Note: This is a revision of the original post, which was written while Cleveland was still ahead Friday evening, before they lost the game and their streak.
Remember the words, spoken by Crash Davis to Annie Savoy in Bull Durham, reminding her that she has to "respect the streak"? Savoy, angered that Crash has advised Nuke, Annie's paramour to sleep solo. That is because Nuke has had a lot of good starts while remaining celibate, and Crash has to remind Annie that the lack of contact has nothing to do with romance. Rather, Nuke has a streak going and changing behaviors right now could jinx that.
It is true. Streaks are hard to do. Think about the Patriots a few years ago who only had to blow past the New York Giants. Or even more recently, the Panthers won 15, but could not close out #16 a la the 1972 Dolphins.
Thus, it is with awe that I began this piece, Clevelnd was on top and on the road to their 23rd consecutive win, and that is something that should cause us to sit back, take a breath, and acknowledge what a remarkable feat that is.
For, think about how we do revere streaks.
To start, in baseball, there is Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak and Cal Ripken's 2,632 consecutive games played streak. Orel Hershiser threw 59 consecutive scoreless innings that actually extended to 67 when the Dodger starter tossed eight shutout innings during the post-season.
Obviously, the Dolphins streak goes in there, but then there is Drew Brees, who threw a TD pass in 54 consecutive games while LaDainian Tomlinson scored a TD in 18 straight contests, a feat that probably won his fantasy owners a lot of games.
How about Martina Navratilova winning 74 consecutive tennis matches, or De La Salle High School--which happens to be in the SF East Bay--whose football team won 151 straight contests? Track star/educator Edwin Moses won 122 races in a row and the UCLA men's basketball team, under coach John Wooden, won 88 games before Notre Dame beat them, and Byron Nelson actually won 11 PGA tourneys in a row.
But, to really drive this home, think about yourself. Think about winning say 15 hands of Blackjack in a row? Too intense for you? How about 15 matchups in War with a deck of cards? 15 straight games of Cribbage or in the iPhone world, how about 15 straight games of "Words With Friends"?
If we just localize to our fantasy teams, and say you play in an H2H league. Has a team ever won 15 straight in your league? I thought not, and yet we are talking the Indians besting that total by another 33%.
This is, again, within the weird world of baseball where an odd bounce or a bad call or a funky pitch literally does shift the balance of a game one way or another, for the actual course of events following the release of the ball by the hurler has an infinite number of potential outcomes depending upon who is up, on base, what the score is, and a bunch of other variables.
Of course, that is one reason we watch games: We like to be amazed and sports surely does that, at least for me.
I attended the Oakland Athletics game in 2002, as documented in "Moneyball", where Scott Hatteberg banged an extra-inning homer not unlike Jay Bruce driving in Jose Ramirez the other night to seal win #22 for the Tribe.
That game was so intense and tight that I am not sure how those of us in the stands managed to maintain, let alone how the players on the field could focus, but then that is what we like to watch, the best play under the most difficult circumstances.
Well, the Indians now hold the American League consecutive game win streak, falling just four shy of the MLB record of 26 held by the 1916 New York Giants.
Once again, to contextualize, the Giants streak is more than 100 years old. So, had the Indians won last night, just five wins were required for a new record. Sounds easy, but winning five, let alone 22, let alone 27 takes a lot more confluences of skill and luck and right place right time than I can imagine.
Well done Cleveland: I am rooting for a 2017 Series title to go with the streak.
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