I like baseball. In fact, I like baseball a whole lot. Granted, my more “devoted” activities for the sport [playing “competitively,” collecting baseball cards, having a favorite player, mailing cards to teams/players for autographs, and so on] have long since lapsed [what with turning 11 and all], but I still watch a fair share of games on TV (especially during the August/September/October playoff races, then playoffs themselves) and attend games as I can.
The concept of a super-long extra innings game is intriguing, implying that the two teams are so evenly matched that the only solution to their baseball dilemma is more baseball. As those following the playoffs are aware, there was one of those “super-long” extra innings games this past weekend between the Astros and Braves. That’s fine and dandy (18 innings…..whoo, a lot of baseball), but as soon as the game ended, it somehow became a classic, and in the press conference following the game Astros manager, Phil Garner, couldn’t help but claim it was potentially the best game ever as reporters lobbed questions at him, probably attempting to generate a sound bite about its standing as the best game ever.
Rubbish. And that’s why this review exists. Would one of the best games ever more-or-less implode after the 9th inning? Would there be no runs scored and practically no drama (scoring then re-tying, bases loaded with less than two outs, fan interference, crazy plays, etc., etc.) between innings 9 and 18 in this best game ever? 5 hours and 50 minutes is a lot of baseball, and baseball, all things considered easily becomes quite boring. I’d hate to think that one of the best games ever would’ve been that boring and uneventful until one swing in the bottom of the 18th. A greatest game ever would have a team scoring one (or more) runs in the top of an extra-inning, then the home team being forced, then succeeding, to match that. There was none of that. It’s only significance (other than the length) was Roger Clemens pitching in relief, reminiscent of the Yankees-Diamondbacks World Series when Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling combined for the win, something that would never happen in regular-season baseball. Roger Clemens pitching in relief is something significant, but it’s not like when a team runs out of pitchers and puts an outfielder on the pitching mound, potentially turning the game into a home run derby. That’d be the best game ever.
Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS receives 1.5 stars for being grossly over-rated, quickly forgotten, and rather unremarkable in any category other than length. Besides, as of now, the blown call from game 2 of Angels-White Sox is the story to beat for the season.