Monday, May 08, 2006

Baseball's Best: Online

I was in a bit of a Tribe nostalgia mood (or perhaps merely feeling a tad masochistic) a couple of weeks ago, and I wound up watching both of my aging commemorative World Series videotapes over a couple of evenings.

The 1995 series against the Atlanta Braves was certainly the far less painful of the two to watch, since the Tribe was quite simply outmatched on the pitching front from the get-go.

The 1997 series against the Florida Marlins, however, is an entirely different kettle of fish to watch. This time, the times were far more evenly matched and walking into a packed-to-thegills BW-3's to watch Game 7 on that cold late October Sunday night, it looked like we were finally going to get the sports championship that this town has wanted for so long. Of course, it wasn't to be, and perhaps in the worst way possible ... we were one strike away from winning it all in the bottom of that ninth inning.

One. Lousy. Strike.

Thus, instead of becoming one of the the high points of my life as a baseball fan, Game 7 represented instead one of the most excruciating evenings in the history club. Talk about having your heart just ripped out of you. Ugh.

Anyway, while watching the opening set-up montage for the '97 Series, I was shown blips of the preceding, bitterly-fought ALCS battle with the Baltimore Orioles which reawakened my memories of that series, particularly Games 3 and 6, which remain to this day two of my favorite Indians games ever. Wishing for the thousandth time that I'd taped these marathon pitching duels, I started combing the web looking for a way to land copies of these gems for myself.

What I came across instead of way to own these games was a way to watch at least one of them (Game 3) via. streaming video from MLB itself. I also managed to kill the rest of that day with a $3 "day pass" to's Baseball's Best library, where a large array of their selected greatest games await you in streaming form (be it audio or video), including that gutwrenching 1997 Game 7 in full. There are also a bunch of "shorts" as well, which combine some highlights with modern interview footage for those who don't feel like watching entire games, or you can pick specific innings to watch, should the mood strike you. Pretty cool stuff, and I've become a bit tempted to subscribe for a month in July or August when the pennant races get going and watch whatever games I please whenever I want.

A quick note: your overall enjoyment of the Baseball's Best selection will be greatly enhanced if you happen to be a fan of the Goddamned Yankees, since they seem to dominate a large part of the offered games on the list. Even if you aren't, however, there are a couple of reccomendations I can pass along in the form of featured perfect games from David Wells and David Cone, both of which manage to transcend being Yankees games and become more about individual achievement. Despite my intense loathing of the Bronx Bombers, I couldn't help but get swept up in the moment as these two guys pulled off the rarest feats in the game (there have only been five of these in my lifetime to date).

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