Best Places to Watch the World Series

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Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers fans should be excited – their teams are in the World Series! After 162 regular season games and impressive postseason performances, these two teams have emerged as the representatives of the best baseball has to offer from the American and National Leagues. With news relaying that the average ticket price (at least in Los Angeles) exceeded $3,100, it may not be in the cards for every fan to see a World Series game in person.

If you still want to watch the games in the company of like-minded fans and feel the energy of every inning, there’s another way to get in the spirit of the World Series without having to show up at the stadium. Several restaurants and bars are catering to the Houston and Los Angeles fans who want to catch the action without breaking the bank. Here are just a few places you can add to your list of venues for watching the Astros sweep the Dodgers, or for watching the Dodgers finish the job against the Astros, depending on your allegiances.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Woodman

Let's do this. #TGIF

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Several visitors to The Woodman have dropped a five-star review online, conferring the establishment is a great place to watch the Dodgers play. With towers of onion rings, a strong selection of beers, and several TV viewing options, you’re in the right place to take the Dodgers action without breaking the bank.

33 Taps

33 Taps is a place Dodgers fans recommend visiting before and after the game because it’s just that good! They also speak highly about the wings and about how the restaurant and bar take their sports very seriously. Fans celebrated the Dodgers’ NL champions series at both locations in Hollywood and Silver Lake and are surely ready to head back for the World Series campaign.

The Short Stop

Photos from #AndFriendsLA by @danimeigel are up! Album is linked on our Facebook feed. Stay tuned for info on next month ✌️🔊😎

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Known as the place where “Dodger bros rub elbows with hipsters guys,” The Short Stop is a fine place to cheer on the Dodgers among like-minded fans. Don’t expect to find a menu of artisanal entrees with farm-raised, organic quail eggs, though – this is a sports bar through and through, and you must be 21 years of age or older to enter this pro-Dodgers dive.

Houston Astros

Lucky’s Pub

Let’s go #Astros!!!!

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If you want the authentic experience of being an Astros fan in Houston and don’t have pockets deep enough for a stadium ticket, head to Lucky’s Pub. With great happy hour deals before games, massive screens, and plenty of Astros fans, you’ll feel right at home.

West Alabama Ice House

Let's do this! GO 'STROS! #earnhistory #htx #houstonstrong

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Want a memorable Texas sports bar experience? West Alabama Ice House delivers. With plenty of outdoor seating, TVs to take in the game, and the iconic Tacos Tierra Caliente food truck on site, this place checks all the boxes. Food? Check. Drinks? Check. Game? Check.

Little Woodrow’s

That was such a nerve-wracking game, Houston. One more W, baby! 🤘🏽

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They’re a local chain with several locations ready to host all Astros fans, but be warned: Don’t come expecting a diverse food menu, or a food menu. Little Woodrow’s is all about having a true fan party, so come with a full belly (or keep an eye open for local food trucks that can fill the void).

Big TVs, Full Bellies, Can’t Lose

Whether you’re taking in the game at the stadium inside one of these fine establishments, or at home with a group of friends, show everyone who you’re backing – the Astros or Dodgers – by making sure you have the best officially licensed MLB merchandise and apparel from Fanatics. Enjoy the World Series, everyone!


Fastball Dominance – MLB Pitching Analysis


The most common pitch thrown by a big league pitcher is a four-seam fastball. Although there are a few variations (two-seam, cutter, and so on), the fastball pitch is designed to blaze the ball by the batter before he can properly react to it, or sneak in some late movement to fool him.

We’re looking to analyze and conclude which pitchers are the most dominant when it comes to throwing specific types of pitches – in this case, the fastball.

Specifically, we’re looking at the statistic called “standardized runs by pitch” – in this case, the standardized runs by four-seam fastballs or wFA/C. This represents the amount of runs that the pitcher saved with their fastball over the course of 100 fastballs thrown.

We’re also using “dominance” as an abstract term to describe how well a pitcher has performed this season. This doesn’t mean they have the best or fastest fastball, but rather that their pitch has been the most difficult to hit.

Heaters and Dominance

Let’s take a look at PITCHf/x data for MLB pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched through Aug. 27, 2017, and see who dominates the fastball pitch.


This scatterplot compares dominance against the percentage of time a pitcher throws a fastball. The ideal location here is the upper left quadrant – it represents pitchers who have had the best pitches and used them most often. As of August 27th, one of the notable pitchers here is Clayton Kershaw, the now 16-win pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers who is leading the majors with a 1.95 ERA. Justin Verlander, now of the Houston Astros and Ariel Miranda of the Seattle Mariners are also in this ideal quadrant.

In the lower right quadrant, you’ll find pitchers who haven’t fared well with fastballs, and they’re also not throwing them frequently. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however – they may rely on other pitches. Jason Vargas from the Kansas City Royals, for example, is not known for his fastball, instead relying on other pitches to paint those corners, such as change-ups and sinkers. Masahiro Tanaka from the New York Yankees is in a similar boat – he prefers to throw sliders and splitters.

The upper right quadrant, interestingly, shows pitchers who use the fastball frequently but aren’t necessarily performing well with this pitch. Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles is one example of a high percentage of fastballs paired with results he’d rather not have. Matt Moore from the San Francisco Giants is another pitcher who uses fastballs frequently despite his lack of dominance with this particular pitch.


This chart incorporates the same data but may be a bit clearer to see which pitchers are more dominant with the fastball when compared to their peers. While the top two dominant pitchers have a fastball that reaches blazing speed (Michael Fulmer of the Tigers averages 95.7 mph, and Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox is just slightly behind him at 94.6 mph), not every dominant pitcher throws lightning fastballs, and not every nondominant pitcher has a slow fastball.

This is evident when we check out the third dominant pitcher on the list. R.A. Dickey of the Atlanta Braves is No. 3 here. His fastball average of 83 mph is the opposite of heat – however, Dickey’s favorite pitch is not a fastball. Instead, he relies on knuckleballs, which is understandable due to its deceptive nature and his mastery of the pitch itself.

Toeing the Slab

As you continue to watch your favorite pitchers toe the slab as the season winds down (and as the postseason revs up), make sure you have all the authentic MLB gear you can handle by visiting Fanatics.


MLB Immaculate Innings


There are a few baseball categories that only have a handful of entries – the 3,000 hit club, with 31 members, is one. Another rare feat is the “immaculate innings,” which means a nine-pitch, nine-strike inning. To date, there have only been 89 immaculate innings, and despite this low number, 2017’s had quite the run. Considering it only takes 10 regular baseball games to rack up 90 innings, getting an immaculate inning is extremely rare.

Let’s take a look at immaculate innings over the last century of baseball history so we can better understand how rare indeed they truly are.

Immaculate Innings on the Rise


As the years go by, there seems to be another trend aside from more guys clobbering homers. Glancing over this chart, you can see that the first three decades weren’t teeming with immaculate innings; in fact, there was only one immaculate inning in each decade in these early years.

In the ’20s, there were five immaculate nine-pitch, nine strike innings, the ’50s saw three, and the ’60s and ’70s each saw eight. The number went down in the ’80s (4) and jumped up dramatically in the ’90s (18) followed by 15 in the ’00s. Thus far in the ’10s, there have been 25 immaculate innings, far outpacing the decades of yesteryear.

Immaculate Teams


The National League, by the numbers, has more immaculate innings than the American League – 55 for the NL, compared to 34 for the AL (although the Astros currently play in the American League, they achieved 5 immaculate innings during their time in the National League). In fact, the top team overall with the most immaculate innings is the National League’s Dodgers, who have seven. The second most amount was at the hands of the American League’s Yankees with six.

Two teams are tied with five – the Astros and the Phillies. There are quite a few that have four, including the Brewers, who have one while they were still in the AL and three in the NL. Other teams include the defending World Series champs – the Chicago Cubs – and the Boston Red Sox.

There are also a number of teams with three immaculate innings, including the Royals, Rays, and Giants. Among those with two immaculate innings are the Blue Jays, Mets, Nationals and Tigers. And finally, there are a handful of teams with one immaculate inning, including old-timey teams like the Beaneaters (who are now the Atlanta Braves) as well as current teams like the Mariners and the White Sox.

Throwing Strikes

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Considering how rare an immaculate inning is, it’s not a stretch to realize that it’s difficult for a pitcher to get one at all, much less more than one. Sandy Koufax, flamethrowing southpaw for the Dodgers (both Brooklyn and Los Angeles), managed to throw three immaculate innings during his career.

Lefty Grove is another pitcher who managed to grab an immaculate inning more than once – he performed this feat twice in the same year (1928) for the same team (the Philadelphia Athletics, who are now located in Oakland and are better known as the A’s). Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson also achieved it two times – once for two different teams.

The rest of the players on our list threw an immaculate inning once, which, as we’ve established, is still impressive. Pitchers include Max Scherzer (Nationals), Danny Jackson (Royals), Felix Hernandez (Mariners), Rick Porcello (Red Sox), Roger Clemens (Blue Jays), Orel Hershiser (Giants), and Pedro Martinez (Red Sox).

Strike Three, You’re Out!

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Managerial Journeys: Bruce Bochy


Before he won three World Series Championships as the manager of the San Francisco Giants, Bruce Bochy navigated the minor and major leagues as a player. He took lessons learned from behind home plate – as a catcher – and turned them into a successful post-playing career.

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Now with over 20 years of management experience, on top of his almost 15 years as a player, Bochy continues to surprise the baseball world with his continual evolution. But how did he progress from catching in the minors to coaching and winning three World Series with his team? Continue reading to learn about the managerial journey of Bruce Bochy.

Catching Success


Bochy – born in Landes Bussac, France – attended school at Eastern Florida State College where he garnered interest from both the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros. The Houston Astros drafted him in the first round of the 1975 MLB June Draft secondary phase with the 23rd overall pick. He would matriculate through the Astros farm system, playing with Covington, Columbus, Dubuque, and Cocoa before receiving a majors call-up.

He would spend three years in the majors with the Houston Astros, before heading to the New York Mets organization. It would be a one-year stint in their farm system before he’d get a chance at a major league start for the Metropolitans. In fact, Bochy only played 17 games for the Mets, which prompted a move to San Diego to play for the Padres. Over five seasons, he would play more than 200 games for the Padres. After a final year in the minors (1988), Bochy hung up his helmet and looked toward a career in coaching.

Managerial Maestro

Bochy would stay with the Padres organization, going out to coach several of their minor league teams, before ultimately receiving the chance to manage in the big leagues. He took over the Padres in 1995, and just a year later, earned National League Manager of the Year honors. Bochy would only lead the Padres to four postseason appearances during his 12 seasons in charge. He did manage the Padres in a World Series in 1998, losing to the New York Yankees, after having bested the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros in the National League Championship and Division series.

In 2007, Bochy made the move up north to the San Francisco Giants. In four seasons, he would take his side to the World Series – and win. The Giants’ run in 2010 started an on-and-off series of World Series appearances that resulted in the G-Men making it to and winning the World Series every other year from 2010 to 2014. Bochy can happily claim three World Series victories – 2010 over the Texas Rangers, 2012 over the Detroit Tigers, and 2014 over the Kansas City Royals – on his resume now.

Ready for Another One

Given the recent drought after a period of immense success, San Francisco Giants fans are thankful for Bochy’s past achievements but are ready to see him bring another World Series title to the Bay area. Whether you appreciate him more as a player or manager, get the same officially licensed MLB merchandise and apparel Bochy wears at


Curveball Dominance – Finding the BEST MLB Pitchers


A curveball is exactly what it sounds like – instead of going via a straight line to the plate a la fastball, a curveball is a breaking ball with a ton of movement, often curving down from up high, preferably resulting in a swing and miss on the part of a batter. While not every pitcher has a quality curveball in his pocket, it remains an important pitch for many.  

Dominating With a Curve

Let’s take a look at a PITCHf/x advanced pitching statistic, wCU/C (weighted curveball runs per 100 pitches), for MLB pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched through Aug. 27, 2017, and see who dominates the curveball.


This scatterplot compares dominance against the percentage of time a pitcher throws a curveball. The ideal location here is the upper left quadrant – it represents pitchers who have had the best curveball pitches and who use them frequently. Aaron Nola, who plays for the Phillies, primarily (and successfully) relies on his curveball, averaging 78 mph. Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals also throws a ton of curves, often netting grounders.

In the lower right quadrant, you’ll note that these pitchers haven’t had much success with their curveball, but they also don’t tend to use them very often. Clayton Richard of the San Diego Padres is one of these pitchers – he primarily throws a sinker, but will occasionally mix in a curveball or two.

The upper right quadrant, though, shows pitchers who use curveballs often, despite the fact that they aren’t necessarily performing well with this type of pitch. Mike Fiers of the Houston Astros is one example – while primarily relying on his fastball, he still makes use of a curve on occasion, even though it’s not his best pitch.

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This chart looks at the same data as the scatterplot above, but it may be clearer to see which pitchers are more dominant with the curveball when compared to others. Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians, for example, is the most dominant curveball pitcher we examined. He’s followed by Carlos Martinez of the St. Louis Cardinals, who has a dominant curveball but rarely uses it.

Clayton Richard is at the opposite end. As discussed above, Richard doesn’t have a dominant curveball, but he also rarely throws one. He’s right next to Jordan Zimmerman from the Tigers, who uses a curve but doesn’t always get fabulous results.

Throwing a Curve

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Houston Astros Home Run Hot Spots: Minute Maid Park


Long Bombs in Minute Maid Park

It all began in 1960 when Judge Roy Hofheinz and other members of the club’s ownership group saddled up and attended the annual MLB owners meeting in Chicago. During this meeting, Houston was awarded a franchise club in the National League. The then-Houston Colt .45s made their debut on April 10, 1962 after crushing the Chicago Cubs (11-2). The team was dubbed the Houston Astros in 1965.

The Houston Astros were the first team in professional baseball to introduce an indoor stadium to the Major League – hosting the first exhibition on April 9, 1965, against the New York Yankees in the Astrodome. The ’Stros have appeared in the playoffs 10 times but have yet to bring the Commissioner’s Trophy home to the Lone Star state.


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Sometimes called the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the Astrodome first opened its stadium doors to fans in 1965 – serving as a haven from the intense summer heat. The multipurpose dome was an innovative stadium in its day but failed to stand the test of time as modern ballparks began to offer luxurious amenities and dynamic game day experiences.

It wasn’t until 1996 that the Astros would muster up enough votes and later break ground for a new ballpark. The turn of the century ushered in a new age for America’s pastime in Houston as the Astros moved into their new home – Enron Field. Now identified as Minute Maid Park, the majestic ballpark continued the tradition of ingenious stadium designs by featuring a retractable roof.

Situated on the Northeast end of downtown, Minute Maid Park is a “jewel in the crown” of the breathtaking downtown skyline. The breezy ballpark welcomes open air into the stadium and is capable of hosting nearly 41,000 Houstonians – providing the means to stand tall with the modern ballparks in baseball’s Golden Age.

Round-trippers are often cranked out into the crowd, so be sure to remain on high alert while immersing yourself in the showdown unraveling before your eyes. Last season, the park produced a total of 171 home runs with the furthest dinger launching off the bat of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s first baseman, C.J. Cron, and landing a jaw-dropping 471 feet.

Minute Maid Park, Houston Astros, Houston, Texas


Before heading over to Minute Maid Park, check out our home run heat map above to see which seats boost your chances of snagging that once-in-a-lifetime homer from the comfort of your chosen seat.

Considering the ‘Stros led the American League in home runs during the 2015 season, Houston hopefuls come to each game with the intention of bringing that keepsake long ball home.

Minute Maid Park boasts various attractions such as the Phillips 66 Home Run Alley. Take a stroll through the alley, and you will find yourself wandering down memory lane as the walls are decorated with historical images from the team’s olden days. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself behind the left-center field, be sure to have your glove on-hand and ready for action (don’t forget to snap a photo of the classic home run–tracking gasoline pump).

While the fence line and Home Run Alley are favored hot spots, cozying up behind either right or left field will increase the likelihood of a dinger soaring your way – especially in sections 152, 153, 100, and 102.

Calling all Houstonians and fans abroad! The Astros are forecasted to win the AL West, so be sure to support the team every step of the way. Before strapping on those boots, head over to Fanatics to shop from the latest Astros threads and fan gear in the game!



Vintage Teams: Houston Colt .45s

Cold-45s-Headers_HeaderVintage Teams: Houston Colt .45s

Before you knew them as the Houston Astros, baseball fans in Houston were heading out to watch the Colt .45s play ball against the rest of the National League. The existence of this team out of southeast Texas was short-lived – they would only carry the name of the Colt Firearms Company’s most famous gun from 1962 to 1965.

What happened during this three-year stretch? How did they get their name? Were there any Hall of Famers on the roster? Continue reading to learn more about the team that started every game with a bang, the Houston Colt .45s.

Where Did They Come From? Where Did They Go?

The Colt .45s were a National League expansion team founded in 1960 by an ownership group led by Judge Roy Hofheinz. They played their first major league game against the Chicago Cubs on April 10, 1962 – beating the Cubbies 11-2. The team stayed in Houston but was eventually renamed the Astros.


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As the name Colt .45s faded in memory, so did the three losing seasons. While the team hasn’t won a World Series since the name change, they have made it to the postseason 10 times, most recently in 2015. The Astros lost the divisional series 3-2 to the Kansas City Royals, making way for KC to win it all 4-1.

What Did Their Logo Look Like?

How did the name of a handgun become a sports team’s name? Well, there was a contest to allow citizens to help name the team. The winner, William Irving Neder, suggested Colt .45, as it was the “gun that won the West” Hofheinz made the name change just three years later, citing a need “in keeping with the times” Due to Houston’s involvement with NASA, the owners selected the name Astros.

The logo used orange and featured the iconic pistol prominently. The team’s name surrounded it.


Team Logo

Who Were Their Stars?

Turk Farrell, the right-handed starting pitcher, won 35 decisions as a pitcher for the Colt .45s. He was also a five-time All-Star over the course of his 14-year career, and two of these honors happened as a Colt .45s in 1962 and 1964.

Another renowned pitcher for the Colt .45s was Hal Woodeshick, who played in Houston all three years under the team’s original name. In the 1964 season, he recorded 23 saves, pitching less than 80 innings.

Another Colt .45 Player, Bob Aspromonte

Not Just a Name

While the name was short-lived, Major League Baseball has been a part of Houston since the early 1960s. If you were a fan of the Houston Colt .45s before they were the Astros or just learned something new about your favorite team, make sure to get the best officially licensed merchandise and apparel at Fanatics.