The Astros don’t have to be likable to win the World Championship

The best team in baseball is also the team least admired in baseball, and there’s no need to argue about who neutral Team America would want to lose when the World Series starts on Friday (8:03 PM ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app).

The Houston Astros, out of 106 regular-season wins, four World Championship trips in six years, and the perfect post-season clip so far, they still find themselves booed wherever they venture, and it’s not because the sport is so memorable, but because it does. . very slowly.

As the Fall Classic takes its opening swings and swings between Texas and Pennsylvania, it will be Philadelphia Phyllisthe National League’s lowest-ranked, unlucky underdogs, who would have the primary interest of most potential sitters.

However, the narrative surrounding the Astros and their position as baseball villains gets a little more complex with each new novel, and with each new chapter of Houston’s success.

yes, Jose AltoveAnd the Alex BergmanAnd the Yuli GourielAnd the Justin Verlander And the Lance McCullers Jr. They are still part of the team that was discovered to have stolen the banners en route to the 2017 Championship, but they are the only five from the current 26-man roster that has survived from that time.

Not only that, but the worst kind of cheating in the public eye is one that tricked us all by getting really good when in reality they weren’t, and doing so by nefarious means.

Obviously, as we saw in 2019 and 2021 and through a 3-0 sweep Seattle Mariners 4-0 defeat to New York YankeesThe Astros are amazingly good, whether they’re banging on trash cans or whistling, or not.

“When it all happened a few years ago, we knew the only thing we could do was win – and win a lot,” McCullers told reporters. “I understand people still don’t like us. They will boo us, but at some point you have to respect what we do.”

At this point things get more accurate. Because Houston has players to admire: Verlander for his enduring distinction, Jeremy Pena For his bat-and-gloves power, Altuve’s cruelty has a pint size.

A manager at Dusty Baker is familiar enough to be widely loved, good enough to stay on top, and earnest enough that he was part of the first ever public event 45 years ago. it’s the truth, check it out.

It’s also worth considering, as we near the end of another season where the stars have been mocked on a nightly basis if there’s any point in stinging. In other words, is Houston as good as it is despite the boos or partly because of it?

As we see time and time again in sports and life, nothing motivates a group quite as much as when they feel the world is against them.

In any case, if we talk about the narrative, this world championship has a clear story. The Astros are baseball’s pick of heels, Phillies are the smiling face, and a bunch of the best buds hanging out far from the diamonds and they all love each other.

So the Philadelphia story goes, anyway… But to be fair, there’s enough anecdotal evidence to suggest the friendship line is correct, and it was empowered by the likeable director Rob Thompson, who took the job from Joe Girardi and allowed his men to have fun.

The Phillies aren’t a rag-to-riches deal, this isn’t a cheaply assembled group, but even with their huge contracts, Bryce Harper And the Nick Castellanos And the Zach Wheeler They’ll have more good wishes sent in their direction from the Astros, let’s put it this way.

“We’re a bunch of brothers out there,” Wheeler said. “We all have a good relationship.”

It could be a series that leads to an amazing piece of history in a sense. If the Astros (-200 with FOXBet) jump to the top early and keep rolling, they can maintain a chance of becoming the first team in the wildcard era sweeping the post-season.

Hopefully, for everyone outside a certain corner of Texas, the competition will be a lot more than that, with Phillies full of form and hope after taking advantage of an expanded supplement court.

The “good guy, bad guy” stories are part of what sports are all about, and there’s always, inevitably, much more to the tale than the simple title. However, as a teaser for a series between two of the most exciting teams in the game, it will do just fine.

If the good/bad guy turns out to be a good baseball game — and a memorable streak — well, that’s good for all of us.

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Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX And the Subscribe to our daily newsletters.

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