For 1st time since Cubs won it all, neither Dodgers nor Astros make the World Series

Not since the 2016 World Series have we seen a matchup without one of these two powerhouses.

It feels like yesterday that long-awaited wave of euphoria washed over all of us as 108 years of futility was erased on a rainy night in Cleveland. Thousands filled the streets of Chicago, with Wrigleyville ground zero for the celebrations.

But somehow it's been 7 years since that emotional night and the celebrations that followed. And it's also been just as long since we saw a World Series that didn't feature the Houston Astros and/or Los Angeles Dodgers. With Houston falling in Game 7 of the ALCS on Monday, we'll get a long-awaited refresh on the Fall Classic matchup this fall with the Texas Rangers taking on either the Arizona Diamondbacks or Philadelphia Phillies.

Cubs hoping to replicate the consistency shown by Dodgers, Astros

For the Astros, it's been a remarkable run of success: seven consecutive ALCS appearances and a pair of World Series championships. Of course, all of it was marred by the team's 2017 sign-stealing scandal, but it's been impressive regardless.

Meanwhile, the Cubs have gone from the top of the baseball world to the throes of a total rebuild under Jed Hoyer, finally starting to gain relevance again in 2023. It's a stark juxtaposition to the sustained success we've seen from the Astros - and the Dodgers for that matter, although Los Angeles' regular season dominance hasn't translated to October glory.

Dave Roberts and the Dodgers have had a stranglehold on the NL West, more or less, since 2013 - winning the division every single year with the exception of 2021, when the Giants surged to an improbable 107 win-season. Still, sustainability and consistency have been the name of the game for Los Angeles over the last decade, something that Hoyer is hoping to replicate coming out of this rebuild in Chicago.