A Real Fall Classic (2014 World Series Review)

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In 2004 the Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series in only four games and began a run of some of the least competitive World Series. From that moment on there has only ben one World Series that has gone to seven games. There have been four series sweeps, three series that went five games, and the other two series have gone six games. Overall not many series have seemed too competitive even if they went for six games. It has been a massive run of series without a lot to talk about aside from one dominant team. In that time the postseason has not suffered all that much for the World Series blowouts as the rest of the postseason remained a competitive fight. Teams that made the postseason still fought it out for a berth in the World Series and made plenty of moments throughout the years. Still the MLB wanted to inject something into the World Series and so they added another two teams to the mix with the Wild Card expansion. The new teams did add more to the postseason as they brought a single elimination game and the excitement of that type of game to the MLB postseason. The addition of the two extra teams also provided more possibilities for a team to upset and give another a challenge in the postseason. They did just that yet still the World Series failed to meet the expectations set out by the rest of the postseason. There was no real explanation for it either as teams just seemed to find an extra gear or falter under the pressure. There has been no real pattern to it either as neither league has taken more of the championships since 2004, the record is 5-5 since 2004. It has been a strange pattern since that time as teams have faced each other in potential great matchups only to have that matchup fail. Heading into the 2014 postseason there was hope that the World Series would be different and that two teams could make it in and make a good fight out of the final series in the season. From the start it looked like it could be a good postseason with multiple teams that had been there before and teams that were fast rising. The postseason looked like it was going to be good again but the World Series was still the big question. With teams ready to fight it out after a marathon season. Everyone watched to see two teams make their way to the World Series and bring back the close series that everyone expects when the two best teams in the league face-off against each other.

This time it was a bit of an unexpected matchup as the powers that everyone expected to be the top in the league did not make much of an appearance in the postseason. Instead it was two teams that found their way to the postseason in the wild card. The San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals started out as far from the postseason that you can get without being eliminated. They had to go through the uncertainty of the wild card game but both had great postseasons with only one loss between the two teams throughout every round. As the two teams faced off they it was inexperience versus veteran leadership but more than that it was two teams that were fairly similar. That is what made this a highly anticipated matchup as both teams were built the same way. Neither had a lot of power but had a few guys that can hit home runs. Instead they focused on small ball and timely hitting to produce runs. On the mound neither team had an all-star rotation but a few good pitchers and a good bullpen carried both teams. Eventually one team emerged though and as rare as it is in a team game one player emerged. Madison Bumgarner was quite simply lights out in the World Series. It is tough for one pitcher to have a massive impact on a series as they generally only start every four or five days. After two starts and 16 innings Bumgarner had a 0.56 ERA with 13 strikeouts and came in for the defining performance of the series during the final game. In a relief role Bumgarner allowed no runs and shut down the Royals to give the Giants the win in Game 7. It was possibly the greatest pitching performance in a World Series and Bumgarner could be credited with three of the four wins for the Giants. With the performance the Royals run at an unbelievable World Series was stopped just short and the Giants won their third World Series in five years entering the conversation of a true dynasty. In the end though it was the fans who got the most out of the series as it was clearly one of the best matchups in recent memory with the World Series getting back to a matchup of the two best teams in the league.

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