I know I’m now expected to cheer for the almost-hometown Orioles to make the World Series, as the Nationals have succumbed to the Giants. The O’s have a good team this year, and I’d be happy to see them in the Series. They deserve all the positive things that may come their way (although that Game 1 loss wasn’t a good start.)
But…I keep having this recurring fantasy about the 2014 World Series. It goes back to my hatred of the St. Louis Cardinals after the 2012 NLDS, when we were one strike from winning and couldn’t put it away. This year’s loss to the Giants hurt, but not like that, since 2012 was so gut wrenching coming as it did at home in Game 5.
No, for my fantasy I’d like to see a replay of the 1985 World Series. You remember the “Show-Me Series” (or the “I-70 Series” depending on your preference): the only World Series between Missouri’s two baseball teams – the regal Cardinals and the expansion Royals. In Game 6, with the Cardinals leading the series 3 games to 2, they were three outs away from taking the championship, when umpire Don Denkinger intervened. Here’s the synopsis from Real Clear Sports:
St. Louis was leading Kansas City three games to two in the 1985 World Series. And with a 1-0 lead in the ninth inning of Game 6 the Cardinals were on the verge of claiming the title. Then, Jorge Orta of the Royals led off the inning and hit a high hopper to the right side of the infield. First baseman Jack Clark moved over to field it and threw to pitcher Todd Worrell covering the base. Orta was clearly out but umpire Don Denkinger ruled that Worrell had missed the bag and called Orta safe. St. Louis argued vehemently, and fruitlessly, and the Royals went on to score two runs and win the game.
In Game 7, Denkinger had home plate duties and the Cardinals were off their game, getting crushed by Kansas City as the Royals took home the crown with an 11-0 rout. For a while Denkinger received threats over the call, but managed to maintain a sense of humor about it. He now owns a painting of the play and often autographs photographs of it, usually photos that show Worrell holding the ball with Orta’s foot about to come down on the bag. Of all the calls on this list, this is perhaps the most influential as it potentially changed the outcome of a World Series.
So my fantasy: it is Game 7 of the World Series in 2014. The critical game is in Kansas City (thank you Bud Selig for screwing up the World Series home field advantage in order to boost a meaningless All-Star game). The series is tied 3-3 and it is the bottom of the ninth. The Cardinals are ahead by one run. The Royals have runners on second and third. A bloop single to right plates the runner on third, and the speedster on second motors home, resulting in a play at the plate. Ball and runner arrive at the same time. The ump calls the runner out.
Pandemonium erupts in KC, as the fans boo. But in 2014 we have VIDEO REVIEW! So Ned Yost (who has probably made about 10 bad managerial decisions already this series) comes out and asks for a second look. The video crew in New York takes a looooong time to review the play. And then the call comes back to the umpires on the field. They take off their headsets…and give the call.
The runner was safe!
The Royals win the series! Joyful pandemonium erupts again in KC. George Brett runs around the field with the team pulling out his hair for joy.
The Cardinals get to swear about how unfair it is to have lost without video review in 1985 and with video review in 2014.
And everyone else smiles.
Wouldn’t that be delicious?
Enjoy the blown call in 1985 in the video below. It shows the entire bottom of the 9th, and it is a delightful way to spend 13 minutes. (If you want the cliff notes version, there’s a one minute video if you click on this Real Clear Sports link.)
More to come…
Image by Cindy Danger Jones on Pixabay.