Boston sports fans were in a similar position to the one they’re in today just a few years back. In June of 2010, the Celtics were coming off a thrilling Game 5 victory over the arch-rival Lakers, and owned a 3-2 series lead in the NBA Finals. There were whispers of a parade and the Auerbach-style cigars were on stand-by, ready to be lit. Unfortunately for Boston fans, the Celtics were throttled in Game 6 in L.A. and the fatigued bunch let a lead crumble in the second half of Game 7 at the Staples Center. Lesson learned. Don’t get ahead of yourself.
There’s more reason for optimism in this current Red Sox scenario, however. First, both Games 6 and 7 are in Boston. Second, the Red Sox have looked like the superior team in this series nearly the whole way. In fact, many have already made the case that the series should already be over considering Game 3 ended in questionable fashion, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia tagging Allen Craig at home but not getting the call thanks to the lengthy legs of Will Middlebrooks.
The Red Sox are, of course, playing things close to the vest given that the Cardinals have already won two games in a row in this series and have proven capable of winning at Fenway Park.
“Provided we win one more,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Monday’s Game 5 victory about the excitement of being so close to a World Series crown. “The fact is we’re going home. Going back to a place that our guys love to play in, in front of our fans. This atmosphere in (St. Louis), these three games have been phenomenal. We know it’s going to be equal to that, if not better (at Fenway). And we’re excited about going home in the position we are.”
According to CBS Sports, the previous 62 times a World Series has been at 3-2, the team with the lead has won 66.1 percent of the time (41-of-62). Those are pretty good odds. But counting fried chickens (and beer) before they hatch (or are cracked) is something Boston fans have been taught not to do. The payoff is always sweeter with patience.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS