Friday, October 28, 2011

Random Thoughts from Game Six

There is no way to write a coherent post about last night's epic game between the Cardinals and the Rangers in Game Six of the 2011 World Series. It was hard enough to be coherent through the entire game of ups and downs, heroics and boneheaded plays (and moves by managers). The emotions swings were massive no matter who you were rooting for in this game. Even folks like this writer who had no emotional stake in the game were moved by the events that transpired. Other writers can give you lucid recaps of the events that took place in this game. This one right here is as good as any if you need it. No offense will be taken here. The best this writer can do is give you some stream of consciousness thoughts in random order. So what follows are some random thoughts after watching the most sensational game ever.

This writer loves Ron Washington. The man is a baseball lifer who has seen it all. And yet he has unbounded enthusiasm that is infectious and hard not to root for. Unfortunately, he made move after questionable move during the game that will forever cement him in the "not a very good in-game manager" category. Not hitting for Colby Lewis in the top of the fifth inning with the bases loaded and two out is unforgivable enough. Bringing in Darren Oliver in the tenth. It just wasn't a good game for the old skip.

Twitter was certainly abuzz with the defense on both teams last night early in the game. But gosh, folks, you have one team trying to stay alive and the other team that has never won a championship trying to do so, the nerves had to be on edge to the nth degree. Give those people a break, will you?

How many footballs games have you watched when a team didn't take advantage of early scoring opportunities and ended up losing the game? That was the Rangers last night as they should have scored like ten runs in the first seven innings. It's hard to even remember Jaime Garcia starting this game. But he did and he had nothing. Flat as a pancake and the Rangers had a chance to put him away big time early and couldn't do it. First and third with no outs in the first? And they didn't score? Seriously? And that was just the start of it all night long.

You saw Mike Napoli's horrific slide into second, right? How the heck did he stay in the game? The ankle is not supposed to turn like that and survive.

After Neftali Feliz's performance in the ninth inning, can any of you remaining hold outs on the greatness of Mariano Rivera please step forward? Oh sure, Rivera "blew" the save against the Diamondbacks in 2001, but that was a bloop hit off of a great pitch over a drawn in infield. This writer is personally tired of people who say anyone can close a baseball game. No, anybody can't close a baseball game. It's a skill set. What happened to Feliz last night was as bad as Mitch Williams blowing that save against the Blue Jays.

Michael Young is a very good hitter who had some big hits in last night's game. But he was like Brett Favre in keeping both teams in the game. Farve would throw two touchdown passes and two interceptions. Young would drive in a run and then cost two on defense. The Rangers just can't seem to hide the guy. And he wanted to play shortstop!?

When this writer thinks back years from now on 2011, the name Lance Berkman will keep popping up. Seeing Berkman at the plate in this World Series after watching him bat for the Yankees last year is watching two different people. This year's version is slimmer. He has different body language. He is playing five to six years younger than he did just last year and you have to give the guy credit for reclaiming his baseball life and putting in the work to get back to where he is.

Shoot the messenger if you want to. But Fox showed the crowd dozens of times last night during the game. This writer kept thinking to himself, "Look at all those white people." St. Louis's population is made up of 47 percent African Americans according to 2009 figures. The continuing fact that so few are actually sitting in the stands during a World Series game is a problem. A big problem. And again, you can slam this writer all you want, but MLB has yet to address this overriding problem in the game.

That home run by Allen Craig off of Derek Holland in the eighth was huge. To the Cardinals, Holland had seemed invincible. If Craig doesn't hit that homer, the Rangers could have ridden Holland all the way through the end of the game. Instead, Craig's smash took away the aura and gave the Cardinals life. This writer doesn't believe that the rest of the game would have happened the way it did without that homer.

When you have been a baseball fan for fifty years, you know full well the heartbreak and exultation this game can bring to a fan. As such, this old heart literally broke for Ranger fans last night. So close on three different occasions to winning their first championship only to have it dashed time and time again. Oh, gosh, they must feel crushed. Conversely, this writer has been blessed by the many Cardinal supporters through this era of social media. Daniel, Bill, Angela, Erika, Bob, Christine, Dathan and so many others have become real people to this writer through interactions on the Internet that a smile for them can't help but play on the lips for how they must be feeling right now.

There is one more game to play. Will Ron Washington become the next Bud Grant and Marv Levy? Will Tony LaRussa cement his reputation as the genius of his baseball era? Who will be tonight's hero? Can anything top what we saw last night? We'll all have to wait to find out. Baseball is the greatest game on earth. Nothing else comes close.

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