There is a reason why cool October nights fuel our passions. Yes, we had a great experience crashing the FACDL awards banquet (Motto "Rumpole is never invited again").
But the fall classic, the World Series, is what really made our night on Saturday. This game has become a classic.
Dodgers up 2-1 in the series, jump out to a 2-1 lead. In the 5th inning it is 3-1. LA finishes the top of the 6th up 4-2. Then the fun begins. Rays at bat. bottom of the sixth. Two on, one out and a three run dinger by Brandon Lowe who is having an October Monster Series makes it 5-4 Tampa. The Dodgers march right back at the top of the next inning with two runs on a laser single to right by Joc Pederson. LA 6-5. Bottom of the seventh inning Rays' Kevin Kiermaier blasts one 426 feet to to right field. Game tied 6-6. The Dodgers come right back in the top of the eighth. Runner at second, two out and Corey Seager hits a Texas league blooper into short left-center and it is LA 7- Tampa 6.
And now it is the bottom of the ninth. 7-6 Dodgers. Kiermaier, who has already homered, hits a single. The Dodgers walk Rays slugger Arozarena. Runners at first and second. Two outs, two on. It does not get better than this. A single ties the game, two runs tie the series.
Rays slugger rookie Randy Arozarena, who already has homered in the fourth, is on first. (this will become important shortly). And little used and unknown bench player Brett Phillips steps to the plate. For 2020 he hit an anemic .196; 51 at bats; ten hits.
The Count is one ball and two strikes. The Dodgers, like the 86 Red Sox*, are one strike away from going up 3-1 in the series. Kenley Jansen throws 92 mph heater right down the center of the plate and the man meets the moment. Phillips singles up the middle to center and now the fun begins.
Kiermaier scores easily as Dodger centerfielder Chris Taylor boots the ball. Game tied. Then Taylor throws to the cutoff man who throws to home as a chugging Arozarena does what has now become this week a "Daniel Jones**" and trips for no reason whilst rounding third. Arozarena, having belly flopped on the base path is easy pickings and we are headed for extra innings.
Except it is October and the world series, when ground balls hit players in the throat (Tony Kubek 1960 series) or trickle through the legs of first basemen and Bill Buckner (Mets-Sox Game 6, 1986) becomes a goat of historical proportions (and no, that is not the greatest of all time acronym. Once upon a time a goat was the person who lost the game).
On this cool October evening Dodgers catcher Will Smith drops the ball and Arozarena, with new life like a fish that has spit the hook, gets up and belly flops into home as Smith lunges a bit too late to make the tag.
Rays win 8-7 and we cannot wait for game five. Series tied 2-2.
Chew on this classic game while we get our picks and the survivor pool up.
Bills over Jets. Gang green cannot afford to win and lose the #1 pick. Bills -13.
Bradys's at Vegas. It's good to be a Tampa fan these days. Stanley Cup winners. World Series team of destiny and the cheatingist QB in the NFL now has AB to throw the ball to. Take Brady -3.
Jags at LA. Take LA -7.5.
* Yes in 86 the Sox were one strike away from winning the series and ending the curse of the Bambino when Buckner booted the ball. But the analogy fits here.
** This past Monday night, Giants QB Daniel Jones, having broken free, was on his way to an 80 yard TD run when, like someone being chased in a horror slasher film, he inexplicably tripped and fell with no player within ten yards of him.