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2017 World Series: 5 fun facts

The Houston Astros punched a ticket to the World Series on Saturday night with a 4-0 victory in Game 7 against the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

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Game 1 is Tuesday night in Los Angeles, and already this will be a historic Fall Classic. Here’s how:

Astros complete unprecedented double

By winning Game 7, the Astros became the first major-league team to reach the World Series by winning pennants in both leagues.

In 2005, Houston defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in six games to win the National League pennant. The Astros entered the postseason as a wild-card team and defeated the Atlanta Braves in four games to reach the National League Championship Series.That elusive winThe Astros' next win in the World Series will be their first. Houston was swept in four games by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

The century club

The Dodgers won 104 games during the 2017 regular season, while the Astros captured 101 victories. It’s the first World Series showcasing a pair of 100-game winners since 1970 when the Baltimore Orioles (108-54) defeated the Cincinnati Reds (102-60) in five games.Playoff historyThe Dodgers and Astros have met in the playoffs before, but both as members of the National League.In the 1981 season, a 50-day players strike erased nearly 40 percent of the schedule. Major League Baseball decided to split the season and declared that the champions of each half meet in a first-round of the playoffs. In a weird way, this postseason was the ancestor of the divisional series now employed by MLB.In 1981, the Dodgers, who won the first half of the NL West Division, faced the Astros, who took the second half. The Dodgers qualified for the postseason with a 36-21 record in the first half of the season and went just 27-26 in the second half. Houston, meanwhile, went 28-29 in the first half but took the division title in the second half with a 33-20 mark.The two teams met to determine the overall NL West champion, and the Dodgers prevailed in a five-game series.Rookie influence

If the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger wins NL Rookie of the Year honors as expected, he will become the first award winner to play in the World Series as a rookie since San Francisco’s Buster Posey competed in 2010.

World Series tickets for Dodger Stadium games soar in price

Emotions among fans in Southern California were sky-high after the Los Angeles Dodgers nailed down their first World Series berth in 29 years.

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Also rising are the cost of World Series tickets.

According to TicketIQ, a firm that tracks ticket sales and availability, the average asking price for games in Los Angeles are $3,164 per ticket. Only the Chicago Cubs last year, with an average asking price for games at Wrigley Field, had a higher amount, at $3,480, ESPN reported.

StubHub had several large sales for Game 1 of the World Series, which will be played in Los Angeles for the first time since 1988. One fan paid $37,804 (including fees) for a pair of front-row seats behind the Dodgers’ dugout, ESPN reported. Another paid $72,008 (also including fees) for four seats in the second row behind the Dodgers’dugout.

According to reseller Vivid Seats, the cheapest ticket available for Game 1 on Tuesday night is a standing room-only pass for $1,002, before fees. There was only one of those tickets available as of late Saturday morning.

Prices could even jump higher if the New York Yankees defeat the Houston Astros in tonight’s Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. The Dodgers and Yankees have met 11 times in the World Series since the two longtime rivals faced each other for the first time in 1941, when the Dodgers were based in Brooklyn. The Yankees have beaten the Dodgers in eight of those World Series.

New Marlins owner Derek Jeter on taking a knee: ‘Peaceful protest is fine’

Now that Derek Jeter is in an ownership position, he is faced with answering questions about protests during the national anthem. 

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During a dinner Wednesday night for his Turn 2 Foundation, Jeter was asked about his views on players protesting during the national anthem. While he wouldn’t say if he would take a knee, the future Hall of Famer and new Miami Marlins co-owner has no problem if his players wanted to protest.

“Peaceful protest is fine,” Jeter, who is biracial, told the New York Post. “You have a right to voice your opinion, as long as it’s a peaceful protest.”

The protests began last year with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sat and knelt during the anthem to protest racial injustice. Many NFL players, like the Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett, Philadelphia Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins and the Miami Dolphins’ Kenny Stills, have followed Kaepernick by sitting or holding a fist in the air while the anthem is being played this season. 

After President Donald Trump said players who protest during the anthem should be fired -- calling them SOBs in the process -- many more joined the peaceful demonstrations. 

“The thing that I think is probably frustrating with this whole rhetoric that’s going back and forth is people lose sight of why someone was kneeling,” Jeter told the New York Post. “They’re focused so much on the fact they are kneeling, as opposed to what they are kneeling for.”

Athletes across different sports are following in the NFL players’ footsteps. In the NHL, Tampa Bay Lightning winger J.T. Brown raised a fist during the national anthem last Saturday, for which he received death threats. One player in the MLB, Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell, has taken a knee.

Artist creates dream bedroom for young Cubs fan with cancer

An Illinois boy returning home after receiving treatment for a rare cancer was greeted by a bedroom renovation designed just for the young Cubs fan.

When Ken Markiewicz heard a WGN report about Joey Ventimiglia, 7, a young Cubs fan battling cancer, he felt compelled to use his artistic skills to show his support.

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Ventimiglia was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, which is a rare type of brain tumor. Because of the tumor’s position, surgery is not an option, WGN reported. Ventimiglia has been receiving experimental treatment in Mexico to battle the aggressive cancer. 

Markiewicz, who owns Crayons Gone Wild, offered to paint a Cubs-themed mural for Ventimiglia, free of charge.

Markiewicz reached out to the Ventimiglia family with his idea and while Ventimiglia was at his latest treatment, Markiewicz transformed the boy's bedroom into a dream for a Cubs fan. Markiewicz painted a baseball on the boy's closet and got the entire Cubs team to sign the artwork. He also recreated the famous ivy-covered wall at Wrigley Field.

Ventimiglia was in awe when he was wheeled into his bedroom and saw the Cubs-inspired artwork. To Markiewicz, he simply said, "Thank you."

Protesters unfurl ‘Stop Killing Us’ banner at Cardinals game

Protesters inside St. Louis’ Busch Stadium unfurled a banner at the Cardinals-Brewers game Friday night with a rendition of the team mascot and the words, "Stop Killing Us," th,Post-Dispatch reported.

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Protesters were upset with the acquittal of a white former police officer in the death of a black man two weeks ago, ESPN reported. The banner was hung over the upper deck railing in left field.

A video posted on Facebook showed a group of demonstrators high above the playing field holding a banner and chanting, “No Justice. No Baseball” and “You can’t stop the revolution,” Reuters reported.

By 9:30 p.m., the group had been ushered out of the stadium by police, the Post-Dispatch reported. They joined almost 200 gathered at Kiener Plaza, with police watching from nearby. From there, the protesters marched to Broadway and Walnut, where a confrontation took place with police in riot gear. As the game let out close to 10 p.m., some of the game attendees argued with some of the protesters. 

The protests are the latest sparked by a not-guilty verdict in the murder trial of former St. Louis patrolman Jason Stockley on Sept. 15, the Post-Dispatch reported. Stockley, who is white, shot and killed drug suspect Anthony Lamar Smith, who was black, in 2011, after a high-speed chase in which Stockley was recorded saying he intended to kill him, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton joins elite club with 59th homer

Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton joined an elite power-hitting club Thursday night, blasting his 58th and 59th homer in Miami’s 7-1 victory against Atlanta.

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Stanton, who has hit 33 homers since the All-Star break in July, joins Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Maris and Babe Ruth as the only major-leaguers to hit at least 59 home runs in a season.

Stanton’s 47 home runs while batting in the No. 2 slot set a major-league mark as he topped the 46 round-trippers hit by Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews in 1959, ESPN reported.

“It’s crazy to be in that company,” Stanton said . “It doesn’t sink in yet. It doesn’t make sense, really, yet. But it’s really cool. It’s everything I’ve worked for and it’s something really cool.”

Stanton hit a solo homer in the fourth inning, and then added a two-run shot in the eighth. It was his 10th multi-homer game of the season.

Toddler struck in the face with 105 mph foul ball at Yankee Stadium

The New York Yankees-Minnesota Twins game was briefly stopped in the fifth inning Wednesday afternoon after a toddler was reportedly struck in the mouth by a 105 mph foul ball.

Todd Frazier immediately dropped to a knee after fouling the ball into the stands, and other players quickly followed suit.

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“I thought of my kids. I have two kids under 3 years old and I just hope she’s all right,” Frazier said later, according to The Associated Press. “I know the dad or whoever it was that was with them was trying their hardest, but the ball’s coming at 120 miles an hour at them and the ball’s hooking. So it’s like if you’ve never seen a ball like that, which most people in the world haven’t, it’s very tough.”

The girl reportedly was rushed to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital

According to ESPN, the girl's father said late Wednesday that it was "too early to tell" whether his daughter would need surgery but that "she's doing all right."

Read more here.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Cleveland Indians win 22nd straight game

It was a “Catch-22” kind of night for the Cleveland Indians. And thanks to Francisco Lindor and Jay Bruce, something happened again for the defending American League champions.

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Lindor hit a game-tying double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and Bruce hit an RBI double in the 10th as the Indians rallied for their 22nd consecutive victory to extend their AL record. With the victory, the Indians moved to within four wins of matching the 1916 New York Giants for the longest winning streak in major-league history.

Lindor connected on a two-strike pitch to send the game into extra innings.

>> Indians set AL record 

"This was probably the toughest one we've had," Bruce told reporters after the game.

Jose Ramirez led off the 10th inning with a double and Edwin Encarnacion walked. Bruce then smacked a 2-0 pitch into the right-field corner to score Ramirez with the winning run. It was Cleveland’s first walk-off win of the streak.

The victory snapped a tie with the 1935 Chicago Cubs for the second-longest winning streak. The 1916 Giants won 26 straight games -- all at home. The Giants won 12 straight, played a 1-1 tie, and then won 14 in a row. But because the tied game was replayed from the start the next day, it did not count and therefore prolonged New York's streak.

Girl with robotic hand will throw out first pitch at World Series

Hailey Dawson’s quest to throw out the first pitch at every major-league baseball park now will include a toss at the World Series.

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Dawson, a 7-year-old with a robotic hand, will throw out the ceremonial pitch before Game 4 of the World Series on Oct. 28, USA Today Sports reported.

Dawson was born with a birth defect called Poland Syndrome. People with this defect have underdeveloped chest muscles that cause webbing in their hands. The engineering department at the University of Nevada Las Vegas created a robotic hand for Dawson and have been upgrading it as she grows. She is currently wearing her eighth version.

Dawson, a big baseball fan, threw out the first pitch at a UNLV game in 2014. Five months later, she threw out a pitch for the Baltimore Orioles. Since then she has thrown the first pitch for the New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers and Washington Nationals.

“Hailey’s inspirational story captured our attention and our teams have overwhelmingly embraced her goal to throw a first pitch at every MLB ballpark," Tony Petitti, MLB chief operating officer, told USA Today Sports. "We are very happy that Hailey will begin her quest by throwing the ceremonial first pitch at Game 4 of the World Series. We’re all looking forward to meeting her and the Dawson family at the Fall Classic.”

“She’s kind of a ham,” Dawson's mother, Yong Dawson, told All The Moms blog. “I initiated this. I thought it would be a good opportunity and encourage her grip. She could be silly and gain confidence.”

'Racism is as American as baseball' banner unfurled over Fenway Park's Green Monster

During Wednesday’s baseball game at Fenway Park, a few fans unfurled a banner over the Green Monster that ruffled a lot of feathers.

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"Racism is as American as baseball," the sign said.

A Red Sox spokesman said security removed the four fans who held the sign, according to The Associated Press. One fan reportedly said the group drew inspiration from Black Lives Matter.

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The Red Sox issued the following statement:

“During the 4th inning of tonight’s game, four fans unfurled a banner over the left field wall in violation of the club’s policy prohibiting signs of any kind to be hung or affixed to the ballpark. The individuals involved were escorted out of Fenway Park.”

Read more here.

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