SOMEWHERE OVER MIDDLE AMERICA, U.S.A. — It’s only a four-hour flight from LAX to Gen. Mitchell airport, but it seems as if it’s taking forever. The peanuts are dry in the mouth. The Coke tastes expired. Coach class seems more crowded and we’re stuck near the smoking section. I couldn’t even get into the flick on the plane — “Rocky III.” Yeah, yeah, he’s gonna beat Clubber Lang. We’ve seen this movie before.
And we’ve seen it before with the Crew. Fall behind, rally, find a way to crawl out of the hole. They’ve done this time and again in ’82. They come out battered and bruised, but they always come out.
It’s tough, however, to believe that this time the Angels won’t be the Angels of Death, tossing dirt onto the Crew’s corpses. No team in the history of either league championship series has rebounded from an 0-2 deficit.
What now, Crew?
What are we to believe? Can we? Against Baltimore, the Crew only needed one win on the final day. Now, they need three in a row. When was the last time they did that? They reeled off five straight taking two from the Tigers and three from the damned Yankees. Since then? They’ve been up and down, inconsistent and altogether maddening.
There’s pressure in the regular season and then there’s postseason pressure. The Crew barely escaped from Baltimore. This, however, is different. They looked doomed against the Angels, who look as if they’re ready to become the Angels of Death, cutting down the Crew and sweeping them into the offseason hereafter.
You know the cliche about there being no tomorrow? It’s true. The worst thing to see are the “if necessary” asterisks for Games 4 and 5. They are necessary for the Crew. For the Angels, they can turn those asterisks into exclamation points with a win in any of the next three games.
If the Crew meekly goes down, I’d have to put an asterisk next to their season. Yes, Robin Yount will win the AL MVP and Pete Vuckovich may win the Cy Young, but those are individual honors. These two earned them, but ask them if they’d trade the individual hardware for a championship ring. They’d do it in a heartbeat.
Heading home for tomorrow’s Game 3, the Brewers’ heartbeat is as faint as it’s been all season. There are questions aplenty. Will the bats wake up? Will the pitchers find their groove? Will returning to Milwaukee return the Crew to a comfort zone?
What now, Crew?
Of course, no one knows. But this time, this deficit, feels worse than anything else all season.