Every major league team has its own story. Each of them is part of the general history of the Majors. And while a series of seven games shouldn’t change the perspective of a long shot, at the end of it all that’s what happens. It’s the World Series!
The Nationals went from being a team that always fell short of expectations, to being the brand new champion. Same with the Braves. Or maybe it’s the opposite, with a Dodgers that seem to be on the verge of another title (although that 2020 championship did wonders for the Clayton Kershaw story).
Now that we know who the two World Series teams are this year, we have some idea of what the biggest story of the offseason will be, depending on which team emerges as champion.
What will be the topic of conversation if the Phillies win? Or what will it be with the Astros? Here are three stories that could emerge from each scenario.
1. Justin Verlander secures his spot as the best pitcher of his generation**
There are obviously plenty of valid options besides Verlander. From Clayton Kershaw to Max Scherzer and even Jacob deGrom. But if Verlander wins the World Series ring — and if he shines along the way — he will be the most prized of all. Assuming he wins the American League Cy Young this year (he’s the favorite), a second World Series will expand his accolade gallery like this:
• Three Cy Young Awards (and three second places)
• A Most Valuable Player
• A Rookie of the Year
• Historical leader of strikeouts in the postseason
• Five appearances in the World Series
• One AL Championship Series MVP
• Two World Series titles
There is no other launcher in this generation that can compete with that. There aren’t many mounds in history that can do it. It seems clear that Verlander will end up in the Hall of Fame, but another championship, especially if he is one of the mainstays, would lift him even higher.
2. Dusty Baker rises to elite status
There are only eight managers with more wins than Baker (if he returns next year with the Astros, he’ll likely pass two of them — Bucky Harris and Joe McCarthy — and if Houston wins 102 games, he’ll also pass Sparky Anderson). Those eight are in the Hall of Fame.
A World Series title is what Baker is missing (as a manager, don’t forget he won the 1981 title as a player for the Dodgers). Winning this year’s championship would be the most impressive thing he’s done in his career, quite a bit considering the success he’s had with the Giants, Cubs, Reds and Nationals. But guiding this franchise — which was in tatters at the time of his arrival — back to a World Series title would be a real crowning achievement.
3. Astros are becoming a true dynasty
Even if you think sign-stealing was a vital part of the Astros’ championship run in 2017, the truth is the club has made it to the AL Championship Series five straight times since then, with three appearances in the Fall Classic. .
If they beat the Phillies, it will be Houston’s second championship. This is a team with many merits, even if you don’t take into account that there are only five players from that 2017 championship (Verlander, Lance McCullers Jr., the Venezuelan José Altuve, the Cuban Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman). If the Astros win the title, they’ll make one thing clear: This is what a baseball dynasty looks like today.
1. Sometimes those free agents are worth it
Look, you don’t have to be a genius to see that Bryce Harper – who, like Velander, is racking up all sorts of accolades on what appears to be a path to the Hall of Fame, including the home run who will forever remain in the best moments of his career – he is a player you want to always have on your team. But for all the talk of “inefficient free agency investments,” Harper, Zack Wheeler, JT Realmuto and Kyle Schawaber are tangible proof of the fundamentals of the free market: Elite talent is hard to come by and its value is high. .
Still signed through 2031, Harper is proving to have been a “bargain.” A superstar that elevates your entire franchise. v
2. Don’t even think about the “openers”!
Over the past few years, we’ve seen teams get more creative in the postseason, using openers and other bullpen strategies to survive the playoffs.
But the Phillies couldn’t have done it any more differently than, say, the Rays. They have well-established bullpen spots and they spent money on stars. The idea of ”Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and praying for October rain” was supposed to die, but Philly has picked it up with Aaron Nola and Wheeler, much like those Johnson and Schilling D-backs in 2001.
The Phillies have made it to every series by having Nola and Wheeler for the first few games, then hoping to figure out the rest. They want both of them to go as deep as possible. And the strategy is working for them.
3. Only makes it to the postseason
Heading into the playoffs, if you had to rank the teams from most to least favorites, wouldn’t the Phillies have been last? Or at least near the pit?
This is a team that has had its ups and downs in recent weeks, with a Harper who couldn’t seem to find the formula to hit the fastball. Well, starting in the top of the ninth inning at Busch Stadium, in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series, the Phillies have found themselves, maximizing the potential of the entire roster and surprising everyone on the roster. baseball.
If they win the World Series, they will be the second consecutive champion to win fewer than 90 games for the season. You just have to find the rhythm at the right time, like Philly.
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What is at stake in SM? Three stories for each team