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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Another Day of Life

Thanks to a fairly brutal stretch in the life of a freelance writer, I’d fallen asleep before the last out of every World Series game so far.

If I’m fated to only stay awake for one, at least I picked the right one.

If you like your baseball spine-tingling, heart-stopping and cliche-channeling, Game 6 was a game for you. Or perhaps more accurately, if you like all of those things you enjoyed the second half of Game 6. And if you like your baseball ragged and slapsticky to the point of wondering if there should be a keg at second base, the first half of Game 6 answered your prayers. Someday, it’s possible a grandchild will ask me for World Series superlatives. Sloppiest World Series game? Most-riveting one? If we subtract the ones in which I had a highly personal stake, they might just be the same game.

Also to be noted: We get another day of baseball. At this point on the calendar, with the threat of imminent snow and endless winter, a Game 7 is welcome for most any slate short of Yankees-Phillies. And if the powers that be could arrange a Game 8, I’d sign up for that too.

My rooting interest in this World Series has been a mild preference for Texas. The Rangers have never won a World Series (they’d never even been until getting Cinderella’ed last year by the Giants), which is a long hard road for a franchise that came into existence a year before we did. And I don’t start the clock at 1972, when the former Senators II took up residence in Arlington. Surely there must have been a few baseball-mad kids whose families left D.C. for the sprawling environs of Dallas at the beginning of the 1970s. Those kids have had it rough, and they’re overdue for a winter of dazed smiles and pinch-mes.

The Cardinals, by comparison, are the closest thing the National League has to the Yankees, with recent titles on their resume. Their fans can wait. Plus, while I don’t particularly begrudge Yadier Molina doing his job against Aaron Heilman in a game you probably remember, I detest Tony La Russa for his frantic overmanaging, cynical browbeating of the press corps and chronic need to call attention to himself. So I’m for Texas — but only mildly. Gray-bearded Lance Berkman and high-flying David Freese and the indomitable, carved-from-granite El Hombre have all put on quite a show, and I wouldn’t be that disappointed to see them find a happy ending at the end of their highly unlikely tale.

But back to a theme that’s intrigued me all year: storytelling. Both the Cardinals and the Rangers are terrific teams made up of unbelievable athletes whose lives are consumed by baseball. Neftali Feliz isn’t a choker any more than Freese is gritty or clutch or possessed of the magical quality of knowing how to win. (And if God told Josh Hamilton he was meant to hit a homer, he left out that there was a celestial check mark by Freese’s name too.)

Still, storytelling is how we fans navigate the hours and days and weeks and years, because that’s how we’re wired. And oh what storytelling awaits these teams, should St. Louis win Game 7. Should that happen, it will be a good decade at least before a Cardinals fan concedes defeat, having escaped the hangman in such thrilling fashion not once but twice in the dwindling hours of October. On the flip side, the Rangers will graduate to the ranks of the star-crossed, playing 2012 with the Sword of Davidfreese hanging over their heads. And if 2012 doesn’t bring them that title, look out. They’ll be in Cubs and Indians territory.

The other potential outcome is less dramatic, and from a neutral point of view much kinder: If Texas wins tonight, they enter baseball’s promised land, while this year’s Cardinals team remains forever beloved.

Either way, I’ll be watching. And with this kind of baseball upon us, something tells me I’ll be awake.

11 comments to Another Day of Life

  • kd bart

    How can Nelson Cruz not be playing deep enough to allow no ball to go over his head, unless it is headed out of the ballpark, in that bottom of the 9th situation? Not only wasn’t he playing deep enough but he got a poor break on the ball and then drifted back on it toward the wall which he never did reach. The ball hit half way up the wall. A competent right fielder makes that play. Someone like Endy Chavez. Who was on the bench for Texas.

  • BG

    I cringe with the fact this game will more than likely knock ’86 game 6 down a notch in the “greatest world series games ever” lists that come out every so often!

  • March'62

    That made the Mets’ ’86 comeback look like a piece of cake.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Jason,

    This time I went to sleep after “God Bless America” was sung so missed all the excitement. Gather a lot of people did.

    But from watching the videos and reading all the recaps it sounds like a combination of game sixes from 1986 and 1975.

    1986 not because of the comebacks (i.e., after home runs put the visiting team ahead, etc.) but because third baseman Ray Knight could have been the goat when his seventh inning throwing error eventually led to the go-ahead run for Boston. Last night we saw third baseman David Freeze drop a routine pop up that even Louis Castillo could have caught allowing the Rangers to take the lead. He could have also been the goat if it wasn’t for his two-out triple in the ninth that tied it (which actually could have won it had he not made that error).

    The Cards also came back from being three runs down and won it with Freeze’s walk off homer, abet, one inning earlier than Fisk did in 1975.

    The only difference between this game six and those other two is that while all three were dramatic and exciting, last night’s contest not well played with too many errors and mental mistakes. Guess that’s why some of us lost interest.

    • kd bart

      Game Six in 1986 was rather poorly played game. Overall, there were five errors

      • Joe D.

        Not completely because last night’s miscues occured on simple plays as an infield pop and routine fly and occurred in less pressuring situations with nobody on base or nobody out.

        In 1986 many of the miscues came on plays in tight situations. Knight took an extra base and eventually scored on Heep’s double play but Boston’s error didn’t create an extra base runner or provide an extra out. Boston’s next miscue could have indeed been costly when they tried to get the force at second in the ninth on a bang-bang play but the Mets failed to score. And we all know what happened with Boston’s third.

        Knight’s throwing error was indeed costly. Elster’s error in the ninth was erased on a double play.

        That game was a bit sloppy but not at all like it was last night – except, of course, for that bottom of the tenth and that was more about pitchers crumbling under the pressure of the situation and Buckner’s glove being so soft that the infield dirt caused the webbing to curl in as he was setting himself up to make the play.

  • Rob D.

    Got home from work to watch the last 4 innings. Unreal. How many of us thought of 1986..two runs down, two out, two strikes. What makes 86 better (for me), is, one, it was the Mets, and two, the Mets had the bases empty and two out, two strikes. The Cards had men on in all the latter innings.

    That game made me realize how much I STILL hate the Cardinals.

  • […] the greatest World Series Game Six ever (let Cardinal blogs blow the trumpets on behalf of the 2011 version, we’ll take Mookie and Buckner for eternity, thank you very […]

  • I cringe with the fact this game will more than likely knock ’86 game 6 down a notch in the “greatest world series games ever” lists that come out every so often!