No matter how many times your team wins it all, it doesn’t ever quite erase the memory of the one that got away.
As a Royals fan, to an embarrassing degree my happiness over their winning the 2015 World Series was hampered by the unshakable memory of Alex Gordon being stranded on third base as the tying run in Game 7 the year before. One of my very first painful sports memories was watching the Royals fall short against the wantonly evil New York Yankees in Game 5 of the 1977 ALCS, which ended with that saint of a man Freddie Patek, sitting in the dugout with his face buried in his hands after grounding into a series-ending double play. Oh, it still hurts.
I suspect every baseball fan has similar memories. Even Yankees fans. We all have moments that we replay in our mind over and over, thinking of just how close it was to coming out right. These little pangs of regret sometimes make us wonder why we bother to invest ourselves so thoroughly in the first place. The only thing that could cauterize these wounds would be a chance to do it all over again.
Well … we can’t do that. There’s no app for that. But what we can do, in the void of the actual, real games we need so badly right now, is offer up a second chance for some of those teams. Not really, of course, but in a virtual sense.
Here is what we’re going to do. There is a lot of simulating of the 2020 baseball season going around right now, and part of me is heartened to see it. Sims! My sun and stars! At the same time, we demurred from doing that very thing. (Publicly, anyway. I am in fact managing the Chicago teams in a day-by-day sim of the suspended season.)
For one thing, it seems a little macabre given the reason for the delayed start to the season. For another, we didn’t want to lure anyone into an exercise we didn’t really want them to follow to the end. I mean, we want real games. If we get them, we would want to drop our simmed 2020 season like a bad habit. What would be the point?
Instead, we decided to embark on some what-if scenarios that might be fun to explore. At the top of the list was a “Second-Chance World Series.”
What if we could provide another shot — albeit a virtual one — at the crown for some of those near-miss teams through baseball history? Starting next week, that’s what we’re going to do.