World Series gets better game by game
New York City-based Yankees superfan and espnW contributor Amanda Rykoff will be sharing her thoughts on the World Series. Today she looks back at the weekend action from Texas that has the series tied 2-2.
After Game 2 of the World Series, I warned that you're missing out on some great baseball. Well, that goes double after this weekend. The series is tied at two games apiece and we are guaranteed at least a Game 6. There's still time to jump on board. Come on, you know you want to.
This weekend's action at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington gave us a little bit of everything. On Saturday night in Game 3, Albert Pujols put on an offensive clinic with three home runs, four runs scored, five hits and six RBIs. His performance was so awe-inspiring and jaw-droppingly impressive, some said it was the greatest offensive performance in World Series history. That's a lot of history.
There is no question that what Pujols did Saturday night was amazing to see (even Rangers fans gave him a standing ovation after his third home run), but I still have Reggie Jackson's three-homer performance in 1977 against the Dodgers at the top of my list. It's close, but there is something about Reggie and Yankee Stadium and the fact that he did it in a close-out game. Maybe I'm overly nostalgic about it because I was a child then and it all seemed larger than life. But why should we even have to debate this? Both performances were incredible and worthy of our awe and admiration. Let's enjoy it and consider ourselves fortunate to witness that kind of offensive prowess not once, but twice, in our lifetime on a stage as momentous as the World Series.
The buzz over Saturday night's offensive showcase (yes, the St. Louis Cardinals outscored the St. Louis Rams this weekend 16-7) had barely subsided before Rangers' starter Derek Holland decided to quiet the chatter and the Cardinals' bats. What a performance he gave us Sunday night, shutting down a team that had scored 16 runs the night before. Holland gave up just two hits (both to Lance Berkman) in 8 1/3 innings before being lifted in the ninth inning for Neftali Feliz. Holland pitched so well that people stopped talking about his unfortunate prepubescent mustache for a minute. Actually, that's not true. Everybody's still talking about the mustache.
What about controversy? Of course we had that Saturday night, as a missed call at first base had many (including me) again calling for instant replay or robot umpires. It's reached the point where the subject gets discussed in pregame and postgame press conferences. According to a report from ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett, Rangers manager Ron Washington, who has previously opposed instant replay, now favors expanded instant replay in the World Series, but not during the regular season.
I agree with Washington. It's the World Series. If we have the technology to make sure the correct call is made, we should use it. Would it have been the deciding factor in Saturday's game? Probably not. But it could have minimized the damage in the Cardinals' four-run fourth inning, which was exacerbated by a two-run error by the Rangers' Mike Napoli at first base.
Who doesn't love a good comeback story? We have that, too. After being squarely in the middle of the Rangers' meltdown Saturday night, Napoli had a chance to provide a new narrative on Sunday night and add to the legend of Naptober. With two men on (courtesy of St. Louis starter Edwin Jackson), the slugging catcher stepped to the plate to face reliever Mitchell Boggs.
Napoli, dropped to eighth in the order despite being one of the most prolific offensive forces in the Rangers' lineup, stepped to the plate. He promptly crushed the first pitch from Boggs deep to left field for a three-run home run to give the Rangers an insurmountable 4-0 lead. He received a curtain call for his efforts, as his love affair with the Texas faithful continues. The legend of Naptober grows.
What else could this World Series have in store? Nobody knows. But whatever happens, it will be entertaining. Check it out. Game 5 is Monday night at 8 p.m. ET. You won't be disappointed.