Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Greatest Game

Was it really the greatest game ever, the 6th game in St. Louis Thursday night? I recall watching the famed 1975 Game 6 when I was on a road trip in Jackson, MS--haven't been back there since. Bernie Carbo and Carlton Fisk. It did remind me of the game, I think involving the Angels some years ago, when Bob Boone got a hit when his club was also down to its last strike and it turned everything around.

It did show that baseball is in a class by itself when things like this happen. As it was, the game was not all that well played. Errors and mishaps made it seem like it was being played on Hallowe'en. But tension, excitement, hitters responding to the challenge, these all made it great. Forget about the bum performance of the managers, one overmanaging--not noticing he had used up his roster by the 9th, and the other sort of oblivious to the roof falling in on his club.

It was sort of wonderful that Pujols's performance in the earlier game where he tied Babe Ruth's homer record for a single Series game made such an impression that they continued to pitch around him and pitch to Berkman who was far more consistent. I know that good pitching always beats good hitting so it was good that there wasn't an overwhelming amount of great pitching--good pitching, yes.  I liked it when Freese reminded everyone that the best hitter fails seven out of ten times.

Baseball remains a fantastic game in spite of those who run it.  Here this wild crowd is packing the park in one of the great baseball towns and everyone, especially the players, are bundled up like Nanook of the North. And yes, they play these games so that an extra-inning extravaganza like Thursday's runs until almost 1 A.M. in the East.  Yes, it's nostalgia but I love remembering the days when the local luncheonette would fill in the line score after each half-inning in the front window of the store in the afternoons when the Series was on.

Not that I ever expected to be rooting for the Cardinals, the proverbial "other team" for any National League fan. You didn't have to be a Dodger fan--I wasn't--also to recall how the Redbirds and their fans gave Jackie Robinson the worst welcome. It was emblematic of those days when they were clearly the Southern team of baseball. But we won't go into who used to own the Rangers--and I don't mean Bob Short, whose name lives on in the book of  infamy reserved for franchise-movers like Lou Perini, Walter O'Malley, Horace Stoneham, Calvin Griffith, and Bob Irsay.  I don't include Bill Veeck, mostly because he was getting clobbered as the Browns owner and baseball wouldn't let the club move until he sold it.

But back to this year. What a great wrap-up to a good post-season! Lots of surprises, lots of unheralded operatives who rose to the occasion. And you even had the NL playoff between the two beer capitals of America. I was in Busch Stadium a number of years ago when Anheuser-Busch still owned the club and yes, this was the night that more people showed up than they had expected and yes, the night that Busch Stadium ran out of beer! They did respond to the need, however, rolling kegs across the floor to replenish the stands. Now that's focusing on priorities.


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