On March 31, 2014, baseball started for the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants. Both teams were expected to be good and to be compete, but few people had both teams, let alone one team, making it this far.
This was supposed to be the year the Los Angeles Dodgers ran away with the World Series, or the year that the Washington Nationals eternal fountain of youth reached its peak or the year the St. Louis Cardinals made the World Series for the umpteenth time.
It wasn't supposed to be the year that the San Francisco Giants would spend close to 6.5 hours through 18 innings and have Brandon Belt deliver the most vicious walk-off gut punch possible. Madison Bumgarner wasn't supposed to place himself in the running for best World Series pitcher ever. The Royals weren't supposed to walk all over the Los Angeles Angels and Baltimore Orioles en route to their first World Series appearance since 1985. The Royals weren't supposed to be able to win three consecutive games in extra innings just to open the postseason.
But both teams did, and here we are. Game 7 of the World Series. Baseball can't get much hotter than this. In a game where even the most passive fans finally have to choose a side, history shows we have a pretty good chance of a great baseball game. There have been 36 Game 7's in World Series history. 27 of those games were decided by three runs or less. 20 of those games were decided by two runs or less. 12 of those games by one run or less, and four of those games went into extra-innings.
There were crazy dramatics, like the Pirates' Bill Mazeroski hitting the only Game 7 walk-off in the history of the World Series. There is Jack Morris going the extra mile and throwing 10 innings of shutout baseball to almost single-handedly best the Atlanta Braves in 1991. There is Luis Gonzalez and the Arizona Diamondbacks finding the only weakness in Mariano Rivera's armor in the 2001 World Series.
There was complete joy and utter heartbreak. There was Tony Fernandez botching a routine grounder in 1997, allowing the Marlins to steal away the Cleveland Indians first World Series title since 1948 in extra innings.
There are plenty of storylines abound. Will Eric Hosmer continue his October tear? Will Mike Moustakas launch another home-run? Will Hunter Pence somehow make the big hit yet again? Will Buster Posey even make an impactful appearance? Tim Hudson, at the tender age of 39, is in his first World Series and takes the mound in the biggest game of his life. Add in the 35-year-old Jeremy Guthrie and you have the oldest Game 7 starting pitching matchup in World Series history, according to ESPN.
Game 7 of the World Series hasn't been kind to the Giants. They are 0-4 throughout the history of the club, losing in 2002, 1962, 1924 and 1912. The Royals own better luck in their history, winning the only Game 7 they've appeared in. The Royals' 11-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985 ties for the largest win with the St. Louis Cardinals' 11-0 win over the Detroit Tigers in 1934.
The peak of the national pasttime is upon us and it will be glorious. Because after this, there is nothing but rumors and gossip as the dog days of the offseason get underway. Game 7 is the most fitting end to a baseball season that, locally, saw the Seattle Mariners in action until the final day. Let's relish tonight, because after tonight we have nothing but the murkiness of an unknown future to stare into.