DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 17: Koji Uehara #19 and Mike Napoli #12 of the Boston Red Sox celebrate their 4 to 3 win over the Detroit Tigers during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 17, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Mike Napoli isn't taking the Boston Red Sox's 3-2 lead in the World Series for granted, especially when looking across the field and seeing his opponent.
Sure you haven't forgotten, but when Napoli was with the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series, it was against the same St. Louis Cardinals that Napoli and his Red Sox teammates are trying to put away this year.
Napoli would have easily been the MVP of the 2011 World Series had the Rangers been able to get one more strike — twice! — but it didn't happen, and the rest was history. Now, he's not resting on the laurels of his team's 3-2 series lead as the World Series gets going again Wednesday night in Boston.
"I think about it all the time," Napoli told the Boston Herald of that ill-fated World Series with the Rangers. "I'll be home, sitting on the couch watching baseball, and you always play the what-ifs. What if I called a slider there [to David Freese]? Or what if Nelly [Cruz] caught that ball? You go through that all the time. It hurts to this day. It was so close. That's the closest you could possibly be, and I was right there — twice. For me, it took a while to get over. I don't think I'll ever get over it."
A win with the Red Sox, possibly with fellow former Ranger Koji Uehara closing the door on the Cardinals, either Wednesday or Thursday night coudl cure a lot of that though.