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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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October 30th, 2014
05:53 PM ET

Should Royals have gone for home at end of Game 7?

By CNN's chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper

(CNN) – It has been observed that baseball is a metaphor for life, and we were reminded of that again last night at the end of the 7th Game of the amazing World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals.

With two outs, down by only one run, facing dominant Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner on the mound, Royals left fielder Alex Gordon stepped up to the plate. One pitch, one strike. But then, Gordon connected and hit the ball to left-center field, where the Giants bungled it.

It should have been a mere single, but Gordon took advantage of the Giant errors and rounded second. But he stopped at third, not wanting to be tagged out at home. Not wanting to be the last out. That was the cautious move. Odds are he would have been tagged at home. No question.

Except this is baseball. It's life. And yes, while Gordon was the potential third out at home, he was also the potential tying run. And with amazing Bumgarner on the mound, you have to go for it.

This is not just 20/20 hindsight, argued with the knowledge that the next Royal up to bat popped up and delivered the third out, ending the series.

Our friend Nate Silver at 538 crunched the numbers and determined Gordon only had a 25% chance of scoring. But Silver argues that Gordon should have tried anyway. That at worst "it would have been the most extraordinary way to lose a game in the history of baseball."

And after all, long after Gordon, and Bumgarner, and Nate Silver, and me, and you, and Kansas City, and San Francisco are gone, what does caution at a moment of potential glory end up meaning?

Are we not here to try to win – even if we usually lose – in extraordinary ways?

CNN's Rick Saleeby contributed to this report.

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