Hot Stove #236 – The World Series Starts Tonight

Before we talk baseball, a moment of silence for the victims of terrorism in Israel. Below, the October 12 NLDS game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia (video here).

Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves hold moment of silence for Israel  before MLB playoff game – The Forward

The winners of the ALCS and NLCS were the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks. These two pennant winners will meet tonight in Game 1 of the World Series. [Royals Trivia: Eight years ago on this date, the Kansas City Royals beat the Mets in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series.]

The early games of the ALCS and NLCS were mostly light on drama, but “Big Friday” (October 20) provided back-to-back thrillers for the national TV audience. That excitement continued as both series went the full seven games.

ALCS – Texas Rangers over Houston Astros (4-3): In 2014, the Kansas City Royals won eight straight games to start the postseason – the Oakland Wild Card game plus sweeps in the ALDS and ALCS. Last year, Houston started the postseason with seven straight victories and could have tied the Royals record by beating the Phillies in Game 1 of the World Series. But they lost (the game, not the Series), and Kansas City’s record stayed in place.


This year, the Texas Rangers won their first seven games, sweeping the Wild Card round (2-0) and the ALDS (3-0), followed by winning Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS against Houston. But that was it. Houston won Game 3 of the ALCS, and the Royals record again survived.

Houston also won Game 4 to tie the ALCS, setting the stage for Big Friday’s dramatic Game 5. With Houston leading 2-1 in the 6th, Adolis Garcia blasted a 3-run homer to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead. When Garcia came to the plate two innings later, Houston pitcher Bryan Abreu (intentionally?) hit Garcia with a 98.9 mph fastball. Garcia was not happy, and a baseball-style “fight” broke out (video here). It’s fun to watch in reverse (click here) and upside down (click here).

ALCS: Bryan Abreu receives two-game suspension after hitting Adolis García  with pitch | CNN

Rangers closer Jose Leclerc had entered the game in the 8th and returned to the mound in the 9th with the Rangers still leading 4-2.  His return was delayed an extra 11 minutes for the “fight” and maybe he lost his rhythm. He gave up a single and a walk to the first two batters he faced, and then came…


…Jose Altuve, who we feared would hit a 3-run homer. And he did. This put the Astros ahead 5-4, and that’s how the game ended, giving Houston a 3-2 edge in the series. The Astros had won all three games at Globe Life Field and headed home to Houston, seemingly with momentum on their side.

In Game 6, after eight innings, it was déjà vu of Game 5 with the Rangers leading 4-2. But the 9th would be much different. The Rangers loaded the bases and scored a run on a hit batter. Next up was Adolis Garcia who in his four previous trips to the plate had struck out, often with undisciplined swings like he was trying to get back at the Astros for hitting him the day before. He got over it, connecting for a grand slam and a 9-2 Rangers victory.

The Game 7 starter for Texas was 39-year-old Max Scherzer, just recently returned to the roster after being on the injured list. Scherzer has pitched in the playoffs for four other teams. Max was not sharp and was gone before finishing three innings. But that was not the story of the game. The Texas lineup was relentless in timely hitting, prompting a tweet during the game showing these Astros fans and captioned “Houston, we have a problem.”


The Rangers knocked out 15 hits (four homers) in an 11-4 blowout that stunned the Astros and their fans. The Texas batting hero was again Adolis Garcia who had four hits, five RBIs and two home runs (five total homers in the ALCS).


The MVP of the ALCS. No contest. Adolis Garcia.

A champion's celebration: See photos from Texas Rangers' AL pennant victory  at Minute Maid Park in Houston

NLCS – Arizona Diamondbacks over Philadelphia Phillies (4-3): The series opened in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park (the “Bank” to the passionate Phillies fans).  Philadelphia looked strong in winning Games 1 and 2, hitting six home runs (three by Kyle Schwarber).

Phillies fans turn Citizens Bank Park into '4 hours of hell' during Red  October

The series moved to Chase Field in Phoenix for Game 3, and this fan’s message about his Diamondbacks was captured on TV…


He was right. The Diamondbacks won a pitchers’ duel, 2-1.

The “Snakes Alive” message went viral and became a rallying cry for Arizona fans. Before Game 4 on Big Friday, the team distributed “Snakes Alive” signs to the fans at Chase Field (video here). A 5-3 Phillies lead in the 8th inning disappeared when Arizona pinch hitter Alek Thomas knotted the score with a 2-run homer. A hit batsman and two singles combined for another run, just enough for a Snakes/Diamondbacks 6-5 win. The NLCS was tied 2-2. Alive indeed.

Game 5 was easy for the Phillies with three homers, including Kyle Schwarber’s fifth dinger. Final score, 6-1. The tone for the game was set in the first inning when Bryce Harper stole home (below) on the back end of a double steal (video here).

How the Phillies snatched Game 5: First-inning double steal and the little  things paved way for big win - The Athletic

The series moved back to Philadelphia for the final two games. Game 6 was easy for the Diamondbacks, a 5-1 victory. The tone for the game was set with back-to-back homers in the second inning. Stayin’ alive…stayin’ alive.

Game 7 showed why the D-Backs Corbin Carroll will be named NL Rookie of the Year. He had three hits, two stolen bases, knocked in two runs and scored the other two in a 4-2 Arizona win. The big bats of the Phillies never came to life in the final two games in Philadelphia, greatly decreasing the noise level at the Bank. The Snakes were not only alive, but on their way to the World Series. The Athletic’s Tyler Kepner quipped, “The Diamondbacks stole a pennant in a heist at the Bank.”

Screenshot 2023-10-25 at 8.56.39 AM.png

The NLCS MVP award went to Arizona’s Ketel Marte who hit .387 with four doubles, a triple, three RBIs and a stolen base.

The World Series – Next Up: Arizona has previously won one pennant (2001) and won the World Series that year.

Texas has previously won two pennants (2010 and 2011), but never a World Series. That’s why I hope the Rangers win this year.

Rita does not have a favorite but reminds me she still has that D-Backs rally towel from our trip to Chase Field in September.


Sarah Langs – “Baseball Is the Best”: Sportswriter/researcher/podcaster Sarah Langs (age 30) worked at NBC Sports Chicago and ESPN before her current gig at She is known for her encyclopedic knowledge of baseball history and statistics, and her musings are followed by many in the baseball journalism community (and others, as evidenced by her 118,000 followers on X/Twitter; I am one of them). Her signature phrase, often attached to her tweets, is “Baseball is the best.”

MLB researcher and reporter Sarah Langs talks about living with ALS. -  YouTube

Langs was diagnosed with ALS in 2019. The shirt she is wearing aligns her phrase “Baseball is the best” to deliver her personal message, “END ALS.” Sarah is using her platform to advocate for ALS research, and she has raised significant funds for the cause. A prime example is her appearance on the “Poscast” with hosts Joe Posnanski and Michael Schur. The three of them talked baseball and requested donations to the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig ALS Center at Columbia University. They raised over $100,000.

Baseball loves Sarah back. Below, from her day of honor at Yankee Stadium…


I followed Sarah’s posts on X during the ALCS and NLCS, and here are some things I learned:

There has not been a repeat MLB champion since the 1999-2000 Yankees. This is the longest drought without a repeat champion in the history of MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL.

All seven games of the 2023 ALCS were won by the visiting team. This has only happened one other time in a 7-game postseason series, and it also had Houston on the losing side. In the 2019 World Series, the Washington Nationals won all four games at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. The Game 7 starting pitcher for Washington in 2019 and Texas in 2023: Max Scherzer.

The D-Backs (110) and Rangers (102) each lost 100+ games in 2021. That’s the most and 2nd most losses two years prior by a team to reach the World Series.

At 23 years and 64 days old, Corbin Carroll became the 2nd youngest player in postseason history with 3+ hits and 2+ stolen bases in a game. The youngest was Ty Cobb in 1908.

Post by Sarah Langs on X.png


Thursday Night Football: During the TNF game in Kansas City, broadcaster Al Michaels gave a nice shoutout to Rainy Day Books. The video clip included this shot of a Kingdom Quarterback display in the store. Note the Taylor Swift books at each end.

Kingdom Quarterback also had a shoutout in Hot Stove #231. I liked the book for the parallel histories of our city and pro football. Rustin Dodd, co-author of the book, says the shoutout (by Al Michaels, not Hot Stove) caused sales to spike, boosting the book to #1 among football books on Amazon.

Sporting KC: Also in a postseason game tonight is Sporting KC (8th seed) who will be on the pitch across the state playing St. Louis City SC (1st seed). At the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Satchel Paige and others on the Field of Legends are showing their support by “sporting” SKC scarves.


Lonnie’s Jukebox (1) – Rita’s Selection: In case you did not watch Rita’s favorite video in the last Hot Stove, I am giving it an encore. She hopes you will also find it hilarious.

“Don’t Be Cruel” by Elvis Presley (chicken version).

 Lonnie’s Jukebox (2) – Arizona and Texas Edition: Both teams in the 2023 World Series are named for their states. So, let’s have some tunes about Arizona and Texas.

“By the Time I Get to Phoenix” by Glen Campbell. The automatic first pick.

“Take It Easy” by the Eagles. “Well, I’m a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona/And such a fine sight to see”

 The Eagles Take It Easy Winslow Arizona Public Park Wide Wide 2 to 1 Ratio  Photograph by Aloha Art - Fine Art America

“Get Back” by the Beatles. “Jojo left his home in Tucson, Arizona”

 “Rock’n Me” by the Steve Miller Band. “I went from Phoenix, Arizona/All the way to Tacoma”

 “Deep In the Heart of Texas” by Gene Autry. The automatic first pick for Texas.

“El Paso” by Marty Robbins. A tale from Rosa’s Cantina.

blogocentrism: DB's Song of the Day (day 268): "EL PASO" (1959) Marty  Robbins

“All My Ex’s Live in Texas” by George Strait. “…and that’s why I hang my hat in Tennessee”

“Galveston” by Glen Campbell. Glen makes the playlist twice, once from each state.

“Oh Boy” by Buddy Holly. Not about Texas, but by my favorite singer from Texas.

Closer to home…

From Monday this week, at sunrise from our kitchen table. The American Century towers on the left are red-lighted for the Chiefs who won over the Chargers on Sunday.

Later that day, a walk in Loose Park. Winter is coming.

View recent photos.png