WIth the World Series heading to Game 5 tonight, I asked MLB Network analyst Billy Ripken his thoughts on the series so far.
SI.com: The World Series is now tied 2-2. Give me your prediction for tonight's game?
Ripken: I picked the Cardinals to win when the Series started, though I didn't know how many games it would go. I'm not going to be a guy who straddles the fence and all of a sudden says 'Boston's gonna win.' In order for St. Louis to win, they have to win tonight. I think [Adam] Wainwright will throw a good game. Look how close the first game was with Wainwright and [Jon] Lester. If they turn that double play in the first game, the game's different. And I can't imagine them making the same mistakes they made in that game. Wainwright has proven over the years to be a guy who goes out there and gets then a good start when they absolutely need it and I expect them to win tonight.
SI.com: David Ortiz gave a speech to his teammates in the dugout during the sixth inning of last night's game. Do you think that helped inspire the comeback?
Ripken: I call all that coincidence and window dressing. Whatever Papi said to them in the dugout didn't spur anything. It's a nice moment. Rah Rah. Whatever. The fact that [Dustin] Pedroia goes out there and gets the knock. They pitch around Papi. [Jonny] Gomes hits a three-run homer really had nothing to do with the pep talk in the dugout. We can go that route all we want but in reality, it's not real.
SI.com: Who's been most impressive to you so far this series?
Ripken: I have to throw Papi into the mix. This guy is locked in. The lefty-lefty matchup with [Kevin] Siegrist didn't work as he took him deep once on a first-pitch heater and smoked a pitch in the second at-bat. Siegrist is not your basic everyday lefthander but Papi is locked in. The Cardinals have been doing their best to pitch around him. It didn't work out last night. I think they're going to continue their philosophy and let whoever hits behind Big Papi do the damage. I can't imagine him getting anything to hit. The other thing is when you look at [Michael] Wacha or any other pitcher for the Cardinals who comes in throwing a billion MPH. Wacha's game went from rookie to rookie to rookie to finish out a World Series game. It's impressive to watch and they all look like they've been there before. But they couldn't have been because they are all rookies. I like the arms of St. Louis but Papi right now at the dish is most impressive.
SI.com: As an analyst, do you mind the games going so late?
Ripken: The cool thing about baseball is that there is no time limit. It's an out thing. There is something really cool about that. I know there are some people who want shorter games and less people stepping out of the batter's box but that's all part of it. It really is. There's so much that goes into, and in between every pitch. It's the one sport that you stand 95 percent of the time yet it can also be a sport where the action happens just as fast as any other sport. And that's pretty unusual when you think about it.
Editor's Note: I did not ask Ripken about his famous baseball card but here's a good story explaining it all.
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