The road to the World Series has begun.
- There have only been a handful of geographic “rivalries” in the World Series in which cross-town or across-the-same-small-state played each other. If the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals reach the World Series this year, it’ll be an all-Missouri championship, which last took place in 1985. Other occurrences: 2000 (New York Yankees vs. New York Mets), 1989 (Oakland A’s vs. San Francisco Giants), 1944 (St. Louis Browns vs. St. Louis Cardinals), and 1906 (Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs).
- Of course, this doesn’t count those decades before the Dodgers and Giants moved to California, when there were three teams in the New York area (the New York Yankees, New York Giants, and Brooklyn Dodgers), and they were all dominant. In fact, from 1949 to 1958, a New York team played in the World Series ever year. In seven of those 11 years, two New York teams did.
- Only two teams have never made it to the World Series: the Seattle Mariners and the Washington Nationals. (The Nationals never made it in the team’s previous iteration as the Montreal Expos.)
- This season, the Houston Astros will play the Kansas City Royals in the American League Divisional Series. The last time the Astros made it this far, it was in the National League Divisional Series in 2005. The team switched leagues in 2013, making it the second team to play in both the ALDS and NLDS. Who was the first? The Milwaukee Brewers. Divisional series weren’t introduced until 1995, but they were used in 1981, a strike-shortened season, where the best teams in the first half of the season squared off against the best teams from the second half. That year the Brewers went to the American League playoffs. After switched leagues in 1998, the Brewers competed in the 2011 National League playoffs.
- If the Chicago Cubs make it all the way to the World Series, it’ll be the team’s first appearance in the final round since 1945. If they win, it will break a 107-year championship drought. Eerily, the 1989 movie Back to the Future Part II predicted that the Cubs would win the 2015 World Series: