MILWAUKEE -- The 114th World Series matchup is all lined up, and for the first time it features a Boston vs. Los Angeles battle.
The two cities have long been rivals on the hardwood, with the NBA Finals showcasing numerous Celtics vs. Lakers clashes. However, the NHL has never featured a Bruins-Kings meeting for the Stanley Cup, nor have the Patriots faced the Los Angeles-based Rams in the Super Bowl -- although that could change this season.
You'll be hearing another round of Babe Ruth references the next few days because he starred in the one previous meeting between the Dodgers and Red Sox in the Fall Classic. The Dodgers were in Brooklyn then, and in 1916, when the meeting with Boston took place, they were known as the Robins. The Babe won Game 2 of that World Series, throwing a 14-inning complete game in a 2-1 Red Sox victory. The last 13 of those innings were zeros, the start of a 29-inning scoreless streak for Ruth in World Series play.
Another note: The Brooklyn games were played at Ebbets Field, but the Boston games were played at Braves Field, then a larger venue than Fenway. So the Dodgers franchise has never made an appearance at Fenway Park in October.
Nevertheless, if there isn't a lot of World Series history between the teams, it sure as heck feels historic. And perhaps the most unusual historical aspect is that this hasn't happened before. The wild-card era is in its 25th year, so that's 50 seasons combined for the Red Sox and Dodgers. Together, they've put up 42 winning seasons, 25 playoff appearances, six pennants and three titles (all won by the Red Sox).
Despite the consistent success, sky-high payrolls, the market glitz and the grand old ballparks, this our first real taste of the Red Sox vs. the Dodgers on baseball's biggest stage. It should be a fitting new chapter in the baseball history book.
Some key matchups to watch:
What a way to get things started. Boston manager Alex Cora has already declared that Sale will get the Game 1 nod, and while we're awaiting official word from Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, expect him to go with Kershaw, the Dodgers' longtime ace. After beating Milwaukee in Game 5 on Wednesday, Kershaw would have been working on five days' rest, but he tacked on the ninth inning of the Dodgers' clincher in Game 7 -- a side-session-like 15 pitches. Sale, on the other hand, hasn't pitched since Oct. 13 because of the stomach ailment that befell him during the American League Championship Series.