Nov 04

Game 6: Where history is made.

Game 6 is more than a count of what has been played, more than a bookmark to the World Series. Game 6 has its own mystique. The most dramatic World Series usually go seven games, but it can’t get there without a Game 6.

Fisk's homer.

Fisk's homer.


One way or another, it ends after Game 7, which takes away part of the suspense. However, there’s a sense of urgency, of desperation, for the team behind entering Game 6.

It is why many of baseball’s most dramatic moments are born to that game. I’ve chosen five, with the criteria being I saw the game and it produced a seventh game.

One of baseball’s most enduring images, and perhaps its greatest game, came in the 1975 World Series on Carlton Fisk’s game-ending homer in the 12th inning as Boston beat Cincinnati, 7-6. Fisk’s homer was made possible by Bernie Carbo’s three-run, two-strike, pinch-hit game-tying homer in the eighth inning.

Fisk’s moment just delayed what Red Sox fans would call the inevitable, as Boston lost Game 7 at Fenway Park.

Buckner a picture of dejection.

Buckner a picture of dejection.


Another moment etched in time is the ball that got by by Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series. Down to their last out, the Mets rallied for three runs to beat Boston, 6-5, with the game-winner coming on Mookie Wilson’s dribbler through Buckner’s legs.

The Mets went on to win Game 7, and overcame a three-run deficit to do it.

That game was made possible because the Mets prevailed against Houston over 16 innings in Game 6 of the NLCS. Keith Hernandez called it a crucial victory as it kept the Mets from facing Mike Scott, who beat them in Games 1 and 4.

This year’s playoffs have been marred by terrible umpiring, but one of the game’s most infamous calls came in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series that might have kept St. Louis from winning. Facing elimination and down 1-0 going into the ninth inning, umpire Don Denkinger ruled Kansas City’s Jorge Orta safe at first on a play in which he was clearly out.

The Royals went on to win that game, 2-1, then rout the Cardinals, 11-0, in Game 7.

The Call.

The Call.


In Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, Minnesota’s Kirby Puckett’s 11th inning homer off Charlie Leibrandt kept the Twins alive, 4-3. They would win Game 7 on Jack Morris’ ten-inning shutout. single run, four games decided in the final at-bat and three games going into extra innings.

Often forgotten, perhaps because the game wasn’t decided on a game-ending hit, Anaheim rallied from five runs down in the seventh inning to beat San Francisco, 6-5. The Angels scored three in the seventh and three in the eighth to win, then won Game 7.

Another came in the 1971 World Series, when the Orioles, facing elimination, beat Pittsburgh, 3-2, in 10 innings on Brooks Robinson’s sacrifice fly.

I invite you to reflect on these moments and any other you might have about Game 6 in the World Series.

Nov 04

Does it end tonight?

Does Pedro Martinez have one more good effort left in the tank? What’s in Andy Pettitte’s tank … can he do it on three days rest?

Martinez feels confident pitching in Yankee Stadium, where he had a quality start in Game 2, giving up three runs on six hits in six innings. He only walked two, but gave up solo homers to Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui.

The crowd will be all over him, but Martinez loves that stuff.

As for Pettitte, he’ll be going on short rest, something he hasn’t done. It is something he’s done 16 times and is 4-6.

Pettitte was the winner in Game 3, giving up four runs in six innings, but he also drove in the game tying run with a single. I’ll never underestimate Pettitte. I can see him losing, but I can also see lights out.

Nov 03

Hamels: What was he really saying?

I’ll be honest, there are some in the media who take a quote and run with it without dissecting what was really said. There’s more to a quote than just words. There is context, and that must be part of the equation.

HAMELS: Has had better times.

HAMELS: Has had better times.


The media likes Cole Hamels because he’s a good quote. He says what’s on his mind without always using a filter. Nobody will ever forget his Mets as “chokers,” comment last winter on WFAN.

After he was ripped in Game 3, Hamels went on a radio show and spoke of his miserable season. Last year’s World Series MVP isn’t having it so good these days and it’s not a given he will start a possible Game 7, despite it being his turn.

Hamels was 10-11 this season, and is 0-1 with a 7.58 ERA in four starts in the playoffs. The Yankees got him for five runs in Game 3.

It was obvious to me what his meaning was when he said: “I can’t wait for it to end. It’s been mentally draining. At year’s end, you just can’t wait for a fresh start.”

However, Hamels will look at this season through a different set of glasses if he pitches, and wins, Game 7. I don’t see how anybody, including his teammate Brett Myers, could think he was saying he didn’t want the ball one more time.

I can’t imagine anybody believing Hamels saying he was quitting.

After all this, I would think Manuel would want to start Hamels, who would take to the mound with anger and added incentive.

Nov 03

Davis is Mets’ rising star

The Mets do have a good prospect and his name is Ike Davis, who was named to the Arizona Fall League’s 2009 Rising Stars Game.

Davis is batting .340 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 12 games with the Surprise Rafters in the AFL. This, after hitting .298 with 20 home runs and 71 RBI between Single-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton in 2009.

Baseball America rated him the best first-base prospect in the Double-A Eastern League and 13th-best prospect overall.

Of course, there are no sure things, but the Mets have reason to be optimistic. We could see him sometime this summer, but the target is 2011.

Given that, it makes more sense to throw money at an outfielder instead of a first baseman. The Mets don’t want to spend their minor league chips on that position, especially when they have one developing. The Mets don’t want to do anything that would impede Davis’ path to the major leagues, such as signing a first baseman to a long deal.

Daniel Murphy showed enough where he could plug the hole for another season. If they aren’t happy with Murphy, and there are no indications that is the case, then signing a middle-tier FA like Aubrey Huff would be the way to go.

Nov 02

TALKIN’ BASEBALL: Game #5; will the bubbly flow?

Game 5: Burnett vs. Lee.

Game 5: Burnett vs. Lee.

The Philadelphia Inquirer printed an ad congratulating the Phillies on winning the World Series. It was a three-quarter page ad that said “Back To Back World Champions.”

Down 3-1, it will take a monumental Yankees’ collapse for that to happen. The Phillies would have to win tonight with Cliff Lee and then win two in New York. The 2004 Red Sox overcame a 3-0 deficit to win, including Games 6 and 7 at Yankee Stadium.

It’s possible, but who is running to their bookie? I didn’t think so.

The Yankees’ approach is simply to score early to deflate the Phillies even further and take the crowd out of the game. The Phillies have had leads in this Series but have been unable to put the Yankees away.

These are tough games to watch because most everybody has written off the Phillies and believe the suspense is gone.