Friday, October 23, 2020

A Historical Look at the 2020 World Series 10/23/20

 Hey baseball fans!

The 2020 World Series is here, which means that it's time for me to give you a historical look on the matchup, which pits the Rays against the Dodgers!

The Tampa Bay Rays are making their second World Series appearance in franchise history and their first since 2008. This marks the second time that a 1990s expansion team is making its second World Series appearance, joining only the Marlins. Having lost that 2008 World Series to the Phillies, the Rays are one of six teams to never win a World Series title. They will be facing the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are looking to win the franchise's seventh ring in its storied history, having not won a World Series since 1988, but making it in 2017 and 2018. If the Dodgers lose the 2020 World Series, they will join the 1911-1913 Giants and the 1907-1909 Tigers as the only teams to lose the Fall Classic in three out of four years. Also, it should be noted that the Dodgers have one of the worst World Series championship percentages out of the teams that have rings. With only six championships in 20 tries, the Dodgers have the third-worst success rate on baseball's biggest stage, behind the Phillies (an original NL team that didn't win its first World Series until 1980) and the Cubs (who didn't even appear in a World Series from 1946-2015). 

This marks the fourth time in the Wild Card era that the top two teams in each league have made the World Series, joining the 1995, 1999, and 2013 editions of the Fall Classic. What's even more interesting is that the 2020 World Series has the highest combined regular season winning percentage of all time. The Rays and Dodgers had a combined winning percentage of .692 during the shortened 2020 campaign, surpassing the 1906 World Series combined regular season winning percentage of .690 between the Cubs and White Sox. In other words, this World Series is supposed to be one of the most competitive World Series ever and I'm excited to see how it all plays out. If you want to know who I think will win the World Series, click here to listen to the newest episode of my baseball podcast, Baseball for Breakfast, where me and my friends talk all about the 2020 World Series!

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, October 9, 2020

My Top 5 World Series Walk-Off Home Runs Of All Time 10/9/20

 Hey baseball fans!

The World Series is only about a series away, so it's time to start imagining how the 2020 edition of the Fall Classic will be entered into the history books! Personally, I'm a big fan of the walk-off home run and hope we see some crazy game-winning dingers during the final stage of the MLB postseason. To honor this, let's run through my top five World Series walk-off home runs of all time. 

Number Five: Derek Jeter, Game Four, 2001

The game-tying home run by Tino Martinez in the bottom of the ninth was amazing, too, but the walk-off by Derek Jeter off of Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Byung-Hyun Kim in the tenth is legendary for Yankees fans. Because the World Series was delayed due to the September 11th attacks, Jeter's home run came during the first moments the MLB has ever had games during the month of November, hence Jeter's nickname, "Mr. November." I like this home run a lot because Jeter was my favorite player growing up and this is one of his best moments and certainly one of his best home runs. 

Number Four: Bill Mazeroski, Game Seven, 1960

See? This isn't a Yankees blog! Maz's shot in Game Seven of 1960 ended a back-and-forth affair between the Yanks and champion Pittsburgh Pirates with the first ever walk-off Series-winning home run (and the only one in a Game Seven). Personally, I think Mazeroski is an overrated Hall of Famer, but I have to give credit where credit is due. He made history against a franchise that hadn't been sent such a crushing blow in their 40-year dynasty prior to that homer. It's a big deal, for sure. 

Number Three: Joe Carter, Game Six, 1993

To put it simply, this used to be my favorite moment in baseball history, let alone my favorite World Series walk-off home run. While Mazeroski's home run came in Game Seven with the game tied, this walk-off Series-ending home run that Carter hit with the Blue Jays against the Phillies came with his team trailing in the ninth in Game Six. The reasons why Carter's homer is so good is the crazy pitching motion by Phillies reliever Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams that Carter read well, the Hall of Famers on base (Paul Molitor on second and Rickey Henderson on first), and the impact that the homer had on the city of Toronto. A lot of Canadians are baseball fans because of this moment.

Number Two: Kirby Puckett, Game Six, 1991

"And we'll see you tomorrow night." One of the best home run calls I've ever heard (it was by Jack Buck, Joe Buck's dad and longtime MLB announcer), and it was made during arguably the best World Series of all time. Kirby Puckett is one of my favorite players ever, and the fact that it was him, the star of the Twins championship teams in 1987 and 1991, that hit this home run against the Braves makes it that much sweeter.

Number One: David Freese, Game Six, 2011

All Nelson Cruz had to do was run a little bit faster, and he would've caught Freese's game-tying triple in the ninth, which would've ended the game and the Series for the Rangers. But instead, we were left with one of the greatest couple of innings that the World Series has ever seen, which ended with Freese's walk-off that sent the St. Louis Cardinals faithful into a frenzy. I remember watching this home run live and realizing that because I was watching it, I was part of history. That's why this homer takes the top spot on my list (even though Joe Buck stole his dad's signature line from the Puckett homer for Freese's homer).  

I'm going to get ahead of some of you and address the missing Carlton Fisk homer that the Hall of Fame catcher hit in Game Six of the 1975 World Series to send it to Game Seven. The Red Sox didn't win Game Seven against the Reds! The home run was meaningless in the grand scheme of things! Sure, Derek Jeter's homer didn't amount to much for the 2001 Yankees in the long run, but that homer doesn't need to be carried by magnitude because it was a Game Four and not a Game Six! But anyway, what do you think of the rest of my list? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."