Best game ever? Don’t rank it, just enjoy it

Cubs

Was Cubs-Indians Game 7 the best game ever? Not so fast.

I do feel sometimes we tend to rush to judgement and instant gratification. For example, ESPN is already calling Game 7 the greatest game ever.

For Cub fans maybe.

But we need to bottle it for a bit, savor it, then enjoy it like a fine wine.

There have been plenty of great games throughout the last dozen decades of baseball history.

After all, there have been six walk-off Game 7 wins in baseball history alone, going back to 1912 and the Red Sox beating Christy Mathewson in extra innings all the way to Luis Gonzalez besting the great Mariano Rivera and the Yankees in 2001.

The Bill Mazeroski home run in 1960 that gave the Pirates an improbable World Series win was unforgettable. Amazingly, not a single batter struck out in that contest.

Some other great games that weren’t necessarily Series clinchers include Pudge Fisk and the Red Sox in 1975, the Mets and Bill Buckner in 1986, Kirby Puckett and the Twins in 1991, and David Freese and the Cardinals beating the Rangers in 2011.

And don’t forget Don Larsen’s perfect game vs. Brooklyn in 1956. Only time it’s ever happened in a World Series.

Even though they weren’t true post-season games, Bobby Thomson’s home run against the Dodgers that helped the Giants win the pennant in 1951, and Bucky Dent’s Fenway blast that lifted the Yankees over the Red Sox in 1978 were certainly dramatic.

Maddon’s questionable moves

Congrats to the Cubs and their fans. Maybe it’s me, but Joe Maddon did all he could to hand the Series to the Tribe — from his needless use of Aroldis Chapman in Game 6 to lifting Kyle Hendricks early in Game 7 to the 3-2 safety squeeze in the ninth inning that backfired

The Cubs ultimately prevailed because they were the better team with superior talent, but the better manager, Terry Francona, was in the Cleveland dugout in this World Series.

They call it over-managing. In business terms, micro management. It’s the Whitey Herzog syndrome, in honor of the Kansas City manager, who made some questionable moves against the Yankees in the ALCS back in the 70s.

It will never be the same

Well now that the Cubs have won and broken the 108-year jinx things are bound to be different. There’s already talk of the next baseball dynasty.

However, consider this. After the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino in 2004, they became just another successful franchise, lost in the shuffle of successful teams.

Just like the Sox, the Cubs have lost their lovable loser mojo.

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Artie And The Jello-O Mold

There are so many good stories about Artie. He was funny, he was talented, he was a great musician. Art possessed that rare ability to make all those around him somehow feel better about themselves.

Artie passed away a year ago after a long and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. All those who knew him miss him. He’s still the top name on my instant message stack.

When I think of Artie, I think of wonderful gatherings at Scotch & Sirloin, where Art would play the piano long into the night. I think of New Year’s Eve and parties and weddings. I think of Artie laughing and smiling and entertaining.

My favorite Artie story revolves around a Jell-O Mold. If you’ve never seen a Jell-O mold, here’s a picture of one. Generally speaking, they are colorful deserts made out of Jell-O, fresh fruit, fruit cocktail and other items, then molded and served. Served in many different ways, which leads to my Artie story.

A bunch of us were out one holiday night …. must have been sometime in the early ’80s — sampling the nightlife in White Plains. Around 2 in the morning, we went back to Timmy and Nancy’s apartment for some food. If memory serves me correct, a certain Eddie La-La was also present.

Nancy, being the dutiful hostess, put out some food for us, munchies and cookies and a Jell-O Mold. When Artie saw the Jell-O Mold, his eyes lit up and he had that mischievous grin on his face as he said, “Timmy, what the hell is this s—?”

Upon which, Timmy, gleam in his eye, picked up the Jell-O Mold and smashed it right into Artie’s face.

Understand, Art had a bit more hair in those days, and Jell-O and pieces of banana and fruit cocktail were stuck in his hair, in his beard, all over his shirt, and splattered on the wall behind him. (Bet there’s still some pieces of that Jell-O Mold embedded into the radiator behind where Artie was sitting.)

For perhaps 15 seconds we were silently shocked. Nancy was appalled. Then we all started laughing, and couldn’t stop.

In fact, 25 years we’re all still laughing about the Jell-O Mold. And I’m sure Artie is smiling down upon us, laughing loudest of all.