Game sevens are a precious and rare thing, particularly in the World Series. One game to decide who wins a title and who goes home far, far more disappointed than they deserve to be at being the second-best team in their sport is the very highest of dramas.
Thank god we’re getting a game seven here, too, because up until now this has been perhaps the worst world series I can honestly remember. I know lots of people would bring up the 2006 series as one of the worst ever, given that it was only five games and consisted primarily of Tigers pitchers committing three to six throwing errors per game, but given I am a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, I have no way of objectively viewing that series. I have too many memories connected to the franchise’s first championship of my conscious life, too many flashbulb moments that are vitally important to me, to have any ability of parsing out whether or not that was a good series or not. (Spoiler alert: it almost certainly was not.)
With very little rooting interest here, though — I dislike the Astros for being gross, and I like the Nationals for signing Max Scherzer, but overall it’s a pretty low level of give a shit for me — I can very easily call this one out as a garbage fire of a World Series. Actually, garbage fire might be giving it too much credit; any sort of fire is inherently at least a little thrilling, even if only in a horrifying way. A mid-June 7-2 victory or loss is not interesting, nowhere near thrilling, and so far this World Series has been mid-June 7-2 games all the way down.
Part of it, of course, is the simple fact the road team has won every game, and done so in nearly every game by a comfortable margin. Game one was exciting, ish, but since that time there has been very little drama. The Nationals made Houston look bad in game two, then Houston came to Washington and made sure Nationals fans have still never seen a World Series game won in person. The Nats scored exactly three runs in three games at home, losing all three by a combined score of 19-3. The average margin of victory over all six series games so far has been five runs. This is boring baseball.
And really, even last night’s contest, while certainly more exciting, did not actually bring a lot of thrills or chills either one to the table. It was a 7-2 final, the game was not really in doubt after the seventh inning, robbing us of late-inning drama, and once again it was the road team winning, meaning that the crowd effectively sat on their hands, giving the game all the atmosphere of an intramural football scrimmage. The only real excitement to be had came in the form of a terrible umpiring decision, an equally terrible review and subsequent confirmation of said terrible decision, and the ensuring arguments and snippy play. I suppose watching two players carry their bats to first base was mildly entertaining, but eh. I’ve seen better.
I will admit it’s been fascinating to watch Stephen Strasburg create an actual decision as far as his opt-out goes; two months ago I would have thought you were crazy if you said Strasburg had a pretty good chance of opting out after the season. With this run, though, he has put himself in a position to make that decision much more interesting, and much more fraught, than I would have expected. In the end, I would not offer the kind of contract Strasburg would likely be seeking to a 31 year old pitcher with over 1300 regular-season innings on a surgically repaired elbow, not to mention the postseason workload, but that it’s even a conversation is a testament to just how good Strasburg has been when healthy, and just how remarkable a run he is on right now.
And now we head to a game seven. A pitching matchup for the ages. Two future Hall of Fame hurlers, Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke, will square off with four Cy Young awards between them, each looking to bring home a title. Is this the greatest game seven pitching matchup of all time? I would hazard to say yes, I believe it is. Maybe somewhere in the dim recesses of history there was one more storied, but of those I can recall this is, by far, the best. In a game increasingly dominated by youth, with players as young as 29 years old struggling to get contracts, we have a 35 year old versus a 36 year old for all the marbles.
I’ll be watching tonight, trying to wring out the final drops of baseball left this season, before the curtain falls and we have months to go before mid-February comes and relieves us of our losses. I’ll be rooting for the kid from St. Louis to add that final star to his legacy, and for the Expos to win their first championship. This series has, so far, been a bust. We could be in for an epic finish, though.