Friday: The Seattle Mariners have suffered some devastating defeats over the years. The one in August 2001, in Cleveland, which ultimately cost the M’s a chance to win more regular-season games than any team in baseball history, comes to mind. But last night’s may just have been the worst considering the circumstances.
Remember that Cleveland loss? I sure do.
The M’s, en route to a record-tying 116 regular-season wins, led the Indians 12-0 after three innings and 14-2 after hitting in the fifth. And lost 15-14. But that was a team that was going to win 116 games.
This team? It’s not – understatement-of-the-year alert – going to win 116 games. But it does have one of the more dominating pitchers of the last few years and he was on the mound last night in Anaheim.
Felix Hernandez was given a 7-0 lead after the M’s had hit three times. It was 8-1 going into the bottom of the fourth. And Felix, the M’s horse of horses, couldn’t hold it. He gave up seven consecutive hits in the fifth inning.
Heck, Felix had never yielded seven hits in an inning in his career, let alone seven back-to-back-back-to … ah, heck, you get the picture.
If Felix can’t hold a seven-run lead, who can? And what hope does this team have?
As for the first question, Felix had a bad day. More than likely, that’s it. He had a bad day. He took responsibility for the defeat, shouldered the blame, moved on. Let’s hope that was all it was, a bad day and not some sort of injury. That would be awful, and make the second question’s answer: none whatsoever.
What the heck, it probably already is. Sadly, it is June 21 and there is no hope this will be a successful season. Heck, there is no hope this will be a fun season, not when the M’s best pitcher, The King, can’t hold a seven-run lead. Look at all the fun things that happened in the first three innings. Nick Franklin drove in a run and started another rally. Kyle Seager hit a two-run home run and a double (and had another RBI double again in the eighth). Michael Saunders got a hit. Talk about the young guys coming through. But all for naught.
All for just another defeat.
Wednesday: Perspective is tough to find in sports. Especially these days.
Honestly, I don’t know where last night’s NBA Finals Game 6 stands on the “all-time great” scale.
I’m boycotting the league on television until David Stern – The Man Who Hates Seattle – rides off into retirement on his little white donkey, which, thankfully, is just down the road. But I do keep up with the games through the radio, on the Internet and through Twitter. And that brings me to the perspective. It seems a lot of folks felt last night was “the greatest playoff game ever.”
How about “greatest playoff game in my memory?”
Now, as I said, I didn’t see the entire game, but I did catch the last few seconds of regulation, yelled at the TV quite loudly a couple times, remembered my Stern-dictum and turned the channel. And I am sure Miami’s 103-100 overtime win was an outstanding game, full of twists and turns.
But the greatest ever?
There have been a lot of incredible NBA Finals games over the years and probably none of them will ever reach the level of Game 5 from 1976. I admit not many folks watched the game – the NBA wasn’t a hot ticket back then – and many of those who did are no longer with us. But this was a game with something for everyone.
You like blown calls? It had them. You like clutch defensive plays? Those too. Overtimes? Three of them. Big shots? Yep. Famous players, future coaches, biased announcers? Check, check and check.
Unruly fans, a clock controversy, some homerism? Yep. So do a little research. Watch a little You Tube of the action. And you’ll realize the Celtics’ 128-126 triple-overtime victory was, quite possibly, the best basketball game ever played.
Well, at least in my lifetime.