The World Series is driving you bonkers, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Every time you think the Dodgers have won, some wide-eyed Houston Astro swings from his fancy cleats, clangs a ball into a bleacher and dances all over your heart.
Every time you think the Dodgers have lost, Cody bellows or Corey flexes or Puig becomes Puiiiiig and suddenly you’re clutching that scratchy rally towel and tugging on that faded blue T-shirt and hopping around the middle of your living room to the rattling of your Vin bobblehead.
You scream, you groan, you nearly pass out twice, then, early Monday morning in Houston, your world is turned upside down when the series shifts on a 10th-inning Astros single that scores a guy named, yes, Lakers fans, Derek Fisher.
The Astros’ memorable, painful 13-12 victory over the Dodgers in Game 5 was yet another example of a week filled with both miraculous drama and unabashed kookiness. And though you can’t take it anymore, you also can’t get enough.
This cannot yet be declared the best World Series ever, if only because there are still two games remaining, beginning Tuesday night in Game 6 at Dodger Stadium with the Astros leading three games to two.
However, this certainly qualifies as the craziest World Series ever, with balls flying, bats flipping, bullpens crumbling, legends dissolving, fans trespassing, players insulting, and a manager feuding with fans.
Of course. This World Series is a circus with sideshows, freak shows and high-wire acts filled with both travesty and triumph, sometimes in the same inning.
The baseball is juiced. The players are crazed. The fans are nuts. The moments are epic.
“It feels like it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger,’’ the Astros’ Collin McHugh said. “I don’t even know what to expect anymore. You think you’ve seen everything in baseball until you haven’t.’’
Start with the baseballs. They are slicker than a regular-season ball. Ask any of the players. The pitchers can’t get their regular grips. They can’t throw their best pitches. There are more hanging sliders coming in, and more 400-foot blasts going out.
“I think, as a whole, everybody is saying, ‘Whoa, something is a little off here,’’’ said Astros pitcher Justin Verlander, who will be opposed by Rich Hill of the Dodgers on Tuesday.
Baseball officials claim the ball has not been altered. Should we believe them? This is a sport clamoring for more offense to combat the slow pace that has driven away some younger fans.
The only thing wilder than the baseballs are the players, whose combination of youth, aggressiveness and sometimes foolishness has turned the series into a giant playground.
Remember Carlos Correa’s skyrocketing bat flip after his 10th-inning homer in Game 2 that led to a 7-6 win in 11 innings? Then remember how baseball’s best bat flipper responded? In the bottom of the inning, Yasiel Puig homered and gently laid his bat to the ground.
The most amazing home-run celebration of all happened in the bottom of the 11th, when the Dodgers’ Charlie Culberson pulled the Dodgers to within a run yet pumped his fists and gestured to the crowd as if it was a much bigger hit. The Astros guessed he had lost track and thought he tied the score. Just another night in this nutty October.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, ‘This is the craziest game of my life’
“Wasn’t that the best game ever!’’ Alex Bregman shouted in the Astros’ clubhouse afterward.
Turns out, that wasn’t even the best game of the week.
Then there was the darker side of the players’ aggression, witnessed in Yuli Gurriel’s racist gesture toward Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish early in the Astros’ Game 3 victory. In the dugout, Gurriel pulled at the sides of his eyes and referred to Darvish, who is Japanese, by using a derogatory word.
Baseball officials claimed to condemn the act, but his five-game suspension was deferred to next year. So what does Gurriel do during the second game of his reprieve? He homers off Clayton Kershaw to start the party in Game 5.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, ‘This is the craziest game of my life,’’’ Astros reliever Joe Musgrove said.
Finally, the wackiness spread to the fans, who cheered constantly through 103-degree heat in Los Angeles, a game lasting more than five hours in Houston, and eventually crossed the line.
During the chaos of Game 2 at Dodger Stadium, a fan climbed into the Astros’ bullpen before being led away by police. Given the shaky state of the Astros’ relievers, observers wondered whether manager A.J. Hinch should have warmed him up.
On Sunday night, fans at Houston’s Minute Maid Park countered with their own out-of-control act, as a man wearing only American flag biker shorts ran onto the field during the late-inning wildness before he was taken away by police.
The fans reportedly haven’t confined their high jinks to the field. After the Dodgers’ opening game victory, some folks at a Pasadena hotel bar heckled Hinch into what Pasadena police said was an argument.
Of the last 10 World Series teams to return home trailing three games to two, only one lost in Game 6. Eight of those teams actually won the series, including the Angels defeating the San Francisco Giants by sweeping the final two games at Angel Stadium in 2002.
The last week has taught us that nobody can guarantee anything in this battle, but … wait, take that back.
“This is not going to be finished Tuesday,’’ Puig promised. “There’s going to be Game 7.’’
Really? More? Good.