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Major League Baseball: The Race for the Pennant

Aug 30, 2008
Most people consider the games that are played in the World Series to be the best games in baseball. And for the most part they are. The two teams, each of them the best from their own perspective league play a final series of games in order to see who will come out on top. This particular series of games is played in a best-of-seven match. It doesn't often happen that a team will sweep the series by winning four games in a row. Often the winner isn't decided until that seventh game.

Aside from the Super Bowl, the World Series is probably one of the most watched television sports shows. If you are only watching baseball during the World Series, however, you're missing out on some of the biggest MLB action that is available.

There are 29 teams from the US and one team from Canada that make up the American league and the National league. The World Series started in 1880's but fell apart because there were no formal rules, format, or organization of the games. The first modern World Series was held between the Pittsburgh Pirates (National League) and the then Boston Americans now known as the Red Sox, of the American League. It was played in 1903 and Boston won.

Leading up to the World Series there is always a pennant race that is going on in each league. At least two teams are struggling to be able to win their particular league and at times the competition gets quite intense. There are two divisions in each league. The winner of each division plays a "wild card team" much like in the National Football League Playoffs. Often the struggle to determine who gets to go to the series goes right up against the wire. The World Series is just a short series of games that culminates the season but the pennant race has the potential to go on for an entire season.

The American League team the New York Yankees have won more World Series championships than any other team, 26, and they've played in 39 of the 103 Series through 2007. The Dodgers in the National League have played 18 times, split between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Los Angeles Dodgers, but have only won six times. The most winning team in the National League are the St. Louis Cardinals which have won 10 championships out of the 18 they have played.

The World Series is sort of a misnomer in that only teams from the United States and one from Canada compete. However the teams themselves consist of the best players in the world from Pacific Rim, Latin America, the Caribbean, Japan, and players who have defected from Cuba. So in that sense it is an international competition.

So if you are only watching baseball in order to see who wins at the end, you're missing out on some of the greatest rivalries that exist. There's nothing more exciting than watching these teams battle back and forth and the excitement that comes each time one of them comes out on top.
About the Author
Interested in professional sports in the United States? Read more from Harrison Power. He's a contributor to the website Over Time: Sports and makes occasional guest appearances on Golf on a Budget and Brian Hill's Sports Blog
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