They barely have the streets swept clean following the Kansas City Royals’ World Series parade, and the off-season intrigues have begun in earnest. OK, a couple began when it barely began sinking in that the New York Mets had blown a Series they actually could have won, or when Don Mattingly left the Los Angeles Dodgers and became the Miami Marlins’ new manager. But let’s start looking:
Presumably, the world can breathe a little easier now that the first post-Slide confrontation between Matt Holliday and the San Francisco Giants has ended without on-field amputations, at-the-plate decapitations, or other actual or reputed disembowelings. None involving Holliday, anyway.
The nearest thing to a legitimate atrocity in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 3-1 Game Three win was the one committed by Carlos Beltran’s unexpected substitute, in the third inning, in his first time at bat after stepping in for the wounded slugger. The Giants could and did beat Chris Carpenter on the mound earlier in this National League Championship Series, but they could not and did not beat Matt Carpenter stepping into the Cardinals’ unexpected right field breach and hitting a go-ahead two-run homer whose advantage survived an eventual 3.5 hour rain delay.
The greats don’t always get to choose the manner in which they leave the game. But whatever you believe about instant or at least same-day karma, Chipper Jones surely deserves better than to have his Hall of Fame-in-waiting career end like this.
His own throwing error, opening an unwanted door to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League’s first-ever wild card game; his own Atlanta Braves victimised by a soft fly to the shallow outfield ruled an infield fly when the Braves might have loaded the late-tying runs on base.