Now that the leaves are falling and the days are getting shorter, it can only mean one thing; it’s World Series time. This is the penultimate best of seven series to determine which is the best team in baseball for that year over a short series.
This year, the two teams are the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. This is not the first time these two have met in the World Series. They also played in 1916 when the to-be Dodgers were known as the Robins (named after their manager, Wilbert Robinson).
The Red Sox were not supposed to be in the Series that year as they’d traded their star player, Tris Speaker, and their longtime ace, Smokey Joe Wood, was experiencing arm problems. However, they did have a phenom in 21-year-old pitcher Babe Ruth. Ruth threw nine shutouts that year and completed 23 games. (In contrast, this year’s Orioles had no shutouts and two complete games.) In the second game of the series Ruth won, pitched 14 innings, gave up six hits, one run, walked three and struck out four. Boston used only five pitchers in the Series, which they won in five games. Ruth, by the way, was tied for the lead in home runs on the Sox with three.
The Orioles were in the pennant race this year right up until May. They finished with a record of 47 wins and 115 defeats, and were a discouraging 61 games out of first place. Meaning that if they had continued to play and gone on a 61-game winning streak while the Red Sox had lost 61 in a row, along with the Yankees, Toronto and Tampa, they would have won the pennant sometime around Christmas.
I think everyone knew that they might have issues with their pitching this year. What we didn’t realize is that you could find better arms on department store mannequins. Their four “aces” combined to win eighteen and lose 51 games. The team ERA was 5.18.
Well, at least they had good hitting ... uh no. The Orioles this year got 1,317 hits and struck out 1,412 times. They were led by their $100 million man, Chris Davis, who managed to strike out 193 times while producing 79 hits. The team batted .239.
They fired the manager and general manager. They’re said to be “looking outside the organization” for new leadership.
I mention this because my team, the Muddogs, won the world championship of my fantasy baseball league. I’ll be presented with the prestigious World Championship Trophy this winter. The trophy is a tasteful 2 1/2 feet tall with previous winners inscribed on it and is topped with a fan sitting in a Barcalounger with a remote in his hand. I’m thinking of adding a trophy room, with track lighting, onto the house.
The Muddogs started the season slowly in large part because of injuries to two of my top picks, Clayton Kershaw and Aaron Judge. But, of course, every losing manager blames injuries for defeats. Not the perky Muddogs. We developed a unique drafting style based on my poor memory. I drafted Chris (and Khris) Davis, and both Happs, Ian and J.A. This worked out well, as I dropped Chris and Khris led the majors in home runs. I dropped Ian, and J.A. came alive once he was traded to the Yankees. I think this can only be described as coaching genius.
So while the ‘Dogs languished around .500 most of the season, they put on a salary drive at the end of the season to barely make the four-team playoff. Once there, crafty baseball know-how and ineptness on the part of my opponents led to the world championship.
This left me with a record of 14 wins and nine losses or a 61 percent winning average. The Orioles had a 29 percent winning percentage. Last year, I finished second in the league, so I’m clearly on an upward arc, and I am “outside” the Oriole organization.
Peter Angelos, call me.