It took four hours and thirteen minutes Thursday night to prove that not only is baseball not dead, but that it is still the best sport out there. Could anything be more exciting than a team being one pitch away from winning the World Series like the Texas Rangers were, only to have their hopes crushed not once but twice in consecutive innings against the St. Louis Cardinals before the dramatic walk-off homer by David Freese?
Baseball is the only game where you can't run out of time. As long as you still have an out left, you have life, as the Cards proved so valiantly last night.
In the ninth, with two on and two out and down by two, Freese stroked the ball off the right field wall, eluding Nelson Cruz in right to tie the game.
An inning later, after Josh Hamilton belted a two-run homer to put Texas back up 9-7, the Cards scratched out a run making it 9-8 before Lance Berkman laced another two-strike pitch to center to again ruin the Ranger's dream of their first World Series championship.
That's when Freese sent it to a seventh game with his walk-off blast to center in the 11th, atoning for an earlier fielding miscue when he dropped a popup to third.
History is not on the Rangers side as the home team has been victorious in each of the last eight Game 7's in the World Series.
Buster Olney of ESPN was so moved by it that this morning he called it the "Greatest World Series Game he ever watched."
It was one for the ages, as the first words out of everyone's mouth I talked to were, "Did you see that game last night?"
How often does that happen in the Super Bowl? Most of the talk by the water cooler the next day is usually, "Did you see that commercial with the monkeys?"
Of course, nobody remembers the commercials during the World Series because advertisers don't go all-out to out-do each other. They also don't spend $3 million-plus for a minute of your time.
What's memorable in baseball is the game, and if you get a clunker, you have more opportunities for a classic like last night. If the Super Bowl is a dog, well, tough luck for you since it's one-and-done.
Think of Boston again and the Carlton Fisk homer in 1975, also in Game 6, where he was waving the ball fair for a game-ending 12th inning win, though the failed to win that one too.
If you weren't old enough to see Bill Mazeroski's dramatic walk-off homer in 1960 for Pittsburgh over the Yankees before the term was coined, you heard about it from somebody, because in baseball, history matters.
Three went extra-innings, including the finale, a pitchers duel between Jack Morris and John Smoltz that ended 1-0 in the 10th in favor of the Twins.
In football, a low-scoring game is as exciting as watching paint dry. In baseball, you're on the edge of your seat knowing one pitch can alter history.
How about the 2001 classic, right after 9-11 between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks? That one also went seven, with Luis Gonzalez dropping a blooper into center in the 9th to overcome a one-run deficit against the indomitable Mariano Rivera and thwart the Yanks hopes for a fourth straight title.
America was in a time of mourning, and baseball helped lift us right back on our feet.
Football is thought of as the most popular sport today, but isn't it mainly because of the betting? Haven't you heard someone say they laid money down on the game so they would have an interest in it?
You don't need that in baseball. You don't have to have something at stake to make the game interesting to watch.
Being fair, there are classics in football too, including Franco Harris' "immaculate reception" in 1972 in a playoff game.
Of more recent vintage, there was Plaxico Buress's touchdown catch with 35 seconds left in Super Bowl XLII, leading to the New York Giants upset over the unbeaten New England Patriots 17-14.
In Super Bowl XXXIV, Kevin Dyson of the Tennessee Titans was stopped a yard-short of the goal line against the St. Louis Rams in a heart-breaking 23-16 loss as the clock ran out.
There's that clock messing things up again.
Baseball is timeless, and that's why it is the best.
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