I'm in horsehide heaven.
After watching the Red Sox come back to hang the label of WORLD'S GREATEST CHOKE ARTISTS on the Yankees, I just don't know what to say. I'm speechless. But I have to say something, so I'm gonna take this opportunity to educate you about Bill Buckner. How many times have you heard something like this:
"In 1986 the Sox were one out from winning a World Series only to have a routine groundball squirt between the legs of Bill Buckner", or "Bill Buckner cost Boston the World Series."
Wrong. False. Didn't happen.
They were one strike away until Kevin Mitchell scored on a wild pitch by Bob Stanley, tying the game. Buckner did not blow the series because it had already been blown. If he makes the play it's on to the 11th and maybe they win, maybe not.
So, here's my point:
Buckner's error did not cost them the Series, it cost them a second opportunity to win Game 6.
Serious? You bet.
Goat-worthy? Not quite. The horns go to Bob Stanley. Schiraldi set the stage for Stanley's wild pitch which officially blew the game and the series.
Here's what actually happened:
(oh, and by the way, after reading the responses to Harps post about basketball, to those who feel the need to tell us they hate baseball, YOU CAN KISS MY HAIRY 'NADS, i don't give a flying fuck what you don't like! )
Clemens left Game 6 with a 3-2 lead. However his teammates were unable to finish the job, leaving fourteen men on base. After Henderson led off the top of the tenth with a home run against Rick Aguilera breaking the 3-3 tie, Boston increased its lead to 5-3 as Wade Boggs doubled and Marty Barrett singled him home. Sox reliever Calvin Schiraldi (who yielded the tying run in the eighth) retired the Mets' first two batters in the tenth, (Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez) moving Boston to within one out of the World Series title. Carter prolonged the anxious fans tension with a clutch single and Kevin Mitchell followed with another base hit. Schiraldi regained his composure and managed a no-ball, two-strike count on New York's Ray Knight, but the third baseman made contact on his next offering, scoring Carter and moving Mitchell to third. Anticipating a disaster, Bob Stanley was called in and matched Mookie Wilson in a ten-pitch stalemate that left fans on both sides hanging on the edge of their seats. Wilson fouled off a 2-1 pitch, then sent two more out of bounds. As the pressure continued to build, Stanley's seventh pitch went wild, and Mitchell raced home with the game-tying run with Knight advancing to second. With a full count of 3-2, Wilson finally connected fair on the tenth toss sending a short grounder along the baseline toward first baseman Bill Buckner. The ball somehow slipped under Buckner's glove and continued to roll. As Knight bolted home for the 6-5 victory, the home crowd at Shea Stadium erupted in celebration. The Mets were still alive with or without a little help from "The Babe". For Buckner, the costly error became a defining moment and ultimately overshadowed the rest of his career.
While the Sox had found themselves in this predicament before (one strike away from elimination in the American League Series), many fans had already abandoned the team and Buckner was crucified in the papers for what was perceived as the critical mistake. Luckily they would have twenty-four hours to regain their senses as Game 7 was postponed a day due to rain. Three time winner Bruce Hurst returned for the final outing and looked to make it right again with a little help from his friends. Dwight Evans and Rich Gedman both belted back-to-back homers and Boggs delivered an RBI single for a 3-0 lead going into the sixth. New York tied the game on Hernandez's bases-loaded single that scored Lee Mazzilli and Wilson while Carter's tee-shot to right brought Wally Backman home.
Schiraldi was sent in as relief in the seventh, but Knight tagged him again (as he had in Game 6) with a tie-breaking homer. Before it was over, Rafael Santana nailed a RBI single and Hernandez added a sac-fly for the 6-3 lead. Sid Fernandez had shut out Boston through the middle innings, but Roger McDowell replaced him and surrendered a two run double off Evans in the eighth. Jesse Orosco entered as the third reliever and managed to coax Gedman to line out, Henderson to strike out and Don Baylor to bounce out. As the Mets took their turn in the bottom of the eighth, Darryl Strawberry sent one into the seats for the 8-5 advantage and it was all over from there. Orosco returned in the ninth to finish the job and struck out the side (1-2-3) crowning the National League reps as World Champions. The heartbreaking loss in Game 6 still remains as the second darkest day in Beantown sports history. The first of course was when a certain trade was made that still haunts the city to this day.