In the leadoff spot: 2-time CWS champions Oregon State
One of the ESPN commentators called the Beavers the "least likely" team to ever be repeat champions in the College World Series. They lost most of their lineup from last year's scrappy, determined, inspiring team. So much of the hitting, the pitching, and the gloves that led them to the title last year watched from the stands or from their homes.
"The team that almost did not make the field of 64 has now won it back to back."
I so called it.
Batting second: Kansas City can win in extra innings
Too bad I missed most of the game. Today I helped throw a wedding shower (yay!) for my brother and his bride-to-be, so I missed the afternoon shenanigans at Miller Park. Thank the Lord for internet access on phones; that's how we "watched" the game from the 9th inning on. It was cute the way my family members and a few friends gathered around, hunched over the tiny screen of my brother's phone.
The way KC loaded the bases in the 11th was refreshing to see. Nobody was trying too hard to bring in the winning run in one swing; the batters were patient and scrapped their way to a run. Having the winning run walked in may not be glamorous, but it shows a lot of patience and maturity from a team that's been struggling in every way the last few games. It's frustrating to have so many injuries and a field half-full of players who are not 100% healthy, but the players who are left out there need to show that they can battle. Maybe they could take a cue from Oregon State. Which brings us to our number three batter:
Best highlight reels ever
For the most part, I think it's sad how obsessed this generation is with highlight reels, and I wish more people had the patience to actually watch sporting events. Omaha is where I make an exception. The highlight reels shown at the very end of the College World Series are perfect showcases of why I love sports. The facial expressions of the ballplayers they show -- from the mixture of fear and sadness from players who are on the brink of elimination to the OSU pitcher's sheer exhilaration as he forced the last out -- are golden. They're perfect and pure and everything right about baseball. Even as a naysayer of the "Highlights only, please" mindset, I happily admit that I could watch those CWS montages over and over.
It surely does not get any better than Omaha in June...
Batting cleanup: Random tragedy in baseball
Rod Beck has died. Yes, the Rod Beck who was only 38 years old. Yes, the one with the flowing hair, the huge moustache. For a few seasons, he was a favorite of my brothers and me; we simultaneously loved him and were terrified of him. We were pretty sure he could chop down a tree with his bare hands, wrestle a bear, then come in and notch a save by simply scaring the batters he faced into calling themselves out.
Once, while Beck was sitting in the bullpen, a home run was hit right above his head. Many relievers tend to scatter or cower from the ball in that situation, but not Rod Beck. He didn't even move his head to track the ball's location. He calmly reached up and snagged the ball out of the air, bare-handed.
That kind of thing leads my brother and me to think the cause of this death was an overdose of aweseomeness.
Though he was no longer an active player, he was still one of baseball's truly memorable characters. The examples in the news story to which I linked show a man who knew how lucky he was to play baseball as his career. He clearly didn't take that for granted, and wanted to share his joy with as many fans and friends as he could. Please pray for his daughters as they wait to hear how their father could have died so suddenly at such a young age.
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