There has been a lot of talk about how the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers has being the greatest in the history of sport. There are some who would put the 2016 series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians as the best. The last two World Series not only went the distance but also ended long droughts. For the Astros, Wednesday’s win over the Dodgers enabled them to clinch the first title in their 57-year history of the franchise. For the Cubs, their championship in 2016 was their first World Series crown in more than 100 years.
You can argue whether the last two World Series were the greatest in history. It shows that you don’t need two big market teams, or even the two best teams, to get excited about a championship. The fact that people are talking so much about how great baseball has been over the last few years has been music to this man’s ears. People in Toronto have not been excited about the Blue Jays between their championship years in 1992 and 1993, and 2015. And all it took was the flip of a bat.
However, I’m not convinced with people saying baseball is making some kind of resurgence. ESPN’s Max Kellerman declared on First Take that baseball is back. With all due respect, the sport never left. There is no question that baseball has gone through its share of some tough and even troubled times. But it’s survived dead ball, juiced ball, juiced players, riots, tie games, throwing games, and work stoppages. Things people say are leading to the demise of baseball.
I have been sick and tired of hearing the game of baseball being kicked repeatedly on the ground. There are those who have written off baseball for dead and are now kicking themselves. Those who abandoned baseball and ran over to football are finding out the grass (or turf) isn’t any greener. That game has seen its share of troubles, most recently concussions, domestic violence, and the misguided political rhetoric led by NFL players. If sports were stocks, people who invested heavily on the NFL are now banging on doors trying to sell. While people were ready to anoint American football and the National Football League as America’s pastime, the game of baseball was going about their business in keeping their crown. I can bet the same people who swore off baseball after the player’s strike in 1995 are now rediscovering (some albeit reluctantly) how great the game is again.
Through it all, the game of baseball has hardly changed since Abner Doubleday first created it (some say supposedly) almost two centuries ago. So I don’t know where all this talk about baseball being gone and back from the dead is coming from. The players have changed but, in my mind, it’s always been here, alive and well.