Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Fair Weather Fans

I was once a fanatical baseball fan - I played a lot in my teens - I lacked some physical skills so had to apply my brain, becoming a decent first baseman (I was a tall kid), and as a fan developed a great taste for defensive play and what we now call 'smallball'. This worked well for me, as the vagaries of AM radio reception meant that I could receive KMOX from St Louis clearly in the nighttime in the Ottawa Valley, and became quite a fan of the St Louis Cardinals in the early1960s, a team that through most of its history has lived by eking out runs.
In recent years I have lost interest in baseball - home run derbies are not attractive to me.
But my oh my - has this year's post-season play been sweet! My sleep schedule has been thoroughly disrupted. The top of the ninth inning of the fourth Houston-St. Louis game was one of the finest pieces of baseball I have seen, featuring a wonderful Houston defensive play at the plate, followed by a mental lapse by the same player key to that play, allowing a witty advance to third by Larry Walker, and capped by a magnificent double play to save the game. And I speak as someone wanting St Louis to win - but, really, who can deny such great play!
And now I have survived the fifth game, which did feature home runs, if not a derby, but also featured some incredibly intelligent and aggressive 'smallball'. It is worth noting that the Houston manager played for the Cardinals during one of their heydays.
And by the way, the ALCS games I watched seem to have the same flavour. So for the first time in years I am excited about the World Series this year, whoever makes it through the NLCS. Late nights ahead!
But I wonder - I keep reading stories about how baseball recovered its audience during the McGwire-Sosa duels - a period when I totally lost interest. So this may be a bad omen for the game.


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