LOS ANGELES -- It's not often that two 100-win teams meet in the World Series -- that has happened only eight times in MLB history -- and it's doubly unusual when the managers of the two participants are also close personal friends.
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Those are two of the reasons why the recently completed Fall Classic was so intriguing. It's also why the ending was so emotional for both sides.
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Houston skipper A.J. Hinch and Los Angeles' Dave Roberts have a long history as friends and baseball comrades, and they both had the good fortune to manage teams that at different points of the season appeared capable of threatening the all-time single-season record for wins.
Neither team reached that mark of 116, held by the 1906 Cubs and 2001 Mariners, but the Astros and Dodgers cemented their place in history as two of baseball's best teams of this era. And Hinch and Roberts surely carry a shared legacy as two of the game's best managers.
The two met soon after the Astros' 5-1 win over the Dodgers in Game 7 on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium, sharing a quiet moment that included both congratulations and consolation.
"Obviously, one man's celebration is going to be another man's demise," Hinch said. "It's terrible to watch him in pain. Just before I walked in here, I had a private moment with him. And as always, he was full of class and appreciation for the moment."
The Astros and Dodgers are two respected franchises, if not polar opposites historically. The Astros are young, comparatively speaking, having come into existence in 1962. The Dodgers, who were born in Brooklyn and later relocated to Los Angeles, have been around more than twice as long.
In 2017, they were the perfect World Series matchup, playing one of the most epic, breathtaking Fall Classics in history. Each team walked away after Game 7 expressing respect for the other club and appreciation for a well-played series.
"The Astros had a heck of a year," Roberts said. "A great team. You've got to tip your hats because they earned it."
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw expressed a similar sentiment.
"The games are so close," he said. "The Astros are an amazing team, and they deserve to win, no doubt."
Astros owner Jim Crane sat in the seats behind their dugout during the Series finale and was approached by Dodgers ownership almost immediately after Houston recorded the final out.
"They were great," Crane said. "[Mark] Walter came over and said 'Congratulations' right after the game, and so did the other partners. They're great guys. It's a tough loss for them."
Crane also pointed out that the clincher could have easily gone in the Dodgers' favor, given how competitive and exciting the first six games were. Noting the abundance of talent in the Dodgers' organization, Crane believes the Dodgers will be October participants for years to come.
"They played great, they have a great ballclub and they're scary," Crane said. "When we had three outs left, someone said, 'We've got them.' I said, 'We ain't got them until we get the last out.' These guys can come up and get you at any second. They'll be good for a long time, and hopefully they'll have a chance."