Sunday, November 2, 2014

MLB Postseason – Game 7

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

I’m sorry I’m a bit late in writing this, I got a little wrapped up in the hoopla (no pun intended) surrounding a certain N.B.A. player returning to play for his hometown team - Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls.

O.K., O.K., truthfully I was watching LeBron James’ return to Cleveland.

It’s been quite some time since I watched a professional basketball game, when did they quit using peach baskets as goals?

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants on winning their third World Championship in five seasons. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts Giants skipper Bruce Bochy is quite possible, with respect to Joe Torre, baseball’s best postseason manager.

The San Francisco Giants are favored to win the 2016 World Series. Why not, they’ve won every World Series in even numbered years since 2010.

Bochy is no stranger to the baseball playoffs, thirty years ago he was a backup catcher when his San Diego Padres won their first National League pennant. Fourteen years later, in 1998, Bochy managed the Padres to an improbable NLCS win over Bobby Cox and his 106 win Atlanta Braves only to see his Padres lose in the World Series to the New York Yankees.

Yes, I firmly believe former catchers make great managers, in fact 1995 has been the only season that a former catcher did not manage a team in the League Championship Series. Mike Hargrove (first baseman) of Cleveland, Lou Piniella (outfielder) of Seattle, Davey Johnson (second baseman) of our Cincinnati Reds, and Bobby Cox (third baseman) who managed the eventual World Champion Atlanta Braves.

The two greatest words in sports is Game Seven. Game Seven means the ultimate encounter, the final battle, the end game of a long grueling season that decides a champion. Nobody sleeps the night before a Game Seven, players, managers, coaches, owners, and fans. No single game is microscopically examined as thoroughly as a Game Seven.

Although our beloved Reds did not participate in this postseason, I was excited for the Royals and Giants fans. The last Game Seven our Reds played in was 1975. As a seventh grader, I couldn’t focus on my school work in anticipation of the game. On the bus to school, eating breakfast, recess, study period, and the bus ride home all conversations were about the forthcoming game. I didn’t eat much at home due to all the butterflies in my stomach. We remembered that fateful Sunday afternoon in October 1972 when the Oakland A’s eked out a 3 – 2 win in the World Series final game. Would this be different? When Boston jumped to an early 3 – 0 lead, I felt the sting of disappointment again. Tony Perez’s two run homer in the sixth gave us hope, Pete Rose’s game tying seventh inning single to center eased the nerves, Joe Morgan’s “Texas League” single giving the Reds a slim 4 – 3 lead brought excitement, and when Cesar Geronimo squeezed Carl Yastrzemski’s fly ball to end the game, pure euphoria. It felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders, and I was only twelve! I could only imagine what Rose, Morgan, Johnny Bench and the rest of the Reds team felt like, especially Sparky Anderson.

Memo to Bruce Bochy; if you would have started Madison Bumgarner in the first four games of the World Series, there would not have been a seventh game.

I accidentally listened to ESPN’s windbag Colin Cowherd the morning prior to game seven. Colin railed about if the Giants depend on Bumgarner then Kansas City is the better team of the two. I must say I actually looked forward to hearing a sympathetic apology the following morning from Cowherd after “Mad Bum” held the Royals in five scoreless inning to win the title and the series M.V.P. Four days later, I’m still waiting. In fact his slurping of Bumgarner on Thursday morning was, for lack of a better word, nauseating.

Good move on the Reds behalf for picking up the 2015 option on this season’s National League Cy Young runner up Johnny Cueto. I just hope they can find a way to sign him past 2015.

Speaking of 2015, at the time of this writing, November 1, Opening Day 2015 is just 155 days, and one winter away. It’ll be here before you know it.

Our prayers go out to the family of Oscar Taveras, the St. Louis outfielder who was tragically killed in an automobile accident, October 26 in the Dominican Republic. Taveras’ girlfriend also died in the accident.

Have a blessed remainder of 2014, see you around Christmas! GO BUCKEYES!!!

Dan Howard

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're over FIFTY? WOW. tell me bout the good ol days, gramps. Haha. Joking! Yes, Cueto is a must, but. He'll command 5 yr 90m I'm thinking. But, we gotta see the man be paid, or we're toast again.