A familiar feeling with a dramatic finish
Figures I’d go to do a baseball game and a buzzer beater would break out.
Great game, though, wasn’t it?
Close. Well pitched. Dramatic end. Can’t ask for more than that.
Oh, wait. I guess you can.
Guess you could ask for an umpire not to blow the biggest call of the game, as the dude Knight did on the play at the plate that cost the TOD a tie and at least a shot to win it.
And that bring us to the big question:
Do they need more replay?
I think you know I’m not a big fan of too much use of video replay in pro sports, I like the human factor in officiating or umpiring because it’s as much a part of the game as anything. I think there’s too much of it in basketball, far too much of it in football and the pucks, well, I don’t watch enough to know how badly it slows down that game.
So do you add more? I presume they will because that’s the way the games are going these and no one seems to care how much it slows things down. Is it better? I wonder.
And here’s the thing about last night’s play with Encarnacion at the plate in the ninth.
Even manager John Farrell admitted after the game that he didn’t realize just how badly blown the call was until he got back to the clubhouse and saw it on TV. If he had a challenge or the chance to protest or something like that, there’s every chance he wouldn’t have used it. Even Encarnacion didn’t complain loudly and he was right there on a bang-bang play.
So, yes, you can lament a lost chance to tie thanks to the human failings of an umpire. But aren’t human failings a part of the game?
A fun part?
And so it ends – for all intents and purposes – for Canada at the world junior men’s championships over in Latvia.
They were drilled by Serbia this morning, taking away any chance they had to sneak into the final eight and while they’ll now play in the “classification round” for ninth through 16, the real dream is gone.
So, was it a bad result, to go 3-4 so far and be only able to finish ninth? Nah, not really and that’s taking into account the publicly stated goal was to get out of the first round and the private goal of many was probably play for a medal.
What these tournaments are about, mostly, is getting kids much needed experience and exposure and setting them up for the future. In that regard, anything’s good, despite the final record.
Sure, a Top 8 finish would have been great and far better than whatever ultimately happens but in the bigger picture, this is about the next four years as much as it is this week and a half.
Okay, here’s a list, totally subjective and far from complete because, well, mostly because I’m not as well travelled as some and not at all pretentious about what I’ve seen or where I’ve been.
But since we’re into baseball, how about some of the great ballparks and how they stack up.
I’m limiting this to ones I’ve actually been in because that’s only fair and I’ve been in a few so it has some depth.
A list from best to not-so-best:
Safeco Field, Seattle
For some reason, I love it. Maybe it’s the Seattle fan in me but the sightlines are great, you can walk around quite easily, lots to do and there’s a nice, comfortable feeling.
Chase Field, Phoenix
Kind of quirky, there’s a nice, homey feel to it and if the roof’s closed, you don’t feel claustrophobic.
Now, inside is cramped and there are pillars in the way and the seats can be uncomfortable. But, I did spend a memorable Saturday afternoon in the centre field bleachers one day in my misspent youth and that day included talking to Bill Veeck so that didn’t suck.
The neighbourhood? Really second to none for having fun.
Maybe it’d be better if I wasn’t working and could really soak in the atmosphere but that’s not the case so it has to stay down the list.
Miller Park, Milwaukee
Was only there once, way back in the first year that it opened and while Bernie Brewer didn’t do anything to capture my imagination, I remember it being pretty homey.
Comerica Park, Detroit
Too big, there is no feeling of intimacy at all. Super Son and I saw a couple of games – one night, one day – and it didn’t feel “cool” at any time.
It was a while ago but I remember it being really impersonal and if not for Boog Powell barbecue in right field, I’d have forgotten anything about it.
The pitch of the low-level seats is terrible, the place half-full has no buzz whatsoever and if you’re unfortunate enough to have to sit through a game with the lid closed it’s truly a soul-sapping exercise.
Now, I’ve been in old Shea (cool), old Yankee (cooler) and old Tiger (coolest) but they don’t count and I can barely recall the old Ex through the haze of $4 seats in the outfield grandstand and the inherent, um, socializing.
How’d you folks like to send me some mail?
We’re looking for the usual off-the-wall kind of stuff, really not all that interested in the breakdown of the non-existent negotiations so if you’ve got something, send it here.
Oh yeah, this Jonas Valanciunas kid from Lithuania is leading the world juniors in scoring (20.7 points per game) and rebounds (13.3 boards per game) through the first two rounds.
He keeps that up and NBA people might be talking about him. And so might be fans of those NBA teams.
I know there are those who’ll discount his numbers because it’s “only” the world juniors but he’s still putting them up and dominating at times and that’s not a bad thing at all. Maybe he’s “supposed” to but that doesn’t always happen.
I think today might have been the start of the Summer League season had this been a regular NBA summer.
Nah, me neither.
So, I get this news release from the National Basketball League of Canada – the league that’s going to start up in the fall – and it’s about how the NBL might be able to offer some kind of employment to NBA players if the lockout drags on and delays the start of the season.
Ambitious suggestion, no question about it; and one that should have probably been left alone.
Look, I hope this league thrives and it gives some Canadian kids a chance to play professionally at home and that fans flock to the games. They seem to be going about it the right way, small markets where the game is appreciated but they need to go slowly and logically and starting off trying to offer employment to guys who are going to bolt the second the NBA comes back smacks of going too big, too quickly.
Okay, time to sit around for another few hours before winding up this Week As A Seamhead and maybe I can figure out what’s good, bad or different between the two gigs and we can talk about it tomorrow.