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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I want your Six

I've said it many times before, and now I'm certain of it: There's nothing better than Game 6 of a World Series.

The evidence:

* Carlton Fisk's walk-off home run in the 12th inning of Game 6 in 1975 to keep the Red Sox alive against the Reds.

* Reggie Jackson's three home runs in 1977's Game 6 to give the Yankees a 4-2 Series victory over the Dodgers.

* Mookie Wilson's slow roller through Bill Buckner's legs in the 10th inning of 1986's Game 6 to keep the Mets alive vs. the Red Sox and pave the way for New York to finish off Boston in Game 7.

* Kirby Puckett's walk-off dinger in the 11th inning of 1991's Game 6 against the Atlanta Braves, leading to the Twins winning the Series in Game 7.

* Joe Carter's walk-off, Series-ending home run in 1993's Game 6 off Philadelphia closer Mitch Williams to give the Blue Jays their second consecutive title.

* The Angels' six-run outburst after trailing the Giants 5-0 in the seventh inning of Game 6 in the 2002 Series, keeping the Halos alive and opening the door for them to win their first World Series title the next night.

* And now, the unforgettable Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, in which the Cardinals rallied from two-run deficits in the bottom of the ninth and 10th innings before David Freese hit a walk-off home run to lead off the bottom of the 11th and force Game 7.

Seven may be heaven. But I'll pick Six.


Friday, October 7, 2011

In baseball, life imitates art

On Tuesday, I saw the movie "Moneyball," the story of how Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane fielded a successful team in the 2002 season on a shoestring budget.

Last night, I watched the biggest-budget team of them all, the New York Yankees, end their season without a World Series title for the 10th time in the last 11 years; and the biggest-budget Yankee of them all, Alex Rodriguez, choke in the postseason yet again — first by striking out with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and then, for the second consecutive year, ending his team's season by striking out in the ninth.

And let's not overlook the contribution of overpaid, overhyped and, yes, overweight pitcher CC Sabathia — giving up, in his first-ever Major League relief appearance, the fifth-inning run by the Tigers that turned out to be the game winner.

The teams that have eliminated the Yankees in postseasons of the past decade — notably the 2002 and 2005 Angels, the 2003 Marlins, the 2007 Indians, the 2010 Rangers and now the 2011 Tigers — all had payrolls substantially smaller than that of the Yankees, but they all had more heart, more cohesion and, as it turns out, more talent when it mattered.

And those things, both in "Moneyball" and real ball, are what matter most.