Beat LA! A look at Houston vs. LA in the playoffs

Nolan Ryan and Fernando Valenzuela
Nolan Ryan and Fernando Valenzuela (Getty Images)

HOUSTON – For the long-time sports fans in Houston, chants of "Beat LA! Beat LA!" have been heard before. 

That chant could be heard inside Minute Maid Park moments after the Houston Astros clinched their second trip to the World Series on Saturday night.

Houston faces the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series Game 1 Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

It's not the first time these cities have met in the postseason in baseball, or in other sports, either.

Despite now being in opposite leagues, the Astros and Dodgers have had postseason battles before.

The teams were rivals in the National League West division from 1969 until 1993. They have met in the postseason in the National League Division Series in 1981.

The teams also met the year prior in the final regular season series, with the Astros holding a three-game lead in the division. The Dodgers, playing at home, swept the three-game series, winning all three games by one run. The teams were forced to play an additional regular season game to break the tie for the division title. 

The Astros won that game, also in Los Angeles, to qualify for the postseason for the first time in team history.

The following season, 1981 NL division series was a low-scoring affair. The Astros won the first two games of the series, but managed just two runs over the final three games, losing each game and the series to the Dodgers.

In the NBA, the Rockets and Lakers, and even the Clippers, have a strong postseason history, too. 

Most likely, any recollection fans might have of that "Beat LA!" chant comes from the NBA and the many times the Rockets and Lakers have battled in the postseason.

Houston has faced off in eight postseason series with the Lakers, the most recent coming in a seven-game Western Conference semifinals series that the Lakers won, four games to three.

Their two most famous meetings, though, both went the Rockets' way. In 1980-81, Houston qualified for the playoffs' despite a losing record (40-42). They upset the Lakers (54-28) in their three-game series to open the playoffs.

In 1986, the Rockets stunned the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals with a four games to one series victory. The series was clinched by the Rockets in Los Angeles in Game 5 when Ralph Sampson scored at the buzzer on one of the most memorable shots in NBA playoff history.

The Rockets have faced the Clippers in the postseason twice, winning both series. That includes a miracle comeback in 2015 in the Western Conference semifinals after trailing the Clippers, led by current Rockets guard Chris Paul, three games to one.

On the pitch, the Houston Dynamo has face off with the LA Galaxy late in the MLS playoffs three times in recent history. The Galaxy topped the Dynamo in the western conference final in 2009, and then in consecutive MLS Cup Finals in 2011 and 2012.  

The Houston Comets knocked off the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA's Western Conference semifinals in 1999 and 2000 on their way to claiming the last two of their four consecutive WNBA championships. 

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