Stars are 2022 CHAMPIONS
Posted September 19, 2022
The SGR received a phone call this week from the new management at the Landing asking that we come get our mail before someone trips over the doormat at the rear door. Needless to say the SGR was shocked, shocked to learn that the SGR phone number was still scrawled into the bathroom wall at the Landing, and that the Landing had ‘management’, but mostly that the Landing had management.
Yes indeedee the SGR mailbag was teeming with a letter from a Sir Winston C. The letter read “Dear SGR, when a team has gone down 5 -0 in the top of the first inning of a championship baseball game is it the end, the beginning of the end, or perhaps, the end of the beginning? Sincerely.” Well thank you for your letter ‘Sir.’ Rather a presumptuous title I must say, but a good question nonetheless. The thing about baseball is that no matter how big an inning is, there can always be a bigger inning. And in any case it’s only the top of the first inning so clearly it would be the end of the beginning. Thanks again for writing. And sorry about your queen.
A wise person once said that it’s not how you start, but how you finish that’s important. An even wiser person also said don’t forget all that stuff in the middle, cuz it’s pretty important too. Never was that more true than this past Saturday at George Pinter field when the Stars took on the Vancouver Pirates in the 45+ playoff championship, in a rematch of the 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 playoff championship games.
The start: The Pirates came out swinging like a spurned boyfriend in a Porter Wagoner song. But unlike the country musical stylings of Mr. Wagoner, this tune left a bad taste in the mouth( Apologies for the mixed metaphors. The SGR is a bit rusty.) 5 Pirate runners crossed the plate before the end of the first verse, I mean inning. In fact, the Stars did not record a defensive out until the third batter of the second inning on a force out at third. The Stars appeared to be dazed and confused, but the mood on the Stars bench was that things would be alright, alright, alright.
The middle: This is the part that makes the start and the finish possible (think about it.) And what a middle it was. Like an Oreo. But not the regular kind. The kind with the double filling. I think they are called “Double’ Oreos. So, for the next eight innings the Pirates tried everything imaginable to score more runs, even hitting the ball and running the bases. But in a turn of events not seen since Jed Clampet shot his rifle into that hillside, the Stars pitching and defense would bend but not break. Pirates reached base in all but two of those eight innings with nine reaching scoring positions. Overall 13 baserunners were left stranded due to clutch pitching and great defense. Stars pitching was outstanding led by Pep, who recovered strong after the first, followed by seven strong innings from RickRook, and then JG.
On offense the Stars were shutout over the first five innings managing only 2 hits. The ice was broken in the sixth when Physio knocked a single to right cashing in a run. Stars scored three more in the seventh. Hawk got things started with a one out single. Following a Pirate error, OConn and RickRook each knocked a run in with base hits. OConn then scored on a heads up tag up on a pop up(see what I did there) by KFlu that was caught by the shortstop. So, for those of you scoring at home, by the end of the middle the Stars had denied the Pirates any more runs and had clawed their way back to within one.
The finish: In an unexpected turn of events, the Pirates sent their cannon armed catcher to the mound to try and close things out in the bottom of the ninth. Big Lefty led things off for the Stars. The crafty veteran, who is often confused with old codgers siting in cars, drew a walk. Coach Tup, a fan of small ball, and small beers, promptly signalled ‘sac bunt’ to Sunshine by touching his cap, then his nose, then running his hand through his hair, then briefly turning off his pacemaker, kicking the third baseman, and touching his belt. Sunny laid a bunt down (actually it went up. Way up. But then went down. Whew!) that was fielded by the third baseman who threw him out, moving Lefty to second. Then something else happened resulting in the second out. The scorebook is smudged and the tape is too blurry to make out exactly what happened. Just take my word for it.
Next, up comes OConn. After fouling off a couple of high hard ones from the Pirates catcher, I mean pitcher, OConn defied fate by taking a couple of pitches that the umpire called balls! If that wasn’t enough, he then hit a soft blooper that landed to the right of the first baseman, who came off his bag, fielded the ball, and tossed it the pitcher who was racing to cover first. OConn was not to be denied and made it to the base first, first base that is, he just got there before the pitcher did, in a play that was so close it was a ‘bang-bang-bang-bang’ play.
Fast forward one pitch later and Stars have runners on second and third with two outs and RickRook at the plate. The battle between pitcher and batter stood at 2 balls and 2 strikes, with 2 outs and 2 runners on base. The Rook, packed full of covid antibodies, took a mighty hack that sent the ball high into left center field. In what seemed like an eternity the ball floated in the air while the Pirate center fielder raced toward the ball. Finally, the fielder pulled up as the ball landed safely out of his reach. By the time the ball hit the ground I think both Stars runners had already crossed the plate to take a 6 to 5 victory. Then bedlam ensued.
So, let’s recap. What did we learn. First of all we learned that nearly everything we have been told about covid is wrong. Second, the top of the first was indeed the end of the big inning. For the Pirates. The big inning for the Stars was all the others, with the last being the biggest of them all. Finish well. That’s what its all about.
And just to wring out one more cultural reference, since 2004 the Stars have played about 2,916 innings of ball. If the Stars empire lasts another 2,916 innings, men will still say, ‘this was their finest hour.’
So that was the game. The after party was something else. Not enough space here to recount it all. The SGR did pick up on a few conversations, one in particular where a few Stars talked about their plans with the trophy.
Physio: I plan to spend some quiet time with the trophy, with some soft music, some candles, and my good friend Randy.
DRob: Trophy? I have to go to hockey in 20 minutes.
RickRook: I plan to spend some quiet time with the trophy, with some soft music, some candles, and my good friend DRob.
Tup: I will misplace the trophy in the back of my Jeep for three years, and then anonymously leave it on a team mates porch.
Big Lefty: Finally, a trophy I can appreciate. All the statuettes on the trophy are left handed!
ARob: Can we loan this to the Toronto Maple Leafs so they can see what it’s like?
See you all at the wrap party!