In a pro baseball league championship series, teams place a lot of emphasis on Game 1. Even though a team needs to win four games in order to win the best-of-seven series, managers and players believe it's extremely important to start the series on a winning note.
LCS: Both the American and National League Championship Series are underway. The Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers are competing for the National League Crown, while the Anaheim Angels and New York Yankees are competing for the American League Championship. The winners will meet in the World Series, one of the oldest and most prestigious sporting events in the world. The Phillies and Dodgers played Game 1 last Thursday night in Los Angeles; the Yankees and Angels open their series on Friday in New York.
Fans: Baseball fans are typically revved up for Game 1. The start of a new series means that their team is one step closer to winning the World Series. They fill the stadium long before the first pitch of the game, cheering and waving towels. This is one of the most exciting parts of the playoffs. The anticipation is so strong that fans are getting excited even before the action starts. Sports reporters and writers cover every angle of the upcoming series, predicting the outcome and what players will perform well. All because the fans just can't wait for the games to get underway!
Pitchers: Because Game 1 is so important, managers will usually tap their best pitchers to start the game. In the NLCS, Cole Hamels of the Phillies and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers were named the Game 1 starting pitchers. Both are young lefties just starting very promising careers. In the American League, New York's C.C. Sabathia matched up against Anaheim's John Lackey. Both are veteran pitchers who have showed they have what it takes to win a big game. This is another reason why Game 1 is such an exciting event. With such good pitchers taking the mound, the games are usually very close contests.
What It Means: The team that wins Game 1 has a huge advantage. It has control of the series and the players can relax a little. Not too much, though - they still have three more games to win. The team that loses Game 1 has to remember not to panic. They need to play hard to get back into the series, but they can't get upset over one loss. After all, it's a best-of-seven series. May the best team win!
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