Once, back in 1991, we had what was known as the Worst-to-First Series between the Braves and the Twins, both of whom had finished last the year before. It turned out to be one of the most memorable World Series ever played, not ending until the bottom of the 10th of Game 7 at the old Metrodome, on that great baseball night when Jack Morris made it clear he was willing to pitch all night.
We loved that Series. And for the same reasons we should love the one between the Rangers and D-backs that begins on Friday night in Arlington.
It hasn’t been a direct path from worst to first for these two teams, but close enough, because they both lost more than 100 games two years ago, when a World Series between them would have seemed like a lot more of a longshot than 100-to-1.
We all want to believe in sports that our team can finally find a magic season and win it all if the right people are in charge and the right people are on the field. They sell Cinderella in March Madness ever year, except Cinderella rarely wins it all. But now either the Rangers and D-backs, both underdogs in their League Championship Series, both having just won seven-game series, have this amazing chance.
So here are seven reasons why baseball fans should want this World Series to go seven before one of these teams does get to hold up the big trophy:
1. The Adolis Show
Who doesn’t want to see Adolis García continue what is already an October for the ages, all the way through the two home runs he hit in the Game 7 the Rangers just played against the Astros? Twelve games, 17 hits, seven homers, 20 RBIs and even a bat-spike and trip around the bases that got both benches to clear in Game 5. For now, he’s wearing the Mr. October belt until somebody takes it away from him.
2. Two phenoms on display
We should very much want to see who’s going to be best rookie in this series, Corbin Carroll -- the presumptive favorite to be National League Rookie of the Year -- or Evan Carter.
Carroll is 23. Carter is 21, and here’s how how own magical progression to the Fall Classic has gone this season: from the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders to the Triple-A Round Rock Express to making his big league debut in September.
Carroll has 13 hits in the first 12 postseason games of his career. Carter is hitting .308 in the postseason after hitting .306 once he got called up. Let the kids play.
3. An historic hit streak
We really do need to find out if the Rangers can do something nobody else has been able to do in Ketel Marte’s postseason career: Keep him from getting at least one base hit. Sixteen October games for Marte so far. Sixteen-game hitting streak. He will try to keep it going in Game 1.
4. A pair of Texas aces
We sure are about to find out if the Rangers’ two aces, Nate Eovaldi and Jordan Montgomery, can carry their team to a title the way a couple of aces -- Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling -- did for the D-backs in 2001, when Schilling started Game 7 that time and Johnson finished it.
Both Eovaldi and Montgomery are ex-Yankees. Montgomery got traded, Eovaldi left after Tommy John surgery, even though he once had a 14-3 year for the Yankees. The Red Sox also had Eovaldi before losing him to free agency. The Yankees and Red Sox are watching this World Series. Eovaldi, who gets the ball in Game 1, and Montgomery are very much present for the ’23 Fall Classic.
5. Bochy can keep making history
We get to sit back now and wonder if 68-year-old Bruce Bochy, one of the great baseball managers of all time, still has World Series magic in him. This is Bochy’s fifth Series with his third team. He lost with the Padres in 1998, then won three with the Giants before retiring.
Now he’s very much un-retired with the Rangers. His old catcher’s knees are shot, you see it when he makes his way out to take the ball from a pitcher. But he might be slow-walking to another championship. If he wins, he’d be just the sixth manager to win four World Series.
6. The Gink is here
We’re also about to discover across this series, for as long as it lasts, if anybody is going to get a run off D-backs big righty reliver Kevin Ginkel. He has pitched nine innings out of Torey Lovullo’s bullpen, struck out 13, given up six hits. And no runs yet. October always finds unlikely stars, and now it has found Ginkel.
7. A new Mr. October
And, finally, who doesn’t want to see Corey Seager take a shot at putting another World Series MVP trophy in a case along with the one he already won with the Dodgers? Seager won his first in 2020, after also being MVP of the NLCS against the Braves. You better believe he’s back.
The D-backs are back in the Series, 22 years after breaking the hearts of all Yankee fans at the end of Game 7 of 2001. The Rangers are back after having their hearts broken 10 years later in seven games, when they had the Cardinals beat in six until they didn’t. They are one of just six teams that have never won a World Series.
Rangers-D-backs. Hundred losses each two years ago. Maybe this series would have looked like a 1,000-to-1 shot at the time. Game 1 Friday night. Let’s play seven.