Five things to know about baseball’s 114th World Series

Boston, United States | AFP | Tuesday 10/23/2018 - 20:38 UTC+5 | 667 words

Five things to know about the 114th World Series, Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven final between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox:

– Old stadiums, long trip –

This year’s World Series marks the longest journey between stadiums in World Series history. The 2,588 miles (4,165km) between Fenway Park, the oldest major league ballpark debuting in 1912, and Dodger Stadium, the third-oldest having opened in 1962, is 20 miles longer than the trip from New York’s Yankee Stadium to San Francisco’s Candlestick Park in 1962.

– The Global Game –

There will be 14 World Series players born outside the United States. They include three from the Dominican Republic (Dodgers pitcher Pedro Baez, Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers and Red Sox second baseman Eduardo Nunez), two each from Cuba (Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig), Puerto Rico (Dodgers outfielder Enrique Hernandez and Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez) and Venezuela (Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon and Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez) plus Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts of Aruba and Dodgers pitchers Julio Urias of Mexico, Kenley Jansen of Curacao, Kenta Maeda of Japan and Ryu Hyun-Jin of South Korea.

– Managerial milestones –

There are several historic marks for the World Series managers. Boston’s Alex Cora is the first Puerto Rican manager in World Series history and together with the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts, whose mother in Japanese and whose father is African-American, they are the first minority managers to coach against each other in World Series history. They are also the first two managers in World Series history to each have played for both teams involved. In addition, Cora could become only the fifth rookie manager to win a World Series title and the first since Arizona’s Bob Brenly in 2001.

– Rematch of 1916 Series –

The Dodgers, whose history dates to the 1880s in Brooklyn and includes a move from New York to California in 1958, and the Red Sox, who began play in 1901, are two of baseball’s most storied clubs. But it’s only their second meeting in the World Series. The first came in 1916, when the Red Sox defeated what were then called the Brooklyn Robins 4-1. Brooklyn featured an outfielder named Casey Stengel who would win two World Series titles with the New York Giants as a player and manage the New York Yankees to seven more from 1949 to 1958. The Red Sox squad included 21-year-old Babe Ruth, who pitched 13 shutout innings in a game-two victory to start a World Series scoreless innings streak that would reach 29 in 1918. The Red Sox played home games at Braves Field, which offered more seats than Fenway Park. The Red Sox and Dodgers did not play again until 2002, five years after regular-season interleague play was introduced. The 102 years between World Series meetings is the longest such gap in the event’s history, eclipsing the old mark of 76 years between the A’s and Giants, who met in 1989 representing Bay Area rivals Oakland and San Francisco and in 1913 as Philadelphia and New York.

– Droughts and title runs –

The Boston Red Sox won five of the first 15 World Series titles from 1903 to 1918 (there was no Series in 1904). They are now trying to capture their fourth title in 15 seasons this month. In between was an epic drought between 1918 and 2004, known to Red Sox fans as the “Curse of the Bambino” for trading early 20th Century star pitcher Babe Ruth to the arch-rival New York Yankees, where he became a record-setting home run hitter and sparked a dynasty. That drought ended in 2004 with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts among the players on the curse-crushing team. The Dodgers seek their first title since 1988 and seventh overall. This is their 20th World Series appearance, matching the Giants for the most by any National League club but still only half of the record 40 World Series trips by the Yankees.

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