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Saturday, Dec 2, 2023

The Inside Story

Author: David Lindholm Assistant Sports Editor

It was the best World Series in my lifetime and quite possibly the best ever. And it could not have ended in a better fashion from a baseball standpoint. Yankees fans should be disappointed but should also realize that the end result was justified and brilliant.

As Diamondbacks' second baseman Craig Counsell said immediately after the game, "This is baseball at its best. This is sports at its best." And he was right; the World Series reminded all of us why we watch sports in the first place.

The Diamondbacks' miracle win was the correct result. After all, the Yankees played pretty terribly over the course of the Series, relying on strong pitching and (of course) unbelievable clutch hits to force a game seven. The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, used pure grit and an occasional offensive outburst, all the while playing strong defense and getting consistently superb pitching from World Series Co-MVPs Randy Johnson and Curt Shilling. to win.

Rookie manager Bob Brenly does not have to endure endless questions regarding tactics, over-use of pitchers or pinch hitters. World Series rings can go to the elder statesmen of the team; Matt Williams (35), Mark Grace (37) and Mike Morgan (42).

The argument that it was the best World Series ever would not have existed had the Yankees won. First of all, the home team won all seven games, and there would not have been very much magic in the Yankees taking game seven in Arizona for their fourth straight Series. The fact that the D-Backs knocked off the best team in baseball history (coming from a Red Sox fan, that's pretty high praise) and beat the best closer (Mariano Rivera) in history to win the deciding game added the magic that made this Fall Classic so great.

Just think about it. Bottom of the ninth, game seven of the World Series, bases loaded, down by a run. "It's a childhood dream," said Luis "Gonzo" Gonzalez, who fufilled the dream with a bloop hit over the head of Derek Jeter. The images of Brenly and his team sprinting out of the dugout and Jay Bell stepping on home plate with the winning run will always be remembered.

As for the fans of New York, they received from their team the best that they could have hoped for short of the Series. The Yanks won all three of their games in the House the Ruth Built. The game four win is considered to be one of the best World Series games ever.

No matter who you root for, you have to admit that this Series was amazing. Think of the pure elation of the Diamondbacks, who won game seven despite being down 2-1 in the ninth inning, facing the best closer ever with their bottom third of the batting order. "It was an honor to play in this series," Counsell said.