Here’s part II of my take on MLB Network’s 20 greatest games countdown. This was written over the course of this past weekend while mlblogs were being migrated to WordPress. The #1 game episode will not air until May 22, but there have been enough hints in the previews to tell us what game it will be.
#10 – A’s @ Dodgers 1988 WS Game 1. Hollywood could not have scripted a better ending than a gimpy Gibby’s pinch-hit walk-off home run. But again, was this really a great GAME, or a game remembered for a great MOMENT?
#9 – Yankees at Diamondbacks 2001 WS Game 7 – Another game 7 nail-biter, and maybe the last time the Yankees ever played America’s sympathetic heroes. I heard this one on the radio while driving from Maryland to Michigan, so I never saw it live. This one is definitely a keeper. I remember my surprise as a non D-Backs fan listening to Gonzalez’s series-ending walk-off single. A Yankees win would have huge for New York in the aftermath of 9/11, but they certainly had their own magical moments in this series. Finally, how does Craig Counsell end up in all these great World Series moments? History is thrust upon this guy in a Forrest Gump-like manner.
#8 – Red Sox @ Angels – 1986 ALCS – I don’t remember a lot of the details from this game, but I do remember the outcome. Many have speculated that this game started a personal downward spiral that ultimately led to pitcher Donnie Moore’s suicide.
#7 – Marlins @ Cubs – 2003 NLCS game 6 – The Steve Batrman game. Sorry Cubs fans. Bartman didn’t cost you the pennant; your Cubs lost to a better team who got an incredibly lucky break. Deal with it.
#5 – Red Sox @ Yankees – Game 7 2003 ALCS – More of the Yanks/Sox rivalry. Bret Boone would earn a new nickname in Boston and Grady Little, not Pedro Martinez, would get thrown under the bus for this loss. The curse of the Bambino would live…at least for one more year.
#4 – Mets @ Astros – Game 6 – NLCS – a 16 inning epic and another near-pennant win for the Astros. Many speculate that had the Astros managed to win this one, Mike Scott and the Astros would have beaten the Mets in game 7.
#3 – Pirates @ Braves – 1991 NLCS – Game 7 – This was, at the time, the most excited I was about the end of a non-Tigers game. The Braves were upstarts at the time, the Pirates 3-time division winners (my, how the baseball landscape has changed since then). This game would also end the Pirates last winning season.
#2 – Braves @ Twins – Game 7 – 1991 World Series – The conclusion to perhaps the greatest World Series ever played. Definitely worthy of this list.
#1 – Reds @ Red Sox – Game 6 1975 World Series – Does anyone remember this game, aside from Fisk’s walk-off home run? Again a great moment does not a great game make. Fisk’s home run was also a milestone in sports broadcasting since it was the first time the network kept a camera on Fisk as he “waved” the ball fair, creating a lasting image in the collective consciousness of baseball fans.
All in all, not a bad countdown. I would have had some of the games in a different order, had it been up to me alone. By the way – Kudos to the MLB Network for letting the fans vote on this countdown. There are some games that I would have excluded, since I felt that they were remembered more for a single highlight, rather than the entire game.
Maybe I’ll put together my own countdown…