by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
All sports contests normally end with a winner and loser. Sometimes a team jumps to an early lead and holds on, other times a game can see saw back and forth throughout. But frequently, there will be a late game heroic; a last minute goal, basket, field goal or touchdown, or the familiar “walk off” base hit or home run. Generally the visiting team which yielded the game changer is the team walking off. The winning team likes to relive their “are you smarter than a fifth grader” mentality and hang around home plate.
I guess I understand a bit of exuberance if a team wins the World Series, Stanley Cup, Super Bowl, or whatever the NBA is calling their 12 rounds of playoffs these days. But a regular season game? One of 162 in the schedule. Yeah Yeah, I know the clichés. Every game is important, we played 163 for two years in a row, yada, yada, I just can’t see a bunch of grown millionaires standing around home plate jumping up and down celebrating, when in truth, if they would have hit or pitched better in the first eight innings they would not need the walk off heroics in the ninth.
Take the case of Kendry Morales, a first baseman for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Earlier this season, Kendry hit a walk off grand slam home run, circled the bases and was greeted by 15-20 teammates at home plate. He took a leap to touch the plate with both feet to start the celebration, landed wrong and broke his left ankle, and is now out for the remainder of the season. I call that pretty stupid, but what I find even more dubious, is that other teams are still going through the home plate antics on the late inning heroics.
Imagine if you will: In a close match one Friday night, Smilin’ Carl strikes out in the tenth frame and On Track Eden Prairie prevails by 2 pins over Sundance Golf & Bowl. There’s no home plate, and a bowling team is only 5 players, but Jason, Ally, Terri, Eric, and a few fans stream onto the approach and surround Carl while they’re all jumping up and down like a bunch of kids in the back yard of a friend who just got a trampoline for his birthday. Meanwhile, Deb sneaks off to fill an On Track towel with shaving cream, so she can plaster Carl in the face about the same time he is being interviewed for mnbowling.com. This may sound stupid to you, but they never had these celebrations in baseball in the 60s, but now they appear 3 or 4 times per week from ball parks across America. It’s only a matter of time before we’ll see it in bowling centers.
Bring your cell phones. Soon Lily Land on our home page will be replaced with Pie in the Face Zone. But could we at least substitute a real banana cream pie for the shaving cream?