While purists scoffed at two National League clubs tangling off in the 2017 World Series (the Houston Astros switched from the American League in 2013) and millions of folks appalled by Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel’s racial mocking of Los Ángeles pitcher Yu Darvish, it is time to answer the questions about the 112th edition of this series.
For those going through withdrawals, spring training is less than four months away.
1. Who was the biggest winner in this series?
“That would have to be Astros’ shortstop Carlos Correa, the 23-year-old phenom who recovered from a torn ligament in his right thumb to help steer Houston to its first World Series. Correa, the third Latino ever chosen first in the MLB draft (the others were Alex Rodríguez and Adrián González), smacked five home runs and batted in 14 runs during the playoffs.
“But, that is not the reason he’s the biggest winner. That would be because his girlfriend, Miss Texas USA 2016 Daniella Rodríguez said yes to his marriage proposal immediately after Game 7.”
2. OK, who is the second-biggest winner of this World Series?
“That would be the Fresno Grizzlies, who now can boast that they are the Triple A farm team of four World Series champions in seven seasons. That would be the San Francisco Giants (2010, 2012, 2014) and the Astros (2017). Plus, don’t forget the Grizzlies – the alter egos of the Fresno Tacos! – won the 2015 Triple AAA national championship.”
3. Speaking of winners, is that it?
“No. Justin Verlander, the Detroit Tigers’ star pitcher for 13 seasons who was acquired by the Astros midseason, not only won his first World Series title (his Tigers lost in 2012 to the Giants), he picked up a wife. Verlander skipped last Friday’s Astros parade in Houston to marry model Kate Upton. We don’t blame him for his decision.”
4. OK, there have to be some losers, right? Other than the Dodgers.
“Yes. That would be the Dodger fans who have been hankering for their team’s first World Series title since 1988 (the one with the homer by a gimpy Kirk Gibson against the Oakland A’s). What made the outcome hurt more was that the majority of Los Ángeles fans was able to watch the Dodgers on television until their team made the playoffs. That’s because Time Warner Cable – which paid the Dodgers a handsome, 25-year, $8.35-billion deal in 2011 for television broadcast rights – can be accessed by less than half of the LA market.
“For many, it was the first chance to see Kiká Hernández or Yasiel Puig in action. Next season, unless Charter Communications (which purchased Time Warner) decides to give television broadcast rights at a loss to other providers, Dodger fans will be in the same boat.”
5. Was this a true Texas vs. California showdown?
“Yes and no. Gov. Jerry Brown will have to deliver a cache of California wines to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (who would have coughed up a six-pack of Houston-brewed beer and Texas barbecue), but this didn’t feel like a true state-vs-state encounter. That’s because while Texas has two Major League teams, the Golden State is split among five teams (Dodgers, Giants Los Ángeles Angels of Anaheim, the San Diego Padres and the Oakland A’s), so loyalties are split four ways. Plus, you can bet the farm that Giants’ fans won’t be rooting for those Dodgers any time soon.”
6. What was your personal disappointment in the series?
“That would be the absence of Dodgers’ first baseman Adrián González, who was shut down for the season in September after a back injury. González, who was picked up by the Dodgers in a trade with the San Diego Padres in 2012, appeared in only 71 games this season. He batted .242 with 30 RBIs. Proud of his Mexican roots (he was born in San Diego), he had ‘Mariachi Loco’ play when he walked up to the plate to bat.”
7. Is there another personal disappointment?
“Yes, the same as every other true baseball fan: Not getting to hear Vin Scully announce any games. Scully, who will be 90 this month, retired following the 2016 season.”
8. Was Gurriel’s action in the baseball dugout racist?
“Yes, once it was caught by television cameras and broadcast to millions of viewers. Gurriel brought his hands up to his temples and made a slanted-eyes gesture at Darvish after hitting a home run against the Dodger pitcher in Game 3. This country continues to have an awful history of racial animosity toward minority groups, and it isn’t helped when one minority does the same to another minority.”
9. Will you predict next year’s World Series winner?
“Uh, no. It’s pretty risky business, even if Sports Illustrated (2014 cover) and the Fresno Grizzlies (2015 Back to the Future promotion that was eventually nixed by the Astros) called it years ago. The last back-to-back champions were the New York Yankees (1998, 1999, 2000).”
10. Are you an Astros, Dodgers or Giants fan?
“Neither, although the first time I watched a baseball game on TV was in the 1960s when my father followed the Astros. I’m actually an Oakland A’s fan ... so that means it’ll be a few more seasons before the A’s make it back to the World Series.”
Juan Esparza Loera has been editor of Vida en el Valle since it first published in August 1990. Send questions, comments or suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org