Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

Follow us on social
  • Repairing the Family
    By Jay Grummel Earlier this month I wrote about fond families, however the holidays are made up of many different types of families. Some will be hostile and dysfunctional or some will be loving and understanding. Whatever your family looks like this season, it’s always nice to read about ones other than your own. So, […]
  • Review of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
    Let’s time-travel to the year 2012 and the world is raving about none other than Katniss Everdeen. I remember being in elementary school, begging my mother to let me dress up as her for my birthday. Now it’s over ten years later and I’m still just as excited for the new movie as I was […]

World Series hex can kill reputation

fter Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, the mantra in Cleveland was “die, Jose, die.” Indians closer Jose Mesa, who blew a ninth-inning lead, didn’t attend the post-series festivities in Cleveland. He elected to stay at his home and try to sleep the blown save off like a hangover. Mesa was never the same, eventually getting shipped off to San Francisco in June 1998.

Baseball’s postseason goats usually take that stigma to their graves. Their failure is what they become known for. Ralph Branca now makes most of his money signing autographs with Bobby Thomson. Bill Buckner hasn’t kept a steady job in professional baseball since 1986. Heaven help what would have happened to Arizona closer Byung-Hyun Kim if the Diamondbacks had lost Sunday. Kim, at age 22 with his whole career ahead of him, had his reputation saved from games four and five by the most unlikely of goats: The Yankees’ Mariano Rivera.

Prior to Sunday, Rivera was the greatest relief pitcher of this era, perhaps ever. With a late-moving cut fastball and a demeanor that never seemed to rattle, Rivera converted 23 consecutive postseason save opportunities. Not only was he seemingly invincible in pressure situations, he made it look easy.

Then again, because he was so dominant, because the Yankees have been so dominant in recent years, he had seldom been threatened with elimination. Certainly not in the World Series.

Game seven does weird things to teams. Conventional wisdom goes out the window. Hitters press and swing at bad pitches in the rush to score runs. Starting pitchers are used in relief. Unflappable pressure players suddenly feel their heart rates jump.

Sunday night, Rivera looked vulnerable. He looked like someone playing not to make mistakes. His pitches were not the laser-guided missiles he usually throws and his tentativeness led to a rare botched fielding play that was, ultimately for the Yankees, an omen.

After Mark Grace singled to lead off the ninth, Arizona catcher Damian Miller laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner to second. It was not a good bunt, it trickled back to the mound. Rivera fielded and pivoted to Derek Jeter covering second with plenty of time to get David Dellucci, pinch running for Grace. However, the throw sailed past Jeter’s glove into center field. As Jeter lunged back to snatch at the ball, Dellucci slid over his ankle. Jeter was down for several minutes.

From that point on, the teetering Yankees and their unsettled closer were officially fallible for the first time in four years. When Tony Womack doubled home the tying run, when Luis Gonzalez singled home the winning run, the Yankees couldn’t stop it. It was too late.

Branca, Buckner and Mesa can hopefully find a little bit of solace now. Fans should let them be able to find solace and forgive them. If it can happen to Mariano Rivera, it can happen to anyone.

Leave a Comment
Donate to BG Falcon Media

Your donation will support the student journalists of Bowling Green State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to BG Falcon Media

Comments (0)

All BG Falcon Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *