By the Book

This wasn’t my original idea for a column. This wasn’t even on my radar on Monday morning, but watching all of the 13 innings of the one-game playoff for the National League Wild Card position between the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies changed my mind. It was too good to pass up.
The only reason I probably watched this game in the first place was because I picked the Rockies to make the playoffs before the season even started.
It was all you could ever want in a baseball game, and given the circumstances – the winner goes to the playoffs and the loser goes home in game 163 of a 162 game season – it was probably the best baseball game I have ever seen.
In the 13th inning, the San Diego Padres scored two runs on a Scott Hairston homerun to take an 8-6 lead. In the bottom of 13th, the Padres sent out Trevor Hoffman, who holds the career record for most saves – arguably the best closer in baseball history – to get them into the playoffs. It was not to be. Kaz Matsui led off the inning with a double in the left-center field gap. Troy Tulowitski then hit a double to score Matsui. Then, MVP candidate and National League batting champion Matt Holliday hit a triple off the top of the wall to score Tulowitski and tie the game. The Padres then chose to intentionally walk Mr. Rockie Todd Helton, bringing up former Expo utilityman (who the Nationals gave away for cash) Jamey Carroll.
Carroll hit a fly ball to Padres right fielder Brian Giles. Holliday tagged up and rushed to the plate. Giles came up throwing a little late, forcing Holliday and Padres catcher Michael Barrett (another former Expo – this game was full of them) to dive for home plate, trying to get there first. Holliday slid and so did Barrett but any doubt about whether a tag was made was wiped away when the ball squirted to the left of home plate and Holliday was safe.
The Rockies, who won 13 of their last 14 games, including 11 in a row just to get to this one-game playoff are now on their way to Philadelphia to play the equally surprising Phillies in a series that starts Wednesday.
On a personal level this was satisfying because the Rockies making the playoffs means I can say I correctly picked four of the eight Major League Baseball playoff teams correctly. The Rockies were the NL West pick, and ended up winning the Wild Card, but my other correct selections were right on (Boston, Cleveland and Los Angeles winning the three divisions in the American League).

Women’s sports take a back seat. again

Quickly now, who won the women’s World Cup of Soccer on Sunday? Nobody? How about the men’s World Cup of Soccer that took place over a year ago? Yes, of course, it was Italy.
This isn’t a big surprise, but I would hope that TSN wouldn’t put the result of the men’s World Cup final right before their final commercial in a 30-second highlight piece, but that is what they did with the women’s tournament.
The only time that the tournament made some kind of headlines was the whole goaltending controversy with the United States. You know, the one where Hope Solo called out her coach for benching her and in the process said that she would have made all of the saves her teammate didn’t.
Women’s professional sports are a relatively new thing, and so is the women’s World Cup, so it definitely doesn’t have the following of the men’s tournament, but media outlets like TSN definitely aren’t helping things by paying the final of the event so little attention.
By the way, Germany defeated Brazil 2-0 in the final and the German team didn’t even allow a goal throughout the entire tournament. Yet, still no attention was paid to it. I don’t know soccer too well, but I’m pretty sure no goals allowed en route to a World Championship is a pretty big deal.


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