“All the emotions that go into it can really suck the energy out of you, so you’ve really got to make sure you channel those feelings and thoughts,” he said. “Baseball was an outlet for me. It took my mind off it.”
Conversely, Hrbek tried to forget about baseball as his coping mechanism. His hunting buddies were amazed that he had enough patience to sit in a duck blind the morning of GAME 7 OF THE WORLD SERIES!
“It’s still the same stinking game,” Hrbek said. “Why should I do anything different?”
Hrbek was lucky enough to experience the ultimate Game 7, the last game of the season. Or as he put it, the one “for all the marbles.”
“Sure, you’re going to be nervous,” he said, “but that’s what you play for.”
Former North Star Mike Modano played in a handful of Game 7s in his Hall of Fame career. Even Mr. Cool himself felt “a lot of anxiety and nervousness knowing it’s just a one-game situation.”
“You don’t want to do anything foolish that puts you behind early or puts your team in a horrible situation,” he said.
Walz remembers a couple of players cracked one-liners in the locker room before the game to cut the tension.
“That’s why it’s always nice to have a couple of clowns in your room to keep the mood light,” he said.
Walz, Szczerbiak and Modano all shared nearly identical answers regarding the final message in the locker room: No regrets.
“You don’t want to be passive in a Game 7,” Szczerbiak said.
Said Modano: “Don’t wake up the next morning telling yourself, ‘I wish I could have done more.’ ”
That’s the true beauty of a Game 7. There are no do-overs, no second chance to make things right. Both teams have exhausted their wiggle room.
“Game 7 is a different animal,” Walz said.
Chip Scoggins • firstname.lastname@example.org