Yeah, but what about the ‘Stros?
Congratulations Red Sox Nation.
I hope you get swept in four.
OK, OK … sorry if I seem a bit bitter, here. It’s just that I’m still reeling from that kick to the stomach I suffered through Thursday night.
How bad was it?
About three months ago, after acquiring one of hottest young players in baseball, my Astros were being told to trade him away. Carlos Beltran – that guy you just saw hit eight home runs in a matter of 10 playoff games – apparently had arrived at the party too late to celebrate in Houston.
Midway through the season, the ‘Stros were left for dead and heading into September there wasn’t much reason to expect a resurrection, standing 181Ú2 games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central and six games back of the Giants in the wild card race.
But Beltran and his new teammates battled back, winning 16 of their final 19 games to secure that playoff berth.
Then came what appeared to be my annual act of getting my hopes up, only to be dashed. You see, I know all about how the Red Sox haven’t won a World Series since the alleged “Curse of the Bambino” was apparently applied to the BoSox.
My ever-humbling Houston Astros, however, had never won so much as a postseason series of any kind – nevermind the biggest Series of all.
Of course, when the Braves tied things up at 2-2 in the Divisional Series, it looked as though that streak would continue. These Astros though, did just that. They pounded Atlanta 12-3 in the decisive Game 5 to win the franchise’s first playoff round.
And they rallied again in the National League Championship Series. After the Cardinals jumped ahead by winning the first two games, the Astros took all three in Houston before dropping Game 6 in St. Louis to set up Thursday’s finale.
This was it.
Could it have played out any better?
Here was my team, on the verge of its first World Series appearance, and taking the mound for my Astros was none other than Roger Clemens.
Houston, we have liftoff.
Of course, as we all know now, the only launching going on Thursday in St. Louis was the ball off the bat of the Cardinals’ Scott Rolen, delivering a two-run dinger – and that devastating blow to my abdomen – in the sixth inning that sent St. Louis to a 5-2 win.
Forty-three years. That’s how long Houston’s had a team in the Bigs, longer than any other major league city without hosting a World Series.
That’s right, even longer than those poor, poor Red Sox.
Look, it hasn’t actually been all that long since Boston was in the Series, losing to the New York Mets in 1986, after a young Clemens had helped lead them there.
BoSox fans, of course, are now saying this is going to be the year, offering up some strange statistics to support the statement. It has been 86 years since Red Sox last won a World Series title, in 1918. And it has been 18 years since the Red Sox last played in the World Series, in 1986.
And you thought the Lincoln and Kennedy assasinations had connections.
Speaking of connections, there is one reason to be thankful for this World Series, which will have the entire country seeing red for two weeks.
At least we won’t have to hear the incessant parallels that were to be drawn between the baseball and the Nov. 2 presidential election (Bush, Texas, Astros – Kerry, Massachussets, Red Sox).
Instead, we can watch the World Series solely to see if the Sox can do it – or to see which Boston player will become the 21st century’s Bill Buckner.
Sorry, still bitter.
Brian Hamilton is sports editor for The Union and may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 477-4240.
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Highly successful postseason runs come to an end for local Little League teams