Press Box Perspective: A World Series Snoozer

By Seth Rivello

This World Series has been very entertaining as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros go back and forth between wins and home runs. Both teams have combined for 22 home runs, a World Series record. The scoring has been crazy, but can you stay awake for it? The first pitch is thrown out shortly after 8 p.m. which is considered prime time, but with all the player pre-bat rituals and baseball analytics these games are drug out heavily.

To summarize, analytics, also called sabermetrics, are really specific in-depth stats that measure in-game activity and answer specific questions. Billy Beane was the founder in the late 1990s as he assembled an Oakland Athletics team, not with money, but with statistics. He bought into cheap undervalued players and sold the overvalued ones. “Moneyball” and sabermetrics have changed the game. Now MLB managers look at how players bat against certain pitchers, how they take certain pitches, how they play the field against certain batters, the list goes on forever and it’s slowing the game.

Game one was the quickest World Series game in 25 years, as Clayton Kershaw gunned down the Astros lineup in two hours and 28 minutes. He pitched seven of the nine innings, which is a huge reason why the game moved quickly. Once you take the starter out and plug in relievers, once the manager starts looking at the analytics, the game won’t be over until 2 in the morning.

Dodgers took Game 1 but Houston looked to bounce back in Game 2. Game 2 went into extra innings as each team was pounding the ball out of the park. There was a plethora of pitchers coming in and out of the game, another managerial analytic move which caused the game to run past midnight. Rich Hill started the game for the Dodgers as he struck out seven batters in four innings but was pulled for pitcher Kenta Maeda. Hill did give up one run in the third but you can’t hold that against him, analytics forced him out and Houston took Game 2 by a score of 7-6.

Games 3 and 4 weren’t too grueling, Game 3 took three hours and 46 minutes while Game 4 was quick lasting three hours and six minutes. Both games were split as Houston took Game 3 and Los Angeles took Game 4. Yuli Gurriel was the talk of Game 3 as he made a racist gesture after returning to the dugout after hitting a home run.

He stretched the side of his eyes and mouthed the Spanish word “chinito,” which means “little Chinese boy.” The gesture was pointed toward Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish who is from Japan.

The most recent game, Game 5 was the best by far. If you didn’t fall asleep you witnessed one of the best world series games ever and the second longest. The game lasted five hours and 17 minutes, not finishing until after 1 in the morning. Pitching was very sloppy as each team gave up over ten runs. The game went into extra innings again but was ended by Houston’s Alex Bregman who singled to bring in the game winning score. Astros won the game 13-12 and took the series lead 3-2.

In Game 6, the Dodgers came out and yet again, analytics came out in full force. Rich Hill threw just 58 pitches and was pulled in favor of reliever match-ups. The Dodgers tied the series at 3 with a 3-1 victory.

Something needs to be done with analytics. It’s a big time sport and jobs are on the line but these guys need to play, take all the science out of it. Another thing is pre-bat rituals. Yasiel Puig, no one wants to see you lick your bat before you strike out. The game is being slowed and driving away fans.