Back in April my cat, Mookie Wilson-Betts, chose the San Francisco Giants to win the World Series.
Hey! You there in the back chortling. He is a … CAT. Beyond turning his nose up this morning at the expensive food that he thought was so delicious last week that I went ahead and bought him a case … beyond that … what does he know?
I am painfully aware that if you’ve read this far you could very well have no idea who is playing in the World Series, which kicks off on Tuesday.
Pay attention … this will be on the test:
American League Champions
National League Champions
I hate to be a bandwagoneer, but I think we ought to find a team for you cheer for. I’m going to do my best to make this as painless, and as baseball-free, as possible.
Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way.
Are You From Virginia?
You probably should root for the Nats … they’re close by, sorta neighborish … and they include …
Lynchburg, Virginia-born Daniel Hudson
And, from the University of Virginia …
And, Sean Doolittle.
UNLESS … and this is important, people … you’re from the Richmond area, home of …
Three-time Cy Young Winner and Houston Astro, Justin Verlander.
Please consult a map for further direction.
Are You Warm And Fuzzy?
Which fits you better …
A team that has Orbit, the lovable, huggable green mascot of the Astros, who does cuterific things like this …
Or, a team that celebrates a bumbling, cheating President?
Umm, wait …
I meant these bumbling, cheating Presidents …
Come on, people, hasn’t Lincoln suffered enough?
It’s Orbit … in a popular vote landslide.
Do You Like Stuff? Here’s Stuff …
Corkscrews, underwire bras, and condensed milk? Thank you, Houston!
Lime rickeys, binder clips, and the Electoral College? Courtesy of Washington, DC!
Baseball-Ish Things You Should Know …Embed from Getty Images
Houston’s ace second baseman is 5-foot-5-inch Jose Altuve.
Astro’s third baseman Alex Bregman turned an unassisted triple play in his first T-ball game. He was 4.Embed from Getty Images
Washington’s ace pitcher Max Scherzer has one blue eye and one brown eye.
Nats reliever Sean Doolittle visits independent bookstores when his team is on the road and tweets about them.
Do You Long For The Way Things Used To Be? Does “Back When I Was A Kid” Slip Out Of Your Mouth More Than It Should?
The Houston Astros were once the Colt .45s.
The Washington Nationals were once the Montreal Expos.
Guns or Canadians? You choose.
The Houston Astros just knocked off the New York Yankees to advance to the World Series.
The Washington Nationals bested the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Fox Sports Television hates it, but hey, it’s a win for the little guys!
Or, Is It?
$204.4 Million: Washington Nationals Payroll, #3 in MLB (Behind the Cubs and Yankees).
$165.7 Million: Houston Astros Payroll, #8 in MLB.
So hooray for the, ummm, not-so-little-afterall guys.
Best Home Run In A Post-Season Game? The Nominees Are …
Ryan Zimmerman’s 3-Run Homer versus the Dodgers on Oct 7
Jose Altuve’s 2-Run Walk-off to send the Yankees home on Oct 19
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the country, with a median home price of $240K.
$500,000 will get you “a 4,300-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath mansion with a two-car garage” in Houston, according to bankrate.com.
Washington, DC is the 20th-largest city in the country with a median home price of $426K.
$500,000 will get you a cute 700-square foot condo in DC’s Dupont Circle, according to Zillow.
The average cost of a Washington Nationals ticket, per Seat Geek: $38. The average cost of a Houston Astros ticket: $51
Still Can’t Choose? Let’s Cover A Few More Things …
Eats & Drinks
Houston has more than 10,000 restaurants – representing more than 70 countries. Houstonians eat out more times a week than any other city in America, according to The Culture Trip.
Washington invented the half-smoke sausage, and DC’ers consume more wine per capita than anywhere else in America, according to DC Trolley Tours.
The National Bonsai Museum is in Washington, DC.
“An Oasis Of Calm In The Middle Of Our Nation’s Capital”
The smallest bonsai tree – the Keshitsubo – will grow to only about 1 to 3 inches.
The Space Center Museum is in Houston.
Independence, the museum’s full-scale replica space shuttle, weighs more than 171,000 pounds.
President Calvin Coolidge was once given a raccoon that was to become part of the White House’s Thanksgiving Day meal. Coolidge, the old softy, couldn’t do it. He named the raccoon Rebecca and it was often seen roaming up and down the halls of the White House.
Mrs. Coolidge and Rebecca
Houston cannot beat Calvin Coolidge with a raccoon named Rebecca, so Houston is going to pass on this round.
Washington, DC has been the capital of the United States since 1790. (Previous capitals of the United States have included Philadelphia, Baltimore, Lancaster PA, York PA, Princeton NJ, Annapolis MD, Trenton NJ, and New York City.)
You didn’t sleep through American history class, did you?
Houston was once the capital of Texas.
Historic Importance, Part 2
Houston is named for Sam Houston, former U.S. Senator and one of Texas’s greatest heroes. (He was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia. You’re welcome.)
Washington, DC is named for George Washington, first President of the United States. (He was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. You’re welcome, again.)
Virginia wins this round.
Houston’s biggest scandal? Enron. The Houston Astros current stadium – today’s Minute Maid Park – was called Enron Stadium from 2000-2001.
Washington, DC’s biggest scandal? Seriously, you want a list?
The Houston Astros last won the World Series in 2017.
The Washington Nationals have never played in a World Series.
The Astros previously played in the Houston Astrodome, which was nicknamed the 8th Wonder of the World when it opened in 1965. The Astrodome originally had real grass; when the glass ceiling tiles were painted over, the grass promptly died.
The Astrodome was the site of the 1973 Battle of the Sexes tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.
Please refer to the most excellent movie Battle of the Sexes, with Emma Stone and Steve Carell, for more information.
The Washington Senators – no relation to the Washington Nationals, by the way – played at DC’s Griffith Stadium.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe was married there in 1951. And, if you just went, “Huh?” I suggest you learn about Sister Rosetta right now … because she is awesome.
At Houston’s Minute Maid Park, when the Astros hit a home run, a train runs around the track and the whistle blows.
Washington DC fans can take a Metro train to and from Nats Park. Unless the game runs late. (Oh, wait. They finally fixed that.)
I do not understand how odds work – odds are just drunk math, if you ask me – but according to all these numbers, it appears the Astros are the favorites to beat the Nationals.
Here’s what it boils down to … do you go for the odds-on favorite with the home run choo-choo train, an adorbs mascot who does Yoga, and a 5’5” MVP at 2nd base? Or, do you go for the never-won, long-shot team with the pitcher with two-tone eyes, the book-reading reliever, and Rebecca the Raccoon?
I respect whatever choice you make.