Countdown is on to opening night

Joe MacIntyre
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The Summerside Storm opens the 2012-13 regular season at Eastlink Arena on Friday, when the Saint John Mill Rats visit for a 7 p.m. start.

The coming year will be a real test for the Storm, and the entire National Basketball League of Canada. It was a great year last year at the gate for Summerside, which enjoyed the second-highest attendance numbers in the league.

Last year was a bit of a showcase for pro basketball in Summerside, with a lot of people being curious and checking out pro ball for the first time. A contender will go a long ways in attracting last year's fans back and also picking up new fans, which are needed if this team and league are to survive long term.

Fans will want results, and by the looks of it coach Joe Salerno has assembled a pretty good team. The Storm defeated Moncton 101-83 on Friday night, and beat Halifax 106-97 in the Nova Scotia capital last Sunday.

If those results are any indication, the Storm will be very competitive, and that should result in big crowds.

 

Gone but not forgotten

The Miscouche Legion Slo-Pitch Softball League recently held its annual awards night. Year-end dinners seem to be a thing of the past for ball leagues, but the local league always puts on a big night to wrap up its season. That’s probably one of the reasons why the league has been so successful in its 28 years of existence.

Wednesday's Journal-Pioneer had pictures of the award winners, and it was the memorial awards presented that caught my eye. I counted nine memorial awards in memory of past players.

A couple of names that come to mind that I knew are Mike Arsenault and Randy Moore. I have not met two finer gentlemen in my life, and I am quite sure that the families of these fellows, and the other seven, are honoured that the local league held these former players in such high regard.

These players may be gone, but are certainly not forgotten. The league deserves credit for making sure of that. 

 

World Series

Game 3 of the World Series goes tonight in Detroit, with the Tigers in desperate need of a win.

The San Francisco Giants deserve full marks for their 2-0 lead. The ‘Toothless Tigers’ better show up tonight, or this Fall Classic will be all but over.

The Giants have hit, pitched and managed better than the Tigers so far, although it’s hard to find fault with the job Detroit pitcher Doug Fister did in Game 2.

It was a wasted performance behind a team that managed just two hits in Game 2, and none after the fourth inning. The Giants are on a roll and playing great baseball.

They make things happen with their aggressive approach, and I am not surprised they are up 2-0. The Tigers have to get a lot more out of their stars. Prince Fielder is hitting a paltry .205 while Miguel Cabrera is at just .268 for the post-season.

Combined, they are making $44 million this season, and are paid to produce. They have one hit each in this series, and that will have to change for the Tigers to have a chance.

History tells us that 79 per cent of the teams that win the first two games of the World Series go on to win. At any rate, baseball fans hope this series does not end in a sweep as we hope for a little more ball next week.  

 

Pitch counts

Most levels of baseball pay close attention to pitch counts, and I guess for the most part it’s a good idea. Some do not agree.

I read recently where former Detroit Tiger great Mickey Lolich thinks that pitchers are babied today. He says there was no such things as pitch counts when he played.

The more you threw, the stronger your arm got, stated Lolich. He remembers throwing 180 pitches on opening day, and then coming back four days later and throwing 140 more. Those were the days when teams had four-man pitching rotations. They have five-man rotations today.

Fans will remember Lolich, now 72 years of age from the 1968 World Series, where he was the MVP after winning three games. They were three complete game wins for the Tigers.

The Tigers beat the Cards and great pitcher Bob Gibson in seven games.   

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: Tigers, National Basketball League of Canada, San Francisco Giants Miscouche Legion Slo-Pitch Softball League Journal-Pioneer

Geographic location: Summerside, Nova Scotia, Detroit

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