October 26, 2005
What a test of endurance that was last night! You could say it proved me right that "the Astros will be hard to beat in Houston," because it sure can't get much harder than five hours and 41 minutes! The only previous World Series game to go 14 innings was in 1916, when the Red Sox beat the Dodgers (or Robins?), 2-1; see MLB.com The Astros seemed in control for most of last night's game, except for the five-run hemmorhage in the fifth inning. Giving up that many runs was uncharacteristic of Roy Oswalt, but he bore down and hung in there until the top of the seventh. First Clemens, then Pettitte... Geoff Blum, the humble utility player who hit the go-ahead home run in the top of the 14th inning, reminded us once again of what David Pinto wrote earlier this week: In baseball, any member of the team can be the big hero. (But what's up with that guy's hair, anyway?) As we all know, of course, coming back from a three-games-to-none deficit in a postseason series is virtually impossible. The last 21 teams with a 3-0 lead in the World Series went on to win, and we may see consecutive Fall Classic sweeps for the first time since 1998-1999: the Yankees (twice) vs. Padres and Braves.
UPDATE: Just for fun, here's a quickie "side-by-side" comparison between the two ballparks in this World Series. Click on either of the thumbnail images to toggle back and forth:
UPDATE #2: After both teams failed repeatedly to capitalize on runners in scoring position, Jermaine Dye just knocked in a run in the top of the eighth, to take a 1-0 lead. The Astros are now facing doom, with just two innings to go. Even though I'm rooting for the White Sox, I was hoping (and expecting, frankly) that Houston would put their competitiveness on display and win at least one or two games at home.
The "Latin Legends" were presented before Game 4 tonight. As usual, the Dominican Republic dominated the other countries, while Venezuela struck out completely, making one wonder if some adjustment formula might have been more appropriate. The "starting lineup" (from MLB.com):
Bill Blake alerted me to the fact that the roof of Bank One Ballpark (as it was then called) was open during three games of the 2001 World Series in Phoenix, and therefore did not serve to raise the noise level. He's a White Sox fan (his photos grace the U.S. Cellular Field page), but I agree with him that baseball ought to be an outdoor sport, without artificial noise amplification. Speaking of the great outdoors, it snowed in the mountains of Virginia yesterday, so it must be freezing up in Chicago! To me this is another indication that the lords of baseball have pushed the playoffs too late into the fall season over the past two decades. They should compress the playoff schedule (three-game series in the first round, and no travel days), and finish up by mid-month at the latest.