Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Unlike Game Four, I decided to watch Game Five. Well, as best as I could, given that I had household errands to run (Trader Joe's) and fatherly duties to perform (daughter's bath time and getting-ready-for-bed time).

So I only heard Ortiz's 8th inning homerun on the way to the grocery store.

And I was muttering under my breath when the radio announcers took forever to announce the score in the bottom of the 11th on the way home.

And was amazed that in between the time I turned off the ignition and when I rushed in to turn on the TV, they were already on break. (That was fast... a double play? Sigh. A double play.)

During bath time, wife coming in to report that they went to commercial break ("was it because they were walking off the field?," I asked, trying to determine whether it was a pitching change or the end of the inning.

But I saw all of the bottom of the 14th.

This series -- I didn't even need to tell you which Game Five, did I? -- has just sucked the oxygen out of the room. I turned off the TV before Jeff Kent came up to bat in the other series (or, rather, it took too long for his at-bat to start), and so missed an incredibly dramatic conclusion to an incredible game.

And I didn't care, because I felt like if I had any more drama, I just wouldn't sleep at all.

So, really, the Houston-St. Louis series, which in any other year would be beginning to be described as "classic," is seen by, what? -- 10 percent of the country?

The Yankee team looked exhausted. The Red Sox looked exhausted. Happy, yes, but exhausted. And the Red Sox fans at the game... speaking of oxygen, somebody please tell them to breathe, please. It looked like every Red Sox fan caught on Fox's cameras (and that must have been, well, half the crowd?) wasn't breathing. Deep breaths, folks. (Of course, this comes from a man who was at Game Seven of the 2001 World Series, a game which the crowd spent most of the game cheering as if at a non-Phoenix/FBR Open golf event, too paralyzed by fear to sustain a roar. So take my jibes with a grain of salt.)

Seriously, this is how good the series has been -- at some point in extra innings last night, I wondered whether a best-of-4 series that ended in 5 games could be considered a "classic." In other words, had the Yankees won last night, would the series be considered "classic"? And I decided the answer was "yes." I mean, the 2001 World Series had 3 "classic" games. This series has had two undeniably great games, with Game 1 maybe added in there.

We move on to Game Six, and the number of storylines is dizzying. David Ortiz, doing to the Yankees what his former teammates the Twins could never do. Johnny Damon, playing horribly, but managing to get on in the 14th and score the winning run. The umpiring, exhausted, maybe, giving Mussina a narrow strike zone but blowing the call on Ortiz' steal attempt in the 10th. (And you don't know whether to say, "Serves you right," or, "My goodness, it took the umpire to bail you out of a missed caught stealing that I could've made.") Louiaza, reminding Steinbrenner once more that he wanted Randy Johnson instead of what he got (which was a really good pitcher for a little more than 2 innings). Jeter, playing badly and hitting .182, but also driving in 3 runs. The Sheffield comments. Oh, and Curt goes tonight.

Even if this series didn't pit these 2 teams with so much history, recent and ancient, against each other, this still would be an awesome series.

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