Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oklahoma Outlaws

The Outlaws stole the win last night, in the American Legion World Series finale.

And when I say "stole," I mean it in the most positive of terms. Those kids stole every base out there, including home. They played scrappy, and they won two games against the up-until-then undefeated Eden Prairie, MN team. They deserved the title, in the end.

And when I say "stole home," I don't mean from just an errant throw to second or something. One player decided to steal home on just a regular pitch. It took everyone by surprise - including the pitcher and catcher for Eden Prairie. And he made it! Safe. Amazing. And then another Outlaw who had just gotten a walk, and was acting like he was settling into first base, just took off and landed on second instead. Apparently the ball had still been in play, and the pitcher had not yet settled into the mound...

And for as miserable as a game that it turned out to be for Minnesota - set of games, actually - they did have some highlights. There was one throw to home where the catcher had to leap for the ball but was able to defend the plate anyway and tagged out the Outlaw running home. And then there was the eighth inning. There was one out, with Outlaw runners on first and third. The first base runner went to steal second, and the catcher threw the ball and got him tagged out. And the second base man immediately threw the ball to home - anticipating, by now, the third base runner's intention to steal home in that circumstance - and somehow the catcher tagged out that runner as well. So it was a double play, and the inning was over. Eden Prairie had finally figured out Oklahoma's methods. It was too late in the game to make a difference for the final score. But it had to have been nice for the Minnesota kids to have that play.

As I've written in recent posts, the American Legion World Series was in Spokane for the first time in its 85 years. I went out to the ballpark on Sunday and Tuesday for book signings, with net proceeds going to the Legion's World Series efforts. We raised a total of $300 from 39 book sales for the Legion (which is all proceeds except the wholesale cost of the book to me). So it was a nice roundup. And people from all over the country purchased the book, which is nice. A few umpires too! I told them to watch for the book's scenes with umpires. There are a couple fun ones.

There was another flyover last night of a World War I era plane. It wasn't announced, or expected. We all looked to the sky when it happened. People softly clapped, too. A surprise, but a nice one. And perfect, for a Legion event.

For as much as the games last night were not seriously in question, the skill of the players was something to watch - from both teams. Attitude, too, was admirable (for the most part). (I did see a couple jabs between players. But these are kids. They're learning too.)

Perhaps attitude is always improved on the field if you have to say a Sportsman Code before every game. This is the one that the Legion has - that they read to the players before each game - and that they had each team captain read to each of their teams, in front of everyone, before the first game last night:

I will
keep the rules
keep faith with my teammates
keep my temper
keep myself fit
keep a stout heart in defeat
keep my pride under in victory
keep a sound soul, a clean mind, and a healthy body

Words to live by. In fact, perhaps we all should say this Code every morning, the moment we wake up.

Next up: book signing at the Indians' game this coming Saturday. Fireworks night!

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