There is nothing better for baseball than a do-or-die playoff game. It’s good for fan excitement, it’s good for team revenue, and it keeps everyone from having to watch whatever the hell is normally on FS1. It’s even better when the game is between the most storied franchise in sports and a team from a city that was recently ravaged by Hurricane Harvey.
This year was the first time that the country’s four most populous cities — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston — were the final four teams standing. That’s pretty good for ratings too.
You can’t beat the excitement of a series that goes the distance. Anybody remember the 2010 postseason? No? Maybe that’s because there were ZERO seven-game series. None. In fact, there was only one series that went the distance in ANY round (Texas beat Tampa Bay in five in the ALDS). It was such an unmemorable October that Roy Halladay threw the least-remembered no-hitter in history against the Reds in the division series.
How about the 2003 postseason? Remember that one? I bet you do, even though it was twice as long ago: ‘Twas the year of Aaron Boone’s ALCS-winning home run, Josh Beckett’s World Series heroics, Ivan Rodriguez holding onto the ball for the final out of the NLDS against the Giants, and Pedro Martinez throwing Don Zimmer to the ground. And oh yes, lest we forget, it was the year Moises Alou introduced the world to Steve Bartman. Both LCS went seven games and the World Series went six.
We’ve had some thrilling seven-gamers. In this century alone, we’ve had the 2001 Diamondbacks’ comeback against Mariano Rivera, the 2002 Angels’ ridiculous rally in the 7th and 8th innings of Game 6 against the Giants, the aforementioned 2003 LCS, the 2006 NLCS that ended with Adam Wainwright freezing Carlos Beltran with the winning run on base, the 2011 World Series in which the Rangers were one strike away from beating the Cardinals — TWICE — and the 2014 World Series with Madison Bumgarner’s five-inning relief effort in Game 7 finishing off the Royals with the tying run on third base. We’ve also had three series — the 2007 ALCS, the 2012 NLCS, and the 2016 World Series — in which a team came back from being down three games to one to win, and one unmentionable series in which a team came back from 3-0.
In a best-of-seven, the team that wins Game 6 is twice as likely to win Game 7. The likelihood goes up if that team is playing at home. Only two teams in this century have won a Game 7 on the road after losing Game 6: the 2006 Cardinals and the 2014 Giants. Can the 2017 Yankees make it three?
I’ll be watching from the airport in Los Angeles, most likely screaming out of excitement or agony. Hope they let me through security.
Send me your thoughts and prayers.