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The Recent Game 7 Was Great But Not Even Close To Being The Greatest

November 4, 2016

Oh Jayson Stark, take advice from Wayne Newton’s song and “slow down,” not just some, but a great deal.

Stark, a typical writer going with the “latest is the greatest,” easy route, called the latest game 7, obviously a great game, the greatest game. It is not close to being so.

Other game 7’s had more significant twists and turns, need I cite them (1912, 1924, 1925, certainly 1960, 1997 and 2001) all games in which the eventual winning team, trailed at some point.

Now I am getting mad as the fact the Cubs never trailed in this so called “greatest game,” also serves to illustrate the luck of Joe Maddon.

Having the lead is also called “having the wood,” and if you think about it, much of life and certainly future life is about that. Ostensibly those with money and a start prosper, those without, minimum struggle. often failimg completely. As in baseball, where deficits are overcome, there are exceptions of course.

To the point, the Cubs never trailed, how dare Stark call this tilt better than # 7 in 1960, as just the fact another #7 Mickey Mantle, delivered, albeit in defeat, almost equals the 2016 game.

The Pirates overcame a (7-4) deficit as late as the 8th inning, the Yankees overcame a (4-0) and then (9-7) deficit, the latter in the top of the ninth inning, when Mantle somehow made it back to first base enabling the tying run to score.

Earlier in that frame, Mantle at least twice the player as any in the recent tilt, save Ben Zobrist, whom even “modern” Stark does not recognize as the “absolute ringer” he is–i.e. doing it when it matters, not compiling almost meaningless statistics, delivered a big single.

You think that is all, that is not even close, to being true!

The Pirates’ Hal Smith hit what is arguably baseball’s most important home run, a 2 out three run home run that transformed a one run Pirates’ deficit, into a two run lead in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Even Stark recognized that the Series ended with the Pirates winning on Bill Mazeroski’s lead off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, one of just two times the series ended on a home run, one of just 6 times a 7th game ended with the winning team, by definition the home team, winning it while at bat.

The Cubs’ win was not while at bat, not their fault, but also in a game in which they never trailed. It is not even close to many of the 7th games cited above, especially the one in 1960.

Finally years from now when people hear or watch, you think Joe Buck can rival Bob Prince or Mel Allen? Worse, you think Dan Schulman can compare with Chuck Thompson or Jack Quinlan?!!

I once gave Bob Costas an audio tape of game 7 of the 1960 World Series and years later on the day of the fine show airing the Allen/Prince broadcast of that game, hosted by Costas, whose love for baseball of course shines through doing such things, making it almost tragic he has called but two and a half W.S., juxtaposed with 19 by Buck and now 6 by Schulman, Mr. Costas happened to return a recent call I made to him.

I reminded him of that ’60 tape and with true passion and honesty, I listened as Costas, as is the case with me, knows great broadcasting and unlike me, fighting for and getting the opportunity, showed he is a great broadcaster, call Jack Quinlan one of the greatest broadcasters ever. Amen to that!

 

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For many reasons, and you zealot Cubs’ fans will soon enough realize the “is that all there is aspect” of the Cubs finally winning it all, I am not thrilled the Cubs won.

Largely it is the ridiculous hype and the fact once Joe Maddon made ridiculous managerial decisions in a series triumph vs a Terry Francona managed team and this time unlike after the 2008 ALCS, it manifested in a Maddon title, his first tying him with that “overblown parody of himself” (Mr. Cosell’s words), over rated, similarly named John Madden.

However, some solace can be taken by evoking Jack Quinlan and Ernie Banks pictured above. At least Banks lived a full life and was a great player, at a time with better players, specifically in the National League which was the first to overcome not only the ban of black players (only in ‘America” indeed) but also employ enough to HELP (certainly white players such as Stan Musial, Ken Boyer, Ron Santo, there is a Cub to remember, Don Drysdale and many others were a vital part) make it a great league.

Mr. Quinlan’s life was cut short in an auto accident before the 1965 season. It was during spring training in Arizona, maybe the Cubs played the Indians that day, the next day, probably at least that week. He was a brilliant announcer. I am good, but will never get the chance. Others lucky enough to get the chance are a disgrace to that privilege.

 

 

 

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