Behind the scenes glimpses from a classic Game 5 in the Fall Classic
The Fall Classic continues this week in Cleveland because of a classic Game 5 on Sunday night, in which the Cubs stayed alive by beating the Indians 3-2, showing the urgency of the situation by using closer Aroldis Chapman for a career-high eight-out save.
Here are some glimpses from behind the scenes from the World Series:
* So how did the Cubs prepared for the most critical game they have played in at least 71 years, to avoid elimination in their first World Series since 1945? By being tense, or nervous or even scared of squandering an opportunity? None of the above. How about by watching Rocky. And not just the original. 1B Anthony Rizzo arranged for four different films from the franchise to be playing on the clubhouse TVs, and synched up the music as well. Or as veteran C David Ross put it: "It was Rizzo playing the Rocky theme, running around and jumping around half naked doing boxing moves.'' Rizzo had his reasons. "We kept in loose in here as usual, and we were ready to go,'' he said. Rizzo even went so far to use the famous Rocky theme as his walkup song his first at-bat to make sure the message was clear. "Let everyone know we are planning on going the distance,'' he said. "Obviously a lot more goes into it than that, but we bought in and we believe it.''
* Indians maanger Terry Francona had an unplanned pre-game routine. Unable to sleep well on Saturday night, he decided he needed some kind of treat. "At 3:30 in the morning, I ordered $44 worth of ice cream," he told mlb.com. And he didn't just order a little bit. He went all in by ordering a brownie sundae, then added two orders of chocolate and two of vanilla, with chocolate syrup to top it all off. Then, he decided it wasn't the healthiest way to go. "To kind of keep it healthy, I ordered the berries," he said. "Oh, and a Diet Coke."
* Sunday's game was intense, especially once the Cubs brought Chapman in with one out and one on in the seventh, and made it clear it was his game, and their season, to save. Even a veteran like Cubs C David Ross said it was hard to deal with the stress. "I kept running in here (to the clubhouse) between innings and I kept telling the security guard my heart can't take much of this. Then 1B Anthony Rizzo ran by me and said, "I don't know how you old you know what can take this, I can barely this at first.''* Chapman became the the third player in the wild-card era (since 1995) to have a postseason save of eight or more outs, joining San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner, who went five innings in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series) and Cleveland's Brian Anderson - the current Rays TV analyst - who went three innings in Game 4 of the 1997 Series. I expect to be talking later today with BA about his experience.
* Had this in the paper today, but in case you missed it. Cubs manager Joe Maddon got some inspiration Sunday from an old friend. Rays radio broadcaster Andy Freed Freed was listening Sunday morning to SiriusXM's ‘70s channel re-runs of the old Casey Kasem countdown shows, as he often does. This week they were featuring 1979, and that got Freed - who grew up in the Baltimore area - thinking about that year's World Series. That's a tough one for him to forget, as the Pirates trailed three games to one, as the Cubs did going into play Sunday, but came back to beat the Orioles, winning the last two on the road. Knowing Maddon is also a big Casey Kasem fan, Freed shot him a text about the coincidence. Maddon appreciated the long-distance dedication. "The synchronicity in the world is always coming together,'' Maddon said. "So I'm taking solace in the fact that Andy gave me that information.''
* Of the 64 teams to lead a World Series 3-2, 43 have gone on to win the title. But only 25 of those teams won it in Game 6, including seven of the last 12. Of the 39 to lose Game 6, 18 have come back to win in Game 7.