Filling the void with the World Series – Game 6 from 11:00am today (AEDT)

 Baseball World Series

I like this time of year, October, November, when the weather has a hint of improving and there’s no footy. Footy so dominates the landscape and headspace that, when it’s over, there’s a measure of relief. No next week, conversations, tips and noise. I stagger out into the garden and dust the cobwebs off and the bike.

Still, there’s a sporting void to fill and here I’ve found Baseball stepping up to its own plate.

My romance with baseball can be characterised as ‘on again, off again’, probably because it was ‘on and off’ Australian TV, growing up. I recall the Yankees, not understanding a hell of a lot and it resembled cricket. This continues to be the magnitude of my expertise.

Later, travelling through America, I saw Baseball games live and enjoyed them. It’s absolutely American; caps, stats, whacks, the flag and the seventh inning stretch.

As I write, the current World Series pits the Boston Red Sox against the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s tight. The Red Sox lead 3-2 (best of seven). Game 6 will be played at Fenway Park, from 11:00am (AEDT) today, Boston trying to win the World Series at home. If they do, the news tonight will show one home run, then a throng of Ball players celebrating on the mound. And that’s all.

Baseball Fenway

I’m fond of the Red Sox, but also the Yankees. That’s akin to liking Carlton and Collingwood. When you’re not overinvested and it’s on the other side of the world, you have the luxury.

Games 3 and 4 were absorbing. Watching more baseball over the past few nights than I have all year, the striking thing (atrocious pun) has been the pitching.  I’m versed in cutters, curves and breaking balls, but can’t pick them unless shown with a replay. Fastballs come from the Pitcher’s mound at 95 mph or more. I’m reminded of what Roger Khan wrote in “The Boys of Summer”, “The ball exploded past the plate with a sibilant whoosh, edged by a buzzing as of hornets”.

Game 3 at St. Louis was decided by a dramatic ‘obstruction’ call in the final inning. Red Sox catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, tagged a Cardinal at home plate, then threw to third baseman Will Middlebrooks to out Cardinal Allen Craig. The ball was wide and went down the foul line. Craig took off from third, but Middlebrooks had fallen in his path. Legs tangled, Craig tripped, got up and persevered for home plate. At the convergence of Craig, ball and Saltalamacchia, the Boston catcher made a tag but the umpire’s call was ‘obstruction’ (But for Middlebrooks, Craig would have made it home). Craig had the run and St. Louis the win. The first time an obstruction call had ever decided a World Series game.

Baseball tag

Game 4 was even better. St. Louis had momentum and Boston were lacking avenues to score aside from their great David Ortiz, nicknamed ‘Big Pappi’. Ortiz is powerful, thick through the core, and knocks the stitches off the ball. So good that, in the 7th inning, St. Louis ‘walked him’. By this I mean deliberately threw 4 consecutive pitches outside the strike zone, to send him walking to first base. I was very nearly on on my hind legs in objection but there was no need. ‘Walking’ Ortiz backfired. Boston’s Johnny Gomez clubbed a ball into the stands, sending Dustin Pedroia, Ortiz and he around the bags for a three-run-homer.

Baseball Ortiz

There was another spectacular finish when Boston pitcher Koji Uehara saw Cardinal’s Kolten Wong wandering off first base and picked him off. Boston won 4-2. The first time a pick off had ever decided a World Series game.

Game 5 (on Tuesday), lacked a bizarre ending, but was outstanding for the pitching and defense by both teams. It took until the 7th inning for Boston to burst with two RBI’s (Runs Batted In – as a direct result of the batter at bat). The Red Sox won the game 3-1 and went 3-2 in the series.

Which brings us to Game 6 today. It promises to be memorable. There’s genuinely little between the teams, in my very expert opinion. Whoever can cobble together a couple of RBIs wins it. In Boston, I’d love to see Big Pappi put a couple over the Green Monster and give the Red Sox an 8th World Series title.

Post Script

The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers will play their 2014 season opening matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 22 and 23, 2014, the first ever series to be played in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Paul Campbell

Lawyer, left footer. Loves the Hawks and follows a few U.S sports.

Comments

  1. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Paul. I love baseball having spent 1988 in LA when the Dodgers won the World Series. Sydney in March is a big temptation. Baseball has a great future in Australia as cricket continues to self-immolate.

  2. My summer’s as a kid were exclusively and exhaustively cricket.

    Today I could name you the likely Red Sox line-up for Game 6. I couldn’t name the XI currently plying their white-ball trade in India.

  3. I suppose it’s only on Foxtel.

  4. Red Sox win 6-1. First time they have won a World Series title in a game at Fenway Park since 1918, after which they traded Babe Ruth to Boston to set up the Curse of the Bambino.
    Was our Yvette in Fenway Park tonight? Is this the beginning of the end of the Curse of the Wrobino for her Saints?

  5. How appropriate the US season ends the same day the ABL opens, tonight, in the nations capital.

    Warms the heart to see the Deadbirds fail, hopefully they copped a couple of dodgy calls similar to Game 6 1985.

    MCR

  6. The Saints are my footy team, but the Red Sox are my passion, since I was little. Then as a 12-year-old I was hooked when they went from ninth place to the American League championship, only to lose in the World Series. Little did I know I was in for 36 more years of heartbreak before they ended an 86-year (!) championship drought in 2004, going through the Yankees and Cardinals to win it. And now three championships in a decade. Amazing!
    And now the Saints have sacked their coach. A good coach/manager can make all the difference; this year the Red Sox changed managers and added a few character players but no big stars, built unbelievable team chemistry, won 28 more games and went from last place to first in their division and then won it all. If the Saints find the right guy, a lot of good can come of it. I won’t predict premiership quite yet.
    And we of Red Sox Nation longstanding are happy to welcome Yvette aboard. We had fun hanging out for a couple of weeks just recently, working sightseeing around baseball games!

Leave a Comment

*