KANSAS CITY — What happened before has no bearing on what will happen today. People will try to convince you that’s not the case. They’ll toss out that stat about Game 6 winners at home winning Game 7s as if it’s meaningful rather than simply interesting. They’ll point to 1985 and imply it has some sort of predictive value. It clearly doesn’t. What happens tonight is gonna happen because of what happens tonight not because of what happened before.
But, as long as we keep that in mind, there is no harm in gawking at history. Specifically Game 7 of the World Series. Here’s a brief rundown of the ones that happened in the past 30 years:
2011: The Cardinals defeated the Rangers, 6-2, in St. Louis
Man, what a disaster that ended up being for the Rangers. Game 6 was the real disaster, but Game 7 was, obviously, where it ended. Chris Carpenter did something not a lot of pitchers do anymore, and that’s start his third game in a seven game series (thanks rainout!). Allen Craig of all people robbed someone of a homer in the field. David Freese’s postseason legend was cemented with more RBIs and a World Series MVP. Overall not a competitive game, though. The highest drama had already gone down in this series. This is pretty common pattern, as we’ll see.
2002: The Angels defeated the Giants, 4-1, in Anaheim
This was a fantastic series, but Game 7 was a bit of a comedown here as well. The Angels’ big comeback in Game 6 when the Giants were eight outs away from winning it all traumatized Giants fans for a good bit. Obviously, two World Series titles since then have helped those wounds heal, but don’t think fora second that the Royals aren’t fancying themselves as these Angels and the Giants aren’t worrying that history is repeating itself, even if it is not doing so in such a dramatic fashion.
2001: The Diamondbacks defeated the Yankees, 3-2, in Phoenix
1997: The Marlins defeated the Indians, 3-2, in Miami
1991: Twins defeated Braves, 1-0, in Minneapolis
If we’re lucky, tonight we get one of these. All three ended in a walkoff with Luis Gonzalez, Edgar Renteria and Gene Larkin doing the honors, respectively. Of course, the men who hit the walkoffs weren’t necessarily the men most remembered for their exploits in the series or even the game. A Game 7 can certainly create heroes, but in 1997’s case, Jose Mesa and Tony Fernandez instantly became goats. In 2001, Gonzalez was a hero, but Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson became legends. In 1991, Jack Morris nearly became immortal, with his performance almost catapulting him into the Hall of Fame.
1987: The Twins defeated the Cardinals, 4-2, in Minneapolis
Fun footnote: This was on a Monday and was broadcast by ABC, which also broadcast Monday Night Football at the time. Because of that — and because of another Minnesota team playing in the same darn stadium — ABC and the NFL decided that they would move the Broncos-Vikings game to Tuesday as a result. Can you imagine that happening today? They’d probably move the World Series to a neutral site and broadcast it on Fox Sports 47.
1986: Mets defeated Red Sox. 8-5, in New York
1985: Royals defeated Cardinals, 11-0, in Kansas City
Two more instances in which all the drama — be it Bill Buckner or Don Denkinger-induced — happened in Game 6. We had negative drama in Kansas City last night, so perhaps the script will be flipped and we’ll get it all in Game 7 this time? I think that’s almost certainly an omen, actually.
Wait. I said none of that mattered. Never mind.
*crosses fingers anyway*