Who do you think will reach the World Series this year? A great analysis was written up by Phil Huckleberry of Meta-Spiel. He interjects his analysis with some funny points about the Zingers snack.
In response, here’s my take on who’ll reach the World Series, but without any funny interjections.
I’m leaning towards a Braves vs. Orioles matchup, not because of any logical reasoning, but due to the compelling storylines.
It’s surprising even to myself that I find myself cheering for a team associated with the controversial tomahawk chop. However, the Braves have an incredible offense, and their victory over the Cubs in the closing moments of the season left a lasting impression on me.
As a Cubs fan, one might assume I wouldn’t want the Braves to succeed. But for me, it’s not just about wins and losses; it’s about the narratives. Perhaps my perspective has been shaped by enduring many losing seasons (or maybe it’s the realization that glorifying victories isn’t everything).
If the Braves emerge victorious, it would solidify the story of the 2023 season in my mind. It all came down to two pivotal plays for the Cubs involving the Braves.
This season, our expectations for the Cubs weren’t high. Yet, in the final week, they had a chance to make the playoffs, facing both the Braves (the best record in baseball) and the Brewers. That last week felt like our postseason. Beating these top teams meant we could continue into the playoffs. If we lost, well, maybe we didn’t deserve to be in the real playoffs anyway.
During our quasi-playoff week, the first defining moment occurred against the Braves. The Cubs were on the verge of winning, but a routine ball was dropped by Seiya Suzuki in the bottom of the 8th, giving Atlanta the lead. That dropped ball encapsulates the essence of the Cubs’ 2023 season.
And then came the second defining play…
In the next game, the Cubs were close to a victory, taking the lead in extra innings. However, Ronald Acuna, with a single, tied the game in the bottom of the 10th. He then stole his 70th base of the year, becoming the only 40-70 player in history. Of all moments for this 40-70 record to be set, it had to be in a crucial part of our quasi-playoffs. Acuna’s game-tying RBI, followed by the stolen base, and then scoring the winning run – it was a remarkable sequence.
These two games marked our playoff week’s start with two significant losses. Being one game behind in the wild card, the Cubs couldn’t afford to lose any games. Yet, we dropped the first two, effectively ending our season.
Now, I find myself cheering for the Braves. I want them to complete this story in my mind, emphasizing those two crucial plays. In nobody else’s mind will the Braves championship really be tied to defeating the Cubs, but in my mind it will be.
Plus, I would like the superstars of baseball to be able to get more airtime. Ronald Acuna’s 40 HR, 70 SB season is incredible. I hope he gets to the World Series and does some remarkable things, elevating him up into superstar status. A name that non-baseball fans would then recognize.
As for the Orioles, I visited Camden Yards in high school when the field was just a couple of months old. Since then, I’ve loosely supported them. I even owned an Orioles cap. The black and orange color scheme is appealing, and the team always seems to be the underdog.
But, knowing baseball’s unpredictable nature, we’ll end up with a Marlins vs. Astros matchup. I recently saw a stat indicating that the Marlins have the worst run differential of any playoff team ever. So naturally, they’ll make it to the World Series. Baseball always finds a way to surprise us.