Every year as soon as the World Series matchup is set, I start to feel a bit bad for the team that came all the way to the Fall Classic (and in the last 2 years, lasted 7 games) only to have their seasons end in a loss.
No team wants to end their season with a loss. Not a chance.
Even though the Indians lost to the Cubs in 2016, my 2nd favorite team, I still felt bad that they came all that way to lose. Same for the Dodgers in 2017; it definitely sucks. There's no denying that.
Game 1 of the 2018 World Series is tonight as Clayton Kershaw will take on Chris Sale in about 4 hours live from Fenway Park. The Dodgers are looking to avenge their World Series loss last season while the Red Sox will be looking to do what they've done all season; win.
The momentum of the entire series rests in the hands of the game 1 starting pitchers. For the Dodgers, that man is Clayton Kershaw, a seasoned veteran with undeniable talents who has also faltered in the playoffs. As for Boston, Chris Sale's limited postseason experience and injuries over the last few months could pose a threat.
No matter the outcome of this series, I will feel remorse for whoever loses, though the Red Sox more so than the Dodgers for obvious reasons. Here's to another memorable Fall Classic, beginning with a top 5 cards post for Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
#5 2018 Topps Heritage World Series Highlights Game #1
World Series highlights cards are definitely a topic worth covering someday as the 60's especially delivered some memorable designs. Though the burlap of '68 is iconic not to mention the classic wood borders of '62, I'd have to give 1969 Topps the slight edge for greatest World Series highlights cards ever made. Modeled after the 1968 World Series between the Tigers and Cardinals, Topps did a superb job recreating them in 2018 Topps Heritage for the 2017 Fall Classic matchup of Astros vs Dodgers.
#4 2017 Panini Diamond Kings Aurora
The flamboyant, multi-color Aurora insert design from 2017 Panini Diamond Kings could not be left out of Kershaw's top 5 cards post, even if the logoless cap is slightly more noticeable on this card than on the Jose Altuve card featured on his top 5 cards post. Whoever at Panini came up with the design for this set deserves to be recognized.
As an unlicensed company, they need to step it up a bit to distract from the no logos. A lot of the time, Panini doesn't do this, but when they do, they have a huge opportunity for success.
#3 2015 Topps Archives
Even with the stellar selection of sets (1958, 1977, 1981) that were represented in this year's set, I'm still waiting for another year of Topps Archives that rivals the collection of legendary Topps sets that was 2015 Topps Archives. With 1957, 1976, and 1983 included, 2 of my top 5 and 3 of my top 15 Topps sets ever made were represented in that years' set and Mr. Kershaw occupied spot #1 with a detailed card in the photo-centric set that is 1957 Topps.
#2 2017 Topps Gallery Heritage
Last year, Topps Gallery Heritage was one of the better insert sets of 2017, a year that was somewhat lacking in terms of quality baseball cards though had no issue with quantity. Though 2018 Topps Gallery which would be year 2 of the set's revival is still up in the air, I'm glad Topps brought this art-based brand back, even if it didn't last as long as I would've liked.
As for the card above, it's based on 1951 Bowman and has every little detail I could ask for. From the Gallery Heritage logo to the beautiful art and background colors.
#1 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter
To me, Kershaw's 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter takes the best parts of the cards at the #2 and #3 spots and combines them to create one fabulous card worthy for me to call the best Clayton Kershaw card in my collection. The photo looks almost like a combination of the previous 2 while the artwork and attention to details are just as evident in this card as it was in the Gallery Heritage card at #2. Not to mention 2011 A&G is one of my favorite sets in this brand's history.
As for the Fall Classic, around a week from now, one fanbase will be devastated while another celebrates a championship. Although I want nothing more than for the Red Sox to win, I really would love for another thrilling World Series that's memorable and without dirty plays. This means you, Manny Machado.
Good luck to the Dodgers and of course, the Red Sox. Now, let's have another fantastic Fall Classic.