And as the game trickles on, and 7-4 became 7-6, and 7-7, and 8-7, how do you not assign some of those runs—not all, not even most, but some, in a way you never have before—to the people, rather than the players. Was the experience of 2004 and 2007 on one side, and the callowness of the players who lack that experience or any like it on the other—was that a factor in what we saw? Last night’s game is an outlier, the extreme edge of the bell curve, a comeback almost unprecedented given the magnitude of the game. The facile storylines and trite labels that mark post-season coverage in the early 21st century are rightly regarded as meaningless, but when you’re out beyond two deviations, and you’re watching things that no one under 80 has ever seen, it is not only natural to question whether this could be the exception to your rules. It is mandatory.
And after the game, as you stare slack-jawed at the screen, reduced to monosyllabic expressions of awe and the occasional text message, you think about Saturday, and you wonder if there’s going to be an effect. “Momentum is tomorrow’s starting pitcher,” you like to say, quoting a baseball genius. Maybe, though, tomorrow’s starting pitcher is TBD, and momentum’s taking a day to think about whether, maybe just this once, he wants to grab a bat and take some swings.
So maybe that’s the legend of Game Five. It was the game that made a stathead consider chemistry.