Great Moments in Competitive Imbalance: Texas High School Baseball Edition

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This is what some Orioles fans want you think playing in the AL East is like:

Late on a school night, in a game already delayed because of lightning, Richardson Lake Highlands High School came to bat in the top of the fifth inning leading Dallas Samuell by around 30 runs. Then they scored another 20 or so. The final score was either 53-0, like the scoreboard read, or 57-0, like the winning coach tallied it up.

That’s the intro to an interesting story about amateur ethics (or “etticks” if you prefer).  There’s a mercy rule about ending games like that, but this one was out of hand even before the mercy rule kicked in. There’s a fail safe “we both agree to give up” rule too, but apparently no one really knows about it.  There’s some interesting talk towards the end of the article about potentially turning the end of games like these into mini-clinics, but I can’t help but think that the guys on the losing side really don’t want to be treated like students to the other side’s teachers.

As a parent of kids just getting started in sports, this stuff interests me.  For now, I think the way they do things in my son’s soccer league is the best: don’t keep score, and make sure everyone at least has a snack to look forward to after the game is over.

Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.