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Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians Both Featured on the Cover
ESPN The Magazine’s MLB Playoffs Issue will hit newsstands Friday, focusing on some of the biggest storylines in baseball as the regular season wraps up. Two postseason favorites, the Dodgers and Indians, share the spotlight on the cover.
For months, the Dodgers looked like the best team baseball had seen in years and were even on pace to challenge the all-time wins record. But fans don’t know which team they’ll see in the playoffs: the one that won a record 43 of 50 games beginning in early June, or the one that recently dropped 16 of 17, including 11 straight. The Mag’s senior writer Tim Keown spent time with the team during both streaks to find out how a team builds a winning culture.
The issue also takes a look at Cleveland’s magical run, with senior writer Wright Thompson going inside the Indians clubhouse during their AL-record win streak. The Indians head to the postseason walking a fine line between acknowledging the streak yet not letting it consume them.
Additional MLB Postseason Preview highlights:
Best Postseason Ever
All summer, baseball fans have been awed by the record-breaking Dodgers, the incredible resilience of the Astros and the surging second half of the Indians. Four teams this year can legitimately be called elite, with third-order win percentages that would rank among the 50 best of the past 68 years. So what’s in store when all of these great teams meet in October? A clash of titans the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades. By Sam Miller
Astros: Bringing It Home
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Houston Astros returned to Minute Maid Park with a new outlook, a new purpose and a new pitcher in Justin Verlander. With the city of Houston still recovering from the hurricane, the team’s once smooth path to the World Series has become far more difficult – and exponentially more important. By David Fleming
Also in this issue:
Numbers: In collaboration with Béisbol Experience, columnist Peter Keating analyzes why players born in Latin America tend to walk less than their U.S.-born counterparts and how teams can close that gap.
NFL: Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy has a well-chronicled problem with his weight. In an ESPN exclusive, he discusses his struggles with senior writer Kevin Van Valkenburg and what it’s like to cope with weight issues in a very public spotlight. PLUS: ESPN.com’s NFL Nation polled 155 players about quarterbacks, asking questions like: Who’s the best? Who’s the biggest trash-talker? Who’s the Next Big Thing? Their picks are in.
College Football: An examination of why college football teams in the state of Texas are so pitiful.
NASCAR: Senior writer Ryan McGee looks at old-school NASCAR racer Kyle Larson, the postseason’s No. 2 seed.
Tennis: Senior writer Sam Alipour interviews tennis great Billie Jean King and actress Emma Stone from the U.S. Open on the eve of Stone’s new movie Battle of the Sexes, based on King’s famous 1973 match against Bobby Riggs.
NBA: What if LaVar Ball were raising a normal kid and not the Lakers’ newest point guard? Alan Yang, screenwriter and Emmy-award winning co-creator of Master of None, imagines life with the king of dad brags.
Golf: Deputy editor Ty Wenger provides a metric argument on who will win the Presidents Cup.
Esports: Last summer, a 16-year-old Korean girl came onto the Overwatch scene and was so good she was accused of cheating. She was found innocent, but “Geguri” still put on a live demonstration of her skills to clear her name once and for all. That video went viral, and for a moment it felt like a crack in the esports industry’s glass ceiling, but by this summer, Geguri was no longer on a team. Senior writer Mina Kimes caught up with her in Seoul and explored the various reasons there are very few successful female gamers worldwide, and how their struggles reflect the larger nascent feminist movement brewing in South Korea.