"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Game 7: Vida O Muerte

Derek Lowe will start against Kevin Brown tonight, that much we know for sure. After that? I’d expect everyone but Jon Lieber and Curt Schilling to be on call. If Brown gets beat around early, Vazquez will be available. If he can make it through four or five, perhaps we’ll get El Duque for an inning. After the fifth, we could see Gordon and Rivera for the duration. I’m not exactly sure why Wakefield isn’t starting for the Sox. Maybe Boston feels he’s better suited coming out of the pen in case Lowe falters by the third or fourth inning. I can certainly see Pedro Martinez coming into the game in a tight spot and doing very well. And I sure hope that Kenny Lofton gets the start at DH over Ruben Ruben.

I was talking with Cubs/Red Sox fan Alex Ciepley this morning and he made an interesting point. It’s far more compelling for the casual baseball that the Yankees lose tonight. Now there is a storyline worth relishing. After all, if the Sox lose, hell, we’ve already covered that ground. That theme has been beaten to death. But the Yankees losing a game that everyone assumes that they’ll find a way to somehow win? That’s juicy.

There is already talk that should the Yanks lose it will go down as the biggest choke job in history. I don’t see it that way, although I’m sure Gene Mauch wouldn’t mind. It may go down as the biggest playoff collapse in history, or as one of the biggest failures in Yankee history, but though the Yankees have played a major part in each one of the last three losses, it’s not like they’ve been smoked. If the series had started out 1-1, that storyline would be moot. (Of course, if pigs could fly, I wouldn’t be theorizing like this either.) What I mean to say is that these teams deserve to play a Game 7 because they are that evenly-matched. They were last year and are again this season.

What will happen tonight is anybody’s guess. Whatever pitcher or hitter can come up with a big performance could determine the winner. So could a lucky bloop hit, a timely call, a fortunate bounce. Oy. The anticipation is agonizing. But you got to give it up to both the Sox and the Yanks: they are living up to the hype and we are getting our money’s worth. And then some…Pass the Prosac, pal.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver