CELEBRATED IN PROSE AND VERSE, GAME SIX
Some baseball adages will always ring true, no matter how little sense they seem to make. New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra made a second career out of them. Among his most famous, timeless for the simplicity of it’s wisdom, “It isn’t over ’til it’s over.”
The Boston Red Sox appeared to have put a lock on the World Series championship when they took games four and five in St. Louis, particularly after the devestating way in which they lost game three. But, again, I refer you to the wisdom of Yogi. It isn’t over. There’s always game six. Upping the ante on game six, the Red Sox have a chance to irradicate the one remaining remnant of the “Curse of the Bambino”. They haven’t clinched a World Series title at Fenway Park since 1918, after which the curse began. Tonight could be the night.
But then there’s game six. Strange things have been known to happen when a World Series advances to game six. Some game sixes are best identified just by the names. Fisk, Carbo, Evans, Morgan, Griffey, Rose, or Mookie and Buckner. There’s something about World Series sixth games. They’ve been celebrated in prose and verse, movies and song. How often has game six of a World Series overshadowed game seven in the baseball history books?
Tonight at Fenway Park, game six, and, this morning, they’re selling lottery tickets in Boston. The prices range from a thousand dollars to five thousand dollars, a cool grand just for the right to say you were crammed somewhere in a corner of the old ballyard, standing behind the crowd, unable to see, holding a ticket stub that could someday payoff big time. $2500 for grand stand seats with a face value less than ten times that much. Five thousand for the best seat in the house. And the payoff?. Who knows? Anywhere from nothing to a priceless piece of baseball history.
Only 35,000 of the three to five million who today claim to have been there when Fisk did his baseline jig, cajoling the ball all the way to the foul pole, were actually at Fenway Park that chilly October night in ’75. How many still have the stub to prove it? Like any lottery ticket they come with varying odds and no guarantees.
Game six. Veteran John Lackey for the Red Sox against a kid who’s pitched all of 13 games in the major leagues, but since the start of September, the beginning of the stretch run, to game six, has been the sensation of Major League Baseball, mixing a devestating fastball-changeup combination with a passable curve to go 4-0 in the post season, including a game two win in this Series, at this ballpark. For a rookie, Michael Wacha seems to have a lot of icewater flowing through those young veins.
Do the Red Sox really want a game seven? Would they be comfortable laying their World Series hopes in the hands of Jake Peavey, even with every other hand in the bullpen, even Lester for an inning if needed, on deck? It’s game six. It isn’t over ’til it’s over. How did Yogi know?
With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.