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"Post-mortem Tones"

Continuing some thoughts from the earlier post...

Since Milwaukee last hosted a playoff game, 25 years, 11 years and 17 days have passed. Nobody exactly requested this history lesson, but it's cool, and space is free, so here is the start of the story filed that day for The Washington Post from Mr. Tom Boswell, headlined, "Caldwell, Young, Give Brewers 3-2 Lead In Series."

(By the way, the Brewers lost in seven.)


MILWAUKEE -- More than likely, the St. Louis Cardinals are convinced now. After losing the fifth game of the World Series to the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-4, to fall behind, three games to two, the Cardinals have seen enough of the True Blue Brew Crew to get the general idea.

Here the Cardinals were led to believe that they would be playing the champions of the American League -- the patsy circuit -- and what do they get? A kind of hybrid gang of National League spleen crushers.

Harvey's Wallbangers, indeed. Harvey's Headbangers, more likely. With your head.

Power everywhere. More speed than advertised. Defense to beat the band. No conspicuous weaknesses. Never quit, play hurt. Eat adversity, yawn when you've got 'em down. Throw at your head, slide in your face, spit in your eye, and never apologize. Score runs in an avalanche just when you think you have them beaten. Thump you any way they have to, even if the greatest relief pitcher in history is hurt, even if two-thirds of their outfield is injured, even if their starters look sort of frazzled, even if their good ol' manager barely seems to know what inning it is.

Best team in baseball. One game away from winning its first World Series. Better get out of the way before something ugly happens.

When a team that hits 216 home runs in the regular season comes from behind to take charge of a World Series, as the Brewers have done, without hitting many home runs, it's time to worry. When the Brewers beat you with their gloves, as they did this gloomy afternoon, then it's time for concern.

One day ago, when they led the Brewers, 5-1, in the seventh inning of Game 4, the Cardinals -- on the verge of a three-games-to-one lead -- were ready to measure themselves for world championship rings.

Now, after watching Robin Yount get four more hits, after watching Mike Caldwell survive for 8 1/3 innings on a day when he had nothing and allowed 14 hits, after seeing Bruce Sutter give up what proved to be the two winning runs, after watching as the Brewers made a half-dozen brilliant defensive robberies, the Cardinals know better.

Make no mistake, the Cardinals are worried, from their Manager Whitey Herzog, who is already talking in post-mortem tones, to their solemnal veterans, who know from experience when a good thing has gone bad.

"If we should be fortunate enough to win the sixth game, then . . . " began Herzog in the manner of a mortal fellow who doesn't wish to annoy an extremely large person.

Herzog and the rest of the Busch Bunch are going home now. They can look at matchups. On Tuesday, it's 258-game winner Don Sutton against their nine-game-career winner John Stuper. Make your own jokes.

The Brewers have the wind behind them now. Every time they look around, somebody from the Hall of Fame is lurking around their locker room asking one of them for a bat to enshrine. First, it was Paul Molitor for his five hits in the opener. This evening, it was Yount for being the first man in 79 Series to get four hits in a game twice in the same Series; he has 11 hits now, just one off the record for most hits in a six-game Series and just two away from the record, held by Bobby Richardson and Lou Brock, of 13 in a seven-game Series.

At this game's end, as a cast of 56,562 mauled the field, Yount was brought back out of the dugout for a curtain call by the chants of "MVP . . . MVP."

This time, however, it was Series MVP that the fans meant.

By Chico Harlan  |  October 4, 2008; 7:48 PM ET
Categories:  Brewers  
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Next: Cubs-Dodgers Game 3 Lineups


Thanks, Chico! Looks like you're in a long tradition of writing a gamer that requires the art of writing, as opposed to doing an inning-by-inning blow-by-blow tell us what happened that you took so much grief about this season. I remember how the red-hot Nats came from sweeping the Reds, winning 3 out of 4 against the Rockies only to get to Miller Park and just could not see the ball in the weird, glass-paned glare on the field. I say it goes 5 if the Brewers win tonight.

Posted by: flynnie | October 4, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

flynnie, that was an old Boswell column, not Chico. I don't think Harlan was born yet.

Posted by: ce | October 5, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

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