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Battle of desperate players for Commissioner's Trophy

Posted October. 26, 2021 07:37,   

Updated October. 26, 2021 07:37


The finalists of the 2021 World Series are not the San Francisco Giants with the most wins of this season (107) nor the Los Angeles Dodgers with the highest expenditure on the payroll (241 million U.S. dollars). They have turned out to be those who are the most desperate for this year’s championship. Only one team can raise the Commissioner's Trophy after two competitors with heart-touching stories written in their history fight ruthlessly.

The Atlanta Braves enjoyed their golden age back in the 1990s when the team grabbed the winner’s trophy eight times in the National League East and five times in the league. However, the Braves have only dreamed a farfetched dream of making it to the top of the World Series for more than two decades. The team aims at championship in 22 years since its appearance in the World Series in 1999 - for the first time in the 21st century. The Braves were the champion of the World Series 26 years ago in 1995.

Eddie Rosario is one of the most desperate players in the Atlanta Braves, which has endured long years with a sense of defeat. He contributed most to winning the Dodgers in the Championship Series. Rosario’s career started off as a promising outfielder in the starting lineup of the Minnesota Twins who recorded an outstanding batting average of 0.284, 26 home runs and 88 RBIs for three years from 2017 to 2019. However, he was non-tendered by the team last year as it felt a financial burden to give a small fortune to the player who did poorly with a batting average of 0.257.

Gnashing his teeth, Rosario signed a one-year contract with the Cleveland Indians but suffered consequences of an ab injury. Right before the trade deadline late July, the Braves drafted him to fill in a hole in outfield playing with little expectation of his value. He proved the team’s decision right by showing great performance at a Championship Series game against the Dodgers. He had a batting average of 0.560, three home runs and nine RBIs, and successfully guided the Braves to the World Series.

The Houston Astros have a player whom many South Korean baseball fans are familiar with. Brooks Raley played for the Lotte Giants in the Korean Baseball League for five seasons starting from 2015. Last year, Raley made the team to win a contract with the Cincinnati Reds last year thanks to his attempts to run in the MLB after the 2019 season. However, he was booted out when he failed four games with a 9.00 ERA. Afterwards, he made an incredible return wearing a Houston Astros uniform with a 3.94 ERA for 17 games even to succeed in re-signing with the team.

Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. leads his crew to the top of the World Series that he has not reached yet since he only led the San Francisco Giants to the final but to fail at championship in 2002. He was chosen last year to get the Astros back on track after it was completely devastated by the sign stealing scandal following the winning of the 2017 World Series with its president and general manager sacked.

The first match on Wednesday will begin with Framber Valdez of the Astros and Charlie Morton of the Braves. Making a professional debut in Atlanta in 2002 and contributing to the Braves’ first World Series championship in 2017, Morton will compete against his previous team after returning to the team for which he played when he was a rookie.

Bae-Jung Kim wanted@donga.com