Major League Baseball, the World Series, and my beloved Phillies

Curriculum: News and Views
Published: 2023-10-28
Major League Baseball, the World Series, and my beloved Phillies

Here we are at the precipice of the World Series circa 2023.  Can you believe how quickly the season went by? With the new pitch timer, games went faster than they have in many years. Larger bases made it easier to steal a base, theoretically.  And no more infield shifts made it easier to get a base hit.  I liked all these rule changes, and hope they continue to come up with innovative ways to improve the game.

But here we are, after a long season, the playoffs all but over, and the two teams that are left had very little chance of reaching the World Series according to the odds makers at the beginning of the season.  That is what I like about baseball. A team can turn it around quickly, and with the right blend of skill, determination, confidence, and luck, almost any team can make it this far in any given season.

That is what I thought about last year when the Philadelphia Phillies, my hometown team, made it to the World Series last year. I didn't think that they were very good, and they actually played poorly during most of September. Yet, they beat the division winners, and made it. 

This year was a bit different for the Phillies. They added a few key players, and seemed to be a better team, at least on paper. And again, they beat the Florida Marlins and the Atlanta Braves, and like they planned, they were in the National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

The Diamondbacks beat the Milwaukee Brewers and the LA Dodgers to get to reach the NCLS. Both of those wins were upsets. They were not expected to go nearly as far as they have. Again, with the right blend of some intangibles, any team can do it.

But in the NCLS, the Phillies were heavily favored. Which means that Arizona had nothing to lose. They can go out there and play their best ball without the pressure that the Phillies had on them, because the Phillies were expected to win.  The Phillies had that mindset last year when they made it into the World Series because they were the underdog. This year was different, and as I have seen time and time again in all the years that I have been watching baseball, pressure due to high fan expectations affects hitters adversely to the point of causing team slumps at the most inopportune times. That is what happened with the Phillies hitters.

And so, though I am disappointed, I look forward to a good series with these two underdog teams, and also look forward to see if the Phillies can make if over the hump next year.

Ok, who am I picking this to win the series? The Arizona Diamondbacks.