10 of the most memorable Championship Series moments from the last decade
If the World Series is baseball's Christmas Day, then the Championship Series is Christmas Eve. Players and fans, are on the precipice of what they've been dreaming of, making every big moment the difference between an October date with destiny and a long, cold winter.
Today, let's look back at 10 of the biggest and most memorable plays from the last decade -- the ones that made it well worth staying up past your bedtime to see how it would all play out.
Up two games to one, Game 4 in Philadelphia gave the Phillies a chance to really push the Dodgers to the wall. After LA scratched out four runs against
9.Kenny Lofton stops - Game 7, 2007 ALCS
Kenny Lofton was very fast. He stole 622 bases during his career, with another 34 in the postseason. But with the Indians trailing, 3-2, in the top of the seventh of the winner-take-all Game 7 against Boston, Lofton was on second base when
As Lofton rounded third, he suddenly was plagued by a bout of indecision:
The Red Sox would score eight more runs in the next two innings to blow out the Indians, 11-2, and finish off their comeback from a three-games-to-one deficit. But would everything have been different had Cleveland managed to tie the game? Perhaps …
After the Angels tied the Yankees at 2 in the fifth inning, the game went scoreless for six more.
Leading off in the bottom of the 11th, Rodriguez fell behind in the count, 0-2, to Brian Fuentes. It wasn't a great count to do much with, especially as A-Rod had been in 32 0-2 holes in the regular season that year and hadn't homered in any of them. This time would be different, though, as Rodriguez hammered the high fastball just over the Yankee Stadium wall and the leaping Bobby Abreu:
While Rodriguez was rounding the bases, Joe Girardi started pointing to something on the field. What was it? And why was his coach so scared? Answer: Yankees Ghosts. Had to be, right?
The game would stay tied until the bottom of the 13th when a wild throw at first base allowed Jerry Hairston Jr. to come around and score to hand the Yankees sweet victory.
Juan Uribe is a fan favorite wherever he goes. Sure, part of it is his sense of humor and seeming ability to be the friendliest, funniest player in baseball. But he's also got a penchant for big hits -- and that's the fastest way to make an entire fanbase fall in love with you.
After helping the White Sox win their first World Series in nearly 90 years, and years before helping the Dodgers escape the NLDS, Uribe helped kick-start the Giants' even-year magic.
With the Giants-Phillies game tied at 2 in the top of the eighth,
Between 2008 and 2012, it was also his only opposite-field shot. Quite the time to pull it off.
Long before Cruz had his chance to win the game, the Rangers were in some trouble. With the game tied at 3 thanks to Cruz's first home run, the Tigers managed to load the bases on a single, a double from Donnie Kelly Baby and an intentional walk to
The score would remain knotted until the bottom of the 11th. After the Rangers loaded the bases with none out, chances were quite high that they'd score. That Cruz would do it so spectacularly -- with a ball that seemed to scrape the stratosphere -- was less certain.
After working a difficult eight-pitch walk, Cain was on first base when
4. Matt Stairs goes deep - Game 4, 2008 NLCS
While he started his career as a second baseman, Stairs found his greatest success as a slugger and pinch-hitter who looked like the type of throwback player that would happily drink a few beers with fans after the game.
The high point of his career came in Game 4 of the Phillies-Dodgers matchup, though. After
It fits his #brand:
"I'm not going to lie: I try to hit home runs, and that's it. I'm not going to hit a single and steal second base. God knows that," the slugger said later in his career.
It's a game that Mets fans know all too well. With the game tied at 1 in the top of the ninth,
But it wasn't over for the Mets. New York managed to load the bases with two outs when Beltran came to the plate --the same Beltran who had hit eight home runs in the 2004 postseason with the Astros and had already hit three home runs against the Cardinals in the series. Unfortunately for the Mets, Wainwright got ahead 0-2 and then unleashed the curveball that would define his career. Mighty Beltran had struck out:
Beltran's strikeout didn't just end the Mets' season -- it also relegated
After the hulking beast that is
And, just as he had done throughout the postseason, Ishikawa succeeded again:
Ishikawa said after the game:
" And I don't remember touching third. I don't remember touching home... The next thing I remember was being thrown down with my jersey ripped off and then finally I was just so out of breath from yelling and screaming, and I had to have guys help me stand back up to finish celebrating."
Given that David Ortiz helped engineer the greatest comeback in postseason historyand end an 86-year-old World Series drought in one postseason, you'd think he couldn't possibly top that. He may not have topped it, but he certainly tried.
Having been nearly no-hit in a 1-0 loss against the Tigers in Game 1, things were looking dire for the Red Sox in Game 2. Detroit had opened up a 5-0 lead before
That was the score when Ortiz stepped to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth against
Torii Hunter did his best to bring it back, but all he managed to do was create one of the greatest memes in baseball history:
Be sure to tune in for Game 1 of the ALCS between Toronto and Cleveland at 8 p.m. ET on Friday on TBS and Sportsnet (in Canada).