Playoff baseball is three hours of feeling like you want to vomit, waiting for a moment of catharsis that may never come.
That’s the feeling a buddy and I worked out watching Game 3, a stellar-if-you’re-a-Cleveland-fan or excruciating-if-you’re-a-Cubs-fan 1-0 Cleveland victory, giving them a 2-1 edge in the World Series.
I drove back to Chicago on Friday afternoon, my former home, to be surrounded by friends and family for these three home games and maybe score a lucky ticket to one of the games (if you’ve got one that won’t cost a kidney, shoot me an email!).
This was the first World Series game at Wrigley Field in 71 years. Where else would I want to be?
But, when it was over, on the way home from the bar where we watched the game, I could hardly walk, the adrenaline and nervous energy slowly seeping out my body. My legs felt like jelly and I realized how much I can really hate baseball.
I don’t want to see a highlight or read any player interviews about this game; I almost want to Eternal Sunshine the part of my brain related to Game 3, and maybe all of my relationship with baseball.
Almost. Because I never overreact to sports. I’m fine.
Yeah, Andrew Miller was sharp again in relief but how about Josh Tomlin? He didn’t even pitch five full innings but, damn, he kept the Cubs bats quiet. The entire bar was pretty confident the big Cubs bats would get to this guy, score a few runs early, and coast to a big home win.
So much has been made of Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs and the season he’s had, and rightly so. Hendricks also did pretty damn well for himself on Friday night.
But Tomlin and Miller were lethal and the rest of the bullpen held up their end of the bargain. That’s five postseason shutouts for Cleveland this year, too, a new MLB record.
Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do, even if the strike zone was (once again) a bit wonky.
No nails left to bite
There were so many chances for this Cubs team to get on the board but they just couldn’t do it. They stranded seven men on base and were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Credit to Cleveland’s excellent pitching staff, but the Cubs also did their part in just being terrible when they needed hits the most.
Not that Cleveland didn’t squander a few opportunities of their, including the fifth inning double-play with the bases loaded that prevented them from breaking this one open.
But there were a lot of disappointed groans at the bar on Friday night, as time after time, the Cubs got men on base but just couldn’t get them home. Not even Kyle Schwarber, the most-talked-about Cub this World Series, could get anything going, popping out in his only at-bat.
And they even put the first guy on in the ninth (a Rizzo single) just for added torture as they failed to get him home for the tying run in the bottom of the ninth.
We weren’t alone in our despair; kudos to Fox for making sure they captured every possible expression of agony from Cubs fans at Wrigley tonight (including the team).
So, down 2-1 in a best-of-seven series, the Cubs have to beat the same pitcher (Corey Kluber) who made them look downright silly in Game 1 so they can avoid an nearly insurmountable 3-1 lead which would also force them to win the final two games on the road and Cleveland (and facing Kluber again).
It’s a good thing Cubs fans don’t overreact to anything. Not me. Nope.
Anyway, it’s not an impossible mountain to overcome. If a team can pull it off, this Cubs team can. They’ve been down 2-1 in the playoffs before. Less than two weeks ago, actually, and that turned out okay.
But have I mentioned that I am married to a Cleveland native and we now live in Cleveland with my brother-in-law who is a Cleveland Indians employee in a house owned by my Cleveland native/life-long-Indians fan father-in-law?
Everything is terrible.
The Bill Murray scale of World Series anxiety
The man himself seemed like he was having an OK time at Wrigley Field tonight.
But deep down, I know how he feels after that game. We all do. We’re on the precipice here.
After three games, we’re in What About Bob territory. Nothing is wrong. Everything is fine.
I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful.