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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Shut Out Of Series

Being a baseball fan in Moscow during the World Series is like dying of thirst in a desert during a light drizzle: Fifteen-second CNN highlights tease a baseball addiction the way a few drops of rain torment an unquenchable need to drink.


With the World Series in full swing in North America, baseball lovers in Moscow can only imagine the games from newspaper accounts and altogether too brief highlights on CNN.


A frantic investigation of Moscow's television services this week yielded no hope of watching America's national firstime. None are showing the games, although Kosmos TV said that a sports channel for baseball would be installed -- next month. Unfortunately, baseball will be over then.


The fact that this year's World Series is stacking up to be one of the most exciting in recent years only serves to increase the thirst to see the heroics. Already, two out of three games have been decided in the ninth inning as the Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays battled to one-run decisions.


This year's games also have a larger significance than the action on the field. For the first time the World Series includes more of the world. Tuesday night's game was played in Canada, as Toronto became the first team located outside the United States to challenge for the championship.


This confused at least one person had came close to sparking an international incident. Before the start of game two, U. S. Marines carried out the American and Canadian flags for the singing of the national anthems. The unfortunate fellow assigned to carry the Canadian flag inadvertently mounted it upside down on his flag pole, setting off a string of apologies to Canada from the Atlanta Braves and President George Bush.


But a closer look at these events shows only unfortunate coincidence, while another darker force is at work against the unsuspecting Braves.


The Braves have unravelled late in the games when they have brought in relief pitchers. It appears they are being plagued by the Boston Red Sox curse.


The Red Sox have not won a World Series since 1918 when they sold Babe Ruth, and their future, to the New York Yankees. Since then, the Red Sox have repeatedly been the classic late season and late inning washouts.


So what does this have to do with the Braves?


Everything.


The Braves acquired Boston reliever Jeff Reardon toward the end of this season. They thought they were solidifying their bullpen with the all-time saves leader, but they seem to have hexed themselves. Reardon brought the curse of late-inning failure with him.


In the two games that Atlanta has lost, both in the ninth inning, Reardon has been closely associated with the failure. In game two, he gave up the dramatic ninth-inning, two-run homer to unsung Ed Sprague. On Tuesday night, Reardon was brought on in the bottom of the ninth with one out to keep the game knotted at two. But the weight of past Boston failures weighed heavily on the relief pitcher as he served up a slider that Candy Maldonado smacked into center field, giving the Jays a 2-1 edge in the Series.


Unfortunately, in Moscow all we saw was the hit. We couldn't watch the build up to the 0-2 pitch. We didn't feel the tension of the game nor the excitement of Toronto's late-inning rally.


Instead, we could only sit, dry-mouthed, waiting for the next CNN Sports minute.