Wednesday, October 15, 2003

You knew it was going to come to this, didn’t you? Clemens vs. Pedro, Game 7 Yankee Stadium, right? It just wouldn’t have seemed right if this series didn’t come down to the ultimate showdown in the ultimate game.

Leading up to that, however...

I had my first in-person visit to the LCS yesterday, seeing game 5 at Fenway Park. This, of course, was delayed from Sunday due to the rainstorm. My seats were in the last row of section 28, on the third base side of home plate. The view was good - the standard pole was blocking the middle of the infield, but I had a great view of both the pitcher and catcher. I couldn’t see the center field scoreboard, but that’s OK.

Fenway was as crowded as I’ve ever seen it. Part of the reason for this was the fact that the game was originally scheduled as a night game, so the 400 or so seats in center field that are covered for day games were sold. When the game was postponed and moved to Tuesday afternoon, those 400 people had to be moved somewhere. Apparently they were placed all over the park, including standing room in the .406 Club and the Monster Seats.

The game itself was a tough one to watch. The Sox just couldn’t hit. Nomar, especially, looked really bad. He almost looked defeated as he came up to the plate. I’ve been watching him since he played with the Pawsox, and I’ve never seen Nomar like that. Thankfully, he finally broke out of his slump in game 6.

The pitching side was great, though. Lowe pitched very well. His only bad inning was the 2nd, and he wasn’t helped by his defense in that inning. Walker made a throwing error and Mueller didn’t handle a semi-tough chance. The bullpen did it’s usual great job in the postseason (where were these guys all year?). They just couldn’t generate enough offense to overcome the four Yankee runs.

One positive comment on a Yankee. How does Derek Jeter always seem to be in the right place at the right time? He made two great defensive plays yesterday and helped his team to win.

Of course, I can’t pass by the NLCS events of yesterday. I had dinner with my father-in-law after the game and then went home. I turned on the Cubs-Marlins game and saw the Cubs had a 3-0 lead in the 7th. I figured I’d watch the rest of the game, see the long-suffering Cubs fans celebrate their first National League pennant since World War II and then go to bed. Little did I expect the bizarre turn of events in the top of the 8th.

Of course, everyone knows the story. On a pop foul down the left field line, a Cubs fan deflected a ball that Moises Alou could have caught for the second out Then the floodgates opened. The Marlins scored eight times in the inning, and the Cubs lost.

The poor guy who went for the foul pop was taking some serious abuse for his poor judgment and had to be escorted out of Wrigley Field by security and was driven home in an armored vehicle. I’m sure he’s praying that the Cubs win game 7, or he’s going to go down in history as the man who cost the Cubs a trip to the World Series. That’s overstating the case, of course. He did cost them an out, but he’s not the one who fell apart in the inning.

I really sympathized with the Cubs fans, though. They were showing shots of the stands during the 8th, and I know these people were feeling the exact same thing I was feeling during the 10th inning of game 6 of the 1986 World Series. That feeling of a lifelong dream being dashed, of defeat being snatched from the jaws of victory.

This all brings us to today’s ALCS game. I wasn’t feeling too good about the Red Sox chances after they blew an early 4-1 lead and were down 6-4 in the Bronx. Then they scored three in the seventh to take the lead. Nomar finally broke out of his slump with a big triple. Trot Nixon added some insurance in the 9th with a two run homer and the Sox forced the big showdown referred to above.

Enjoy tomorrow night. It should be one for the ages. Go Sox!!!


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