Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Name Is PTownFan And I Have A Problem

It sucks to be competitive at my age.  It really does. 

The Valley Little League Brodie's Team was crowned Petaluma Junior Division Champions* today. I tip my cap to them.  Well pitched, well played.  The Blue Crew called a good game and we had opportunities to make it much closer, if not get ahead early.  It was 90 something degrees by gametime and 99 by the time the final pitch was thrown with Brodies up 8-3*.  Even with the hard hitting top of our order due up, the speech bubbles on the speechless young faces were saying, "Please let this be over." I guess I can't blame them.  They'd played 5 games in 5 days, it would take a 6th to win the flag, and it was bloody hot.

But I had the 2004 Boston Red Sox in my head. Remember them?  Losing 4-3 in the 9th and down zero games to three the best-of-seven American League Championship Series, the #8 Sox hitter outfoxed the great Mariano Rivera to force extra innings and win the game. And ultimately the series. The top of our Round Table order had rallied with two outs in the 5th to score a couple of runs.  They were due up again in the 7th. My glass was half full.  Lotta baseball left.  But the Baseball Gods intervened and gave the boys a pass on the rest of the game.

"What'chu talkin' about, Willis?"

Yep, the Baseball Gods inserted a phantom scoreless inning in the other team's scorebook, leading them to believe the game was over when our #9 batter grounded out. As I was busy totalling out my T6 half inning, boxes of trophies were appearing on the field.  I jumped up in amazement as the congratulatory end of game hand slapping was taking place, and waved my lovely orange, but very unofficial Visitor Team scorebook at the ump, shouting "it's only the 6th inning!!!"  I keep a good book, but I'm not perfect so I did a hurry up double check. Had I scored two innings in one column? Nope... Passed out briefly in the heat and missed an inning? Nope... Earlier in the game I had picked up the wrong leadoff batter and got off track for a few hitters. That quick fix had long since been made, but it was enough to rattle my confidence. So I asked a couple of travel ball dads for a quick double-check.  Still short an inning, we appealed to the Blue Crew. Their response? "Home Book says we've played seven innings so we're done."

By this point, the boys had their trophies and the other team's photo op with the Championship Banner was underway.  And the Sports Editor of the local paper and two other parents keeping score approached with confused looks also wondering what happened to B6 and T7. Four scorekeepers showed a 5.5 inning game.  Only the home team's book showed the additional inning. The inning that wasn't. The win with an asterisk.

I hate it when the game is taken out of the players' hands.  I just think it's too bad it ended with something clearly amiss and the losing team having a chance. We're not talking about an Umpire's strike zone.  This was a discrepancy that could have been cross checked. I have a newfound appreciation for all the rules and regulations of sanctioned Little League Tournaments. Especially the roped off Official Scorekeepers' Table under a "cone of silence" so pitch counts, scores and innings are all accounted for and verified by Tournament Officials.  The Championship game of the City Tourney deserves the same.

All that said, the second place finishers didn't seem to mind. They were cooked.  A longshot win today would have forced another game at high noon tomorrow.  On another 100 degree day.  The coaches thought we'd have a mutiny if we pushed the point.  So we conceded the loss*.  With the top of our order coming up to bat against a team we beat earlier this season.  The Baseball Gods can make things right during the upcoming All-Star Tournament and get us through the South Area Finals to the District Tourney. And beyond ;-)

Your final, PVLL Brodie's 8.  PALL Round Table 3*

Like I said, it sucks to be competitive at my age.  It really does.  They're kids, not the 2004 Red Sox. I need to let that asterisk go.

Thanks for listening.

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