The Corner

Second Season

Baseball purists should hate the wild card, since it erases the meaning of division races. Bob Costas wrote about this other day in the New York Times. But, hey, post-season baseball is more exciting, and the more of it, the better. Costas floats the idea of adding another wild-card team in each league. This would make baseball more like the NHL and the NBA, in which the regular season doesn’t mean so much, but if it makes for more post-season games, why not? This time of year is when you get that weird tingle in your gut watching games, and on the one hand, want to turn off the TV because it gets too stressful, and one the other, can’t bear to do anything else but watch. This is also the time of year when—if your team is in the play-offs–you get that most precious baseball commodity—memories. They can be bitter. I wince thinking of Edgar Martinez smashing the ball into the gap in extra innings in Game 5 of the Mariners-Yankees series in 1995, and—oh, no!—Rivera throwing away that ball in Game 7 in 2001. But they can be sweet too. Avert your eyes, Yankee haters, but here are my top three recent post-season moments: 3) Paul O’Neill’s two-out, ninth-inning double in the last game of the Indian-Yankees series in 1997. An all-out effort in a losing cause—a thing of beauty. 2) The Jeter “flip” in the 2001 Oakland series. Can you say “clutch”? Can you say “instincts”? 1) The Jim Leyritz homer in Game 4 of the World Series in 1996. It capped a great come-back in that game, and crushed the Braves, even though it only tied the score in a game that the Yankees would win to tie the series 2-2. So, bring on the memories, for better or worse….

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