Most of the world doesn’t have a team playing so late into baseball’s hallowed October post-season.
Los Angeles and Chicago do. Cleveland, too.
And, Toronto. (Even though we all know that no one likes baseball in Canada. And, yes, I’m still steamed about the fan who threw his beer at Orioles outfielder Hyun Soo Kim earlier this month … and the other fan who threw his beer at Orioles outfielder Nate McLouth in 2013. Dear Canada, I don’t forget.)
But, that’s it. Dodgers, Cubs, Indians, Blue Jays.
The rest of us must find the local in our October baseball elsewhere.
Each fall, college baseball teams around the country hold “Fall Ball” seasons or “World Series” intra-squad competitions. It keeps veteran players sharp and gives freshmen a chance to show that they can play at the college level. And, it gives the rest of us something to do until Spring Training rolls around.
The University of Virginia (UVA) Cavaliers are holding their seven-game Orange vs. Blue World Series this month.
UVA’s Jake McCarthy, Team Orange, considering a steal. UVA’s Justin Novak, Team Blue, waits at short. Or, as Editor/Husband describes the Orange vs. Blue series: “Brother against Brother.”
The games are free and while the stands aren’t packed, you’ll find baseball fans, assorted scouts with radar guns, and the player’s parents, who often sit together and watch with the deep and seasoned concentration of loving moms and dads who have been watching from the sidelines since their sons were in tee-ball.
The games can be surreal. It’s hard to cobble together two full squads from just one team, so one team here plays without a DH or a 9th batter. There’s a “Designated Runner” who’s been sent in to run for a batter who can hit, but because of injury hasn’t been cleared to run. Games can go seven innings or eight … or less or more … depending on the time, the day, or the whims of the coaches. Games can end in a tie.
It is a game. But, the rules of the games get blurry sometimes.
Outfielder/Pitcher Adam Haseley swings at the first pitch of the 2016 UVA Fall Ball Season. The 4 p.m. shadows creep over the infield and batter’s box much earlier, quicker, and thicker than in the spring.
Team Orange’s Jack Weiller waits on second while Team Blue talks strategy on the mound.
The UVA Orange team has won two games and one game ended in a tie for those of you who keep track of those sorts of things. They play again on Friday.
At a time when the world – and our nation – seems so divided, angry, and divisive isn’t it nice to be able to root for everyone?
Because when your home team is playing your home team, all you can do is cheer.
And, you can’t get more local than that.
Photos: University of Virginia Orange vs. Blue “World Series”, Davenport Field. Charlottesville, Virginia. October 2016. © The Baseball Bloggess
In response to WordPress’s Weekly Photo Challenge “Local”. See lots more photos from this challenge here.