Congratulations to the Washington Nationals on winning the first World Series game in franchise history and the first for the city since the Senators beating the New York Giants in Game 3 of the 1933 World Series.
Many articles today will refer to the behavior of Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman. If you need to know what happened, read our story from yesterday.
I’m assuming you saw last night’s game or know how to look up the highlights yourself.
- David Schoenfield writes that Game 1 will be remembered for 20-year-old Nationals outfielder Juan Soto’s star turn in besting Astros ace Gerrit Cole.
- Alden Gonzalez has the story behind the “Soto Shuffle” that Soto does after taking a pitch to pump himself up and intimidate the pitcher. Or perhaps just amuse the pitcher.
- On the Astros side, outfielder George Springer homered in a record fifth straight World Series game. He had been tied with Reggie Jackson and Lou Gehrig, which is pretty mighty company.
- Despite the fact that neither Cole or Nationals starter Max Scherzer were dominating in Game 1, Travis Sawchik notes that the 2019 World Series features the greatest collection of starting pitching from both sides in World Series history.
- Joe Distelheim also makes the case that this is the greatest World Series for starting pitching ever.
- Ken Rosenthal writes that for the health and popularity of the game, baseball needs to develop more “marquee” starting pitching. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Claire McNear writes about the intense drive that fuels Scherzer in his second try to win the World Series.
- That ultra-competitive drive goes back to Scherzer’s days pitching for the University of Missouri, according to this oral history compiled by Rustin Dodd. (The Athletic sub. req.) Dodd speaks to Scherzer’s former college teammates about his intensity, his famous pitching duel versus Joba Chamberlain, and his love of Cici’s Pizza buffet. Also the time Scherzer ate three whole Chipotle burritos in less than 45 minutes.
- Mike Axisa writes that the Nationals will need to get more out of their bullpen if they hope to upset the Astros.
- Sam Miller ranks all 50 players on the two World Series rosters.
- Paul Sporer examines why Astros DH Yordan Alvarez has struggled in the playoffs this year.
- Astros reliever Joe Smith pitched in Game 1 and that ended Smith’s record of pitching in 782 regular-season games without appearing in a World Series game. Of course, Smith did get a World Series ring with the 2016 Cubs, but he wasn’t on the postseason roster.
- Nationals pitcher Fernando Rodney, on the other hand, will achieve the baseball player’s version of the EGOT by playing in the Wild Card Game, the Division Series, the Championship Series and the World Series for teams in both leagues. Rodney will be the fourth player to accomplish this and two of the earlier ones are current Cubs.
- Ben Lindbergh notes that the 2019 World Series features a great collection of talent that will be free agents this winter.
- On to the behavior of Astros’ AGM Brandon Taubman. The Baseball Writers Association of America has called upon the Astros to publicly apologize to Sports Illustrated and writer Stephanie Apstein for saying that she had “[attempted] to fabricate a story.” Apstein’s account has been corroborated by several other witnesses.
- Jeff Passan writes that the Astros’ reprehensible reaction to Apstein’s story made a bad situation much worse.
- Tim Brown, hardly a bomb-thrower, writes that it’s time for the Astros to stop trying to defend themselves and time to start showing remorse.
- Bill Baer notes that unless the Astros are held accountable for this, it will only encourage Houston and other teams to smear reporters who reporters who report facts that they don’t like.
- Taubman’s rant was directed at a female journalist who had been publishing the phone number to a domestic violence hotline when Roberto Osuna pitched and that the Astros had complained about this many times.
- Jenny Dial Creech, a journalist for the Houston Chronicle, writes that it’s clear to her that the Astros just don’t get it. She says that members of the Astros organization have repeatedly complained that she wasn’t being fair to the Astros when she wrote about Osuna’s domestic violence history.
- MLB will look into possible discipline for Taubman and the Astros. That link includes an interview with Apstein.
- Michael McCann outlines the options that MLB has in investigating and punishing Taubman and the Astros.
- Graham MacAree writes that sports in general have a misogyny problem.
- In one more dispute, umpire Joe West is suing former major leaguer Paul Lo Duca for saying West gave Phillies reliever Billy Wagner a “more-favorable strike zone” in exchange for Wagner lending West a car. West seems to have a good case as West did not serve as the home plate umpire in any game that Wagner pitched against Lo Duca when he was on the Mets.
- The Astros did one thing right. The Astros fan who had food and beer thrown on him during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium was given prime tickets to Game 1 in Houston. Of course, he was given the tickets by pitcher Lance McCullers and not the Astros organization.
- If you want to go to the 2019 World Series, you’ll find much cheaper tickets in Houston than DC. Makes sense that tickets would be more in demand in the city that hadn’t seen a World Series since 1933 than the city that last saw a World Series in 2017.
- At the risk of making this piece more depressing, Craig Calcaterra spoke anonymously with six people in baseball and the overwhelming sentiment he got was that MLB is dealing with the opioids crisis poorly and Tyler Skaggs will only be the first of many deaths if they don’t fix things soon.
- Brendan Gawlowski ranks the World Series of the 21st Century. How is 2016 not first?
- It comes as no surprise, but Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia issued a statement announcing his retirement.
- Juliette Love looks at the numbers and concludes that baseball is a lot more popular than some would have you believe.
- The only time the city of Washington won a World Series, their star was an aging all-time great, pitcher Walter Johnson. Johnson’s grandson wants everyone to know he’s cheering for the Nationals. His only regret is that his mother, Johnson’s daughter, died last year and didn’t live to see Washington back in the Series. (And this is a good time to suggest you listen to this song to hear the legend of Walter Johnson, although I can’t speak for its historical accuracy.)
- And finally, the Nationals have adopted “Baby Shark” as their theme song this year and one doughnut shop in DC is celebrating the World Series with these Baby Shark Nationals doughnuts. The shop had a special reason for wanting to show their customers that they were behind the Nats. The name of the place is “Astro Doughnuts.” Awkward!
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.