The last time I experienced such a heart-breaking, gut-wrenching post-season loss was during the last swing of the 1993 World Series. I turned off the television before Joe Carter’s ball landed in the seats. It took more than ten years before I could watch a replay of that swing. It still stings, but I can watch Joe jumping across the basepaths now.
That’s the only comparison I have to Friday night’s 9th inning meltdown in DC. As one of my best friends from Pittsburgh texted, “Pete Kozma is now to the Nats what Francisco Cabrera is to Pirates fans.”
Strictly to refresh your memory, not to inflict pain on Pirates fans, search for ol’ Francisco on the Internet. One of the ranked results is titled, “Francisco Cabrera Killed the Pittsburgh Pirates.”
Here’s the Wikipedia take on it:
“… in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7, with Atlanta down 2–1 and the bases loaded, the Braves’ Francisco Cabrera cracked a two-run single that scored David Justice and Sid Bream. Bream famously slid to score the Series-winning run, beating the throw by Pirates left fielder Barry Bonds.”
Atlanta actually created a bobblehead to commemorate the Bream slide into the plate with the catcher and the umpire signaling safe. Because they knew that Pirates fans would never forgive them, (especially since Bream used to don the Buccos’ black and gold), the Braves at least waited two decades before doling out these little treasures.
Now that level of pain has returned with a vengeance. It will continue at least until the games begin again next April, and most likely beyond that time.
The great gift of baseball is that you can be the goat one day; and then, always come back the next to become the hero. During a post-season elimination game, that luxury is no longer valid as Mitch Williams, Doug Drabek, and now Drew Storen know all too well.