Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard

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An unusual evening

I did something yesterday evening that I haven't done in quite a while: I sat down specifically to watch a baseball game.

In general, I'm not much of a sports fan. I don't hate them quite as avidly as vakkotaur, but my experiences with jocks and coaches in school were no picnic either, and generally turned me off. The baseball team at my school didn't suck as badly as the football team did, and the basketball team was pretty good (although it's best known for winning a game the other team had to lose to make the playoffs, under a weird split-season schedule). The football jocks were insufferable, and the emphasis on sports there was on football, of course. The other jocks were pretty much okkay people. One of the baseball players went on to a Hall of Fame career...some guy named Clemens. (He went to Spring Woods, but we never crossed paths: he started as a sophomore the year after I graduated.)

I don't follow football except for noting this year just how thoroughly the Vikings' antics off the field are killing their chances for a new stadium. I followed the Houston Rockets during their championship runs and for a year or so after that, but as they sank back into mediocrity, that waned. I've been following the Astros for years, though, and I'm not sure why. It's not like I can play the game myself (I've got a lousy throwing arm and have a hard time hitting the ball out of the infield), and it's not like the team is consistently great. When they do show signs of success, though, my interest perks up. The 1986 National League Championship Series was enough to hold my undivided attention, as it was for most of the city, and I watched the final game (the subject of a book, The Greatest Game Ever Played) at work and then at home as the innings wore on. The loss was painful. I watched most of game 7 of last year's NLCS at the President's Club in Denver, and had to get asked to leave the club along with several other Houston fans because it closed in the middle of the 8th inning and the employees needed to go home.

This year, the Astros are making noises like they'll go to the World Series for the first time in the franchise's 43-year history. They lead the Cardinals, now, three games to one in the best of 7 series. They're playing what I can best describe as determined baseball. They earned the best record in baseball from May 25 on to overcome a 15-30 start to the season, going 74-43 the rest of the way (if they'd won at that pace the whole season, they'd have won 102 games, better than the Cardinals' 100), and when they led after 8 innings they won 77 of 78. Last night's game was no different: they made some sparkling defensive plays, including one of the prettiest 4-6-3 twin killings ever to end the game, and while they blew several opportunities, when they needed to score, they did it.

They can close the series out tonight at Minute Maid Park. For the second night in a row, I'll be watching.

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