History tells us that the New York Yankees won the 2009 World Series, beating the Philadelphia Phillies 4 games to 2.
It further notes that Yankees’ designated hitter Hideki Matsui hit three home runs and was named the Series’ Most Valuable Player, despite the fact he started only the three games played at Yankee Stadium, since the DH wasn’t — and still isn’t — used in National League parks.
(The fact that the DH is only used in American League parks during the World Series is really stupid, by the way, but I’ll leave that rant for a future column.)
I needed to depend on baseball-reference.com and other baseball history sites for those details about the 2009 World Series because I didn’t watch a single inning of any of those six games.
As regular readers know, I am a die-hard Mets fan, and as such was incapable of rooting for either the Yankees or the Phillies.
I’m facing a similar fate this year, though I have to admit I did turn on an inning or two of each of the first two games.
Again, as a Mets fan, it is absolutely impossible for me to root for the National League East rival Atlanta Braves. If you have to ask why, you’re not a Mets fan.
At the same time, I’m repulsed by the idea of rooting for the Houston Astros.
The Astros won the World Series in 2017 against the Dodgers. I rooted for the Dodgers. Later, the Astros were discovered to have cheated — stealing signs in a variety of ways during at least the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Some of those cheaters are still playing for the Astros today.
Major League Baseball fined the team $5 million and denied them several future draft picks. Both the manager — A.J. Hinch, now managing the Detroit Tigers after a year’s suspension — and General Manager Jeff Luhnow — still out of the game — were fired for allowing the cheating to happen on their watch.
Though no players were fined or suspended, Carlos Beltran, who had played for the Astros and had subsequently been hired by the Mets to be their manager, was singled out in the report as one of the sign-stealing leaders. He stepped aside, under pressure, before managing a single game.
According to a report I found on the New York Times website, Major League Baseball investigators determined that the Astros used their center-field camera feed to steal opponents’ signs.
“At the start of the 2017 season, one of the Astros players would act as the ‘runner’ and would relay the signs to teammates in the dugout and eventually to the batter, according to the investigation,” the Times reported.
Some sportswriters have suggested that despite all that, the fact that well-liked veteran manager Dusty Baker is now managing the Astros makes them easier to pull for.
I get that. I like Dusty Baker. My wife, Mary, who grew up in Richmond, Virginia, fondly remembers him playing for the minor league Richmond Braves back in the day.
But sorry, Dusty. It’s just not possible for me to root for a team that still features players who were part of that scandal. I want no part of seeing them hoist another Series trophy when they already have one they don’t deserve.
If I’d had my way, this World Series would be between the Dodgers and the Red Sox, and, having been born and raised in Brooklyn, I’d have been pulling for the Dodgers all the way.
But I’m a Mets fan. I’m used to not getting my way when it comes to baseball.
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