MLB underdogs rising from the ashes
By HOGAN LEPORE
Amazingly enough, the Major League Baseball Postseason is slowly coming to an end. It seems as if only a couple months ago the first pitch of the 2015 season was being thrown in Chicago on Sunday night of April 5. This year’s postseason has seen some significant changes from previous years, with popular teams not living up to their expectations, while others are exceeding said expectations.
Major League Baseball is not the easiest professional sport for players to be great at, as many teams have yet to experience “greatness.”
This is do the lack of a no salary cap in baseball. Unlike the NFL or NBA, teams are restricted by how much money their owner has. With that being said, the most successful teams originate in bigger market cities, such as New York and Boston. Whereas, smaller market cities like Milwaukee and Colorado, and their prospective teams, are at a disadvantage.
Both the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets are dueling in the National League Championship Series, with the victor set to head to the World Series. These two hungry franchises have longed for any postseason berth, let alone a World Series appearance.
The last time the Cubs appeared in the World Series was 1945, against the Detroit Tigers and have not hoisted a World Series trophy since 1908, the longest drought in baseball and sports history. To put in perspective, the year that the University of Mary Washington was founded was the year the Cubs last won the World Series.
As for the Mets, the last time they raised a National League Pennant was 2000 and last won a world series in 1986. This history of mediocrity between these two teams is what makes this year’s National League Championship Series matchup so special to all baseball fans. That, plus the fact that in the iconic movie Back to the Future predicted a Cubs World Series Championship in 2015.
The same can be said about the American League Championship Series. This championship series also consists of two historically mediocre franchises. Besides the Royals recent success (2014), they have not won an American League Pennant since 1985. While the Toronto Blue Jays have not made a World Series appearance since 1995, when the infamous Joe Carter hit a three-run walk off homerun to win the World Series crown.
Both franchises have had their fair share of postseason woes, as each franchise has a combined 15 playoff appearances. The Yankees have 52 themselves.
The fact that four recent struggling Major League Baseball franchises are all together in the semifinals of the postseason is pretty remarkable and pleasing to most fans. Followers of baseball, or any sports league in general, enjoy seeing lackluster teams turn it around and become great, for who can resist the classic ‘underdog’ story.
Although these championship series may not draw a big viewing crowds like a more star-studded Boston Red Sox/ New York Yankees American League Championship Series or perhaps a San Francisco Giants/ Los Angeles Dodgers National League Championship Series, fans still seem to eat up successful teams who were once poor.
Overall, Major League Baseball is changing dramatically in a way we have never seen before. Hopefully this change is for the best as the product or quality of baseball has not changed, however the franchises have.