Friday, October 28, 2011

NFL Picks Week Eight: So I Was Watching Baseball Last Night

Now, before I say anything about whether or not we might have been witness to the greatest baseball game ever played last night, I should note, as I did earlier this week, that I'm pretty partial to this one, and I probably will continue to be so until the Mets win the World Series again. Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Mets' last World Series championship, and it was curious to note that that World Series ended on October 27, the same date that saw the conclusion of the 2004 World Series and the 2006 World Series. The running vein through those two games is that both of those World Series were the last two to be played in St. Louis.

And as Texas had a chance to clinch the World Series last night, guess where we were?

So that was one of the curious tips that I figured we might be in for the end of the baseball season last night, and as the Rangers pushed the Cardinals down to their last strike in the bottom of the ninth inning, I assumed I was right. But then something crazy happened. Dave Freese hits a two-run triple in the ninth to tie it, Josh Hamilton hits a two-run homer in the 10th to put Texas back on top, Lance Berkman ties the game in the bottom of the 10th, Dave Freese clocks a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 11th, and we'll see you tomorrow night.

As I said earlier, I don't want to necessarily say this was "the greatest baseball game ever played", but seriously, given the stakes, the craziness, the multiple storylines and potential heroes, the fever-pitch-level drama, and the fact that leading up to the ninth inning this was still a pretty damn good game in what has been a great series, and, well, calling this the greatest game ever played wouldn't necessarily be the dumbest thing anyone has said this week.

To put it plainly, this was one of the greatest games I've ever seen in any sport at any time. Granted, that is a large category of events, and I would hesitate to call this the greatest, but sweet lord what a game it was. As I sat there I couldn't help but think at how absurd it was and how I could never imagine a team battling back from the last strike of the World Series in consecutive innings, nor could I imagine seeing a team score in the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th innings to stave off elimination.

That's because it had never happened before. Ever.

Last night's game, albeit with some sloppy defense and tons of questionable moves by Tony LaRussa, who started burning his bullpen in the 4th inning and would have been forced to pitch Chris Carpenter or a position player if the game went on much longer, was one that I will never forget, and not just because Fox chose to use graphics at some very questionable moments. This was a game that was unforgettable for its dramatic moments (Freese's heroics), its clutch, redemptive potentials (Josh Hamilton's brush with Kirk Gibson-like fame on his 10th-inning homer), and the incredible plays that may wind up forgotten (Mike Napoli's pickoff of Matt Holliday at third base). Oh, and let's not forget just how volatile the shifts in momentum were throughout the whole thing.

The only thing that could make it even better and equal the 1986 Game 6 quality would be a flash of pre-emptive celebration, much like the Mets flashing "Congratulations Boston Red Sox" on the scoreboard moments before the game-winning rally.


So basically, this game had everything we as fans could want for plays, questionable tactics, great drama, a thrilling conclusion, potential history and a premature celebration. Really, in the end, what more could you have wanted from a potential clinching game of the World Series? I'm not sure there's anything that could have made this any better and it basically makes me itching for Game 7 to start, you know, right now.

Now, truth be told, I was somewhat disappointed. I'm rooting for Texas to win, which is odd since I generally don't root for anything in Texas, be it a football team or a Presidential candidate, but I would like to see a new team win it all, I'm still bitter about, uh, this, and I think that this can be somewhat avenged by a Texas championship given that the Rangers have 2006 Mets Darren Oliver and Endy Chavez on their roster. Add to that that owner Nolan Ryan's lone World Series title came as a member of the 1969 New York Mets and I have even more incentive. Also, I love Jewtacular second baseman Ian Kinsler.

So yeah, I'm still rooting for Texas, and maybe, just maybe they'll come through tonight. But regardless of who wins, we all have gotten a number of treats in this series. And last night was the biggest one. Hopefully we get one more tonight.

Oh, yeah, there's also football this weekend. Here we go.

Last week: 6-6-1
Season: 48-49-6

NY GIANTS (-10) over Miami
Indianapolis (+9) over TENNESSEE
New Orleans (-14) over ST. LOUIS
CAROLINA (-4) over Minnesota
BALTIMORE (-13) over Arizona
Jacksonville (+10) over HOUSTON
BUFFALO (-6) over Washington
Detroit (-3) over DENVER
PITTSBURGH (+3) over New England
SAN FRANCISCO (-9) over Cleveland
SEATTLE (+1) over Cincinnati
PHILADELPHIA (-4) over Dallas
San Diego (-4) over KANSAS CITY

Enjoy Game 7 everyone.

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