I’d use the final game of the 2016 World Series as evidence that baseball is not boring.
It capped off a wildly entertaining post-season chock full of both pitching gems and offensive prowess; unrelentling second-guessing and armchair game management.
If you looked at it on paper, the Chicago Cubs seemed like a shoe-in to win. They had Major League Baseball’s best record, the stingiest defense on the field, the manager who won the Series last year with the scrappy Kansas City Royals and an
alleged domestic abuser absurdly talented closer.
The Cleveland Indians, however, had a dominating season of their own, ridiculous starting pitching, a manager who’s been known to break title droughts a time or two and former Philadelphia Phillie Rule 5 pariah Michael “Mini-Mart” Martinez, who as the tying run at the plate, made the final out in the Series, #hahaha #lulz.
To recap all the crazy:
The Indians blew a 3-1 Series lead at HOME.
The Cubs had three errors in the game, blew a 5-1 lead and still managed to win.
Joe Maddon lifted fully rested Kyle Hendricks, with two outs and one on in the bottom of the fifth for headcase ace Jon Lester –who apparently cannot field ground balls unless they’re hit directly at him, and when they are only can manage an underhand throw to first base–and he (on two days’ rest) promptly gave up two runs.
Maddon then brought in closer Aroldis Chapman for four outs, but since Chappy had pitched the past three games, the Indians finally solved him and Rajai Davis hit a line drive home run to tie up the game in the bottom of the eighth. Then Chapman was brought in for the ninth and my head nearly exploded. (Maddon had other pitchers. I’m also sure celebrity fans Eddie Vedder, John Cusack and even Bill Murray would have had no problems suiting up.)
Chicago Cub Javy Baez tried to bunt Jason Heyward in from third on a safety squeeze with two strikes with the Indians playing the infield in (meaning, a sacrifice fly would score the winning run). Baez bunted foul, which is scored a strikeout, and I actually watched this happen and have written the sentence and I do not understand it and lack the ability to explain it.
After the ninth, RAIN DELAY. Fox color guy and play-by-play announcer John Smoltz and Joe Buck likened the 17-minute break to Armageddon (the PITCHING and the MOMENTUM and the GAME PLAN and the WEATHER #clutchingpearls), and all the other pre-game show guys (Pete Rose, Frank Robinson, Alex Rodriguez), barely batted an eyelash.
Then the Cubs loaded the bases, scored two runs and pitchers who were not Aroldis Chapman saved the game.
The Indians had plenty of chances, too, so it seems all of the recapping crazy falls on Maddon’s shoulders and really shouldn’t. Corey Kluber was pitching on short rest, and the supposed bullpen advantage of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen evaporated the same way Chapman’s high heat did.
Part of me wishes the series was something like best of 13, so it could distract us until after the election next week, but then I would be in dire need of heart medication. I had no vested interest in the outcome of the Series but I was practically doing La Maze last night.