Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Baseball at Year's End
At mid season I wrote that I wasn't at all sure the young players on the Milwaukee Brewers would be able to stand up to a full year of pressure. Having suffered through twenty-five years of mediocrity, I was not about to get my hopes up that these kids could hang in there with the Cards and the Cubs for an entire season.
It was ugly, but they've done it. With less than two weeks left in a very irregular season, the Brewers trail the Cubs by one game. These two teams' fans have been scoreboard watching for six weeks, just awaiting the five-game losing streak, or seven- game winning streak that would create some separation between them. But this never happened, and one team or the other has been gnawing at the leader's heels for two months. As I said: some ugly baseball at times.
The Brewers have the rougher road the rest of the way. They have no off days --the Cubbies have two--and finish up five more games on the road before coming home for seven, the last four against the San Diego Padres, who will absolutely be fighting for a playoff spot themselves. That four game series will be as intense and exciting as the playoffs. For one of those teams, it WILL be the playoffs!
The worst thing about all of this is my two sons perched in Korea just now, who will miss watching the games with me. I have many fond memories of the boys hanging out in the living room, Colin usually doing some Greek translation at the same time he's keeping an eye on the game. Well boys! Don't miss this next two weeks! I'll sure miss watching the games with you. Robin just hasn't shown the interest you guys showed.
The second worst thing: Ed Veith and I used to take in half a dozen games a year when he was in the state. Lots of great baseball talk, vocation talk, culture talk, and brats. I remember a late September sixteen-inning game back at the old County Stadium. It was cold. Ed had a winter coat on. By the twelfth inning, including Colin, Jeremy, Ed and me, there were twenty two people in the entire upper deck (which held 28,000 when full). Do you have any idea what that means??? It means foul balls were ours for the chasing down and stuffing in our pockets. What a night. The home team won, too! Ed Veith has a hard and fast rule: you never, ever leave the game until it's over. Some vestigial red-dirt Oklahoma custom, I suppose. Anyway, I miss those times as well.
Finally: my Second Favorite Onion Headline: "Prince Fielder Dies of Inside-the-Park Home Run". I saw Prince's ITPHR this year, and it truly looked like he was ready to die when he finally reached home!