Mark Frost's examination of the sixth game is like a roller coaster ride that goes on a bit too long in a pouring rainstorm. There are moments of sheer pleasure, enough so you don't mind the wet. But when the ride gets stuck in the rain it's just too much.
Frost approaches the sixth game for what it was-one of the best World Series games of all time, and he does it pitch by pitch, inning by inning. He does a great job of providing context for the game within the '75 World Series itself, as well as within the season. He gives dimension to the players too. I learned so much about Sparky Anderson, Carlton Fisk, and Bernie Carbo I didn't know. Nowhere does he do a better job of filling out our portrait of that game than his pictures of Luis Tiant and Tony Perez and their struggles to come to America from Cuba. His view of Tiant, his recovery from serious injury and efforts to spring his parents from Castro's Cuba is excellent. Frost's effort to provide highlights and shadows are best, however, as they tie more directly to his narrative of the game itself. The excitement of the Red Sox's early lead is palpable. The disillusionment that followed the Reds outburst that tied the game and eventually took the lead shows Sparky pulling all the right levers, while Darrel Johnson seems incapable or unwilling to save the sinking Sox. Carbo's home run and Fisk's game winner are all there in living color.
|Is there any more iconic image in our baseball memories than Fisk willing his 12th inning blast over the Green Monster fair? I think not. I liked the Red Sox in those days before they became victimized, entitled whiners.|
Game Six has lots of great moments, and I truly wish Frost had allowed the book to stand on the story of that season, that game, those players, rather than leading us by the nose to places that, frankly, we didn't need to go. Reading on my Kindle, I found myself thinking, "Really, you're going here?" and then advancing ahead, looking at my watch and reaching for the light. When Game Six is good, it's very good, but when it's bad it's irrelevant.