Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Is "Choke" Too Strong A Word? by Ed Stern

Marty; The most important inning in the most important game of this diminishing season. The opportunity to sweep the Padres, maintain the increasing pressure, look forward to four more games against a San Diego team which had just blown the lead in late innings in each game.

In this crazy season, a Giants team which can’t get to the five hundred mark, had a single out standing between it and the momentum needed to get it to the playoffs. Who would have bet against them? They had the closer they wished for, Benitez. He had, in his last eleven outings saved ten games. He was throwing ninety-seven miles an hour.

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The gods were finally shining their light on this team. Overlook the number of Fresno players, six, at one point or another, in the lineup. It mattered not that Snow and Alou and Schmidt were unavailable. The limping left fielder was there to make his cameo appearances. The second coming of Marichal had once again pitched, in a must win game, up to all expectations. Two out and two strikes on the batter, a two run lead in the ninth inning.

This was a team which was twelve games under five hundred. They had been left for dead over and over again during the year. Yet, only one small strike stood between them and becoming an odds on favorite to play again in October. Fantasy had become reality for the devotees in the stands. The incredible had become credible. One small strike!

The gods looked away. It was Benitez pitching. Benitez, who, in the past, in moments when everything was riding on his ability to get the last out, when pennants were won or lost, never made the pitch that won the game.

He didn’t make the pitch yesterday. The game was too important. There are people who come through in the clutch, whether in baseball or in life. It doesn’t come easy.



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