Sports

Why Is It Called The World Series? (Explained)

Chicago Cubs fans gather in front of Wrigley Field marquee for historic beginning to World Series

 

Along with the Super Bowl, the World Series is one of the biggest championships in baseball.

It’s a time when the top teams face one another for one last series to determine who’s the best of the year.

The World Series has been a part of American sports since 1903.

Considering it pits teams from America and Canada against one another, you may wonder why it’s called the World Series and not the North American series or something similar.

Here’s what you need to know about the World Series and why it’s called that.

 

Why Is It Called The World Series?

longest game in World Series History

 

The World Series was originally known as the World’s Championship Series.

The origin of the name came from Barney Dreyfuss.

He was the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

At that time, the Pittsburgh Pirates were at the top of the National League.

Dreyfuss contacted the owner of the Boston Red Sox, the team that was at the top of the American League.

Before that conversation, the National League and the American League were bitter rivals.

Dreyfuss challenged the owner of the Boston Red Sox to a “World’s Championship Series.”

It would be a series of games to determine which team was the best in both leagues.

Ultimately, the Boston Red Sox won the first World Series.

For some time, everyone called it the World’s Championship Series.

Eventually, the name got shortened to the World Series.

 

What Is The World Baseball Classic?

World Baseball Classic
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

 

It’s easy to mistake the World Series for the World Baseball Classic.

Because of the word “world,” it’s easy to think that World Series refers to an international game.

That isn’t actually the case.

The World Series simply features teams from both the United States and Canada.

The World Baseball Classic, on the other hand, is an international game featuring teams from many different countries.

This tournament is relatively new to the baseball world.

It got started in 2006 and has been pitting international teams against one another ever since.

Japan won the first World Baseball Classic in 2006.

They’d go on to win again in 2009.

In 2013, the Dominican Republic won the tournament.

The next tournament will take place in 2023.

 

How Do Teams Qualify For The World Baseball Classic?

Team Puerto Rico is seen during opening ceremonies before they take on team United States
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

 

The tournament starts with an automatic qualifying round.

To determine which 12 teams automatically become qualified, the experts analyze the performances of all the teams from the previous year’s tournament.

Those that performed the best are automatically in the World Baseball Classic.

The remaining teams need to play through a few qualifying rounds to determine if they will make it into the tournament.

Once all the qualifying teams are set, the tournament begins.

Here’s how the tournament proceeds.

There are four pools of teams.

Each team plays against the others within its own pool.

The team that beats out the others in its pool then gets added to the tournament roster.

It works through four different rounds.

The first round has four pools of teams.

The top two teams that perform the best in each pool move on to the second round.

By the time they get into the second round, there are eight teams.

This time, the teams get split into two pools comprised of four teams each.

Those teams then play three games each and the two teams that perform the best move on to the third round.

There are now four teams entering the third round.

In this round, things are a little different.

The teams don’t play against the others in the same pool.

Rather, they play against the other pool’s team.

The winning team in one pool plays the runner-up team in the other pool and vice versa.

The winners of those matches proceed to the World Baseball Classic championship game.

Whoever wins gets crowned World Champions.

 

How Does The World Series Work?

World Series game between Giants and Rangers

 

The World Series can seem complicated in how it proceeds at first, but a new system has been established as of the 2022 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Essentially, the World Series pits the top team from the American League against the top team from the National League.

While a lot of attention goes into the final series of seven games, a large number of games must happen beforehand to determine which are the best teams to move forward.

As of 2022, the tournament consists of 12 teams.

Major League Baseball is divided into two leagues, the American League and the National League, each of which is subsequently divided into three divisions, East, Central, and West.

Six of the teams in the playoffs are the top teams from each division based on how they performed throughout the season.

The other six are wild cards.

These are the teams that had the best records in their respective leagues, three from each league, but they didn’t necessarily win in their respective divisions.

In the first two qualifying rounds of the playoffs, the winners will have won two games in the first round and three in the second.

This eventually narrows the field to four teams.

Each team plays the other in its respective league in a best-of-seven series.

The team to get to four wins first wins the series and advances to the final round.

After both sides have had their games and the two winning teams advance, they play against one another in the World Series.

It isn’t just one game that decides who’s the winner of the World Series, either.

The first team to win four games is named the World Series Champion.

 

What Are Some Famous Curses In Baseball?

Los Angeles Dodgers

 

Curses are omens of bad luck.

They’re often placed on someone or something in an act of vengeance or spite.

While curses are usually fictional and works of fantasy, they’re sometimes teased in sports.

Superstitions run high in sports.

Some players will wear the same jersey every game because they believe it will increase the chances of winning.

Fans often do the same.

There’s the Curse of the Billy Goat which led to the Chicago Cubs never winning a World Series for over 100 years.

Then, the Boston Red Sox were also cursed to suffer an 84-year-long World Series Drought when they traded the legendary Babe Ruth to the hated New York Yankees.

The movie, Eight Men Out, depicts the events which led to the Chicago White Sox also suffering through 85 years without a World Series win as well.

Perhaps that’s why some sports fans are willing to believe in certain curses when it comes to baseball.

Here are some other famous baseball curses.

 

1. The Mets Bobblehead Curse

Funko POP MLB: Mets - Pete Alonso

Funko POP MLB: Mets – Pete Alonso 

 

While some may believe that the source of the curse for the Mets is something direr, others blame it on bobbleheads.

Those who believe in the curse say that anytime the Mets come out with a new bobblehead of a player, that player performs poorly in the next season.

They have some evidence to back up their claims.

It all started with Mike Piazza.

He was the first player to have a bobblehead made in his image.

The following year, he only hit 11 home runs.

That was a substantial decline from the 33 home runs he had struck the season earlier.

John Franco received one in 2003.

The following season, he got an injury that took him out of the season.

When he returned, his performance was poor.

The curse also followed the likes Kazuo “Kaz” Matsui in 2004, Pedro Martinez in 2005, and Paul Lo Duca in 2007.

They all suffered performance problems after a bobblehead came out featuring them.

Jason Bray in 2010 had the same thing happen to him.

When Francisco Rodriguez had his bobblehead made out of him, he ended up injuring his hand.

Ike Davis received news that he was receiving his bobblehead.

At the time, he was on the disabled list.

Clearly, there are some interesting coincidences going on there.

That said, some believe the curse has either lifted or is in the process of lifting.

Johan Santana received a bobblehead in 2012.

However, during that season, he pitched a no-hitter for the first time in Mets’ history.

 

2. The Curse Of A-Rod

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez

 

Like most curses, they often surround or involve a person.

For the New York Yankees, it was Alex Rodriguez.

Rodriguez—or A-Rod, as his fans have come to call him—was one of baseball’s greatest players.

He was playing for the Texas Rangers at the time when this curse supposedly occurred.

A-Rod was recently voted MVP in the league.

However, the Texas Rangers had received a lucrative offer from the Red Sox.

They wanted Alex Rodriguez to play for them instead.

At this point in MLB history, no team had ever traded an MVP before.

However, because Rodriguez was taking a voluntary salary reduction, the MLB didn’t allow the trade to occur.

With his status sort of in limbo, the New York Yankees were quick to snatch him up instead.

Due to his performance, many Yankees fans thought they were sure to win a World Series.

That didn’t happen.

As time went on, the fans started to think that perhaps A-Rod had a curse on him.

They examined his history with other teams.

Despite being a great player, none of the teams he had been part of had won a World Series either.

Ultimately, the team broke the curse if the curse even existed in the first place.

The New York Yankees finally won the World Series in 2009.

 

3. The Curse Of Donnie Baseball

Don Mattingly
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

 

The New York Yankees didn’t find a curse with A-Rod alone.

Long before he started playing with them, the Yankees had another great player on their team.

His name was Don Mattingly.

Like A-Rod, he was a star player.

His fame and popularity soared so high that his fans gave him two nicknames.

They called him “Donnie Baseball” and “The Hit Man.”

When he retired, his fans expected him to be voted into the MLB Hall of Fame.

As the years went on, however, he never got the honor.

This led fans to speculate about why he was continuously passed over.

They started to look at his record and realized something.

While he was part of the Yankees, they never won a World Series.

Even stranger, as soon as he left the team, the Yankees went on to win four World Series.

If that weren’t strange enough, Mattingly came back to the Yankees to work as a hitting coach.

Once again, the Yankees didn’t win a World Series while he was part of the team.

As soon as he left, the Yankees went on to win another World Series.

Despite Mattingly’s skills as a player, it seems as though a curse may have dogged his steps.

 

4. The Curse Of The Colonel

Colonel Sanders

 

If you’re a fan of Kentucky Fried Chicken, then it may surprise you to know that Colonel Sanders is the source of another baseball curse.

Several decades ago, a team named the Hanshin Tigers beat the Seibu Lions in the Japan Series.

The victory was a complete and total shock as the Tigers were the underdogs for the game.

The fans were so excited that they threw a party in honor of the team.

Eventually, the party moved to a bridge.

Some of the fans decided to honor the players by yelling their names before jumping into the water.

The problem was that there were more players than there were fans willing to jump off of the bridge.

To make up for this, the fans grabbed a statue of Colonel Sanders that was standing outside of a nearby KFC restaurant.

The fans shouted the name of the Most Valuable Player, Randy Bass, before tossing the statue into the water.

Immediately, the Tigers started performing badly.

They’ve been on a losing streak ever since.

In 2009, some divers discovered and retrieved the torso of the Colonel Sanders statue.

Some hoped that it might break the curse, but it didn’t.

The Tigers continue to lose.

 

5. The Curse Of Billy Penn

William Penn statue on a top of City Hal
William Penn statue on a top of City Hall Philadelphia USA

 

This curse also involves a statue.

Atop Philadelphia City Hall is a statue of Willian Penn, the founder of the city.

For a long time, City Hall with the statue on top was the tallest building in the city.

That changed when a skyscraper called One Liberty Place finished construction.

It was taller than the William Penn statue.

Immediately after, every sports team in Philadelphia started to suffer.

No one could win a major tournament.

Then, in 2008, the Phillies finally won the World Series.

Fans discovered that some ironworkers had snuck a statuette of William Penn atop a new skyscraper.

The Comcast Center had finished construction in 2007 and was taller than One Liberty Place.

They placed the statuette at the top of the building, so it was now taller than One Liberty Place.

They had broken the curse.

 

6. The Curse Of Captain Eddie

Giants Closer Brian Wilson

 

During the First World War, several athletes found themselves enlisting to fight.

One of those was Eddie Grant.

Given the name of “Captain Eddie” Grant, he was an MLB player.

He was also the first MLB player to die in World War 1.

To honor his sacrifice, the team made a commemorative plaque and placed it on the field.

After placing the plaque, they’d go on to win several World Series games.

Eventually, the state of the field deteriorated.

The New York Giants decided to move their field to San Francisco.

The plaque of Captain Eddie didn’t come with them.

Some speculated that fans had looted it when they stormed the field after the last game played on the original field.

Others say that it was simply lost during the move to San Francisco.

However it was lost, the Giants were no longer able to win a World Series.

It was only when Peter Magowan ordered a replacement and had it installed on their new field in 2006 that the curse seemed to lift.

In 2010, the Giants finally won the World Series, followed by two more championship wins in 2012 and 2014.

 

Conclusion

The World Series is one of the most exciting times for any baseball fan.

It gets its name from World’s Championship Series which became shortened to its current version.

Many players and fans also believe in curses that affect certain teams and players and their ability to win a World Series.


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