Call me crazy, call it Yankee fandom blasphemy, but is anyone else secretly hoping for a nerve wracking Game 7? The kind of game where you hang on every pitch, and remember for the rest of your life?
Think about it. A Yanks-Phillies rivalry would be instantly born, one that could be repeated over and over in the next few years in the Fall Classic. The game would be a nail biter on every pitch. That’s great World Series Baseball, and is the type of sports drama that lives on not only in the hearts of that team’s fans, but in sports lore forever. People still talk about the 1990 Super Bowl, nobody ever talks about 1986. Why? One game went down to the last second, the other was a blowout. The 1996 Yankees are remembered most fondly by Torre, many of his players and fans. They appeared to be dead in the water, down 6-0 in Game 4 after being completely blown out in Game 1 and outclassed in Game 2. Then a rally capped off by the Leyritz 3-run HR launched them into Baseball immortality, but not before another nerve wracking 1-0 Game 5 featuring the great Smoltz-Pettitte face off, a game that is still talked about to this day.
Given the match up, it’s fitting that this series should go down to the wire. They’re two great yet flawed teams, it would be a slugfest championship boxing match of two very similar fighters. Like Hagler-Hearns, both get in the ring with the similar skills and the same idea, which is to knock the other guy’s head off. Both teams have great lineups, decent starters and a shaky bridge to the closer. 7 game series typically shift from advantage-Pitcher to advantage-Hitters sometime around the middle of the set. The hitters just saw the starter a few days ago, so it’s more difficult to fool them the second time around. We saw that on Monday night, where AJ Burnett went from great to garbage in the span of just one start. As dominating as Cliff Lee was for the entire month October, even he gave up 5 Runs in Game 5 facing the tough Yankee lineup. It’s tough enough for a pitcher to go 3 times through a lineup, much less face that very same lineup just a few days later. As crafty as Pedro is and as battle tested as Andy is, it’s difficult to see either one faring any better tomorrow night. Andy is 37 and working on short rest, Pedro used every trick in the book to get Yankee hitters out. Most long time Baseball observers expect a slug fest tonight, and having seen both bullpens fail in this series it’s anyone’s guess who will prevail. The Yanks have Mo, but you have to get there with a lead.
Maybe I don’t mind because I’ve seen the Yanks win in 1977-78-96-98-99 and 2000. A younger fan might want to experience a few titles before getting to a point where he/she could appreciate the ups and down along the road to victory. Or maybe it’s because I’d still like our chances. If it did go to a tension-filled Game 7, I’m very confident that the Yanks would prevail. I’ll take my chances with CC Sabathia facing Hamels/Happ/Myers and the Philly bullpen at home. I think the Yanks would win, but they would dance on the edge of the cliff before getting there. You would be convinced the season is over in the 4th inning and planning the parade in the 5th, and keep going back and forth with each out. That’s the kind of drama that only a great World Series match up can give you, and we are on the verge of seeing it happen.
I say bring it on.
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