10/14/2003 11:57 PM ET
NLCS Game 6: Game balls
Is there anything in sports more exciting than a decisive Game 7? Probably not, but it will be hard for the Cubs and Marlins to replicate the emotional roller coaster with no seatbelts that they rode in Game 6. Out of breath, we award up to five "Harry Carays" to the best and worst of the home-bound Cubs, and fish for the Marlins.
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
Five fish: Whale of a performance
Four fish: Starfish
Three fish: Happy as a clam
Two fish: Nice minnow
One fish: Sorry, Charlie
Helping hands: To Marlins fans, those hands that reached from the stands and blocked Moises Alou from making out No. 2 in the eighth inning came from above -- literally and figuratively. Maybe the same hands nudged the baseball out of the Cubs' Alex Gonzalez's glove on what looked like a routine play to shortstop a few moments later. Were they the same hands that emerged from behind the old manual scoreboard in center field and hung a big, white, shocking "8" on the Marlins line score?
Jack McKeon: The 72-year-old Marlins skipper stepped in after a slow start and made believers of the guys in his clubhouse, even though most of baseball world -- including the fans who stayed away from Pro Player Stadium -- did not give the Fish a swimming chance. Here's hoping McKeon is back for 2004.
Derrek Lee: Lee hit .271 with 31 home runs and 97 RBIs in the regular season, but has been a no-show for the Marlins' postseason run. He came to play on Tuesday. Lee delivered a two-run double off Mark Prior to tie the game, 3-3, in the eighth inning and finished 1-for-5. He walked away smiling with a NLCS batting average of .148.
Ugueth Urbina: After the Marlins exploded for eight runs in the eighth, the worst possible scenario for the Marlins would have seen the Cubs rebound with a rally to at least make it close. Instead, Urbina sent them down in order in the eighth and ninth innings, 1-2-3-4-5-6. He saved momentum a seat in the visitor's dugout.
Five Harry Carays: Holy Cow!
Four Harry Carays: Like a long fly ball onto Waveland
Three Harry Carays: Careful -- Cubs fans are fickle
Two Harry Caray: Stuck in traffic on Lakeshore Dr.
One Harry Caray: Throw it back!
Sammy Sosa: Until Tuesday, Sosa's signature moment in the series was his jaw-dropping home run back in Game 2. On Tuesday he announced his presence yet again, driving in the Cubs' first run, scoring their second and finishing with three hits.
Mark Prior: For 7 1/3 innings, he was marvelous, and Cubs fans were ready to start dancing down Clark St. Then some fans down the left-field line blocked Moises Alou from making what could have been the second out of the eighth, and everything unraveled. Instead of bidding for a series-clinching shutout, Prior was strapped with five runs (three earned) and the most frustrating loss of his career.
Cubs 'D': It started so well, with third baseman Aramis Ramirez making a diving grab of a botched Luis Castillo bunt followed up by a pick and throw to get Ivan Rodriguez and kill a Marlins rally in the third inning, when the score was still 1-0. But after the odd play down the left field line, shortstop Alex Gonzalez bobbled a possible double-play ball and opened the floodgates for a stunning eight-run Marlins eighth inning.
Fans on Waveland: There were hundreds of them, thousands, with no view of the action. Some were there for an opportunity to snag a Sammy Sosa home run, more were there just to be there. Can you come back Wednesday?
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.