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The calm before the storm: treat Game Six like it's Game Seven

Last night, I watched Game Five of the World Series and watched it in its entirety. Now, its one thing for the Fall Classic to be played on the same night as Monday Night Football, and I’d be lying if the sentiment from previous years was watching baseball before football. However, The Texas Rangers, my team, are in the World Series, which pretty much means everything and everybody comes second right now.

Unless you were either (a) not on any social networking site last night, (b) not near a Hoshitoshi at all, or (c) watching football, you missed one of the wildest Game Fives, in any sport, in recent memory. The Rangers took a 4-2 lead in the eighth and Neftali Feliz made the entire damn Texas fan base sweat to death, before FINALLY ending the game with a strikeout of Lance Berkman.

Now that the Rangers are one game away from the World Series, there’s one thing they absolutely have to do:

Win tomorrow night. Do not let this thing go seven.

For selfish reasons, my soul cannot handle another Game Seven. I’ll go to a movie, to the gym, cut the yard, sweep the porch, but I will not watch another Game Seven in my life. No way in hell.

The last time I watched a Game Seven, I almost killed somebody at Buffalo Wild Wings. It was Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals; the Boston Celtics against the Los Angeles Lakers. KG and ‘Sheed are two of my favorite players ever, and seeing them come up short was something I never want to experience again.

I have never been so sad and so furious, simultaneously, in my entire life. The feelings were so raw, so conflicted, so all-over-the-place and, in the end, full of disappointment, that the only thing I could do was walk quietly to the car when the clock hit zero.

Win Game Six.

The Mavericks were in a similar situation a few months ago. After winning Game Five on a Thursday night in Dallas, they headed back to Miami for Game Six. They adopted the “One Shirt, One Suit, One Tie” Philosophy, made famous by, ironically, The Great Pat Riley. That basically meant that they had no intentions of playing in a Game Seven. They had the mindset to beat the Heat on Sunday night, June 12th, and that’s exactly what they did. They beat the piss out of the Heat, won the championship, thus eliminating any plans of a Game Seven.

Too much foolishness can happen when you let a series go to seven. We’ve seen it so much throughout history that any fan knows it’s rarely in a visiting team’s interest to think “Well, if we drop six, no biggie; we’ll just get them in seven.” No, that’s dangerous thinking, crazy thinking, and thinking that will get your championship hopes flushed right down the drain.

The only way a Game Seven is a good thing is when you're down 3-2 and win the sixth to extend it to seven (i.e. Detroit v. San Antonio in the 2005 NBA Finals.) On the other hand, when it's a situation like Kings v. Lakers in the 2002 Western Conference Finals, you have to finish the job in six, like the Kings had the opportunity to do. They didn't, and everyone remembers how that ended up.

There are enough veterans on this team who will make sure the Rangers have the proper mindset going into Wednesday night. They have the manager, the man who knows baseball, to keep it 100 and let them know that they better not even think about giving the Cardinals new life, let alone actually doing it. Most of all, they have the stench of last year’s abrupt ending, an odor that can be erased with the scent of victory. Come Wednesday night, that’s the goal.

Be easy.
-K. Masenda


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