Friday, October 28, 2011

The Greatest World Series Game Ever Played

If you didn't make it all the way to 12:39 a.m., then you missed quite possibly the single most exciting baseball game ever played and the greatest World Series game of all-time.

Given that baseball goes back 150 years and the World Series goes back to 1903, that's saying a lot.

Still, what beats last night's unreal 10-9 by the Cardinals over the Rangers, on a night when the Rangers twice were one strike away from winning the first series title in franchise history, on a night when the teams combined for 19 runs, 28 hits, five errors, six home runs, 42 players used and one unbelievable twist after another?

Don Larsen's perfect game in 1956? Game 7 in 1960? Game 6 in 1975? Game 6 in 1986? With all due respect, TB watched two of those (1975, 1986) and knows a lot about the other two and sorry, they don't match up to last night.

As an aside, TB would say Game 5 in 1975 comes closest.

The tendency when something new comes along is to break out terms like "greatest ever," and TB hates when he hears or reads stuff like that when it obviously is hyperbole.

In this case? TB think it fits.

Think about it. The Rangers snapped a 4-4 tie (in what had been a messy, messy game) with back-to-back home runs and an RBI single in the seventh, going up 7-4. Even when Allen Craig got one back in the eighth, the game seemed over when the Cards left the bases loaded in the eighth, meaning it was 7-5 into the bottom of the ninth and Neftali Feliz on the mound for the Rangers.

Except it was only getting started.

So what happened? Two on, two out and David Freese - whom TB had never heard of three weeks ago - at the plate, Freese, who suddenly is the clutchest athlete alive. Freese, down to his final strike, rips one to rightfield, where Nelson Cruz may have it, may have it, may have it ... doesn't have it.

Now keep in mind that if he catches the ball, the World Series is over. And also keep in mind that he probably should have had it, only to appear to lose track of where he was in relation to the wall.

Instead, Freese ends up with a triple, tying the game at 7-7. Now keep in mind that Feliz still has to work his way out of the inning or the game will be over right there. And he does.

This brings us to the top of the 10th. With one out, Elvis Andrus singled up the middle, and up to the plate stepped Josh Hamilton, reformed drug addict who had come all the way back from appearing to flush away his great talent to become one of the most inspirational athletes of all-time, almost like a real-life Roy Hobbs. Only now, the 2010 American League MVP has been slowed by a groin injury the entire postseason and hasn't homered once - until he drilled one not off the lights but far enough to clear the fence and make it 9-7.

Over? No chance (why did Ron Washington take Feliz out?). Back come the Cards, down to their final strike again, only to have Lance Berkman line one up the middle to tie it. And then, an inning later, here came Freese again - rocketing one over the centerfield wall to make it 10-9.

And so this World Series - as good as any TB has ever seen - has one more night left, Game 7 tonight. If the Rangers lose, then this will be as agonizing as any loss in history.

Hey, TB's having a lot of fun with the superlatives right now, but they all fit. If you watched the game, you know exactly what he means.

Peter Farrell, Princeton's cross country coach, came in this morning to talk about "my Cardinals," even as TB pointed out that in all the time he's known him, he's never once heard him talk about the team.

TigerBlog is rooting for the Rangers and has never really liked the Cardinals. He did go to college with a guy from St. Louis named Sandy Friedman who was (and presumably is still) a huge Cardinals fan. For all TB knows, Sandy might have been at the game last night, but at the very least, he was definitely watching somewhere in the St. Louis area. TB was okay with the outcome, because 1) it was such a great game and 2) at least Sandy was happy.

The World Series will end tonight, one day before a huge athletic day on the Princeton campus, one during which Farrell's team will be at center stage.

Today ordinarily would have been the Ivy League Heptagonal cross country championships, held this Friday each year at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Instead, it was moved from today in New York to tomorrow in Princeton, with the men's race at 11 and the women at noon.

Also on tomorrow's home schedule:

* field hockey vs. Cornell at noon
* football vs. Cornell at 1
* men's soccer vs. Cornell at 4
* women's soccer vs. Cornell at 7

Also on tomorrow's schedule? Horrible weather. At least a horrible forecast.

This will mark the fourth home football game of the year - and the fourth time the forecast has called for precipitation. Of course, the other three times, the bad weather was gone before kickoff.

Tomorrow? Maybe not.

So be brave, people. Bundle up and get out here. There are some great events here, beginning early and running late.

They won't be as good as the World Series, but that's okay.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Following up on one of your earlier posts, I think we can assume that Bill Buckner and Steve Bartman are rooting for the Cardinals tonight -- hard.