday night’s game 5 was a classic and it was a game that we normally hate. We aren’t fans of high scoring games, but the Astros 13 – 12 win in extra innings was something special. Twice down 3 runs (once against arguably the best pitcher in baseball) the Astros came back to tie the game and take a 12 – 9 lead into the top of the ninth. Surely the game was over, but it was not.

The Dodgers rallied and scored three runs to send the game into extra innings. (Free baseball!)

There was a play in the top of the 10th that we want to mention because it illustrates why we love the game and love this series. The Dodgers had tied the game in the 9th and with two out and Andre Ethier on first, Logan Forsythe hit a ground ball. The throw went to shortstop Jose Altuve who stepped on second base for the force out. Arguably, Altuve is the Astros’ best player as he is candidate for the National League Most Valuable Player, but he is also the spark plug that gets the Astros going.

So when Ethier slid into the base hard, taking out Altuve’s legs and putting him on the ground, we thought “uh oh. Here comes a fight.”

Only it didn’t happen that way.

Ethier apologized for the hard slide. Altuve wasn’t hurt and considered the slide just a good hard baseball play. Neither player jawed at the other. No one pushed anyone. Teams didn’t empty onto the field in a large basesball “fight.” No one felt the need to “protect” anyone.

Fights are common after plays like that, and it seems that fights are becoming more and more prevalent in professional sports as players have chosen to add “being disrespected” as a reason to throw down with other players.

Instead, Altuve and Ethier walked away. There was a game to win. There were bigger fish to fry.

In the bottom of the 10th, with two outs and runners on first and second because of a hit by pitch and a walk, ,

With two out Alex Bregman hit a line drive to left center field which scored the winning run.

And there was much rejoicing in Houston.

Personally, we think that professionally athletes are paid too much, but there isn’t anyone who ever stepped on a field who can’t relate to the sheer joy of winning and the horrible feeling of losing.

When you start playing sports as a kid, you play for the joy of the game. To see multi-millionaires jumping around like they had just won the neighborhood stick ball championship just takes you back to being a kid and why we love the game.

Or rather, why we love the game as it is supposed to be played.

Game 6 of the best of 7 series is back in Los Angeles tonight. We know people will be watching. Game 5 had more viewers than the Goliath of Sunday Night Football and game 6 should have even more viewers as people return to the sport of their youth.

With the Astros up 3 – 2 in games, the ‘Stros have to win one of the 2 remaining games to take the Championship. The Dodgers have to sweep.

This series has been so good, so much fun, so entertaining and so dramatic that we wish the battle between these two really good teams could go on past 7 games. It’s not often we say that as generally we think that the playoffs are too long.

Yet we can’t help wishing for more.

Best 8 out of 15 anyone?



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