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Charlie Sheen is a massive baseball fan, not just because he starred in films about the game, but because he grew up playing it. Now, the actor who brought Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn to life is lending his baseball insight to The Hollywood Reporter for his water cooler-style recaps of the World Series between the Cubs and “his team,” the Indians. Here is his recap of Games 3, 4 and 5 and thoughts on Games 6 and 7:
Let’s open with the heroic performance by Indians’ pitcher Josh Tomlin.
That whole thing about getting his father to the game, based on what the guy was going through, was pretty amazing. (Jerry Tomlin suffered a serious medical issue in mid-August which left him paralyzed from the chest down.) There is always a moment in games of this level in which a deeper story exists. That was that moment. For that gentleman to be seated there, watching his kid pitch in the condition that he was in, transcended the event.
And I have to say real fast how amazing it was Marv Levy was honored at that game after attending Game 7 in 1945 and seeing that final out when Skeeter Webb got Roy Hughes at second base. Also, no matter Joe Buck’s alleged favorite rooting interest, I have met the man, and he was beyond gracious and even more handsome in person. So take it easy on him. And a double high-ten to John Smoltz and his brilliant insight and his streamline knowledge of the game.
Now, Game 3 was exhausting and will reveal itself to be pivotal if Cleveland can close this thing out in the next few days. But here is what I am worried about: There is a karmic and cosmic parallel going back to 2003 when the Cubs came home up 3-2 and the Steve Bartman incident happened. So does that motivation rear its ugly head in the next two days? It’s hard not to acknowledge that working against Cleveland. And it is a bit of a tall order because the Indians draw pitchers Jake Arrieta and then Kyle Hendricks.
I must say, it blows my mind that the guy you rarely, seldom or never head of, Michael Martínez, scores the run to win the thing.
I should also mention Bill Murray’s “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” As a student of the game, Bill’s intro sounded like he was talking about Harry Caray, but then he goes into Daffy Duck. That doesn’t sit at the doorstop of baseball’s unearthed mythology. It was…different. That’s all I’m saying. (Game 3 ended 1-0 Cleveland.)
In Game 4, even though Cleveland pitcher Corey Kluber didn’t have as lethal an arsenal as he did in Game 1, he “applied all the guile he had in his repertoire.” I heard that quote in a Super 8 movie I bought through the mail when I was nine. Never got to use it until now.
And how about that whole thing when they revealed to Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis on camera that the last person to hit a three-run bomb in Wrigley Field during a Series was Babe Ruth in 1932 off of Charlie Root in the hotly debated “called shot.” It’s such a better story if he called the shot. He called the shot.
Many thought the Cubs were going to pour it on in that game, but the expectation and outcome were very different. (Game 4 ended 7-2 Cleveland.)
In Game 5, Cubs pitcher Jon Lester was a machine. And high-five to the Cubs’ Kris Bryant for staying the course and trusting his instincts and skill set, looking past that cavalcade of judgment and getting that solo homer.
The Cubs gambled and brought in Aroldis Chapman in the seventh, who broke his pitch count but still threw 100 mph and 101 mph consistently. I knew it was going to be coming back to Cleveland then. Even before Chapman happened, I could just hear the commentators talking about the first World Series win in Wrigley since Oct. 8, 1945. There is no way that a team that wins 103 games and clinches the post season in August loses a hat-trick at home having waited what must feel like 2,000 years.
Oh, and is it just me or did anyone else notice that the name of the manager who got the Cubs to that ’45 series, Charlie Grimm, shares the same name with the Cubs’ current pitcher, Justin Grimm? I’m just saying…. Who knows…. Baseball, man.
I still believe this thing goes to seven games. I think both teams are a bad-hop grounder away from the unknown. #Obvious.
Finally, I want to give a shout-out to one of my all-time favorite sportswriters and author of the column “Notes on a Scorecard,” the late Allan Malamud. Thank you, Mr. Malamud, whatever you may be.
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