sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Hooked on the classics...

I don't have expanded cable. Fortunately, my relatives do, so when I visit my mother or my in-laws, I'm always sneakiung off to see what's on ESPN Classic.

This weekend, I happened upon a couple of gems. Motel 6 sponsored a block of programming with the "six" theme, so Saturday afternoon featured Game 6 of the 1975 World Series and Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

As a Reds fan, I hung on every pitch of Game 6 of the '75 Series, which many still believe to be the greatest game ever played. One thing I'd forgotten: The Reds went up 5-3 in the top of the seventh on a George Foster double off the top of the wall in center field. If the ball had just goen over the fence, then the Reds could have won the game and Series in nine innings. Mind, you Bernie Carbo's homer would still have been dramatic, but Reds fans would have been spared watching Carlton Fisk "willing" the ball fair.

Yet Reds fans would not have been treated to Game 7, when the Big Red Machine showed what it was all about after falling behind 3-0. In the top of the sixth, Johnny Bench hit into what would have been an inning-ending double play. But Pete Rose barrled into Denny Doyle making the turn, and his throw sailed wide. The Tony Perez calmly jacked a Bill Lee eephus pitch over The Wall, getting the Reds withib striking distance. The rest is history.

As for Game 6 of the '86 Series, I remember watching the game in Brott's bar with my buddy Glenn. When the Red Sox brought in Bob Stanley, Glenn said, "I bet he throws a wild pitch." Stanley did, allowing the Mets to tie the game. A few moments later, Mookie Wilson hit the ball that went through Bill Buckner's legs.

Whenever I see that game, I put myself in the place of Red Sox fans. I'm sitting there, watching the Reds get within one strike of the title. In the back of your head, you worry that something might go wrong. But then again, what can go wrong, especially with a two -run lead?

Then it all gets pissed away. I can say right now I'd be depressed for days afterward. My buddy Matt's a Vikings fan. When they let the NFC title game slip away to the Falcons, I saw him the next Tuesday and the color still hadn't returned to his face.

Had the Reds not gotten up off the mat in '75, I don't know what I would have done. My poor parents sure wouldn't know what to do with me.


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