by Thomas U. Tuttle
The expression “instant classic” has become vastly overused in the sports world, started by some creative folks in the back room of ESPN and furthered by media talking heads everywhere. When there are too many so-called classic games, it changes the definition of what is truly amazing and rare.
If everything is a classic, then nothing is a classic…
Well, the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers has a chance to go down in history as the greatest Series ever, particularly if the Dodgers can rally to win a couple games at home to win this best-of-seven.
And as I write this piece before game six, I’m calling it in: LA can do this and will win a couple of ballgames at Chavez Ravine, home of Dodger Stadium. Yes, I’m saying they can beat Justin Verlander (10-0 with Astros) Tuesday night behind one-time semi-professional pitcher Rich Hill (think Saint Paul Saints) and his tough-breaking lefty stuff.
Of course, game five was a ridiculously great baseball game, one of the most exciting contests I’ve ever seen in 35 years of covering baseball within a 50-year baseball life. Utterly amazing.
Yes, the Dodgers blew three different leads in spectacular fashion enroute to a 13-12 defeat over five-plus hours and seven home-runs, as their vaunted bullpen was again thoroughly trashed – a fact thought inconceivable before the Series.
Game two was called an instant classic (by ESPN) with some back-and-forth, a record eight homers, and a 7-6 Astros victory – but game five took things a big step further. In 657 previous World Series ballgames, only one has produced more runs – and none more excitement and thorough disbelief in the wee hours of the morning!
When it finally ended with a run-scoring base hit, Houston had received homers from five different players, proving the validity of their Major League leading overall slugging percentage. LA couldn’t hold against that onslaught of abrupt power.
And to think when the night started we were all settling in to watch two league-best pitchers, Dallas Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw engage in a pitchers duel! Classic!
But you heard it here first. Despite Houston’s tenacity and amazing offensive prowess, and regardless of the “juiced” 2017 playoff baseballs that are the talk among many smart baseball minds – and lots of pitchers – look for the Los Angeles Dodgers to pull this off and win this World Series.
Houston is a great baseball team, but so too are the Dodgers. That’s what makes this a classic series, with classic games, instant or otherwise…
And Los Angeles can do this, against the odds. Which will make the payoff all the greater – and all the sweeter. Dodgers in seven games.