Sports: Monday, July 10, 2023

FR Little Leaguers Advance, VBL Scoreboard, Nats Take 2 Of 3 From Texas

Dominic Smith, Joey Meneses, and Stone Garrett all hit HR’s in the Nats’ 7-2 win against Texas. Courtesy Nationals Radio Network…

Sports Dogs Podcast: The Midsummer Classic

The Sports Dogs take you back to a time when the MLB All-Star Game meant a little bit more to players and fans, and fast-forward to today, when fans seem to be more interested in the Home Run Derby during All-Star Week. Enjoy the Midsummer Classic!

 

A Tale Of Two Cities And The Midsummer Classic

Greetings From The Booth!

It’s great to be back in The Booth after a relaxing week of vaycay at Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. There’s nothing like the slow pace of “lake life” to get one recharged and refreshed. I could get used to hot tubs, reading the latest Grisham novel on the deck, boating and hiking , and of course, good food and drink.

One of my favorite things about the annual week at DCL is talking sports with my nephew TJ, who is a huge UVA and Baltimore Oriole guy, and one of the most knowledgeable sports fans I know. In addition, we both wallow in our misery at being Commanders (Redskins) fans. As I am a suffering Nats fan, we spent some time comparing the situations of our respective teams, the O’s and Nationals.

Unlike the Nats, who, at the All-Star break, are on pace to lose about 110 games, the young Orioles go into the break on a 10-game win streak and are just 2 games out of the final AL Wild Card spot. In reality, the Birds are a few years away from their plan of contending once again, but don’t tell these youngsters that they are not supposed to win NOW. Winning begets winning, and there’s nothing like a 10-game skein to boost a team’s confidence. And, there’s that intangible thing called chemistry. I’ll admit, TJ had me singing the old “Oriole Magic” song all week. It was stuck in my head. The O’s may eventually fade in the dog days of August, but if the front office doesn’t make any greedy moves this year, it looks like this team is headed in the right direction.

40 miles away are the Washington Nationals, who despite players like Josh Bell and Juan Soto, don’t appear to have that chemistry, and almost surely will lose 100-plus games this year. It’s hard to recognize a team that is just 3-years removed from winning a World Series. Granted, most of that group is gone, but it’s hard to see Mike Rizzo’s plan for this club. Injury has certainly played a part, but the Nats look like a rudderless ship that has sunk to the bottom of the NL East, a place usually reserved for the Miami Marlins. Although not his fault, Manager Davey Martinez may take the fall (he recently received the kiss of death–a one-year extension) for another bad year in DC. BTW, there are plenty of seats available at Nationals Park…

Finally, just a few words about (at the time of this post) tonight’s MLB All-Star Game. The Midsummer Classic for me has lost some of it’s luster over the years, and I didn’t even watch last year when the game was politicized and moved away from Atlanta. But thinking of the All-Star Game takes me back to my youth, a time when I kept a scoresheet for the game, players wanted to play, and the teams wanted to win (remember Pete Rose crashing into catcher Ray Fosse to win the 1970 edition?). I don’t think it’s the case anymore, but that being said, the MLB All-Star Game is still sports’ purest: the Pro Bowl is a pillow fight, the NHL version is unrecognizable, and the NBA All-Star Game is a defenseless layup and 3-point exhibition with scores like 173-168.

Enjoy the Midsummer Classic, and until next time from The Booth, GO NATS & O’s!

RW

Sports: Wednesday, July 14, 2021

VBL Recap, AL Wins All-Star Game, British Set To Begin Tomorrow

In Valley League Baseball last night, Winchester shaded Purcellville 5-3, while Strasburg got past New Market 6-4.

Tonight in the VBL, games include New Market at Winchester in a 5pm twinbill, and Strasburg at Front Royal.

Make it 8 straight for the American League, who defeated the National League 5-2 in last night’s MLB All-Star Game. Toronto’s Vlad Guerro, Jr. was the game’s MVP, becoming the youngest MVP in All-Star history at age 22. Gurerro, Jr. hit a towering 468-foot home run in the 5th inning to secure that honor.

And, the 149th Open Championship, golf’s final major, is set to begin tomorrow at Royal St. George’s Golf Course. Play begins at 1:35am Eastern time. The British Open, as it’s known in the USA, returns after not being played last year because of the pandemic.

Arnie & The British

SU field oversight
SU field oversight
Winchester Printers
https://winchesterprinters.com

Greetings from The Booth!

Vacation looms, as I get ready for my annual trip to Deep Creek Lake, Md. next week, thanks to the BBILE (Best Brother-In-Law Ever).I’m looking forward to a week in a beautiful lake house for a little R&R&R…Rest, Relaxation, and Recharging! Not to mention a giant hot tub, some adult beverages, and a John Grisham novel.

This week, Major League Baseball takes it’s annual All-Star Break, which brings back great memories for me. As a kid who loved baseball, I would always keep a scoresheet for the Mid-Summer Classic (“that’s 4-to-3 if you’re scoring at home”) and there were always some great All-Star Games back in the day. Who could forget Reggie Jackson’s mammoth blast that hit the light standard in the 1971 All Star game. And how about Pete Rose’s violent collision with Ray Fosse on July 14th, 1970. And, unlike today, players who were invited actually showed up and played.

This week also marks the 149th playing of The Open Championship, golf’s final “major” of the year, at the Royal St. George’s Golf Course in the UK. On this side of the pond it’s called “The British Open,” because we Americans don’t want to give it more importance than our own “US Open.”

The British Open is most often played at seaside “links” courses, and is alien to the style of golf played here in the States. Weather is almost always a factor (you’ll see sweaters being worn by some golfers this week), with wind, rain, and cold one day, followed by sunny and mild (by British standards) the next. In addition, the finicky golf gods can leave terrible lies even on shots in the fairway.

These are just a few of the reasons why at one time the British Open was a tournament that most American golfers didn’t care much about. In addition to the style of golf and the weather, it cost too much to go “across the pond” and play in The Open Championship. With no exemptions and low prize money, many golfers would lose money by playing in the British, even if they qualified.

Then came Arnold Palmer, who in 1960, was one of only 4 Americans to play in The Open Championship at St. Andrews (“the home of golf”), and one of only 2 Yanks to make the cut. Palmer was trying to complete the Big Three that year, already having won The Masters and US Open, something Ben Hogan had done in 1953.

Palmer would lose by a stroke, but gave legitimacy to a tournament that very well could have faded from the “major” ranks. Arnie paved the way for great American moments at The British, like Jack Nicklaus’ 3 victories, John Daly’s unlikely second major win, and 59 year-old Tom Watson almost winning The Open Championship in 2009. And let’s not forget Watson’s 5 British Open Claret jugs.

“Old Toom,” as he is called across the water, and is one of the greatest links players of all time, embraced the Open Championship, and the British people embraced him back. Watson has an incredible love for the birthplace and traditions of the game, and that is not lost on the Brits, Scots, Irish, and Welsh.

But this love affair with Watson and The Open Championship would not have been possible without the great Arnold Palmer, who revived American interest in the British Open in July of 1960.

Until the next visit from the Booth, FORE, and GO HORNETS!

RW