One year ago, many baseball fans claimed that the 2016 World Series was and would be one of the greatest Fall Classics ever played. Now, exactly 365 days after 2016 Game 6, baseball fans around the world will have their eyes on Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California, with many, if not most considering the 2017 World Series to be the greatest of the modern era.
Game Seven are two of any sports fan's favorite words. While they indicate that a series is ending, which might be disappointing if it is the championship series, it also means that the winner takes all, whoever wins the seventh game of a series moves on, whether it be to the next round or to becoming the champion of the sport. Game seven of 2017, however, has already has been and will be one to remember for a long time.
In 2016, the Cleveland Indians took a three games to one lead over the Chicago Cubs. Neither team had won since 1948, with the Cubs facing a streak of over 100 years. After a big win at home, the Cubs momentum carried into Cleveland, where they won an ever-important game six to send them to the final game.
While the Chicago Cubs went on to win the 2016 World Series and established themselves as a powerhouse in Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers knocked them out in the National League Championship series to advance to the World Series themselves. For the Dodgers, it was their first appearance in the Fall Classic since 1988, when the topped the Oakland Athletics in five games.
On the American League side, the Houston Astros will represent the Junior Circuit, their first appearance since 2005, when they squared off against the Chicago White Sox. However, that was while they were a National League team. 2017 marks the first time a World Series team has represented the AL and NL in their history.
Including the history that Houston is making, there are several other things that make this World Series unique. For the first time since the 1970 and 1969 seasons, both teams playing in the 2017 World Series won 100 or more games in the regular season. Those two seasons were also the first two that the American and National Leagues were split into the Eastern and Western divisions.
In 2017, three teams finished with 100 or more wins, with those teams being the Dodgers (104-58), Indians (102-60) and the Astros (101-61). With previous World Series like that of 2014, where the two Wild Card teams were the ones that played in the World Series, this is a representation that two of the truly best teams in baseball made it to the season's final showdown.
Looking at the 32 different rosters from the last 16 World Series, 11 have been teams that were the Wild Card team entering the Division Series. However, most of those were in the early parts of the 2000s. What this signals, with 2014 being an exception is that the tides are turning in baseball.
While upsets still occur every year, the direction that the sport, MLB, is headed in, is that two of the league's best teams are the ones playing in the final game of the season. At a time when the league is struggling to maintain attendance and accusations of juiced balls fly around, and pace of play a major concern, the importance of fan retention is bigger than ever.
The excitement game-to-game has been unlike anything in recent memory, with the action and home runs increasing excitement. Social media blows up every game, with dominant pitching, exciting hitting and close games.
The 2017 World Series will go down as one of the biggest and best in the history of the game. Two of the best teams, both making history are squaring off, with Game 7 taking place tonight. Each game has been intense and in general, it is great for the sport. The excitement is bringing in new fans, which is very important.