The first real road trip I ever went on was in 1999 to cover the National League Championship Series between the Mets and the Braves.
The Mets fell down 3-0 in that series, but won Games 4 and 5 to send the series back to Atlanta for a Game 6. I remember every other writer groaning about the Mets winning that game and having to go back to Atlanta for an essentially meaningless sixth game, but I was thrilled. It was another airplane ride, another nice hotel to stay in — and plus, me being a closet Mets fan, the series wasn’t over.
Nine years later, with a wife and two kids and a lawn that needs mowing (man, did I just sound old there or what?), airplane rides and hotels don’t have the same allure. But the theater of sports still does.
And if nothing else, “this series now has drama”:http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080502/SPORTS01/805020430/-1/SPORTS&referrer=NEWSFRONTCAROUSEL.
Down 3-1 and heading back to Pittsburgh, the Rangers obviously still have very long odds in front of them. But what they needed was one game to prove they could knock the Penguins on their heels, and they got that last night, with Jaromir Jagr and Henrik Lundqvist each leading the way.
And while coming back form 3-0 still sounds nearly impossible, winning Game 5 in Pittsburgh no longer seems so far-fetched. Nor does returning to win Game 6 back in at the Garden. And if the Rangers ever got that far, if they somehow won three straight and put all kinds of pressure on the Penguins in forcing a Game 7, a win in that game wouldn’t be so far-fetched either.
I know what you’re thinking: Easy there, Sam. Step back from your laptop. Time to switch to decaf.
Like I said, the hole is still very imposing. No one is disputing that. But there is still a chance, and with that in mind, it’s still very much worth watching.
In other words, there will be plenty of time to mow the lawn when the season is over.