Saturday, October 23, 2004

[The hunt for] A Red October -- Part I

Wow, what a baseball postseason so far! I don't usually follow baseball after the regular season closes because: (a) Chicago teams are rarely in the playoffs and (b) college football is in full swing. I didn't watch any of the division playoff games this year, but I did watch both League Championship Series. I think we're in for an interesting World Series.

First, the Yankees are now responsible for the biggest collapse ever in baseball history. Up 3-0 in games, with a one-run lead in Game Four and with three outs left, they found a way to lose. Well, that sometimes happens, but they had a two-run lead with two innings to go in Game Five and still couldn't put the Red Sox away. Then, facing a one-legged pitcher in Game Six, they couldn't get a clutch hit. A team down 0-3 has only come back twice before in professional sports history -- both in hockey. Now three teams have done it. It's ironic that the most-decorated professional baseball team now adds this to their legacy. I wanted to call this a humiliation, but the Red Sox deserve all the credit for hanging together and never giving up. They won the series more than the Yankees lost it!

The Cardinals-Astros series was lost in all the attention given to the ALCS, but it never lacked for drama. Down 2-0 in games, the Astros won three in a row at Houston to come within a game of their forst World Series trip. The Astros won Game Five with a dramatic three-run walkoff home run by Jeff Kent. The Redbirds paid them back with a walkoff home run of their own in Game Six when Jim Edmonds hit a two-run home run in the 12th inning. The Astros had to feel pretty good in Game Seven with a 2-1 lead and Roger Clemens on the mound, but the Cardinals showed why they were the best team during the regular season by coming back and winning to move on to the World Series.

I think America will be pulling for the Red Sox to win. They haven't won the Series since 1918. By comparison, the White Sox last won in 1917 and the Cubs in 1908. (I still don't understand why everyone thinks the Red Sox are more cursed than the Cubs or even the White Sox.) This will be their 4th World Series for the Red Sox since the Cubs made their last appearance in 1945. The Cardinals have won 9 World Series and the Red Sox have won 5 World Series (Source: Major League Baseball).

I'm also pulling for the Red Sox, but I think the Redbirds will prevail in six games. It all starts tonight.