No where does recency bias rear its ugly head more than in sports. Whatever game we just watched always drowns out the games of the past.
That acknowledged, last night’s/this morning’s game five of the World Series is surely one of the most entertaining games in the history of the game. I did not watch every pitch. I didn’t turn the game on until the girls went to bed, when the game had just entered the bottom of the second. I didn’t miss a pitch after that, though.
Seeing the Dodgers up 3–0 I figured that Clayton Kershaw was set up to blow through the Astros lineup as easily as he had done in game one. Maybe I’d even get to bed right around 11:00 again.
Pause for a moment while I laugh at myself, and please join in and laugh at me, too.
There. Soon the Dodgers were up 4–0. A blink of an eye later, the game was tied, Kershaw was out of the game, and the ballpark was rocking.
And then Cody Bellinger untied the game with a 3-run shot.
And then Jose Altuve freaking crushed one and we were tied again.
And it just kept going. Astros seem to take a commanding lead and even add an insurance run. Then the Dodgers mount a furious ninth-inning rally to tie it again. In the 10th, the Dodgers hit a couple absolute rockets that are a fraction of an inch on the bat from being a double and a home run. Then the Astros scratch and claw to score the winning run the old fashioned way: HBP, walk, single. All with two outs.
Man, what a game.
But there was much more. Dave Roberts, for some unknown reason, playing for one run in the 7th and having his clean up hitter bunt, which results in Justin Turner, who led the inning off with a double, getting gunned down at third. The Dodgers still scored in that frame, but Roberts prevented what could have been a huge inning.
In the 8th, Chris Taylor thought his third base coach told him “NO, NO!” instead of “GO, GO!” and failed to score on a pop out to right. He may have been out at the plate, but the audio Fox played later showed it was Taylor’s mishearing of his instructions that kept him planted on third. In the bottom of the 8th, Evan Gattis hit a solo homer that seemed meaningless at the time but ended up being huge. In the 9th Yasiel Puig hit a one-handed home run and then Taylor somehow hit a ball that was inches above home plate into center to tie the game.
The pitching uniformly sucked. Seriously, everyone who threw last night should lose their access to whatever special benefits and honors that come with being a big league hurler for a couple weeks. Just an embarrassment to the craft, I don’t care about the pressure of the situation, the bandbox right field fence, if something is weird about the World Series balls, etc. Can anyone get anyone out around here?
The game lasted so long that Fox was caught off-guard and skipped two entire commercial breaks until they could figure something out. This from the network that began inserting six second ads during meetings on the mound.
Oh, and let’s not forget home plate umpire Bill Miller who rocked one of the worst strike zones ever. Houston manager A.J. Hinch summed up everyone in America’s thoughts when he turned to one of his assistants and said, “I don’t know where the strike zone is,” after consecutive Brad Peacock pitches that had been strikes all night were called balls. I’m sure Kiki Hernandez is still trying to figure out how a ball that nearly hit him in the head was called a strike. When even a former pitcher in the broadcast booth says, “That’s not a strike,” at least half a dozen times, you know it’s a rough night for the ump.
But Miller’s bad performance just added to the legend of this game. For the second time this postseason – along with game five of the Cubs-Nats NLDS series – I found myself looking at the clock and thinking, “Screw it, I can’t not see how this one ends.” Thus I was finally climbing the stairs to go to bed at about 1:45 AM. I had to laugh and think of all the DVRs in Houston that will forever have a bunch of random shows that were scheduled to air at 11:30/12:00/12:30 local time that their owners scrambled to record to make sure they got all of the game.
Whether it is one of the best games ever is a whole other question. I’m sure a lot of baseball fans my age would prefer game seven from 1991 if we’re talking about 10-inning thrillers with walk-offs. But to the casual fan, I bet a lot folks would much rather watch last night’s 13–12 Houston win over Minnesota’s 1–0 win 26 years ago. Of course, you could have played all of ’91’s game seven, and then a good chunk of another game in the time it took to play last night’s contest. Good or bad, I think this game represents where baseball is at in 2017. For that alone, it belongs up there with the last two games of the ’91 series, game seven of the 2001 series, game six of the 1975 series, etc.
As ridiculous as a five hour, 17 minute baseball game is, when you pack that much entertainment into it, somehow it was worth every second.
- Our DVR has a couple Fox football preview shows from the night of game six of the 2015 ALCS, and then The Simpsons and Two and a Half Men episodes from the night/morning of game five of that year’s World Series. ↩