Let’s rejoice as baseball’s biggest villains were eliminated

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After Bryan Abreu threw three pitches in his Game 7 ALCS relief appearance, FOX’s broadcast couldn’t help itself, salivating that Major League Baseball made the right decision to uphold his two-game suspension for intentional beaning Adolis Garcia in Game 5, but deferring it to the first pair of games of the 2024 regular season. Quite the biased take on recent events. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal said, “It was the correct call.” And without hesitation, the network’s play-by-play commentator, Joe Davis, jumped in with “Yeah, no doubt. This feels like the right move.” With pitch No. 4 of his appearance, Abreu, mere seconds after Davis’ last words of that word-vomit, and coming into the game with Houston down six runs in the sixth inning, hit Rangers designated hitter Mitch Garver in the ribs with a 97-mile-per-hour fastball. It’s the most painful “ball don’t lie” ever and one heck of a way to delegitimize an argument.

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In a nutshell, it also describes the league’s desire to see the Astros win plummet further into the abyss, if the Rangers early-game offense didn’t already do that. For Game 7 standards, Monday night was a breeze for Texas, dominating Houston 11-4 en route to its first World Series in a dozen years. And they’ll host whatever National League foe survives Tuesday having lost all three games of the ALCS in Arlington. It’s the first World Series not to feature the former cheaters or the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2016, when the Cubs ended their 108-year championship drought. And everything is right with the baseball world, as the Astros don’t get to reap the benefits of having Big Brother look out for them.

Even with my personal desires to have Texas advance, I’ve never been in the camp that Houston doesn’t deserve success six years after it cheated its way to a World Series. It’s run as the American League’s best comes down to no one consistently beating it, as the Rangers had to do four times at Minute Maid Park. It’s also not as dominant as one might think compared to previous baseball dynasties with one World Series without cheating over those seven seasons of American League control. Making the ALCS in each of those years is astounding, going one for seven without cheating this deep is not, and speaks to baseball being the longest-tenured big-four sport without a repeat champion. That consecutive titles streak was long enough ago that the year it began started with a 1, to be exact, it was the Yankees from 1998-2000.

Is baseball perfect? Absolutely not. Was this year more enjoyable than many previous ones because of the pitch clock? Yup. Knowing we’ll get at least a sort of fresh matchup in the World Series makes it more interesting as well. The Phillies did win the National League last year, but this team feels much different than that one. And don’t rule out Arizona, who got swept by Houston to end the season and, de facto, cost the Rangers the AL West when they lost three of four to Seattle to end their regular season. What a turn of events it will be either way for the Rangers, as they’ll get that common enemy, or Philadelphia, who it swept to begin the season in late March and early April. Running a series back to bookend the season? Not sure that’s ever happened before in baseball history, or at least since the league had more than eight teams. Either way, the most nauseating team in baseball will be watching the World Series from the golf course, not playing in it. And that’s good for the sport. 

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