Houston Astros Face Very Long Odds, Inspire Little to No Sympathy

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Down 0-2 in a best of seven World Series, the Houston Astros aren’t likely to get much sympathy or support from anyone outside their fanbase. As the series began, neutrals who couldn’t decide which side to root for were pushed towards the Washington Nationals bandwagon by Astros Assistant GM Brandon Taubman.

His egregiously offensive comments towards three female reporters, in which he blatantly bragged about his club’s signing relief pitcher Roberto Osuna, led to his firing. Osuna allegedly beat the mother of his child, and the Astros initially defended Taubman and smeared the reporters. Houston has finally done the right thing in issuing a publicly apology and dismissing Taubman, but it’s too late- the damage has been done.

One could say the same thing about the trajectory of the Fall Classic- it’s too late for the Houston Astros, the damage has been done. Only the most aggressive of MLB playoff predictions 2019 would have them winning it all right now, and with good reason, as history is on the Nationals side.

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Of the 25 teams that have gone done 0-2 in a 2-3-2 format (games one and two were in Houston, games three through five in Washington, games six and seven in Houston), just three have gone on to win the World Series. That’s a very low 12%, and the last time it happened was 1996, when the New York Yankees beat the Buffalo Bills of baseball (notorious for consistent postseason failure) the Atlanta Braves.

The Nats entered this fall classic as one of the biggest underdogs in recent history, but they are off to a rip roaring start. In winning the first two games, the team with the logo mirroring Walgreens has outscored the Astros 17-5 on aggregate.

In game three they will send Anibal Sanchez to the mound against the Houston Astros Zack Greinke.

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Founded in 1969, as the Montreal Expos, the franchise had never even won a playoff series until this October. Now the odds are -275 in their favor, quite a shift from the +215 in which they entered this final round of the postseason.

For the Astros to win it all, the odds are now +220, meaning it looks quite likely they’ll fall to 1-2, as a franchise, in World Series play having lost in 2005 and won in 2017. As the series now shifts to D.C. tonight, we’ll all be subjected to “Baby Shark,” the most reductive and annoying tune in the history of recorded music, but hey, most neutrals are rooting for the Nationals anyways.

The extremely grating song was made for very young children, so it’s supposed to be egregiously simplistic. It’s the first World Series game in Washington since 1933 (when the team in playing in it was known as the Senators) so really they can adopt any song they want.

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Their ascension to baseball’s biggest stage means the only team to never reach the World Series (and yes that includes the recent expansion franchises) is the Seattle Mariners. Born in 1977, perhaps the 43rd time will be the charm for them.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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