Slo-pitch softball popular

Joe MacIntyre
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Tigers make short work of Yankees

The game of slo-pitch softball is as popular as it’s ever been.

It’s a simple and somewhat easy game to play, which helps explain its popularity.

Being an umpire in the local league has given me a greater appreciation for the game. There are some real good players playing, and when you get the better teams playing it can make for a pretty good ball game.

The game would be even better locally if it was played on bigger fields, which do not exist in Summerside. The local league plays most of its games at Slemon Park,  but the fields are too small and in need of repair. Even if one of those two Slemon Park fields was made bigger, it would make for a better game.

A recent playoff game with the league’s two best teams had 17 home runs in the game. I could not help but think how much better the game would be if the ball was kept in play.

Of those 17 homers, I would think only a handful would be hit on a regulation field, and probably none with a wooden bat. The use of a  wooden bat is probably not going to happen, so moving the fences back would make a real difference.

All local fields were built for fast pitch, which probably is at an all time low in popularity. No changes have been made for slo-pitch. The local league has been going strong for the last 28 years, and has 13 teams playing in a well-run and thriving league.

A bigger Slemon Park field would provide a greater opportunity to host regional and national slo-pitch events. There were 20 different categories, involving men's, women's and co-ed at the SPN National tournaments across Canada this past summer.

There are a lot of individuals playing the game of slo-pitch. Local bantam and midget baseball teams, who have only Queen Elizabeth Park’s Baseball Field to play on, could also use a bigger Slemon Park field. It can be a challenge for those teams to host any amount of teams in a tournament or championship, so another field could benefit minor baseball.

At any rate, those fields at Slemon Park are in need of repair, and now may be a good time to fix them up and make them bigger. It would certainly help meet the needs of local ballplayers.

Big game

A big hockey game takes place at Eastlink Arena on Sunday afternoon, when the Truro Bearcats play the Summerside Western Capitals.  

Although it is still very early in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) season, this will be a bit of a measuring stick and statement game for both teams.

As we all know, Truro hosts next spring's Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian championship, and the Caps are the host team for the RBC Cup Canadian junior A championship.

These two teams should meet in the league final, and anything less for Truro will be a major disappointment. Anything less than a league championship will be a major disappointment for the Caps.

Games between these two this winter should be real fun to watch.

Start spreading the news

Start spreading the news, the Detroit Tigers are going to the World Series!

I have to admit I am having trouble getting that “New York, New York” Frank Sinatra hit off my mind today.  We heard this song for years on Paul M. Schurman's Sunday morning "Sports Roundup" program on radio station C102 after a big Yankees’ win.

I wish Paul M.’s popular program was still on the air, and maybe he would play that song one more time. At any rate, it’s the Tigers going to this year's Fall Classic, and it’s the way they are arriving that makes it very special for this year's American League champions.

They did to the Yankees what very few teams have ever done, and that is embarrass them. That was the case in that one-sided four-game sweep this past week as the Tigers proved once again that great pitching always beats great hitting.

The Tigers’ starting pitching allowed only two earned runs in the four games, and finished with a miniscule .066 earned-run average.

History says that only the 1966 Baltimore Orioles, with names like Jim Palmer and Dave McNally at .061, were better, and that says a lot about what Detroit’s starters did in the past series.

The ALCS was more about what the Yankees were not doing rather than what the Tigers were doing. The Tigers deserve full marks for the series sweep, and they got hot at just the right time.

As this is written, it looks like a 2006 World Series rematch of Detroit and St. Louis, with the Cards also getting hot at the right time. It should make for a great World Series, and if Detroit gets pitching like they did against the Yankees, they will be one tough team to beat.  

Have a great week!

Joe MacIntyre is a Summerside resident. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to j-mac@eastlink.ca.

Organizations: Yankees, Detroit Tigers, SPN National Summerside Western Capitals Maritime Junior Hockey League RBC American League Baltimore Orioles

Geographic location: Slemon Park, Summerside, Canada Queen Elizabeth Park Detroit New York, New York St. Louis

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