The Washington Nationals are the 2019 World Series Campions, winners of a World Series like no other before it. For the first time in any best of seven series, across any professional sport, the road team won every game. Again, unbelievably, the road team won every game of the 2019 World Series, leaving some fans to wonder whether the phrase “home field disadvantage” would have been more apt way to describe how this series went down.
To put it plainly, this was a World Series for the ages, a David versus Goliath setup, a 93-win Wild Card team taking down both of the best teams in baseball en route to their first ever World Series win. The Nationals beat the two best teams in all of baseball to get to where they are, beating the Dodgers and Astros and managing comebacks in nearly every game.
The Nationals started the season 19 and 31 only to come back to tie the Dodgers for the best record over the course of the rest of the season, going 74-36 to take the National League’s second Wild Card slot.
In the National League Wild Card Game, the Nats trailed Milwaukee 3-1 going into the eighth inning, only to score three runs that inning to advance to the best-of-five National League Division Series, better known as the NLDS.
In Game Five of that NLDS, Clayton Kershaw, known as the best pitcher in baseball, gave up back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning, leaving the game tied at three runs apiece. After that, the Dodgers went down mostly without a fight to leave the game tied at three going into the tenth. Howie Kendrick’s grand slam in the tenth made the score 7-3, and that would go for the final, sending the Nationals to the first time in their history.
Unfortunately for St. Louis fans, the Cardinals didn’t put up nearly as much of a fight as did the Nationals’ previous two opponents, bowing out of the pennant race after a four game sweep, leaving the Nationals to face the best team in the American League in the World Series.
Current World Series are set up in a two-three-two format, with the team with the better overall record taking home-field advantage. Usually, that’s a great help to teams, but this year, it seemed like a curse. Washington won the first two games at Minute Maid Park in Houston, outscoring the Astros by a combined score of 17-7. The Astros, down but not yet out, struck back in DC, handing the Nationals three straight losses, allowing them to only scratch across one run each game and outscoring them by sixteen runs over that span.
This time, it was time for the Nationals to pull their comeback trick magic, winning Game Six 7-2 and forcing a Game Seven for the third time in the last four years.
Going into the seventh inning of Game Seven, the Nats trailed 0-2 and then broke out, finally, scoring six runs over the last three frames to send the Commissioner’s Trophy to DC and give a Washington team its first World Series since 1933, when the Washington Senators, now the Minnesota Twins, lost it in five games to the New York Giants, now the San Francisco Giants.
When the final out was made, a swinging strikeout, Minute Maid Park, filled to the brim and jammed with Nationals fans, erupted. In an era of baseball where plain games have come to be the norm, the vibrancy of the Nationals’ push to the finish line inspired the whole baseball world. Ups and downs, lead changes, and comebacks galore, this really was a World Series for the ages.