By Sam McPherson
With the 2013 World Series now tied at two games apiece, both the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals know the final, best-of-three sprint to the championship isn’t going to be easy, but they know it’s surely going to be fun.
They probably knew that going into this affair, of course, but after each game, the victors often feel they have a shot to run the table from there on out – and it’s just not happening that way in 2013. The Red Sox aren’t sweeping away the Cardinals like they did in 2004, and St. Louis isn’t waltzing over the American League champion like they did in 2006 against the Detroit Tigers.
No, this Series is just starting to get good. And with the Boston win in Game Four Sunday night, fans are assured of the championship being won at Fenway Park – which is never a bad thing for true aficionados of baseball and its rich traditions.
It might not be a good thing for the St. Louis Cardinals, however: Fenway is small but loud, and with its crazy dimensions and left-field wall, anything can happen there, and it often does.
Not that Busch Stadium hasn’t seen its own special moments this week: first, a walk-off obstruction ruling by the umpires in Game Three, and in Game Four, a career .125 postseason hitter – Boston outfielder Jonny Gomes – delivers a decisive three-run home run.
Who knows what comes next?
That unpredictability of the baseball postseason is still what makes it perhaps the most beautiful – and the most nightmarish – of professional sports. If something is ridiculous enough to happen, it quite often will.
(Fenway merely adds to that “What’s next?” factor, of course. It has a history of doing that, you know, for better or for worse.)
The Cardinals would have preferred to avoid returning there, but with the Game Four loss, they have no choice. They can win or lose Game Five on Monday evening, but both teams will be returning to Boston for a Game Six on Wednesday night, at least.
And if the Series goes seven games, the fans are the big winners – because anything goes in Game Seven.
So far in this matchup, Boston has outscored St. Louis, 18-10, in the four games, and yet we’re still tied at two wins each. The Red Sox have made seven errors in four games, to the Cardinals four miscues, but it hasn’t seemed to hurt them the way it hurt the Cards in Game One. St. Louis has outhit Boston, 32-24, and yet the clutch-hitting Cards haven’t been able to convert those base runners into enough runs.
Some might say one team is lucky to be tied 2-2 right now – but which team would they be referring to? It’s that close, truly, and now we may get the specialness of a seven-game Series, especially if the Cardinals can win Game Five in their last home game of 2013.
Record-setting night in STL
St. Louis packed in 47,469 people Sunday night to Busch Stadium, the largest crowd since this version of Busch (the third, in fact) opened in 2006. So even though the Cardinals hosted three games in the Series that year and four more in the 2011 Series, the crowds are bigger than ever in the Gateway to the West. Game Three had set the high attendance mark, and Game Four broke that record.
Maybe they’ll get 50,000 fans into Busch III for Game Five, for one last look at their team in 2013 before it journeys east into the unknown destiny that awaits.
One thing is for sure: we’ve already seen the makings of a true Fall Classic, from the first two Games of Errors to the last two Games of What-The-Heck.
The next two games, at least, will bring baseball fans even more memories.