Originally Posted by Roy Tucker
Game 3 was as tight as any game could be. The Reds pitching was brilliant but blinked at a crucial time. If you want to call that a choke, then OK.
Game 4 they just lost. It happens.
Today they could have folded up the tent and gone home after being down 6-zip. But they battled back and continually threatened. Just could never get that big hit.
But I've been a Reds fan for 48 years, been to winning games of LDS's and NLCS's, and World Series games, and the bottom of the 9th was the most thrilling 1/2 inning I've ever seen. Standing in the middle of a roaring crowd yelling my fool head off was awesome. Bruce's at-bat was epic. They just came up short. It happens. I wouldn't call it a choke. I'd say injuries and a short staff caught up to them and they lost.
Originally Posted by redsmetz
I think this reflects my thoughts pretty well. Throughout these three games, I've come to the conclusions that at times it's just a small thing that makes the difference. Really yesterday's game came down to one pitch and Posey deposited it in the seats. Lots of "what ifs" throughout these games. Cozart not just conceding the run and getting the out. The double steal attempt twice ending with the out at third (was I the only one who thought both times seemed more like runners moving with two outs rather than the steal they were attempting?). The good, sliding catch of Navarro's batted ball. The hard line out right at the shortstop. Inches, as they say. WOY says this, it's a cruel game.
But this team didn't quit. I was sad, but not angry, at the game's end. It was almost emblematic of the season itself. And finally it just wasn't there. I said to my wife that the strikeout might well be Scottie's last AB and now that seems to be the case.
We could have won, missed many an opportunity throughout the home stand. We didn't. It doesn't minimize the good season, really one of the best in Reds history. Was this our only opportunity? I'm doubtful, but one never knows. The 1970 season was followed by a woeful 1971. Then the World Series, another loss; losing to the Mets in '73. By the time we got back in 1975, it seemed like the usual choke was coming on, but they prevailed. That team was one for the ages and one not likely to be ever seen again. But, as Vaticanplum put it, this team was tenacious and I liked that description a lot. In the final analysis, they fell short.
Also, I can't take anything away from the Giants. They played each game full well knowing it could be their last this season. Maybe that's why I dreaded going to a Game 5. But hat's off to them. I wish them well, particularly if the Nats don't prevail.
But I'm not particularly on board with calling this a choke. As said earlier, it's a cruel game, one of inches and that's the way it is. February will be here soon enough and we'll start a new season again. Onward.
Originally Posted by vaticanplum
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.
It really comes down to the definition and context implied with the use of the word "choke".
To me, "choke" for an individual player means to tighten up and perform at a lower level than his average.
Did the Reds individuals do this, or did they just get outplayed, along with some old fashioned bad luck, perhaps the one thing that has been with championship baseball since it began in the 1800's.
I don't think they choked. Did the odds favor us to win one of three at home? Sure. Did they favor us sweeping 2 on the dreaded West Coast? That would be laughable to have predicted. Perhaps the Giants choked in those two games.
We lost our ace and the best player in baseball was a shadow of himself since the injury. The Giants reached back for something extra and played inspired baseball.
I loved the season and this definitely hurts. It's like handing us an ice cream cone after game two, then smacking it out of our hands at the brutal end.
I imagine there will be enough wailing and gnashing of teeth around here for weeks to come that we may need a separate forum for "ProzacZone".