BY JOHN McALEAVEY | Wow! How was that for an opening act? What more could Game 1 of the World Series have packed into its 14 innings? I mean there I was, sitting on my couch late last night/early this morning (after 1 AM), watching two teams I don’t really have an affinity for play a riveting game. Truth be told, I am a “baseball guy”. I loved playing it in my youth (as many of us did). In Millburn/Short Hills where I grew up. There was no lacrosse in the spring, so baseball was king. Nowadays, it seems that lax is everywhere and everyone is playing it at the expense of baseball because the game is too slow and boring and kids need more action. Blah, blah, blah. I will tell you what baseball brings to the table that no other sport can touch–drama; and last night’s marathon was a big, bright, shining example of it!
This instant classic had it all. Really–a first pitch inside-the-park home run, something that hasn’t happened since 1903, a major power outage in the Fox Sports broadcast truck and backup generator, news of Kansas City starting pitcher’s father passing away hours before the game, some tremendous at-bats (hello Juan Lagares), wonderful defensive plays (Mike Moustakas and Wilmer Flores come to mind), and a 9th inning game tying bomb from Alex Gordon. Most importantly, what the game provided was theater, as only baseball can. Unlike all of the other major sports, there is no clock to count down when a baseball game is going to end. This truly makes the game unique. Fans are forced to go through emotional swings with every pitch, swing, foul, out, hit, etc. In the late innings of a World Series baseball game, the drama begins to build when a pitcher takes the sign from the catcher. It amps up when the pitcher comes set, and then reaches its zenith when he fires the pitch. Only to be repeated in the same order on the next delivery. Any accomplished sports television producer/director underscores this tension with crowd shots of people praying, biting finger nails, cheering, and hiding their eyes. Back when the Red Sox were good and playing meaningful fall games I found myself using the pause button on my TV clicker just to settle my nerves once in a while. That, and I would welcome a pitching change now and then so I could use the facilities, get a drink, and breathe again!
Last night the game of baseball gave us a five-hour and nine-minute reminder of just why its October games are so special. What will game 2 deliver, aside from a lot of hair (Jacob deGrom vs. Johnny Cueto)? Hopefully some more gnawed finger nails and drama, drama, drama!
And that is My 2 Sense for this week.
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