The semi-finalists

Sports  The World Series contenders

2017 edition of the baseball championship will begin October 24

Editor’s note: this is an updated version of an article that appeared in the October 23rd paper edition.

National League

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are one of the most established and historic franchises in the Major League Baseball (MLB), having enjoyed tremendous success throughout the years. Even though they have not won a world series since 1988, the franchise has always been competitive, with top players consistently wearing the blue and white. In recent years the Dodgers have been the National League’s best regular season team, with pitchers like Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill and great batters like Yasiel Puig, Justin Turner, and Adrian Gonzalez helping them to dominate the regular season. Despite leading in the regular season, the Dodgers have not broken through to the World Series over their five consecutive playoff appearances, leading fans to scepticism. Has all the player spending been worth it? Will their dominance in the regular season finally translate to a World Series appearance—and perhaps win?

Last World Series Appearance: 1988

Last World Series Victory: 1988

Reason to cheer for the Dodgers: History and celebrity fans

Reason to not cheer for the Dodgers: Biggest payroll


American League

Houston Astros

A few years ago, The Houston Astros were by consensus the worst team in the American League, reeling from back to back to back 100-loss seasons up until 2013. But with the high draft picks and time afforded by those disappointing seasons, the current Astros have many great young players surrounded by hungry veterans. Every night, it seems a different Astro will step up for their team: sometimes it’s Jose Altuve (Leading MVP Candidate), other times it’s the powerful George Springer or masterful Carlos Correa. The team’s veterans include Justin Verlander (MVP in 2011), the wily Brian McCann, and Hall of Fame-bound Carlos Beltran, all of whom contribute to the revitalization of this franchise. The Astros have united the shattered city of Houston behind this upstart team, battling against the all-consuming Yankees for a World Series berth. Will this team, born from the failure of past years, come full circle with a World Series win?

Last World Series Appearance: 2005

Last World Series Victory: None

Reason to cheer for the Astros: Worst to First

Reason not to cheer for the Astros: Do they still count as an underdog?