Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By Kevin Thomas email@example.com
BOSTON -- Torii Hunter wants to end this season with a mob scene, complete with an endless supply of champagne.
But it has been a different, lonely atmosphere for Hunter in his 17-year career.
"I see this all the time, guys jumping up and down on the field at the end of the World Series," Hunter said. "And I'm sitting on my couch and having a Coors Light and, you know, you're seeing those guys. And you just kind of soak it in.
"That's the way you want to be. It's my dream."
Hunter, 38, has been to three previous league championship series, with the Twins and Angels, losing to the Yankees every time..
That's baseball. A veteran like Hunter has never played in a World Series. Yet there are some rookies still playing that could be there this season.
"You better cherish this moment," Hunter advised the young players. "You might not get a chance to do it again."
Getting a chance.
The Major League Baseball season and postseason are almost polar opposites.
Grind out a 162-game season for the chance to play a handful of games that determine the champion.
"There's certainly no guarantees," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said, "You find out it's just not that easy."
If the season-long grind is not easy, the postseason is unpredictable.
"We always start the season with the idea that we're trying to get to the postseason," Leyland said.
"And then it becomes a crapshoot."
Crapshoot defined: An uncertain matter.
As in baseball.
Take Saturday's game. The Red Sox felt good with Jon Lester on the mound. Boston and Lester beat Detroit 2-1 on Sept. 3, with Lester allowing one run over seven innings.
On Saturday, Lester gave up one run over 6 1/3 innings. Plus, the Red Sox chased Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez after six innings because of a high pitch count.
"If you told me before the game that Sanchez was going to be out of the game with 117 pitches after the sixth inning, we're probably in pretty good shape," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
But Sanchez and the relievers behind him made few if any mistakes, and Boston could not come up with the clutch hit. The Red Sox lost 1-0.
On Sept. 3, the difference was a Will Middlebrooks' two-out, two-run single.
On Saturday, Detroit got the big two-out hit, a Jhonny Peralta RBI single.
That's not only baseball, "that's playoff baseball," Lester said.
"It stinks that one run beats you. We had some good at-bats. Their pitching staff did a good job of -- when they did get in trouble -- not allowing us to get that big hit."
One big hit. A hot pitcher. So much is magnified in a seven-game series.
Even in a best-of-nine series -- the format used in the early 1900s -- you can never tell.
Sunday marked the 110th anniversary of Boston's first World Series title. The Boston Americans topped the Pittsburgh Pirates five games to three.
The Pirates took a 3-1 lead in the series, only to watch Boston win four straight.
That's postseason baseball.
It's a crapshoot.
Kevin Thomas -- 791-6411