It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

Monday, October 12, 2015 Minute Maid Park Houston, Texas 12:00 PM Game 4: Royals @ Astros

Monday, October 12, 2015, 12:07 PM
Minute Maid Park
Houston, Texas
Game 4: Royals 9 – Astros 6 (but we ain’t dead yet!)

When the Astros grabbed a 6-2 pulling away lead going into the top of the 8th, and an advantage that could have been 8-2, had we figured out a way to get men home from 2nd and 3rd with only one out and not settled for two “Ks”, things looked pretty good for an imminently  jubilant jolt of great victorious celebration on the field by our  “Crush City Conquerors” or “Hustle Town Hackers.” Take your pick. It was only six outs away.

Some of the Astros fans around us in section 118 were already toasting the 4-run orange tally in the bottom of the 7th as though victory were now a fait accompli and that the two remaining time at bat for Kansas City were little more than a pleasurable formality on the way to the trophy dinner.

Suddenly, I felt swept up by an eerie foreboding that we had all been swept up by a powerful “high” that could possibly lead us to an even more painful, but familiar to many of us “low” from our past experience.  This was a not an enrichment of foresight that abruptly hit upon me; it was an encroachment of hindsight from the painful Astros playoff memories of 1980 and 1986 that once dashed hope and set up this recurring memory of what happened back then to two games that appeared to be in the bag – but were not.

On October 12, 1980, exactly 35 years ago today, the Astros went into the top of the 8th in the final Game 5 of the NLCS at the Astrodome with Nolan Ryan pitching for Houston and leading the Phillies by 3 runs, 5-2. Astros fans were celebrating early then, as they were again today. – And guess what happened – in case you don’t remember. – The Phillies hammered Ryan out of the box, bringing in Joe Sambito as the first in a conga-line of relievers, scoring 5 times for a 7-5 lead. – The Astros tied it at 7-7 with a 2-run spot in the bottom of the 8th, but the Phillies went on to capture the game, the NL pennant, and eventually the World Series by an 8-7 mark in ten innings.

On October 15, 1986, three days shy of 29 years ago today, the Astros went into the top of the 9th at the Astrodome with a 3-0 lead over the New York Mets that they had held since their first time at bat. Lefty Bob Knepper was pitching and seemed to have the Mets eating out of his hands on the Houston club’s way to a win in Game 6 of a 7 game NLCS that would tie things at 3-3 in wins and leave the Mets at the mercy of their great nemesis, Mike Scott, in Game 7 at the Dome. Some Astros fans were again doing the early celebration of their good fortune when, suddenly again, in the top  of the 9th, the Mets and strange play misfortunes allowed the visitors to tie the game at 3-3. The Mets went on to win the game, 7-6, in 16 innings. The hard fought victory allowed the Mets to take the NLCS and pennant 4 games to 2 as they also later rallied past the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

Today was just another reminder of Yogi Berra. “It ain’t over til it’s over for sure, Yogi” and that’s a blade that cuts the same for both teams in any game or series. Give KC the credit that’s due them. They pulled off an amazing late recovery to stay alive and take the final game of this five-game series back to western Missouri, but neither them or the Astros have won anything yet.

“It ain’t over til it’s over!”

Keep thinking orange, Astros fans!

POSTSCRIPT:

When I'm home watching Astros baseball on my HD big screen TV, these guys who sat in front of me at today's game never show up to block my great view of all the action.

When I’m home watching Astros baseball on my HD big screen TV, these guys who sat in front of me at today’s game at MMP never show up to block my great view of all the action.

____________________

eagle-0range

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4 Responses to “It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over”

  1. Rick B. Says:

    It felt a lot like game five of the 2005 NLCS when Albert Pujols launched Brad Lidge’s pitch into orbit. Actually, the Royals’ rally today was more painful because it took longer. Let’s hope that the end result of this series for the Astros will be the same as that of the ’05 NLCS.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Rick, Your comparison to the deadly silence that resulted from the Pujols blast in 2005 is out of the park “spot on”, and that includes your recognition that this one “took longer”. A half hour into the 8th inning stress of watching our 4-run lead disappear, I looked up at the scoreboard and was shocked by the reminder that we still had no outs and an ongoing flow of KC base runners. – Pujols was the swift, almost silent result of the guillotine. The Royals were a relentless invasion of slow gnawing rats. It must have taken them nearly an hour to batter us all into a mourning reign of silence. The the Astros finally came to bat in the bottom of the 8th, now trailing by 1 instead of leading by 4, and what happens? They were 3 up, 3 down, and back in the field within three minutes, total time.

      If there is a hell, those of us Astro fans who aren’t offered a heavenly contract at the pearly gate will be sent to the devil’s place and be forced to watch the brief high of the bottom of the 7th that is always followed by the inexorable pain of the top of the 8th on an eternal repetitively looping DVR recording of that critical segment from Game 4,

      • Tom Hunter Says:

        Bill,

        I believe one of the announcers said that the top of the 8th took over 30 minutes, followed by the 3-minute bottom of the inning.

        Those of us condemned to the place whose inscription above the portal announces “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here,” will also have to watch the same loop we’re exposed to every March: the last second loss of UH to N.C. State in the National Championship Game. The Prince of Darkness will give us a variety of punishments.

        I second Rick B.’s hope that the series will have the same result as the ’05 NLCS.

  2. KC Royals - PubliNews Says:

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