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I feel your pain

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I know what Cleveland Indians fans are going through tonight. The empty feeling that comes with watching your team blow a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series and not even really putting up a fight doing so. Seeing the California Angels (as they were then) implode in spectacular fashion in 1986 against the Boston Red Sox changed me as a fan, made me a little less involved emotionally.

I knew the Indians were probably doomed in Game 5 in Cleveland: needing one win to close out the Sox and move on to the World Series, the Tribe had ace C.C. Sabathia pitching but he couldn't get it done; the Indians lost 7-1, sending the series back to Boston. To say the Indians sucked in Games 6 & 7 is an understatement: they were outscored 23-4 (!!).

Amazingly, they still were alive in the seventh of Game 7. Trailing only 3-2, Kenny Lofton was on second base due to Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo dropping a catchable fly ball. When Franklin Gutierrez ripped a ball down the third-base line that hit the short wall and bounced out in to left field, it seemed the Indians would tie the game and still have a chance for more. In a move that will be debated amongst Indians fans for years to come (like Gene Mauch's bonehead move of removing ace Mike Witt needing only one out to the make the World Series for the 1986 Angels), third base coach Joel Skinner held up Lofton.

Now, to be fair, the way I saw the play, if Skinner sent him, Lofton would have been out by 10 feet. However, the Indians couldn't capitalize on a first-and-third-one-out situation as Casey Blake promptly hit in to a double play. It was like all the wind going out of the sails of a yacht. The Red Sox scored two runs in the bottom of the inning, six more in the bottom of the eighth and that was that.

So, there it is: a Colorado Rockies v. Boston Red Sox World Series, starting Wednesday at Fenway Park. My prediction: Red Sox in five. They have too much talent, they're vastly more experienced than first timers Colorado and have the home field advantage. Of course, considering that it snowed in Denver today, the World Series might not end until mid-November! --Jim Allen