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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Will and Schwarz

Just wanted to mention that my review of BP's new book Mind Game is up on the THT site today.

I was also pleased to find a piece on Baseball America (subscription side) from two of my favorite writers, an interview Alan Schwarz did with George Will. In the intro to the interview Schwarz notes that Will's Men At Work (perhaps my favorite baseball book) is the best selling baseball book of all time.

While the interview is worth the read (and an online subscription to BA is also worth it) my favorite exchange, and one I empathize with, was this one about Will's past as a long suffering Cubs fan.

AS: What has been the worst moment for you as a Cubs fan?

GW: Losing Game Six of the Marlins playoff in 2003--the Bartman Game. Game Seven was an afterthought. The man who should love Bartman and put him in his will is the Cubs' shortstop--Alex Gonzalez. No one remembers that Gonzalez dropped a double-play groundball the same inning. I remember walking out of Wrigley Field and someone saying, "Mr. Will, we'll get 'em tomorrow." I said, "not a chance."

I remember the 1984 playoffs with the Padres. The Cubs had won the first two games, and Don Drysdale was broadcasting for ABC at the time. I'm walking out of Wrigley field next to him and he says, "All right, Will, now do you believe?" and I said, "Every Cub fan knows it's the Padres in five." Which of course it was.

After game six in 2003 I had exactly the same feeling throughout the day of game 7. I allowed my hopes to rekindle when Moises Alou hit his two-run homer in the 3rd inning to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead but I should have known better.

Will's mention of Alex Gonzales is another example of the "but for this..." canonical story in action that I wrote about last week on THT. The Bartman play becomes the fulcrum on which the series tipped while the Gonzales play is lost because of our propsensity to simplify the story in order to fit our model. I wouldn't be surprised if 20 years from now folks will forget there was a game 7 at all.

I also found interesting Will's analysis of the 2005 post season (the interview was done just as the playoffs were beginning).

GW: I may annoy people, but my reasonably longshot bet--which is the only kind worth making--is to look out for Houston in the postseason, because they've got Clemens, Pettitte and Oswalt....Jerry Reinsdorf has been a very good baseball owner and cares passionately about it. Some people think that all he cares about are the Bulls. He really wants to win in the American League and I'd like to see him get a chance. That's an exciting team.

1 comment:

Marc Normandin said...

Reminds me of how everyone forgets everything that led up to Buckner's miscue in Game 6 in 1986. Its the way of the casual fan, hehe.