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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Five outs to go

I always have liked symmetry and patterns in events, not necessarily for signs but for fun coincidences. One under-reported thing over the years and at the time is that in 2003, the Cubs and Red Sox were each five outs away from meeting in the World Series. The Sox lead the Yankees with one out in eighth inning of Game 7, at which point manager Grady Little left a tiring Pedro Martinez in the game, the Yankees scored three runs to tie the game, and won the game and series in extra inning. The Cubs lead the Marlins with one out in the eighth inning of Game 6 (leading 3-2 in the series), before Bartman, an error on a possible double-play grounder by usually reliable shortstop Alex Gonzalez, and the collapse of pitching cost them that game. They never got closer to the Series than five outs. They then completed the collapse in Game 7, blowing a 5-3 lead. At the time, I though Five Outs to Go would be a great title for a book detailing both games in alternate chapters. The point became moot the following year, when the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time since World War I. Hopefully, it becomes more moot over the next ten days.

Still, I was most nervous last night came when Cub starter Kyle Hendricks got the first out in the eighth, then allowed his second hit of the game. Fortunately, the Cubs brought in closer Aroldis Chapman, who got a double play to end the inning, (finally) getting the Cubs closer than five outs from the Series. It was at that point I turned to my wife and said "Now I can relax."

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 23, 2016 at 12:06 PM in Howard Wasserman, Sports | Permalink


To think, we were a combined 10 outs away from what would have likely been the most-watched World Series in MLB history. Full disclosure: I'm a Red Sox fan, and had agonized though 1975, 1978 ("Bucky Freaking Dent!!") and most painfully, 1986. 2003 was on that same level. I got my cathartic experience in 2004, though, when the Sox finally ended "The Curse" and along the way, staged the greatest post-season series comeback in Baseball history. Now, I am cheering for the Cubs. It's nothing against the Indians, whose long-suffering fans have also endured so much misery; it's just that Cubs' streak defies belief. I mean, think about it--1908. When the Cubs last won a World Series, The Austro-Hungarian Empire still existed. The Soviet Union was nine years away from coming into existence. Poland didn't exist, but the Ottoman Empire did. The world was a completely different place!

Posted by: Ian Sirota | Oct 24, 2016 1:22:52 PM

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