Column by Mike Monroe
Texans don’t have to look far to find evidence that even the most daunting deficit in a best-of-7 series can be overcome.
Take Game 6 of last year’s World Series.
The Rangers were one Game 6 out and one Neftali Feliz strike away from the first World Series championship in franchise history.
Leading 3-2 in the series, ahead 5-3 in the bottom of the ninth and with Feliz flinging high-90s fastballs at Cardinals third baseman David Freese, the Rangers had the champagne wheeled into their clubhouse.
Then, Freese smashed a 98-mph, two-strike fastball off the right field wall, driving in two runs to tie the score.
But just as the Thunder answered the Spurs’ third-quarter rally in Game 5, the Rangers responded with two more runs in the top of the 10th.
Then, New Braunfels native Lance Berkman, whose competitive spirit fits squarely into Gregg Popovich’s mold of what makes an ideal Spur, faced another two-out, two-strike situation with two runners on. He lined a two-run single to center, knotting the score a second time.
Freese’s walk-off home run in the 11th ended the most dramatic World Series game in years.
There’s one big difference between baseball and basketball, and it’s what turned Yogi Berra’s “It ain’t over until it’s over” from malaprop to logical genius: There’s no clock in baseball. That means a nine-inning game isn’t over until the 27th out is secured, however long that takes.
It was the late Express-News columnist Dan Cook who first told us “It’s not over until the fat lady sings.” Bullets coach Dick Motta co-opted the folksy aphorism when the Spurs took a 3-1 lead in the 1979 Eastern Conference finals. His team won three in a row to crush hearts all over Bexar County.
Popovich doesn’t do folksy, but if he wants to remind his players what is possible in the darkest situations, he might want to splice footage of Freese’s two-out double into the videotape the Spurs watch before Game 6.