World Series Set To Feature Dominant Pitching, Young Stars
The World Series begins tonight in Houston, and the Astros-Nationals matchup is "as good as Major League Baseball could have asked for," according to Paul Sullivan of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. These are two "hot teams with dominant starting pitching, deep lineups and budding superstars" such as Nationals LF Juan Soto and Astros OF Yordan Alvarez, both of whom are "introducing themselves to baseball fans on a national stage" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/22).
BRINGING THE HEAT: NEWSWEEK's Dan Cancian writes both teams have an "embarrassment of riches" in their pitching departments. For the first time in history, the World Series will "feature five of the top 10 pitchers in strikeouts during the regular season." This also is the "first time since 1945 the World Series has featured six of the top 20 pitchers in terms of ERA" (NEWSWEEK.com, 10/22). In Houston, Chandler Rome writes MLB's "growing reliance on relievers will stall for a World Series to be settled by a bevy of aces unlike any assembled on the sports's ultimate stage." This World Series will be a "collection of former teammates, midseason acquisitions and men in their mid-30s who defy the passage of time" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/22). Nationals pitching coach Paul Menhart said, "It's the best starting pitchers in baseball. ... It's a pitcher's and pitching coach's and a pitching-loving individual's dream to see these types of matchups" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/22). Former Tigers manager Jim Leyland said, "Everybody is looking forward to this. It's great for baseball. Look at the matchups. It's baseball at its best, and the way the game was meant to be played" (USA TODAY, 10/22).
UNCANNY COINCIDENCE: In West Palm Beach, Tom D'Angelo notes this World Series also will be the "first time in history teams that started the season by sharing the same spring training complex for workouts and games will compete" in the Fall Classic. The Yankees and Cardinals met in the 1942 World Series after "playing their spring training games at Waterfront Park in St. Petersburg," but the teams "did not share the facility." Ballpark of the Palm Beaches GM Matt Slatus said, "For the first time, opening day of spring training really means something. It will be a rematch of the World Series." The teams will play each other Feb. 22 for their Spring Training opener. The Astros saw an increase of 21% in Spring Training attendance between '17 and '18 after winning the World Series. The team drew 55,881 fans in '17, its "first spring training in West Palm Beach, and 67,931 fans" in '18. Former West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio said, "We had the World Series trophy here, we had a parade, did all kings of things. I think it's going to be a huge celebration (next spring) no matter who wins." Slatus and his staff now have "about three months to figure out how to promote and take advantage of this unique opportunity" (PALM BEACH POST, 10/22).