Barring weather delays that extend this World Series until next week, this'll wrap up our first year of the Friday Five.
I've enjoyed it. Shoot, I stopped thinking about Weekend Predictions back in mid-April. I'm thinking we'll see if we can pull off a second year of Friday Five starting next April.
The Comment Winter Olympics will begin a week from today (again, barring dramatic World Series) weather delays), so it's time to come through with your smartest, funniest and strangest comments, starting with this post. Big prizes are at stake.
(Point of clarification: There are no big prizes at stake.)
Anyway, we'll keep it simple for our first finale: My favorite World Series since 1978, the first one I recall. Feel free to submit your own list.
1. 1986. There have been other series in the past 34 years that have featured better games, in total. But there's only one Game 6.
That 10th-inning rally was so remarkeable that it elevates the entire series to the top spot. To think that the Red Sox were one measly strike away from ending the silly "Curse of the Bambino" 18 years before they finally did end it? Mind-blowing. Life-changing for so many people, no one more than Bill Buckner, who didn't fully redeem himself until he saved a falling baby earlier this year.
2. 2001. Yeah, I guess that ultimately, I'll take the Series with an all-time moment or two over the overall excellent Series. That's why '01 gets my second spot.
Tino Martinez's game-tying, two-run shot (with two outs in the ninth) in Game 4. Scott Brosius' game-tying, two-run shot (with two outs in the ninth) in Game 5. The Diamondbacks' Game 7 comeback.
Three of the games (1, 2 and 6) in this series were quite unmemorable. Yet they helped create an overall plot - Diamonbacks stomp out to an early lead, Yankees grind back, Diamondbacks prevail at home - that was irresistible.
3. 1991. As per my earlier point, this was probably a superior series overall to '86 or '01. It featured four walkoff endings, for crying out loud, including Game 7.
This didn't quite have the iconic moments as my two higher-ranked series, and let's face it, there's probably a New York bias involved here.
In any case, there's no disputing that '91 was an all-time Series, even if it hasn't quite catapulted Game 7 winner Jack Morris into the Hall of Fame.
4. 1985. If only we had thorough instant replay back then, umpire Don Denkinger wouldn't be defined by his Series-turning call in the ninth inning of Game 6. But it wasn't just that call that makes this such a keeper.
This was the first Series ever in which the home team lost the first two games and proceeded to win the title; the 1986 Mets repeated the feat the subsequent year. It's also the last time we saw a team come back from a 3-1 deficit in the final round.
5. 1988. It's the only series here that didn't last seven games, and really, there are three elements that propel this to the Friday Five. The first is Kirk Gibson's Game 1 walkoff homer off the bench, against Dennis Eckersley. The second is Orel Hershier's mound brilliance, continuing his regular season and his NLCS performance against the Mets.
The third, thanks largely to the first two, is that a broken-down Dodgers team somehow eliminated a powerhouse A's team in only five games.
If you ever get a chance, read "I Live For This," the book that Tommy Lasorda wrote with Bill Plaschke, to get Lasorda's account of the series. It's surely over the top. But it's just so darn entertaining, and Lasorda deserves plenty of credit for this upset.
--My World Series Insider focuses on David Ortiz and Theo Epstein.
--Greetings from O'Hare International Airport - one flight from St. Louis to Dallas-Fort Worth down, one to go. Have a great day.