The Sports Broadcast

A blog about sports broadcasting from the great state of Florida. They report. I decide.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Seven

It's not enough that the Yankees and Red Sox are rematching last year. It's not enough the history that the teams share. They each must make everything dramatic. They just can't make things easy. Yankees race out to a 3-0 lead despite all predictions and common sense, then two games for 26 innings, two consecutive blown saves by Rivera for the first time ever in the playoffs, Keith Foulke walking the tying run on base, and on and on.

Some want to call David Ortiz "Señor October" now (though Señor Octubre would be more appropriate, I suppose). He is the first person ever to have more than one walk-off home run in a playoff series, and he notched a walk-off single in Game 5. Game 6 was more typical for playoff baseball as blown saves and five-hour marathons are decidedly not the norm. Two hockey teams have come back from a 3-0 deficit (1942 Maple Leafs and 1972 Islanders, if you wanted to know), but no baseball teams ever have. The longest-tenured Red Sox player, Tim Wakefield (since 1995), takes the mound tomorrow for Game 7, which promises a million clips of Aaron Bleeping Boone hitting a walk-off homer off of Wakefield in last year's Game 7. While most predictions of intstant history never stand up, tomorrow's game already is instant history. Watch it if you can, even if you don't like baseball.

This all reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, which doubles as evidence as to why I can't stand Jim Gray at all, which is approximately: "Kobe, would you say you're now at do-or-die time?" -Gray, to Kobe Bryant before Game 7 of a recent Lakers-Kings playoff series

Meanwhile, the Astros and Cardinals are playing for the World Series too. Jayson Stark wrote a fantastic piece on Game 5 of the NLCS, now one of the all-time classic pitching duels. While Brandon Backe and Woody Williams may not sound like Ghosts of October, they sure pitched like them last night. Backe is a late-season call-up find for the Astros, who have won 9 of his 12 starts, and Woody Williams is a solid journeyman pitcher who is unhittable when he's on. Each left the game having given up just one hit through 8, with Jeff Kent hitting a walk-off home run off of Cards closer Jason Isringhausen. It was one for the ages, but due to the ALCS game going to 14 innings, only the 9th inning of that game was televised nationally, and that's a real shame. The St. Louis - Houston series is almost every bit as classic as the Boston - New York series (except for the 1918 angle and the 3-0 deficit erasing part). It's a old school classic, with each team taking shots at each other and staging incredible pitching duels. Its only chance at being remembered, due to the ALCS' drama, is for the winner to win the World Series, forcing people to look back at how they got there. There's a very good shot at that happening too, so stay tuned, and watch the NLCS too, if you can.

EDIT: It has come out that Derek Lowe will be starting Game 7 for the Sox, not Wakefield. Terry Francona said before Game 6 that Wakefield would start game seven, but Wakefield said after the game that Lowe would start. Expect to see Timmy as well as Bronson Arroyo, however, as the rest of the Sox pen is spent, especially Foulke (with Mike Myers being the exception as he is useful for pitching to exactly one lefty batter a game). Schilling going 7 innings tonight was huge as they only needed one inning from Arroyo and one from Foulke to win. Still, Boston has to be hoping for a latge lead going into the 9th, not only because big leads are better than small leads, ties, and trailing, but also so they would not have to send Foulke to the mound for the fourth straight game.

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