I sure know that I’ll forget to watch it!
MLB Network’s MLB’s 20 Greatest Games continues on Sunday, May 8 at 7:00 p.m. ET when Jack Morris and John Smoltz join series hosts Bob Costas and Tom Verducci to discuss Game Seven of the 1991 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins, which is ranked second in the series. In a showdown featuring two teams that finished last in their divisions the previous year, Morris and Smoltz discuss the intensity of this series, the crucial missed opportunities by both teams to break a scoreless tie, and the famous pitchers’ duel that developed over ten innings.
A preview is here.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but for complicated reasons involving a trip home from college to visit my girlfriend that weekend and a big hassle parking my car out at the remote undergraduate lot when I got back to town that weekend, I didn’t actually see this game. I listened to much of it on the radio though, including the ending. And it was heart-wrenching enough with no pictures. I subsequently saw a replay of it, and that was hard enough. To think that I’m going to sit through an extended autopsy of it, even 20 years later, is crazy.
But if you’re not a sick and damaged Braves fan like me, you probably do want to watch it. Given that it, you know, was an awesome game from an objective perspective. And it has, like, a ton of historical significance.
It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.
On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.
At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.
If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.
Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.
Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this: