Sunday, July 27, 2008
That's Why They Play The Games
There's an old saying in sports-- "That's why they play the games." It refers to unexpected results; throughout the history of sports, teams that were heavily favored lost.
Toward the end of the season, everybody assumed that the Senior League Yankees were going to be in the championship. They'd lost only two games-- they beat us twice. We assumed we'd be playing them today. We did not.
Yesterday, on my way to work, I stopped to check in on the Yankees vs. A's game. I saw a parent I knew (she happened to be the wife of the A's' coach) and asked her how things were going. It was the seventh inning-- the Yankees were coming up for their last at-bats, and the A's were winning 6-3!
The way the playoffs work is that the first place team plays the last place, the second plays the fourth, etc. It usually quickly weeds out the teams who finished lower in the standings. But yesterday, the A's brought their "A Game." I had to leave before the end to go to work, but a friend of mine happened to be walking by the restaurant; she was bringing her son to check on the results in his league playoffs. She told me she'd stop by and check on the Senior League finale.
The A's held on to their lead and won the game.
We were happy about this. It meant that today we were playing the A's, a team we'd beaten twice during the season, rather than the Yankees, who'd beaten us twice. Also, they're just a much nicer bunch of guys than the Yankees, were were arrogant and cocky. Doug, the coach of the A's, had been Adam's coach for a couple of past seasons, is the nicest guy in the world. It was funny to see he and Adam chatting as Adam played third for the Red Sox and Doug coached third for the A's.
Today's game was hard-fought. There were great defensive plays on both sides. There was not going to be an 18-6 blowout like we had on Friday.
We managed to score three runs on one play, but that play was costly; Mike, one of our pitchers and best players, and the coach's son, twisted his knee badly avoiding a tag at home plate. Not only was he taken out of the game, he had to go get his knee x-rayed. We're still waiting to hear how he is.
Adam smacked a solid hit into left-center, and then advanced to third on two balks. Unfortunately, the hitters after him weren't able to bring him in.
The A's managed to score two runs, and we headed into the seventh inning up 3-2 (in our league, regulation games are 7 innings. They got a guy on base with a walk, and then one of their guys cracked a hit and scored the runner, tying it up. We finally got the side out and headed into the bottom of the seventh with a tied score.
One of our guys got on base, and then stole second. Then John came up and smacked a liner into center field. I'd had a feeling he was due for a hit and was ready to with the camera when the runner scored. And then it sank in; we'd won the game. We are going to the championships!
The boys were, not surprisingly, euphoric. The coach gathered them around to congratulate them, and to remind them of the days of the World Series games-- Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. I realized that I'd have to change all kinds of plans-- we have tickets for a minor league game on Tuesday and I had to call a friend of mine to cover my shift at the restaurant on Wednesday. And if the series goes to three games, I'll have to meet Kim and Mel up at her family's reunion-- we were supposed to go up Friday morning. I'd made all these plans weeks or even months ago, just assuming that we wouldn't reach the championship.
On the way to work later this afternoon, I'm going to stop and check on the National League championship game between the Cubs and the Reds. Everybody has assumed that the Cubs would have this one wrapped up, but then again, everybody assumed that the Yankees were going to the World Series. As i said, that's why they play the games.