Cubs must deal with disturbing trend

History has shown that teams do not fare well in the wake of near-clinchings that go awry.

Updated: October 15, 2003, 10:17 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
I hate using words like "momentum" and "emotional letdown" in conjunction with a game like baseball. In general, there is not a lot of proof that these things exist. The trouble is, throughout baseball's history -- especially its most recent past -- there is all kinds of evidence to suggest that teams do not fare well in the wake of near-clinchings that go awry. Tonight we will find out if the Cubs will join the parade of latter day teams that have lost series after entering Game 6 leading three to two and blowing leads that appeared to indicate they were on the verge of clinching.

Here is the recent accounting of teams that did basically what the Cubs did last night: lose Games 6 while on the verge of clinching:

1985 World Series: Yes, Don Denkinger blew the call. That is not disputable. The Cardinals entered the ninth inning of Game Six with a 1-0 lead and needing three outs to put away the Royals. They played a messy inning, got burned by a bad call and lost. They came out the next night and played pissed off which might work in football but resulted in an 11-0 thrashing in this case.

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at