erik lundegaard

Thursday April 07, 2011

The 20 Greatest Games, Cont.: YANKEES SUCK Edition

Last month I counted down, with, 20 through 10, of the 20 greatest games of the last 50 years.

Now, as Kasey used to say, on with the countdown.

9. Game 7 of the 2001 World Series: Diamondbacks 3, Yankees 2. Yeah, I know I'm a Yankees hater, so I glory in this game, but I think for aesthetic and storytelling reasons alone it should be higher. For these reasons:

  1. It was Game 7.
  2. Of the World Series.
  3. The winningest team in baseball history, which had won the World Series three years in a row, was leading 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning.
  4. That team, the winningest team in baseball history, had the best closer in baseball history on the mound.

Plus this from the D-back side: No team in baseball history had ever been losing in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series, then won it that same inning. It had never been done.

Mazeroski's homer in ‘60? Tie game. Carter’s homer in ‘93? Game 6 (and the Jays were essentially the Yankees of the early ’90s). Marlins vs. Indians in ‘97? Marlins tied it in the bottom of the ninth (against a crappy closer: Jose Mesa), and won it in extras (against a hapless franchise). Yet the Diamondbacks did it. Against the best closer in baseball history pitching for the winningest franchise in baseball history.

This may be my no. 1. And yet it’s stuck at no. 9. Plus the MLB Network really needed to bring on some Diamondbacks (or me) to hoorah a bit. Poor Joe Torre's talked enough, hasn't he? And with Tom Veducci. Let him rest. Let him rest.

8. Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS: Red Sox 7, Angels 6. The Dave Henderson/Donnie Moore game. But I'd forgotten that Hendu hadn't started this game, and that he'd helped over the fence a two-run homer earlier in the game. Classic goat to hero stuff. I'd also forgotten the back-and-forth. Boston 2-0 after 2. Boston 2-1 after 3. Angels 3-2 after 6. Angels 5-2 after 7. Red Sox 6-5 after top of 9. Tie game after bottom 9. (Angels came back!) Red Sox 7-6 after 11. (Angels didn't come back.) “You‘re looking at one for the ages here!” Al Michaels said. Heartbreak for the ages, too. Poor Gene Mauch. One strike away.

7. Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS: Marlins 8, Cubs 3. Speaking of heartbreak. Bob Costas is pretty poignant on Steve Bartman here. He points out it wasn’t fan interference. He points out he didn't lean over, as Jeffrey Maier did in ‘96, to give Derek Jeter a homerun. He talks about the problem of Moises Alou’s reaction. He points out how Bartman hasn‘t, in our cruddy culture, tried to cash in on his notoriety. He talks about Alex Gonazalez’s error a few batters later. Me, I'd talk about Dusty's Baker's culpability in the pitch counts for Mark Prior—in this game and his previous game. But as interesting as all this is, I wouldn't have this game this high. 8-3? Is any game's final score in the top 10 going to be less close?

6. Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS: Yankees 6, Red Sox 5. They‘ll be airing this next week, so video isn’t available yet. Doubt I‘ll be posting it. Or watching it. Consider it a protest. The Aaron Boone game? Seriously? The sixth greatest game of the last 50 years? Did Yankees fans stuff the ballot boxes?

So what are the remaining five games? These four, one assumes:

  • 1975 World Series, Game 6: Fisk.
  • 1986 NLCS: Mets in 16.
  • 1986 World Series, Game 6: Buckner.
  • 1991 World Series, Game 7: 0-0 in the 10th.

Plus ... 1972 NLCS Game 5? Chambliss’ homer? Reggie's three homers? Sid Bream in ‘92? Halladay’s no-no? Game 7 in ‘62? I’d love to see this last one. What game inspired a greater cultural artifact? (R.I.P., Sparky.)

"Peanuts" strip about Game 7 of the 1962 World Series

“Why couldn't MLB have picked the D-backs game just seven places higher?”

Posted at 07:46 AM on Thursday April 07, 2011 in category Baseball  
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