Re: Is it OK to call it a choke and still be proud of them?
I feel like if we're arguing about whether it's a choke, it's not a choke.
Chokes are obvious. Chokes are astounding. Chokes leave everyone watching the game, not just the fans of the losing team, in disbelief that what is happening is even possible. I watched the Yankees win Game 3 of 3 in the 2004 ALCS 19-8. It was wrapped up. As we all know, what happened next was a choke. giving up a grand slam in the second inning of the seventh inning and then visibly, palpably surrendering on the field. It was like they weren't even trying, weren't even breathing. That is a choke.
In 2010 the Reds sniffed victory in only one out of three games. That comes close to choke. In the one game in which they came close, they fumbled and lost it. That comes even closer. That felt like a choke to me, but in hindsight I think it was just getting beat by a better team.
"Choke" implies that all you had to do to win was not mess up. That it was yours unless you went out of your way to lose it. You can look at the whole picture of this and say that after winning two games convincingly, that was the case here. I think that's simplistic. As Roy says, Game 3 was a tight game. It could have gone either way. The Reds had one bobble; they didn't throw away the game. That leaves Game 4, which they lost under questionable pitching. Not a choke. And Game 5 which they came very close to winning in the ninth after being down 6-0. Even if they had lost that game 6-0 -- probably not a choke. In Game 7 of the 2004 ALDS the Yankees went on to give up four more home runs after the Damon grand slam. Yesterday was one bad inning from one pitcher.
I think sports fans in general have started to overuse the word choke. I think we're using it here because we're hurt. The fact that the Reds battled to win Game 1 after Cueto went down alone shows this was not a choke. They should have lost that game. They had masterful starting pitching in Games 2 and 3. The offense had flashes of brilliance throughout. When they lost, they lost because they just lost like baseball teams do a lot of the time. They didn't choke.
There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.