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“Opener” is Tonight

October 24, 2017

Tonight in Los Angeles, where the temperature is hovering around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the 113th World Series will commence, matching the Houston Astros, who in their 56th season are seeking their first World Series title and game win (they were swept by the White Sox in ’05) and Los Angeles Dodgers, who are bidding for the franchise’s 7th title, 6th in L.A. (the first was in ’59 vs the White Sox, a franchise that has made but 2 World Series appearances in 97 completed baseball seasons (1920-2017, the ’94 season was not completed, with both ’17 W.S. teams having played them in their first World Series and in the first World Series for both the huge states of California and Texas) and first in 29 years.

L.A. is roughly an 8 to 5 favorite and has the home advantage. After teams with the home advantage won a very impressive 23 of 28 Fall Classics starting in 1985 (the first year of best of 7 LCS play), the team sans home advantage, the ’14 Giants and ’16 Cubs won the title, winning road 7th games at Kansas City and Cleveland respectively, in two of the past three seasons.

The Astros are of course the first team to make the World Series from both the National and American Leagues and there is ‘offs history between the ‘Stros and Dodgers.

In 1980, L.A. had to win the final 3 “reg” tilts at home vs Houston to force a one game Monday afternoon one game playoff for the N.L. West crown.

They did win 3 straight to force the playoff, but Joe Niekro pitched Houston to their first N.L. West crown in that tilt.

The next year, neither L.A. or Houston had the best record in the N.L. West but a player’s strike led to split seasons and since L.A. won the first half and Houston the second half, it was deemed they and not the Cincy Reds, who did have the best record in the one quarter “div,” would meet in a best of 5 series for the crown.

Again, after losing the first two games in Houston, the Dodgers needed 3 straight wins but this time if they got them, it meant the N.L. West title and not an ‘off game.

The Dodgers again won 3 straight from Houston and eventually won their first World Series title in 16 seasons. (The other day Chris Russo on his show “High Heat, ” incorrectly stated it was the Dodgers’ first title in 18 years).

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Baseball Scene (Kinetic Typography) 

In the iconic film, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” for which Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher each won best acting awards and more important(ly?)–the question mark is for usage not what I feel— which is they each made an indelible impression on many, certainly me with their performances, Jack’s character “R.P” asks “who is pitching the opener of the 1963 World Series?

That fiction was set in a not so nice place, what was commonly called a mental institution.

In real, not “reel life,” but also in a not nice place, a prison, that year,  Joe Green and the infamous, brilliant but misdirected Jack Molinas  discussed whom they thought would win that opener, matching two of the greatest pitchers ever, Sandy Koufax and Edward “Whitey” Ford.

I was in third grade, a school year enriched with “ups” having  a great teacher, June Drusin and another for Hebrew School, Rabbi Harry Goder and one horrible “down” when President Kennedy was assassinated, on that “bright” (another Harry, Mr. Bright lamented how he waited his whole life to appear in a World Series, only to have his home crowd root for him to strikeout, as to have Sandy Koufax break Carl Erskine’s single game strikeout record, which he did) day.

 

 

 

 

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