Friday, October 28, 2011

Game 7

Few things in pro team sports is better than a World Series Game 7. Few? Probably the only thing better is a Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 in Overtime. That is incredibly nerve racking, even if you don't root for either team. But a World Series Game 7 is absolutely classic.

The hardluck Texas Rangers know first hand the baseball truism--you can't run out the clock. In the other pro team sports, when a team has a lead they play defense and try to run out the clock. Not in baseball, of course. You have to get those final 3 outs, be it on 3 pitches or dozens of pitches. That's the thing about baseball. It has spasmodic tension. You sit and wait for the pitch to be thrown and for that second you wait for it to reach the plate your heart is in your throat, then you react to what happens, and calmed down before the anxiety returns for the next pitch.

That is what it was like 100 fold last night for both Rangers and Cardinals fans and, baseball fans like me. Twice the Rangers were 1 strike away from being World Champions and twice the Cards were 1 strike away from their season ending. One strike, one second, and sports history changes.

The Cards had comebacks (yes, plural) for the ages. Never before had a team overcome two 2-run deficits in the 9th inning and later and the Cards did that. The media is talking about choking, about the misplay by Nelson Cruz (which it was that allowed the tying runs in the 9th) and Felize's Jose Mesa immitation, but it all comes down to the nature of baseball. The purity of the game.

George Will once said (I believe it was him), that football is the way were are, but baseball is the way we should be. Everyone gets a last chance. You're down and they still have to throw the ball to you. They can't run out the clock. You've got three outs to do the improbable, because with baseball, nothing is impossible.

It's been 9 years since the last World Series Game 7. Then it was the Angels vs. the Giants and the Giants had blown a 5-0 7th inning lead in Game 6. They lost Game 7. Baseball was cruel to them in 2002 and rewarded a franchise that had never won a title in its 40+ years of existence in the Angels. But baseball rewarded the Giants last year after having not won a championship in the 52 years it at been in San Francisco. This after the White Sox and Red Sox both had ended their nearly century long title draughts not long ago. That's baseball, where nothing is impossible.

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