October 27, 2015 [LINK / comment]
Mets and Royals advance to World Series
Well, here we are at the beginning of another World Series, and you can't deny that it's a top-notch matchup. Both the Mets and the Royals deserve to be playing for a championship title. Both League Championship Series provided plenty of excitement, although on the National League side, the outcome was pretty lopsided. Game 1 of the 2015 World Series has just gone into extra innings, with the score at 4-4, so I'll wait until tomorrow or Thursday to comment on that.
The last team to reach the World Series two years in a row was the Texas Rangers, who ended up losing in both 2010 (to the Giants) and 2011 (to the Cardinals). The Philadelphia Phillies did likewise in 2008 and 2009, winning the first time only.
Mets sweep the Cubs
The New York Mets beat the Chicago Cubs 8-3 in the deciding NLCS Game 4 last Wednesday night, therby advancing to the World Series for the first time since 2000 -- 15 years ago. It would have been the Cubs' first World Series appearance since 1945, i.e. 70 years ago. I wonder when the last time was that two teams in a League Divisional Series had such a high combined cumulative World Series "drought" (85 years)? I'll have to check on that.
As if the Mets' young starting rotation with Matt Harvey, Jayson DeGrom, and Noah Syndergaard wasn't impressive enough, some young guy name Matz outpitched the Cubs' Jason Hammel. After such a thrilling above-expectations season, capped with a victory over their arch-rivals in St. Louis in the NLDS, getting swept four games straight by the Mets was a melancholy win. In Game 4, Daniel Murphy set a new MLB record by hitting a home run in six consecutive postseason games. As for the Cubs, it's "Wait till next year!"
Royals defeat the Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays had an uphill battle as the ALCS returned to Kansas City behind the Royals three games to two, staying alive after an impressive 7-1 Game 5 victory in Toronto. Jose Bautista hit two home runs, the second of which tied the game 3-3 late in the game, but the Royals still beat them 4-3 to finish the series.
It's a shame that David Price was charged with seven losses in seven postseason starts. After giving up two early home runs in ALCS Game 6, he settled down and went deep into the game before the Royals pounced on him to take the lead for good.
Wrigley Field major update
In hopes that the Cubbies might somehow stage a historic comeback in the NLCS, I put everything else aside and got to work on the Wrigley Field diagrams. As of today, they are now fully up to date, showing the enlarged bleachers which were added added this year, along with a new video scoreboard. There is a new upper-deck diagram, as well as a October 1932 diagram of when they built temporary bleachers over the adjoining streets (Waveland and Sheffield) for the extra big crowds. Of course, the inclusion of entry portals was a crucial part of getting the details just right. For example, the position of the "creases" in the grandstand, the bullpens, etc. are all now much more accurate than before. There are other enhancements (such as more prominent display of the support beams) as well. As usual, it took longer than I expected, but the results paid off. Enjoy!
For the record...
During the National League Wild Card Game (Cubs vs. Pirates, a.k.a. "Bucs") I wondered how many other team-pairs contain exactly the same letters? Cubs & Bucs.
While looking at some old photos of the Astrodome, I noticed that that the lateral walkway in the upper deck was not continuous, i.e., that there was an extra row of eight seats between each successive entry portal. The walkways were longer on the right of entry portal than on the left. So, I made that minor correction to the Astrodome diagrams.
I was watching a recorded Nats Xtra program from the final week of the season, in which Johnny and Ray pointed out that Max Scherzer was the first pitcher since Nolan Ryan to throw two no-hitters in one season, and that Max and Nolan are the only two who ever threw 17 strikeouts in a no-hitter.